Sunday, November 10, 2013

Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Panera Bread Copycat)

Brrr! It is getting chilly here - especially in the evenings! Last night we used our fireplace for the first time this season and I was in heaven. There is just something cozy about curling up on the couch with just the light from the fireplace filling the room. If firewood wasn't so pricey, I'd have it roaring nightly!

The weather is now perfect for soups - and what better thing to enjoy on a dark cold night? We both love broccoli cheddar soup and this version is by far our favorite. Jason prefers his broccoli cheddar soup completely pureed (no big pieces of broccoli). I'll eat it anyway it comes but after having this version several times, I've decided that I prefer it pureed, too.

{I originally shared this version 3.5 years ago and man, did it deserve a better photo!}

This soup is cheesy, broccoliy, and creamy. It's a spot on copycat for the Panera Bread version - except you can now make it easily at home, cheaper! Filling enough to be a meal on it's own but also perfect alongside simple sandwiches or a salad. Or - if you really want to take it over the top - pick up some sourdough bread boules, hollow out the insides, and ladle the soup inside for individual servings. *drool*

Soup's On!

Don't be scared off from the cooking times - most of it is hand's off so you can leave it simmering while you do other things.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup {Panera Bread Copycat}
6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups half and half
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2.5 cups grated sharp cheddar (8 ounces), plus more for garnish

Melt butter in large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook until golden, 3-4 minutes. Gradually whisk in half and half until smooth. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to med-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and puree in the pot using an immersion blender (if you don't have one, puree batches of soup in your blender and return to the pot). You'll still see flecks of carrot and broccoli but shouldn't have any big pieces of either.

Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until it melts. Taste and adjust seasonings (if needed) before ladling into bowls and garnishing with more cheese. 

Source: Food Network Magazine


  1. I'm with Jason - gotta have my broccoli cheese soup pureed too! :)

    1. No love for the chunks of broccoli? :) Pureeing it really does make it thicker, though!

  2. This is my son's favorite from Panera! :) I am going to have to try this copycat recipe soon.
    Thank you for sharing at Marvelous Mondays this week. Pinned & sharing!

    1. Let me know what he thinks! Thanks for sharing/pinning!

  3. Thanks for sharing at Marvelous Monday along with Carrie - pinned and sharing on FB this week!

  4. found you through totally tasty Tuesdays....I LOVE this soup at Panera! might have to try it to find a recipe for their bread bowls! :)

    1. Ah, I LOVE a bread bowl! I can throw down some carbs :)

  5. I love Panera's broccoli cheddar soup....can't wait to try this!

  6. My entire family loved this recipe (even the skeptical ones)!


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