Copy Cat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

May 2, 2012

Copy Cat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

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My whole family loves Panera bread … For some reason especially the coffee. This recipe “warms your soul” as my husband puts it. Very easy to make and full of veggies. Instead of half and half skim milk can be used. Easily made gluten – free by using gluten – free flour.

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What You Need

1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half ( or skim milk)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound fresh broccoli ( florets only)
1 cup carrots, julienne
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese

What To Do

Saute onions in a little butter in a small pan – set aside.

In a large stockpot ( I accidentally used a medium-size pan)  – melt butter. Add flour and mix for 3 minutes.

Slowly add half- half – mixing the entire time.

Slowly add chicken stock- mixing the entire time.

Let simmer on low for 20 minutes.

Add broccoli, carrots; onions and cook on low for 25 minutes.

Season with salt, pepper; nutmeg.

Place soup in a blender or use an immersion blender and puree.

Heat soup over low heat and add cheese and mix till melted.

Serve ( hopefully in a bread bowl) and Enjoy :)

Copy Cat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe
: Soup
: 4
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half ( or skim milk)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ pound fresh broccoli ( florets only)
  • 1 cup carrots, julienne
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
  1. Saute onions in a little butter in a small pan - set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot ( I accidentally used a medium-size pan) - melt butter. Add flour and mix for 3 minutes.
  3. Slowly add half- half - mixing the entire time.
  4. Slowly add chicken stock- mixing the entire time.
  5. Let simmer on low for 20 minutes.
  6. Add broccoli, carrots; onions and cook on low for 25 minutes.
  7. Season with salt, pepper; nutmeg.
  8. Place soup in a blender or use an immersion blender and puree.
  9. Heat soup over low heat and add cheese and mix till melted.
  10. Serve ( hopefully in a bread bowl) and Enjoy :)

Source – HERE

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{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Evi May 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest. Do you have a bread-bowl recipe to go with this broccoli-cheese soup?


Ahna March 4, 2013 at 5:47 am

The bread-bowl they usually put it in is a sourdough bread bowl (or a neo-tuscan bread bowl if you want a sweeter bread). I don’t have any recipes but those are the bread names.


Tammi Kibler | How Do You Cook Quinoa May 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I love your site! Your recipes are always so easy to follow.


Jessica June 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Can I freeze this?


Lorinda W September 22, 2012 at 1:47 am

Someone else said yes you can :)


Tamie June 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

I am psyched to try this recipe ~ I love a good cheddar broccoli soup anyday!!
I am sad, however, that none of the previous comments have answers to the questions as I have the same questions….maybe a quick email? Thanks!


Jessica June 13, 2012 at 12:26 am

I tried this recipe tonight and I don’t know what I did wrong. It was very runny and gritty. I followed the recipe to a T but I must have done something wrong. I did use the skim milk instead of half and half because that is what I had on hand. Could that account for it being so runny? I also want to know if the veggies should be mushy before you blend them? I was cooking on low for 25 minutes but they were still firm when I blended. I didn’t want to mess up the recipe so I just followed what was stated. Please let me know, I love Panera Bread Broccoli and Cheese soup and would be so excited if I could replicate it.


Jessica August 22, 2012 at 12:06 am

Did you bring the roux up to a boil before letting it simmer on low for 20 minutes? That will make a huge difference in thickness. HTH!


Hloy December 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Is the roux supposed to boil?


JandRmom January 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Make sure you let the flour/butter mixture started to bubble before you start your 3 min. Also, with any thickening agent (roux, in this case) you have to bring it to a boil for it to work. So once you have added your half-n-half and broth…..bring to a boil and then turn it down to low.

Also I ran my veggies through my food processor before putting it in the soup to cook. More surface area=faster cooking time. I still had to cook it for 25 min…..but my veggies weren’t still crunchy.

Hope this helps.


Brandi June 30, 2012 at 1:14 am

I made this recipe tonight. I also used skim milk and it wasn’t runny. So, Jessica, that wasn’t it. It tasted exactly like Panera’s, but not as creamy. I’m wondering if I used half and half if it would be more creamy. I used this recipe for my bread bowls (no kneading) and they turned out great!


Lorinda W September 22, 2012 at 1:46 am

Thank you so much for posting your bread recipes… I am going to LOVE your blog! Can’t wait to try the bread…. first I need to buy a big container.


