Broccoli Cheddar Soup

A simple, everyday broccoli soup made special with crusty, mustardy croutons and cheddar. Perfect for those days when you need some extra nutritional punch.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I'm going to argue that broccoli cheddar soup is best 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? The good news is this version couldn't be simpler. It’s quick to make and perfect for those times when you need something with a serious nutritional punch. The soup gets a bit of an unexpected twist by topping it with golden, crunchy, mustardy croutons. Which you can skip, but I wouldn't.
A Favorite Broccoli Cheddar Soup

The Recipe: A Better Version of Broccoli Cheddar Soup

One of the things you notice when you look at a lot of the broccoli cheddar soup recipes out there is the stunning amount of dairy in them. There is often so much milk, heavy cream and grated cheese that the soup is nearly white in color. I totally get it, if you’re trying to make a version styled after Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup (and it seems like a lot of people are), you’ll likely go that route. The Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipes tend to have a ratio of more cream/milk than broth and multiple cups of grated cheese. I’m going to argue you don’t need all that. You can make a creamy, wonderful broccoli cheese soup with a fraction of the dairy, a good blender, and a couple techniques to keep things creamy, bright, and smooth.

Key Ingredients for Good Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • Broccoli: Look for deeply green, tight heads of broccoli. Avoid any heads that have yellowing florets, discoloration or seem dried out.
  • Vegetable Broth: Use a good-tasting vegetable broth you would drink on its own. I like to make my own broth and freeze it, or make a quick broth from vegetable bouillon cubes or my homemade bouillon powder. Another delicious option would be to use a quick miso broth. You have some options here!
  • Cheese: I call for freshly grated aged cheddar here. Something sharp with a lot of flavor. You can also use a gruyere if you wanted to switch things up a bit.
  • Mustard: The mustard is my secret weapon ingredient in this soup. It pairs perfectly with the broccoli and cheddar and pulls everything together. If you don’t have a whole grain mustard on hand, a Dijon-style mustard is 100% fine to swap.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe

Troubleshooting: How Do You Keep Broccoli a Vibrant Green?

Broccoli (and your broccoli soup) can turn a sad, dull, unappetizing green color when over cooked. For this soup you’ll cook it until bright and tender. Keep an eye on things is my advice on this front.

Troubleshooting: Why is My Broccoli Cheddar Soup So Grainy?

One of the most common problems cooks run into when they make broccoli cheddar soup is a gritty or grainy texture. Your soup may become grainy if the cheese or dairy curdles. With a recipe like the one that follow you shouldn’t have trouble because the cheese is added as a finishing component, off heat. But to avoid “breaking” the dairy while reheating (or with other dairy-rich soups), take it low and slow. Heating the pot over medium-low and avoiding a boil.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe

Broccoli Cheddar Soup: 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, it might be another direction to explore. A finishing drizzle of chile oil or a citrus olive oil is always welcome. If you have any other ideas, let me hear them - I make this soup often enough that I need fresh angles to work!

What to serve with Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I don’t think you need much more than big shards of the mustard croutons included in the recipe, no bread bowl needed. Lol. That said,  but you can certainly take other approaches or layer up! A poached egg would be a way to make a meal of things. Or a simple quesadilla, grilled cheese or egg salad sandwich on the side. Or, something like this TLT. 

More Broccoli Recipes & Ideas

Poke around the archives for more broccoli recipes and inspiration. There are a lot of great recipes from past years worth revisiting. I love a broccoli-centric version of this vegetable stir-fry, this double broccoli quinoa, this orzo super salad, and this is another broccoli soup with coconut milk is another favorite.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe

More Broccoli Recipes

More Creamy Soups

There are also a bunch of simple, creamy, blended soups in the archives! Or browse all the soups.

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

4.43 from 26 votes

If you like a slightly creamier soup, stir in a generous dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream 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. The broth you choose impacts the saltiness of the soup, some are quite salty and others not so much. You'll want to carefully salt to taste at the end to bring all the flavor together.

