If ever there was a meal-worthy soup, it would be Broccoli Cheddar! This bowl full of colorful, chunky vegetables and a super thick cheesy “broth” is sure to leave you warm, happy, and satisfied. Unlike some broccoli cheddar soup, my Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe doesn’t use heavy cream and is ever so slightly lighter on the cheese, so you still get all that creamy, cheesy goodness without feeling totally weighed down. But, you can always add more cheese if you’d like. #norules This soup is so dang easy I’m sure it’s going to go into my regular rotation!
Small Batch Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe
Most of my soup recipes are big batch so you can freeze the leftovers and stock your freezer with all that goodness, but this Broccoli Cheddar Soup is the exception. Cheese sauces (and in this case broths) thickened with butter and flour roux don’t tend to hold up to freezing and thawing, so I made this a small batch soup so you don’t have to worry about having too many leftovers. This recipe makes four generous servings.
How to Store Leftovers
As mentioned above, you don’t want to freeze this soup, but it will stay good in your fridge for 4-5 days. And boy are the leftovers ever DELICIOUS. They reheat beautifully in the microwave, or can be reheated on the stove top over medium-low heat, stirring often.
What to Serve with Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This broccoli soup, with its super thick and cheesy “broth,” is just begging for some crackers or thick crusty bread for scooping up every last drop. I love saltine crackers with mine, but oyster crackers would be awesome, as would my focaccia rolls.
Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?
Yes, frozen broccoli works quite well for this recipe. I do suggest letting them thaw completely before adding them to the soup, and you probably will still want to chop them into much smaller pieces (think bite-sized, fits-on-a-spoon small).
Make it Vegetarian
I used chicken broth as the base for my soup because it tends to be a little more on the mild side and the light color doesn’t overshadow the orange color of the cheese, but you can use vegetable broth instead to make this soup vegetarian. Just be aware that it tends to have a stronger flavor and the darker color may darken your soup.
The Best Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 1 yellow onion ($0.52)
- 1 lb. broccoli ($1.49)
- 2 carrots ($0.23)
- 4 Tbsp butter ($0.52)
- 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour ($0.04)
- 2 cups chicken broth ($0.24)
- 2 cups whole milk ($0.75)
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
- 6 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded ($1.27)
- Dice the onion. Chop the broccoli into very small pieces. Peel and slice the carrots.
- Add the butter and onion to a large soup pot and sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the flour and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour is coating the bottom of the pot and is a light golden brown color.
- Add the chicken broth and whisk to dissolve all the flour off the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and, while stirring often, allow the broth to come up to a simmer. When it reaches a simmer it will thicken to a gravy consistency.
- Turn the heat back down to medium and whisk in the milk, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Allow the broth to come back up to a simmer.
- Add the chopped broccoli and carrots, allow the broth to come back up to a simmer, and continue to simmer the vegetables, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
- Finally, turn the heat down to medium-low and stir the shredded cheese into the soup, one handful at a time, until it is fully melted. Taste the soup and add salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth—I did not add any).
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!
How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup – Step by Step Photos
Dice one yellow onion, finely chop one pound of broccoli and peel and slice two carrots. I’m showing a photo of the broccoli so you can see how fine you want the pieces. I might even go a smidge smaller on the broccoli next time. You want the pieces small enough to easily fit on a spoon!
Add the onion and 4 Tbsp butter to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour is coating the bottom of the pot and has turned a light golden brown color.
Whisk 2 cups of chicken broth into the pot, making sure to dissolve all the flour off the bottom of the pot. Bring the broth up to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring often. Once it reaches a simmer it will thicken into a gravy-like consistency.
Turn the heat back down to medium. Whisk 2 cups milk, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp black pepper, and ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper into the thickened broth. Allow the broth to come back up to a simmer.
Add the chopped broccoli and sliced carrots to the pot. Allow it to come back up to a simmer, then continue to simmer the vegetables, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
You can test a piece of carrot or broccoli to make sure it’s to your desired tenderness. If not, simmer a bit longer. The soup doesn’t even have any cheese in it yet, but it already looks so good!
Finally, add 6 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar, one handful at a time, until it is fully melted into the soup. I stopped at 6oz. (¾ of an 8oz. block), but you could always add the remaining 2oz. if you prefer.
And that’s a wrap! Taste your soup and see if you want to add any additional salt. This will mostly depend on the salt content of your chicken broth. I did not add any, but if your soup is tasting a little bland, a little salt can go a long way toward making the flavors pop!
Soooo thick and cheesy!! 😍