When it comes to iconic food duos, your mind likely jumps to peanut butter and jelly or bacon and eggs. But there’s one combo that is totally and completely underrated: broccoli and cheddar.
The king of casseroles and frozen meals, these classic ingredients are also integral parts in a creamy, savory comfort food: broccoli and cheddar soup. And while you can always head to your favorite cafe to partake in this particular soup, with this copycat Panera Bread recipe you can have bowls and bowls of broccoli cheddar soup at home in just about one hour.
What do you need to make broccoli cheddar soup?
This soup recipe can be made using common household ingredients. Its main components are butter, chicken or vegetable stock, half-and-half (or a 1-to-1 ratio of milk and heavy cream), frozen broccoli and carrots.
Panera Bread’s soup uses chicken stock, but if you’re a vegetarian, you can easily swap this for vegetable stock. In fact, when we made this soup recently, we channeled our inner budget-friendly goddess and used homemade vegetable stock made in a slow cooker. This is one of our favorite ways to use food scraps, and the resulting broth makes a super scrumptious base for this (or any!) soup.
What do you serve with broccoli cheddar soup?
Homemade bread, duh! We baked up a simple no-knead bread recipe to serve with this soup, but it also works remarkably well with sourdough. Bake mini sourdough loaves and hollow them out for bread bowls if you really want to have fun with dinner. Not a sourdough fan? Try some brown bread or fluffy Parker House rolls. Topping this soup with homemade croutons is also a winning combo. If you’re looking to totally recreate the Panera experience, serve with an amazing homemade sandwich or robust winter salad.
Can you freeze broccoli cheddar soup?
Looking to meal prep but worried that all of the dairy in broccoli cheddar soup won’t make it a good freezer candidate? Don’t worry, you can freeze this soup, though it does require a bit of finesse. First, make sure you don’t freeze hot soup, it should be at least room temperature or have been refrigerated. Then, ladle single servings into plastic freezer containers or plastic freezer bags. Broccoli cheddar soup will keep in the freezer for two months.
How to reheat frozen broccoli cheddar soup
Don’t just toss frozen broccoli cheddar soup in the microwave, it could separate and that wouldn’t be very tasty. Instead, thaw it in your refrigerator overnight. (This is the best thawing method for most foods anyway!) Then, reheat it in a medium-sized pot over medium hit, whisking continually. This will help to keep the soup intact.
Broccoli cheddar soup is a family-friendly favorite and the perfect thing for a chilly weeknight. If your love of the good stuff is not satisfied with this recipe, consider more of our absolute best recipes for cheese lovers.
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
1 cup onion, finely diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
12 ounces frozen broccoli (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
Step 1: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat.
Step 2: Saute 1 cup finely diced onion in butter, until soft. Remove softened onions from pot and set aside.
Step 3: Increase heat to medium. Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in pot, whisk in 1/4 cup flour, creating a roux. Whisk quickly for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Pour in 1 cup milk, 1 cup heavy cream while whisking.
Step 5: Pour in 4 cups chicken or veggie stock, whisking to combine.
Step 6: Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Step 7: Add 2 1/2 cups frozen broccoli, 1 cup shredded carrot and cooked diced onions. Lower heat to low simmer. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.
Step 8: Remove soup from heat. Use immersion blender to combine soup, but keep some medium-sized pieces of broccoli intact.
Step 9: Stir in 2 cups grated cheddar cheese.
Step 10: Serve hot with warm, crusty bread and enjoy!