Ashley July 4, 2012 at 12:30 am

Tried this recipe out tonight. I had to simmer and cook on low about 15 minutes longer than the recipe stated. Also, I found the nutmeg to be overpowering. The rest of the soup was great, but I will be backing down the nutmeg next time. Thanks!


Ingrith July 6, 2012 at 5:11 am

How many servings is the soup for?


Bonnie Hilley December 24, 2013 at 2:53 am

A lot of servings. Never counted them but we have plenty of left overs. I would try freezing one serving just to see how it does. Bet it would freze just fine.


Traci August 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I havent tried this yet but i may next week. Has anyone tried to freeze this? It would be nice to have some put away for an evening I don’t have time to cook!


Deb August 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Can this be frozen? At least for a few days to take camping and then thaw out to warm on the stove?


Budget Savvy Diva August 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I have never tried… I am really not sure


Jme August 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Yes you can freeze it


me :) August 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm

This was sooooo easy and good. I used skim milk and skipped the puree step. I also had no nutmeg and had to use cinnamon and ginger. Loved this…actually am making it a second time right now!


me :) August 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Loved this. Used skim milk and didn’t use blender. I also had to substitute cinnamon and ginger in for the nutmeg. Making it again right now. So easy and so yummy :)


Nancy Johnson Horn (@Nancy_Horn) September 2, 2012 at 1:36 am

Sounds delish, can’t wait to try!


Rebbecca September 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I brought the broth to a low boil before I lowering it to a simmer and did it again when I added the veggies. My soup came out nice and thick and the veggies tender. I like it better with less cheese and the pepper is a little to much for me, but I thought it was yummy.


Budget Savvy Diva September 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm



Bet September 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I really liked this soup! I’ve tried a couple other recipes for broccoli cheese soup and this is my favorite. :o) I cooked the onions in the 1/4 c. of butter and then added the flour so I combined that first step and also added a minced clove of garlic to the onion. Since I already had my food processor out to grate cheese and carrots, I chopped up about 3/4 of the broccoli in that before I cooked it, leaving some in bigger pieces, and that way I didn’t have to puree the hot soup. It was really good! I wish I had made a bigger batch! :o)


Meredith September 15, 2012 at 4:57 am

Perfect! I will make this again. It was so good. I did purée the entire mix and I would probably like a few chunks of broccoli.


Eva September 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Just made this! Yumm! Left out the nutmeg & added garlic. Creamy & filling. Next time I’ll make a double batch!


Sarah September 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm

This is the best soup I have EVER made. Thanks for the recipe!!


Ruth September 27, 2012 at 2:33 am

I just made this for my family and they LOVED it! I substituted the nutmeg with allspice, and added some chopped chicken breast just before I served it (my husband won’t call it a meal unless there’s meat in it, lol). This is definitely a new favorite! :-)


Jayme September 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm

This recipe was excellent. The only thing I would do different is cook the veggies longer. I put mine in the food processor instead of blender and I guess I didn’t puree long enough but I think it may be because the veggies weren’t cooked long enough


Courtney October 21, 2012 at 2:13 am

Yumm! Loved this recipe! I skipped the blender and added egg noodles… Because come on, why not a few more carbs!


amanda October 25, 2012 at 4:08 am

thank you so much this is a big hit!


stephanie October 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

I made this recipe and it was awesome! I will double it next time. I used whole milk instead of half and half and chopped the fresh broccoli in my good processor. I left out the nutmeg because I’m not a fan of this….delicious!!!


Laura Freeman November 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Just made this. I used half and half and it turned out great. I did turn the heat up a bit to cook the veggies since low wasn’t really cooking them. The only change I will make is to not puree all of the broccoli. Two little pulses and it was all so small that there isn’t anything left of the broccoli :)


Michelle November 4, 2012 at 6:26 am

I just made this and WOW is the only word I can say. I knew I wasn’t going to puree anything because I wanted chunks of broccoli in it, so I cut them bite sized in the beginning, along with some larger chunks. They still broke down to small pieces by the end and I’m not sure how to correct this. Good that they were tender, but bad because I like huge chunks. I also brought everything to a boil before I would simmer it. Only used half the cheese but will use a little more next time. I completely left out the nutmeg because I’m not familiar with cooking with it and was worried it would be too powerful. I also used GLUTEN FREE baking flour and there was no difference at all. WIN!


