This Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup brings the great flavor of Panera's classic soup home. It is fast and easy to prepare and is a perfect make ahead meal for a busy week. This soup allows you to enjoy a healthier, but still very delicious, version of the favorite and for a fraction of the price! Your stomach, wallet and waist will thank you for making this and your whole family will love it!
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Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup Video
Panera’s Copycat Broccoli Cheese Soup
Panera Bread makes a delicious broccoli cheese soup that we get almost every time we go there. It is warm, filling, and very comforting. Their soup inspired us to make our own, copycat version at home so we can enjoy the flavorful soup anytime we want without having to leave the house.
Broccoli Cheese Soup Ingredients
To make great tasting soup that is cheesy and delicious, you’ll need these ingredients:
- Butter - if you prefer, you could use oil if you prefer, but it is better with butter
- Broccoli florets - you’ll need about 1 medium to large head of broccoli or about 16 ounces
- Onion - we use yellow or white onions
- Carrot - two medium to large sized carrots is perfect
- All purpose flour - if you want or need to use gluten free flour, you can, just pick your favorite all purpose version
- Low sodium vegetable stock - you could use water, but you’ll lose a bit of the flavor
- Garlic cloves - you’ll need to mince or use a garlic press
- Milk / cashew milk / coconut milk - we prefer regular milk for this, but you if you are trying to make this vegan or prefer other milk varieties, you can use your preferred milk
- Sharp cheddar cheese - the best cheese is sharp cheddar, but you could use mild or medium varieties or you could try to use a vegan cheese if you prefer, but your results may vary based on the kind you get.
- Grated nutmeg ground - don’t skip this spice, it adds a nice flavor note
- Salt and pepper and red chilli flakes - to taste, you can leave out if you want less sodium or spice
- Bread bowl for plating - we prefer to serve in a bread bowl, but you can definitely use a regular bowl if you prefer (but we’d still recommend serving bread on the side)
How to make Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
Here’s how to easily make this soup in the Instant Pot.
Start by preparing the broccoli. We like to soak it in a large bowl or pot of water with 2 tablespoons of vinegar. We then rinse and cut the broccoli into florets.
Next, add the butter, garlic, onions, carrots, and broth to the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Sprinkle the flour on top. Do not stir the mixture. Finally, place the broccoli on top.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot, set the seal to “Sealed,” and pressure cook for 1 minute on high. Any more time than that and the broccoli will become mushy.
Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally. Release any remaining pressure and then add in the salt, pepper,red chilli flakes, cheese, nutmeg, and milk. Mix it well and then slowly add in the cheese a handful at a time. Fully melt the cheese before adding more.
When the cheese is all added and melted, ladle the soup into bread bowls or regular bowls. Serve with bread, soup, or a sandwich. Enjoy!
Possible Recipe Variations
You can make this broccoli cheese soup vegan if you follow a vegan diet. To do this, replace the butter with oil, the milk with a non-dairy milk, and the cheese with your favorite vegan cheese.
If you follow a gluten free diet, you can substitute the all purpose flour with a gluten free variety of all purpose flour. Which you choose is up to you. Just keep in mind, you may need to vary it just slightly depending on the type you use.
To make this recipe even lower carb, you could use a flour substitute such as xanthan gum to make the roux. You’ll only need about ½ tablespoon of xanthan gum, but you may want to add a little more or less depending on how thick you want the soup. You could also skip flour altogether, but the soup will be much more watery and not thick.
Pro Tips for Making this Recipe
Here’s how to make this broccoli cheese soup recipe great every time.
- for an easier and tastier cheese, shred a fresh block of cheese and avoid previously shredded cheese
- use fresh broccoli instead of frozen, but if you want to save a little bit of time, you can use precut broccoli florets that you can find in most vegetable sections of the grocery store
- for a vegan soup, use oil, non-dairy milk, and vegan cheese
- for gluten free, use a gluten free flour blend or xanthan gum to thicken it
- don’t keep cooking the soup when you add the cheese, the heat from cooking the broccoli should be enough to fully melt it
Don’t I need to make the roux separately?
Normally when you make a roux, you add flour to cool water or broth. Once the flour is well incorporated, you stir the mixture into the gravy, soup, or any dish you are making. When you make this soup, you don’t need to make a separate roux. The flour will incorporate during the cooking process with no need to make it in a different bowl.
Which cheese is best for this soup?
We love using sharp cheddar. We find it has the best flavor. You can use other varieties of cheddar if you prefer, cheddar jack, or even a Mexican blend of cheeses.
If you are making this vegan, then use your favorite cheddar cheese alternative. Not all vegan cheeses melt the same, so make sure you are using a variety you like and that will melt nicely into the soup.
Can I use pre-shredded cheese?
Yes, you can use either pre-shredded or freshly shredded cheese. Here is the difference.
Pre-shredded cheeses contain small amounts of anti-caking and preservatives to keep it fresh. These agents make it a bit harder to melt the cheese, but they act like flour to an extent. They will help thicken the soup a bit.
