Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I'm going to argue that this is the type of soup that needs to be made to order. While many soups and stews get more complex and enticing after a day or so in the refrigerator, I don't find that to be true when it comes to soup of the broccoli variety. Am I alone here?
A Favorite Broccoli Cheddar SoupDay-old broccoli soup always smells very strong (and not in a good way) and tastes overcooked, as if from a can. The good news is this version couldn't be simpler to make, and it's perfect for those times when I feel like I need something with a serious nutritional punch. I give the soup a bit of an unexpected twist by topping it with golden, crunchy, mustardy croutons. Which you can skip, but I wouldn't.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe

Topping Ideas

Aside from the croutons, this soup likes crusty, toasted walnut bread, or olive bread. It likes a good sheep feta in place of cheddar if that's what you happen to have on hand, or a kiss of harissa whisked into a bit of olive oil. I know people like to pair broccoli with blue cheese. Personally, I find that to be over-powering, but if you really love blue cheese, that might be another direction to explore. If you have any other ideas, let me hear them - I make this soup often enough that I need fresh angles to work!

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

4.24 from 17 votes

Look for deeply green, tight heads of broccoli. I typically avoid any heads that have yellowing florets or seem died out. If you like a slightly creamier soup, stir in a generous dollop of creme fraiche after pureeing. You can easily make this soup vegan by using olive oil and omitting the cheese/creme fraiche, and you can make it gluten-free by doing something in place of the croutons.

  • 5-6 ounce chunk of artisan whole wheat bread, torn into little pieces (less than 1-inch), roughly 3 cups total
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil (I like 1/2 and 1/2)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups light, good-tasting vegetable broth
  • 1 large head of broccoli (12 ounces or 3/4 lb.), cut into small florets
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated aged Cheddar, plus more for topping
  • 1 - 3 teaspoons whole grain mustard, to taste
  • smoked paprika, more olive oil, creme fraiche (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F degrees and place the torn bread in a large bowl. In a small saucepan heat the butter until it has melted. Whisk the mustard and salt into the butter and pour the mixture over the bread. Toss well, then turn the bread onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the croutons are golden and crunchy. Toss them once or twice with a metal spatula along the way.
  2. While the croutons are toasting, melt the butter (or olive oil) in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallots, onion, and a big pinch of salt. Saute for a couple minutes. Stir in the potatoes, cover, and cook for about four minutes, just long enough for them to soften up a bit. Uncover, stir in the garlic, then the broth. Bring to a boil, taste to make sure the potatoes are tender, and if they are stir in the broccoli. Simmer just long enough for the broccoli to get tender throughout, 2 - 4 minutes.
  3. Immediately remove the soup from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Add half the cheddar cheese and the mustard (a little bit a a time). If you are going to add any creme fraiche, this would be the time to do it. Now add more water or broth if you feel the need to thin out the soup at all. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  4. Serve sprinkled with croutons, the remaining cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a tiny pinch of smoked paprika.

Serves 4 - 6.

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


Looks and sounds incredible! Can't wait to make this for dinner tomorrow. Always loved the combination of broccoli and cheddar... and Heidi's rendition is sure to be popular around here. I have no idea how you do it... but am I EVER glad I landed on this site several months ago.


i love this stuff and i love cooking, thanks for sharing

leo herrera

I've always been addicted to Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar soup, but it's probably not the healthiest option. It's nice to know there's a healthy recipe here that I can make instead of ordering out for it.

Kari @ Eating Simply

I just made this for lunch. It's as yummy as it looks, people! You, too, can be slurping away in ten minutes... We love ALL your soups, Heidi- thanks for sharing!


Sounds absolutely wonderful! Something to make on those cold, clear nights. One question: I've noticed walnut bread mentioned in a few of your recipes, but I have never seen any directions to actually make it. It sounds yummy, but I was just wondering if you got it from a special place, or even made it yourself. Thanks! I love your blog and your photos, and I love looking at the recipes (and making them too!!) Keep up the great work :) ~Clare


I saw this recipe today. I went out and bought the ingredients and I am eating a bowl RIGHT NOW. It is soooooooooooo good. The croutons are amazing. It tastes fresh and not too heavy. Perfect fall/winter soup. THANK YOU! ps-did I mention easy too?


I never thought about pairing this with walnut bread but that sounds amazing!

Simply Life

One of my favorite soups! What a delicious recipe :)


Thanks for the tip Nick the Cook! My poor plants can now be spared from wilting! Any tips on lentils (same issue...)?


A fantastic landing pad, as well, for leftover steamed (or, yikes!, oversteamed) broccoli, if you cook up a big batch to call supper, every now and again (we do!).

I adore soups this time of year, and this one looks like a delicious addition for my "to make" list. I made your Creamy Wild Rice Soup last night, and loved it!


Yum! One quick tip, as I see above, make the whole soup recipe except for the broccoli. Just before serving, steam your broccoli, chop and add into your soup. Double yum, plus a very fresh green broccoli presentation!


I like to shred carrots into my broccoli cheese soup and cook just until tender. Really makes the soup beautiful and taste wonderful.


That sounds A.Ma.Zing. I love broccoli cheddar soup. Thanks for another gorgeous recipe!

christie @ honoring health

I forgot to say, one can of cheddar cheese soup and 2 cups of regular milk and chicken broth to thin one or two cups..I like a lot of soup.

Cynthia Smith

I like a few finely chopped carrots and I use Chicken stock instead of Veg. broth..I find it bitter sometime..and if I want it thicker I add either dry mashed potato flakes or dried chicken gravy . and I use velvetta because it melts better..2% milk in this will make the soup curdle no matter how low your fire is..use whole milk..

Cynthia Smith

I love all the recipes you post. They all look so yummy and I've managed to make a few. I've been making the broccoli soup on Oprah's website for years and tastes even better the second day. My 3 yr old loves the soup. I'm going to try the croutons on top next time.

Elke Senden

to avoid the aftermath of broccoli, steam it and then add to a small portion of the soup, and then save the rest of the soup separate from the steamed broccoli, and when you reheat in a pan, or microwave, just add a few florets and reheat! it is simple and great

Nick the cook

2 things, it is actually called bleu cheese, and this soup looks great! I think I'll make it later on today.

Nick the cook

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