  • 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)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  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 pot 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, long enough for them to soften up. 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) and salt. 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


I made this hearty soup tonight and it really hit the spot. The entire family truly enjoyed it. Thank you Heidi for all the wonderful pictures you take and the impressive meals you share with us. Be well, live long and prosper!


omg.. i love broccoli and mustard and cheddar and croutons... definitely giving this a try... Thanks :)


My vegan twist to this recipe was to make it with coconut oil instead of butter and to use a tofu-based cream cheese substitute instead of the chedder and creme-fraiche. I served it with a healthy serve of cracked black pepper, some toasted walnuts and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. I've been eating it all day! Delicious.


what a beautiful blog!


We made this yummy, warming soup last night and LOVED it. I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch today. Thanks Heidi for all the great recipes I've tried and yet to try. I never really was a fan of cooking, but since I found your site I find myself enjoying it....finally.

Delicious! Maybe try some aged gouda or a manchego with it too?


Heidi, are the potatoes essential to this recipe or are they basically a binder? I love broccoli cheddar soup but usually try to make it without potatoes so that it is fully broccoli-y and cheesey. I am not 100% sold on the version that I have been using so I will definitely try this.


That looks divine! I love broccoli soup, and this one looks delicious, easy, and flavorful. Can't wait to try it!

The Curious Gastronome

Your photo is so pretty! It can be tough to find a good broccoli cheddar soup and yours sounds like a great one!


Hi, My daughter loves Broccoli, I would definetly make this one for her. Thanks, Asha

Asha Pereira

I just made this and it is AMAZING! It came together very quickly and my toddlers loved it too. This goes in the permanent recipe file. Thanks!


I made this soup today, and it was splendid! I started with my own homemade vegetable stock, and added an extra potato for heartiness. The mustard added a fantastic kick, and it was an instant hit with the whole family - even my 18-month-old niece! I will definitely do this again.

Olivia from Tempe

I love you and your soup. It's that simple.


Very nice post. I thought to let you know that you website isn't getting displayed properly on blazer mobile web browser on my pda. I hope that more and more number of web site owners would deliberate upon the fact that there is an ever growing number of users browsing webpages on the mobile. Best Wishes


I'd have to at least double, if not triple this one!!


I made this last night with my girlfriends while watching our favorite tv show. Huge hit. It is phenomenally good and I am now OBSESSED with putting mustard croutons on everything I eat. I love a soup that isn't thickened with cream. It makes you feel a tiny bit better about all the cheese!


Love your blog! Made this soup the day after you posted it (I had all the ingredients already on hand, it was destiny...). The soup is FABULOUS -- and Heidi is right, the croutons are not to be missed. I accidentally over-baked the croutons by almost 10 minutes and was really worried that I'd ruined them, but amazingly they did not quite burn. They got very dark, but were still delicious in the soup (and even by themselves as a crunchy treat). On a side-note, my 3 1/2 year old son loved the soup too. He made it his "own" by dipping roasted cauliflower florets in the soup and had a grand time eating florets and soup together.

Julie L

I rather like just a head of broccoli, simmered in really good chicken stock, blitzed up and finished with extra virgin olive oil. Simplicity at it's very best.


Heidi you are great!This looks like a good and hearty soup. I agree I enjoy broccoli soup the same day it is prepared, Thanks for the tip on the crouton!


From that photo I immediately had to know what the topping was! I could practically taste it through the picture. Mmmm

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

I'm about to try something similar, but with cauliflower instead of broccoli. (I suspect I will need to figure out how to add a bit of color, though.)

Onepot @

I have recently discovered the joys of broccoli soup, and ever since, I can't get enough! Can't wait to try your version...


I live in Glen Park & just love your blog! Every recipe I've tried from here is delicious and I love following the produce and ideas through the seasons. I riffed off of this recipe last night, adding tomatoes & spinach, and not blending it at the end. I also left the cheese out to be added individually to each bowl when heated so that it would a couple of days without getting that weird broccoli-cheesy smell. A totally different type of soup but nice when you want to cook one day and have dinner for two. :) Thanks!


i love to use the stalks in this recipe.. i use the flowers for fresh chinese style then any leftovers i add to all the stalks.. two meals for the price of one.. i can't avoid 1 tbls of heavy cream at the end...