Freshly shredded cheese melts much easier. Some people also prefer the taste or the lack of preservatives. In general, freshly grated cheese won’t help thicken the soup.
My cheese isn’t melting, what do I do?
Your cheese should melt relatively quickly from the heat of the broth once it is cooked. Some tips to help your cheese melt include:
- let it come up to room temperature first
- do not boil the cheese
- stir gently
- use freshly grated cheese
How can I meal prep this soup?
You can easily make this soup ahead of time on the weekend or whenever you have a chance. When we make it as a lunch for our families, we pour it into individual portions when we are ready to store it. This allows us to throw it in their bags before school or work.
How can I refrigerate or freeze this soup?
To store the soup, allow it to cool down to room temperature. Once it is cool, ladle or pour it into either a large airtight container or into individual containers. You can store it for about 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
If you want to freeze it, allow it to cool to room temperature. You can then spoon it into a single large container or into several individual containers. You can freeze it for up to 6 months.
When you are ready to serve, thaw the soup if frozen in the refrigerator. You can either reheat on low on the stove top until warmed through or microwave for about 2 to 3 minutes or until warmed through.
How can I make this broccoli cheese soup vegan?
You can easily make this soup vegan. To make it vegan you can use:
- oil instead of butter
- non-dairy milk like cashew or coconut milk
- vegan cheese instead of cheddar cheese
How to make this recipe gluten-free?
You can make this broccoli cheese soup recipe gluten free by using xanthan gum instead of flour. You don’t need very much. About a ½ tablespoon or less will likely be enough. If needed, you can add a little bit more or less to adjust the thickness level of the soup.
Can I use Frozen Broccoli?
Yes, you can use frozen broccoli, but it will likely be a bit softer than fresh broccoli. We also find it is a bit less flavorful than fresh.
Can I make this soup if I don’t have an Instant Pot?
Yes, if you don't have an instant pot, here is how to make this broccoli cheese soup recipe on the stove top,
Start by cleaning your broccoli head using cool water. We often soak it in a bowl of water and 2 tablespoons of water as I prepare the other ingredients. Then we rinse it and cut it into florets.
Prepare carrots and onion. In a large pot, heat the butter over medium heat. When it is melted, add the onions and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes or until they start to turn translucent and fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or until it becomes fragrant.
Remove the onions and garlic from the pot and set aside. Melt an additional 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it is thick and smooth. This will take about 3 to 5 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the vegetable broth. Next, slowly whisk in the milk. Simmer the broth and milk for about 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat. Whisk it on occasion to remove the skin that often forms.
Once the broth has simmered for about 20 minutes, add the broccoli, onions, carrots, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Allow the soup to simmer on a medium low setting for another 20 to 25 minutes. The soup should thicken and reduce some.
When the soup has thickened, slowly whisk in the cheese. It should fully melt into the soup. If you are using pre-shredded cheese, it might take a bit longer to melt and incorporate. When the cheese is fully added and melted, the soup is ready to serve.
Broccoli cheese soup goes great with sandwiches and salads. We like to serve it in a bread bowl or with bakery fresh bread on the side. The soup is very filling, so you don’t need to serve it with anything in order to make a great tasting meal.
Other soup ideas
If you love soup, you should try some of our other soups. Here are some of our favorites:
Did you make this broccoli cheese soup recipe? Leave us a comment below or tag us on Instagram @dbellyrulesdmind and let us know what you think!
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe and Video
- butter 3 tbsp
- broccoli 1 / 16 oz. broccoli florets
- onions, diced 1
- carrots, julienned 2
- all purpose flour ¼ cup
- low sodium vegetable stock 2 cups
- garlic cloves minced 5
- whole milk / cashew milk / coconut milk / half and half 1 cup
- sharp cheddar cheese, grated 8.oz
- nutmeg ground ½ tsp
- black pepper crushed 1 tsp
- red chilli flakes, 1 tsp
- bread bowl 1
Step 1 - Prepare the ingredients - Clean the broccoli first. I typically clean it by soaking it completely in a pot full of water and 2 tbsp of vinegar. Keep the head submerged while you prepare the rest of the ingredients and then in the end give it a rinse and cut into florets.
Step 2 - Prepare the soup base - Throw in the butter, garlic, onions, carrots, flour, broccoli and the broth. Cover the lid and seal the vent.
Step 3 - Pressure cook for 1 minute - Yes that's all it takes to cook this soup. The time taken to build the pressure is enough to cook the broccoli. If you were steaming the broccoli you need the texture to be tender but in the soup you need the broccoli to be a little softer. Once the timer beeps off, allow the pressure to naturally release.
Step 4 - Throw in the cheese and milk - Carefully open the lid, and throw in the freshly grated cheddar and milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Feel free to use half in half or alternate milks for vegan options like cashew or coconut milk. Stir until dissolved.
Step 5 - Garnish with pepper or chilli flakes and serve with a warm artisan crusty bread or in a bread bowl.
Frequently asked questions are addressed in the post.