Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

Homemade Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

If you’re a fan of Panera Bread’s cozy soups, you’ll love recreating their famous Broccoli Cheese Soup right in your own kitchen. This comforting and creamy soup is loaded with tender broccoli florets, savory cheese, and aromatic vegetables, making it the perfect dish to warm you up on chilly days. Plus, with this homemade version, you can customize the ingredients to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Let’s dive into the recipe and learn how to make this delicious Panera-inspired soup!


  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons wheat flour
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups hot chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk or half & half or whipping cream (optional)
  • 3 to 4 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Prepare the Vegetables: In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the grated carrot, chopped celery, bell pepper, and onion to the pot. Cook the vegetables until they are softened, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the Flour and Garlic: Sprinkle the wheat flour over the cooked vegetables and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to cook off the raw flour taste. Then, add the minced garlic to the pot and cook for another 1 minute until fragrant.
  3. Pour in the Broth and Milk: Gradually pour in the hot chicken broth while stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. If using, add the whole milk, half & half, or whipping cream for extra creaminess. Continue to stir until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
  4. Simmer the Soup: Bring the soup to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Let it cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the soup has thickened slightly.
  5. Add the Broccoli and Cheese: Stir in the chopped broccoli florets and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the broccoli is fork-tender but still vibrant green. Then, gradually add the shredded cheddar cheese to the soup, stirring continuously until the cheese is melted and incorporated into the soup.
  6. Season to Taste: Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper according to your preference. Adjust the seasoning as needed to enhance the flavor of the soup.
  7. Serve and Enjoy: Ladle the hot Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup into bowls and garnish with additional shredded cheese if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy the comforting goodness!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option: Make this soup vegetarian-friendly by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omitting the addition of any meat-based ingredients.
  • Creaminess Level: Customize the creaminess of the soup by choosing between whole milk, half & half, or whipping cream. For a lighter version, you can use low-fat milk or a combination of milk and chicken broth.
  • Extra Veggies: Feel free to add extra vegetables to the soup, such as cauliflower, carrots, or spinach, for added nutrition and flavor.
  • Spice it Up: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a subtle kick of heat, or sprinkle some smoked paprika for a smoky flavor twist.
  • Garnish Options: Elevate the presentation of your soup by garnishing each bowl with a drizzle of heavy cream, a sprinkle of chopped parsley, or a dollop of sour cream.

Keto and Low-Carb Version:

To make a keto-friendly or low-carb version of this Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup, you can make the following adjustments:

  • Replace Flour with Xanthan Gum: Instead of wheat flour, use xanthan gum as a thickening agent. Start with a small amount (about 1/4 teaspoon) and gradually add more until the desired thickness is achieved.
  • Choose Full-Fat Dairy: Opt for full-fat options such as heavy cream or whipping cream instead of whole milk or half & half to keep the carb count low.
  • Use Low-Carb Vegetables: Select low-carb vegetables like cauliflower or zucchini instead of carrots and bell peppers to reduce the carbohydrate content of the soup.
  • Adjust Cheese Amount: Be mindful of the amount of cheese used in the recipe to control the overall carb intake. You can reduce the quantity of cheese or choose a low-carb cheese variety.

In conclusion, this Homemade Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe is a delightful way to recreate the comforting flavors of the classic Panera Bread soup right in your own kitchen. With simple ingredients, easy-to-follow instructions, and the option to customize according to your dietary preferences, you can enjoy a warm and satisfying bowl of soup anytime you crave it. Whether you’re following a keto lifestyle, seeking a vegetarian option, or simply looking for a cozy meal to enjoy with loved ones, this homemade soup is sure to become a favorite in your recipe repertoire. So why wait? Gather your ingredients and get ready to savor the creamy goodness of this delicious Panera-inspired soup!

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