Budget Savvy Diva November 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I always make it with gf flour — never taste the difference :)


Amanda November 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Have my bowl of this right in front of me as I type this comment. This soup is nothing short of amazing. I left mine a little chunky with the broccoli and I shredded the carrots so that I didn’t have to puree anything. I also added a can of Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup just to add a more cheesy taste to it. I will probably make this before I go back to Panera especially since my total cost of ingredients was probably only around 10 bucks and the cost of a cup of their soup is around 4 dollars where I live. Love the site! Have tried several recipes so far and have yet to have one let me down!!! Thanks for this recipe… Will be a new hit in my home!


Budget Savvy Diva November 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I am so glad you liked the recipe :)


Lisa November 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

This sound wonderful and I plan to add it to my menu for next week. One question though, Do have to puree the soup? Typically when i get this from Panera, I have tons of broccoli in mine and it’s not pureed.


Laura November 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I prefer to use shallots instead of onions, and I use skim milk but got a creamier texture by stirring in a couple dollops of cream cheese.


julie December 6, 2012 at 6:11 am

I made this tonight and my family went crazy over it! It was absolutely delicious! I doubled the recipe and used non-fat half n half, less pepper, half the cheese and it was still wonderfully cheesy. I also didn’t blend it but had diced the veggies up tiny. Thank you for this awesome recipe! :)


Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Coupons December 27, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I just made this and WOW! It tastes just like it! I am gluten-free/trying to switch to the Paleo diet so I made a couple changes:
– I used arrowroot powder in place of flour. I only needed about 1 1/2 tablespoons because it is a much more potent thickener than flour.
– I used 1 cup of organic unhomogonized whole milk and 1 cup of organic heavy whipping cream.

My roommate and I love it! Thanks so much for this recipe!


Mackenzie January 2, 2013 at 1:20 am

This recipe was AMAZING! So easy to make and delicious! I doubled the recipe and it came out nice and thick and cheesey. I hope I have leftovers for tomorrows lunch! Thanks so much for the recipe. Iwill definitely be making this again!


Madison January 3, 2013 at 3:54 am

This is my second time making this soup and after reading the other comments, I brought the broth to a boil before the vegetables and again after adding them. I used 1/2 mild cheddar and 1/2 white cheddar and it was AMAZING. I didn’t use the nutmeg and plan to freeze half of it. I’ve also used 2% milk and it came out nice and thick. Served with garlic bread. My husband who hates broccoli likes it too! Thanks for the recipe!


AmandaB January 6, 2013 at 1:35 am

I ate this at Panera last night. LOTS of chunks of fresh broccoli florets in it. Don’t understand the purée step. But it’s GOOD! :)


Jill January 12, 2013 at 4:19 am

I’ve been wanting to make this, but I actually don’t have a blender. So I read the reviews yesterday about a blender not being necessary, and it definitely isn’t! I followed the recipe exactly otherwise, I just sort of shaved the tops of the broccoli off, and left a few larger pieces. Shredded the carrots. Perfect! So delicious. Thanks!


Kristy January 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Can this be made with frozen broccoli?? I have a ton frozen from the garden that I’d like to use up!


Budget Savvy Diva January 28, 2013 at 6:16 pm



Erica February 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm

If I’m planning on purreing the soup anyway, can I sneak in some kale? Or would it leave the soup too bitter?!


Crysi February 18, 2013 at 2:28 am

Made this tonight using gluten free flour. I admit, I was worried, but it was AWESOME! Broccoli cheddar has always been my favorite soup, but I’ve never been successful making it at home. This was perfect. I left it a bit chunky even. I’m thinking next time I’ll add cauliflower.


Erica February 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Just made it again, it turned out great With the kale, so this week, I added cauliflower AND kale, will let you know how it turns out!


Love March 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Just made this soup, cant stop eating it caus its so delicious just WOW!!!
Thank you for sharing this recipe!!!

this is how mine turned out —- >


Rachael March 21, 2013 at 1:05 am

So good :) and I just cut up my veggies small and used a potato masher to break them up, worked great just had to simmer for about 35 minutes instead of 25. Thanks again !