This looks delicious


I love that this soup is one of a million variations out there! I usually like to have some substance to my soup, so I set aside about two fists of broccoli florets and steam them up a bit to tender-crisp, then I throw them in after I've done the puree thing. I also like to add cream to the finish and garnish with cheddar cheese... not for the calorie-watcher, I know. I love the idea of your mustardy croutons.... keep the good ideas coming, Heidi!


typically, I am not a fan of broccoli cheese "soup" because it is generally much more of a cheese dip with broccoli flecks. but this seems to be a wonderful version of actual soup. I am going to try it out asap. a million thanks from my belly for your good food and generous spirit. -deanna


I love the idea of mustard with broccoli. Where have I been? I'm going to try that tonight. Thanks so much for your inspiring blog.


oh! oh! i was wondering what to do with the broccolini i have in the 'fridge. this sounds good.

Sherry H.

Popped in to say hi! This looks amazing!

Blond Duck

Beautiful photography, as always! Throw some of those croutons in any soup and I'll eat it. :) How much effort do you put into to keep the photo-style matching the website? Nice work.

Hungry Huy

Absolutely delicious, and my 4- and 6-year-old loved it as much as their parents. Two adults and two kids ate the whole batch!


When I think broccoli cheese, I think heavy. Your version looks good. I also like to make broccoli soup with pecorino romano and handfuls of basil.


Wow, this is so perfect! I was just looking for something to replace my occasional broccoli cheddar soup that I get at Panera. I once made the mistake of looking at the ingredients for that online, and let's just say that there wasn't much in there that seemed natural. So I now I can make this instead!


What a great looking recipe. I LOVE this type of soup but I have never had a good recipe for it. This looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!


Your croutons and side suggestions sound wonderful--not to mention the soup itself! Some friends of ours made broccoli soup with coconut milk. It was surprisingly good...and nutritious!

Erica from Cooking for Seven

Broccoli is one of my favorite veggies! This soup is nice for a weather that is cold!

bed frames

Wow! I guess I know what I'm making tomorrow, then.... *drool*


I made this tonight- absolutely delicious. SO easy to come together and great flavour. This will be a go-to recipe from now on for quick, light eats. Thank you.

Koko Brill

we had this for dinner tonight with croutons made from a loaf of homemade gluten-free bread. it really hit the spot! thanks!


I made this tonight - delicious. The cheese flavor was more subtle than I expected. The garlic was distinct since it's not cooked long before the stock is added. Another flavorful dish that I will make again. This is the fourth or fifth soup recipe I have tried from this site and all have been delicious. I make the split pea and carrot soups regularly. Thanks, Heidi.


Do you have any recommendations for making a "good -tasting vegetable broth"? I have given up with powdered stocks. I was going to make a huge pot and freeze small portions.


The soup looks lovely, no doubt, but what I love the most here are your photos of the broccoli and garlic. Beautiful.


I don't know about other versions, of this soup, but I'm planning to use these wonderful sounding croutons on some Welsh Rarebit soup (with redskin potatoes, sharp cheddar, and beer). On the side, some arugula salad with a sharp vinaigrette, roasted walnuts and beets. As far as variations for you to try, I like to add potatoes and/or corn to my broccoli cheese soup. Cheddar kale soup might be good with those mustardy croutons as well!


I soooo agree that broccoli soup has to be eaten right away! It really becomes "stale"!!

Veggie Wedgie

You are truly an artist with your photographs. This looks beautiful and I can't wait to try it. Thanks for posting!


I really love your photo of the soup. Great way to sell the recipe. :)


love broccoli soup - I often make it without any cheese and with a garnishing of smoked salmon cut un in stripes, added right in the bowl. It's also very nice with anchovies and grated pecorino cheese: omit the shallot and onion and go for a couple of garlic cloves instead; proceed as you do, omit the cheese and creme fraiche and stir some anchovies melted in olive oil. Finish off with grated pecorino. One last word: I've never been able to get my broccoli to soften in 4 minutes, it always takes me at least 10 minutes, unless the florets are really tiny.


Made this for dinner tonight. It was wonderful. I thought the smoked paprika was too strong but otherwise it was perfect.

txjeis fffrey

I've been meaning to make a broccoli cheese soup for a long time now, so when I saw this recipe in my in-box I took it as a sign! I made a few changes and used a spicy brown mustard for the croutons but it was absolutely delicious! I'll have to let you know tomorrow if it smells or not :-D


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