Kathy Jones March 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Hello, I have made this recipe several times and it has been perfect every time. However, I read somewhere, to keep the milk products from curdling you need to use products with higher fat content, such as half and half or whipping cream so that is what I use. I have been using whipping cream lately, but I have used half and half also. Also I add just a little more chicken stock than it calls for (mainly because I usually freeze two cups at a time). Also, I don’t puree the soup. To make sure the broccoli is not crunchy I cut the spears into smaller pieces and microwave them in a bowl with a tiny bit of water in the bottom for about 2 minutes (basically I steam them in the microwave to soften them), then finish the cooking process when I put the broccoli in the soup to simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. After adding the half and half and the chicken stock, I do bring the soup just to a boil (barely) then turn the heat down to medium, then when it comes to a boil again, I turn it down to medium low, continuing to watch it and stirring frequently, and if it boils again, turn it down to low. I also cover the pot while it is cooking. As far as the cheese I use, I have been purchasing the block of medium cheddar made by Kraft and putting in about 6-7 ounces (saving an ounce or two for my son or husband to snack on). This soup is absolutely delicious. And although I haven’t tried making any other type of cream soup, it seems when you get to the part to add broccoli, that you could add potatoes, mushrooms, celery or any other item, if you wanted to make a different cream soup. Just a thought.


Cindy May 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm

This sounds so good! Do you know how many calories with using skim milk or 1%?


Watson May 13, 2013 at 2:34 pm

skim :)


Lauren May 13, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Absolutely amazing! And you can buy the bread bowls from panera for less then 2 dollars each!


Dawn Waller May 17, 2013 at 1:07 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have wanted this recipe for years.
I found all of the comments helpful, (gluten free, lowering the fat, adding more veggies, not having a blender). Will be following your page for sure. Thanks again.


Kathy May 20, 2013 at 8:20 pm

I am going to use my unsweetened almond milk –


ang156 June 4, 2013 at 11:01 pm

This soup is so good I’ve made it twice. I used Portuguese sweet rolls for the bread bowls. also added 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan. Used frozen broccoli. Just a couple spin in the processor no need to puree. Will be substituting potatoes and bacon for the broccoli next time. Or maybe potato, clams and corn for a chowder. Good stuff!


KT June 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Can you use frozen broccoli??


AB June 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I imagine you could use frozen broccoli. It will probably add more liquid to the soup so you may want to cut back on the stock if you go the frozen route.


AJ June 10, 2013 at 2:59 am

Delicious!! By far the best recipe for cheddar broccoli soup I’ve found!


Mandy June 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm

The veggies need to be cooked longer than 25 minutes the first round… The soup was delicious but the veggies were way too firm still.


AB June 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Third time’s a charm! I’ve tried broccoli cheese soup two times before. Both times it came out pretty grainy. Well, I’ve discovered this texture is of no fault of the recipe but rather the technique. And here’s the key, I think…. after the roux boils and you add in the liquid, let it come back to a boil only long enough to get the desired consistency you want and then don’t let the soup boil again. Stir A LOT! You have to keep it right below the boiling point, which means having a great understanding of both the heat being put out by your stove and the retention of said heat in the vessel you are using. It took me three times to get it right and this was the third recipe.

I seasoned much more liberally, salt and pepper in every stage of cooking. I also added in some garlic. I didn’t really care for the carrot in this recipe and would probably not add it next time. I also cooked the veggies about double the time as called for as the veggies were still pretty tough at 25 minutes. All in all, an ok soup, hubby loved it but I think that’s just because I figured out the grainy issue as I think there’s broccoli cheese soup out there with a better flavor profile.

I also used 1.5 cups of half-n-half and 1/2 cup of heavy cream just to make it richer… it worked.

One last note…. you need to WEIGH the cheese. 8 oz of cheese is not the same as 1 cup…. not even close. I used 4 oz of medium cheddar and 4 oz of sharp cheddar.


allie/rochina September 21, 2013 at 11:49 pm

i made with with my friend for our girls night dinner- we left out the nutmeg and it was amazing. (we also added a little extra cheese :] )


Mary D October 8, 2013 at 3:39 am

I made this on Saturday and followed the recipe exactly. I did let the broccoli cook long enough so it was soft and shredded the carrots. I used an immersion blender and only did some of the broccoli to make it smooth. My soup was nice and thick but I did use half-n-half. I doubled the recipe and put a quart in the freezer. We had some on Saturday for dinner and some on Sunday for lunch. I will definitely make this again as it is our favorite soup but not too often as it must be high in calories.


Watson October 8, 2013 at 3:41 am

I am so glad you enjoyed it :)


Rae October 10, 2013 at 1:07 am

This soup was absolutely heavenly! I might need to always have some ready in the fridge haha


Randee Greeley October 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

How much does this recipe serve?


Watson October 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm

About 6


Rachel October 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm

I’ve made this recipe a few times now. It’s terrific! I’ve used half and half before and skim milk. Either way, it still comes out nice and creamy. I’ve recently become vegetarian and used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. No change to the taste. Great recipe all around.


Watson October 23, 2013 at 11:18 pm

I am sooo happy you liked it :)


Katie November 13, 2013 at 12:04 am

This was amazing. I never leave comments, but this deserves one. It tasted exactly like panera’s, the taste was amazing, the texture was nice and creamy (I used 2% milk), the recipe was extremely easy, and the directions were awesome and straight forward. I told my husband I wanted to cry this soup was so good. :) However, I’m pregnant so it could also be the hormones, lol. This will be my standard recipe for broccoli and cheddar soup now, and I’ll be double if not triple batching it in the future.


Watson November 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm

You are sooo sweet


Suzie November 13, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Just made your broccoli cheese soup for dinner. So delicious!! I’m going to use it as a starter for my Thanksgiving dinner this year!


Watson November 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm

I am so Glad :)


Annalee December 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

I just made this and it was awesome! I’m vegetarian so I used vegetable broth and it was delicious. I didn’t find the need for a food processor/blender at all, I just chopped up the broccoli before adding it to the soup. I think it’s really important to follow the exact time specifications for each step…I used skim milk and I still found it to be thick and rich. Thanks!


Robyn December 7, 2013 at 10:12 pm

How much did this recipe make?? Two bowls, three? Just curious, thanks!


Watson December 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I would say 6 – 8 full bowls


Kim January 2, 2014 at 2:31 am

I made this recipe last night after purchasing the bread bowls from Panera. It was AWESOME!! Both my husband and I loved it. I made a double batch (to share some with my family) and to try to freeze some. The recipe was so simple and the outcome was perfect. The only change I made was not using the carrots (just didn’t have any), and I used the 1/2 and 1/2. It was cheesy and creamy and perfect for a cold day! I will definitely make this again…thanks!


Watson January 2, 2014 at 2:42 am

I am SOOO glad you liked it :)


jolin February 9, 2014 at 9:49 pm

This soup is AWESOME. I used whole grain wheat flour and homemade chicken stock and everything else organic except the cheese – used Cabot Vermont Cheddar – and organic half n half, not skim milk. Nailed this! Thank you so much for posting it here!


Blanca Carrillo February 21, 2014 at 1:59 am

OMG I looooveeeee broccoli cheese soup. Will definitely be trying this one :)


Misty Swearingen February 21, 2014 at 5:49 am

Oh! My favorite from Panera!! So trying this!!


Shannah March 8, 2014 at 2:12 am

This is so good!


Angela Heeringa March 14, 2014 at 1:18 am

This looks delicious. Can’t wait to make this. I love all of Panera Bread soups.


Missy Dodds March 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm

I love broccoli cheddar soup! Sounds so easy to make


Josephine March 21, 2014 at 12:24 am

OMG this looks good I keep reading all the recipes and I’m pretty hungry. I will when I have the extra time make this especially fr my parents.


Flora March 27, 2014 at 8:47 pm

I’m making this right now and I’m so excited to serve it to my family tonight!!!i I’m not much of a cook, but this sounded and IS so easy I’m besides myself!!!!!! I’ll update with family reactions:) (they’d better react right!).


theresa April 4, 2014 at 3:05 am

this is my absolute favorite! my all time comfort food and i can never believe HOW on point it is every time i make it.. and i make this broc. cheese soup A LOT!


Lora Morrison October 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm

WOW!! This was spot on! So delicious! My daughter was home sick from school and I made this for her because it’s her favorite.


Reagan November 2, 2014 at 10:38 pm

I have tried a couple and this one hits the mark. Thanks!!


Sylvia January 18, 2015 at 8:52 am

I love anything with cheese. I’ll be sure to try this dish.


Karla R February 8, 2015 at 7:09 pm

I have usedthis recipe several times, and it is sooo good! My kids even love it!


Janeen August 19, 2015 at 11:40 pm

I made this soup tonight and it tasted great. The only thing I wanted to know is, how can you make the soup thinner? Thanks :)


Betty Fau November 21, 2015 at 8:16 pm

I am eating your recipe right now. I may even make a trip to Panera’s to get some bread to eat with it on my next bowl. Absolutely delicious! I followed your recipe but used one cup of 2% milk and one cup heavy whipping cream. It turned out wonderful! I will definitely make it again! Thank you so much.


Tina January 18, 2016 at 11:12 pm

Love tbis recipe super easy and smells delicious. I just finished second simmer step and was getting ready to add cheese and blend but soup is very thin and runny. Can I save it and make it thicker???


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