Broccoli Cheddar Soup Loaded With Vegetables
Extra cheesy and perfectly creamy, this Broccoli Cheddar Soup is loaded with all kinds of veggie goodness, plus a side of bacon! It’s a tasty way to sneak in some extra vegetables and perfect for those nights you’re craving some warm comfort food.
A Creamy, Cheesy Soup Loaded with Veggies
This is no ordinary Broccoli Cheese Soup. Definitely not!
It has more vegetables than I’ve ever seen in a broccoli cheddar soup (and you’ll never know it!), plus an extra good helping of sharp cheddar. Even our oldest daughter – who is not a soup fan – asks for seconds. It’s the BEST broccoli cheese soup recipe!
A few more of our favorite soups: This creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup has been a longtime family favorite, and readers come back again and again for my Lasagna Soup and Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew! Also worth noting is this Hungarian Goulash recipe, plus Crab Bisque and Smoked Turkey Pot Pie Soup!
What Makes This the Best Broccoli Cheddar Soup?
I’ve always liked a good cheesy broccoli soup. But I am picky. Here’s why I think this is the best recipe!
Texture: For me, the soup shouldn’t be thick and gloppy, like a big bowl of melted Cheez Whiz. You know what I mean, right? I’ve encountered that kind far too many times, which is probably part of the reason I quit ordering it at restaurants.
I also like when you can detect pieces of broccoli in this soup, so I take care to not blitz the broccoli too much. Of course, you can make it smoother if you like.
Flavor: With so much potential for flavor, broccoli cheese soup should never be bland, with wimpy cheese flavor. For me and my family, sharp cheddar is where it’s at!
Veggies: I packed quite a lot of vegetables into this soup, but nobody will ever know. The potato and cauliflower mixture somewhat “melts” into the rest of the soup, adding natural thickening power, extra flavor, and good-for-you nutrients…in a super secretive way.
BACON!!: Bacon makes most anything better, right?! It plays extremely well with all the vegetables and sharp cheddar in this soup – the smoky quality is wonderful.
When I said this soup is loaded with vegetables, I meant it. Not only will you find the obvious broccoli here, but also cauliflower, onion, potatoes, and carrots. There’s so much goodness going on!
Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Thick-cut bacon
- Chicken broth: I use low sodium broth so I can better control the salt content.
- Veggies: This recipe calls for russet potatoes, cauliflower, yellow onion, garlic, carrots, and broccoli.
- Unsalted butter
- Flour: To thicken the soup.
- Cheddar Cheese: For the soup itself and to sprinkle on top when serving.
- Bay Leaf
- Salt & Pepper
How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Here’s how this easy soup recipe comes together.
- Cook the bacon. In a large pot, fry the bacon until chewy-crisp. Then crumble or chop into small pieces.
- Cook the potatoes. In a saucepan, boil the potatoes in chicken broth for 10 minutes, and then add the cauliflower. When both are fork-tender, remove from heat, let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then puree until silky smooth in a blender – I love my Vitamix Pro Series 750 (affiliate link). Return mixture to saucepan.
- Prepare the soup base. Leave 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the large pot and add the butter. Sautee the onion and garlic. Stir in the flour, then whisk in the half and half. Add the remaining chicken broth and bay leaf. Simmer until slightly thickened.
- Cook the carrots and broccoli. Add the broccoli and carrots to the broth mixture. Simmer until tender. Remove the bay lay and add half of the soup mixture into the blender. Blend until smooth. Add it back to the pot, along with the potato mixture.
- Add the finishing touches. Stir in the cheese until completely melted. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve with bacon pieces and sharp cheddar for garnish.
My Soup Is Too Thin. How Can I Thicken It?
If you feel like your broccoli and cheese soup is a bit too thin, you can easily thicken it.
My favorite way to thicken this soup? By adding more cheese, of course!
If you don’t want to do that, you can form a paste with equal parts flour and butter and stir that in. You can also use cornstarch to thicken it by making a slurry with cornstarch and cold water or broth, and stirring that into the soup.
My Soup Is Too Thick. Now What?
If you’d like to loosen up the soup a bit, simply add more broth until you like the texture. You could also use milk. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as you might want to add a bit more salt and pepper.
Tips for Success
For the best broccoli cheddar soup, keep these things in mind.
- Use GOOD cheese. The cheese is, hands-down, the most important ingredient in this soup. The soup will taste as good as the cheese you use. I recommend getting a block of good cheddar cheese. We use sharp cheddar.
- Blend the vegetables to your preference. I’m not a fan of completely smooth broccoli soup. I prefer to have some chunks of broccoli and carrots. If you don’t, you can blend them completely until smooth. Or you can leave them even more chunky!
- Taste before adding salt. Give the soup a little taste test when it’s ready, to see if you really need to add salt. You can also add more pepper if needed.
- Make it vegetarian. If you want a vegetarian broccoli and cheddar soup, simply omit the bacon and use veggie broth instead of chicken broth.
There are so many ways to serve a good bowl of broccoli cheddar soup, but I do have a few favorites:
- Sourdough Popovers: These are pretty much begging to be served with a steaming bowl of soup. Slice them down the middle and slather them with butter, or dip them into your soup.
- Regular Popovers: I realize that some of you don’t have sourdough discard hanging around in your kitchen, so here’s the basic recipe that I grew up with – we love these popovers!!
- Honey Cornbread Muffins: These slightly sweet, cake-like cornbread muffins are a fun side to this soup as well.
- Cheesy Homemade Garlic Bread: Our kids frequently look for excuses to make this garlic bread. Broccoli cheddar soup is a perfect reason!
Can I Freeze Broccoli Cheddar Soup?
Yes, you can definitely freeze this soup. Just know that the fresh quality of the broccoli will be a bit diminished, compared to eating it straight from the pot on the day you make it.
To freeze, transfer the cooled soup to a freezer container, allowing some room for expansion.
To thaw, place the soup in the fridge overnight.
To reheat, warm gently in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it is thoroughly warmed.
How Long Will It Last in The Fridge?
When stored in an airtight container in the fridge, it’s best to eat this broccoli and cheese soup within 4 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.
More Soup Recipes:
- Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- Lasagna Soup
- Thai Chicken Soup
- Easy Minestrone Soup
- Homemade Ginger Chicken Soup
- Spicy Lentil Soup
- Sausage and Red Pepper Soup with Egg Noodles
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- 6 slices thick-cut bacon
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-1/2" pieces
- 2 cups chopped (about 1" size) cauliflower florets
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup small-diced yellow onion
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups chopped (about 1" size) broccoli florets (no stems)
- 1 cup small-diced carrots
- 12 ounces coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish - Use the large holes on a box grater.
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- In a large heavy pot over medium heat, fry the bacon until chewy-crisp. Set bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to cool, and then crumble or chop into small pieces.
- While bacon is frying, place a medium saucepan on another burner. Add 3 cups of the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to medium-high. Carefully add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes more. When both the potatoes and cauliflower are fork tender, remove saucepan from heat. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, to cool just a bit. Then transfer to the container of a powerful blender and puree until silky smooth. Pour mixture back into saucepan. No need to wash the blender container - you'll use it one more time yet!
- Remove all but two tablespoons of bacon fat from the large pot, and then add the butter. Return the pot to medium heat. Once butter is melted, add onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until onion is nicely softened. Stir in flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then slowly whisk in the half and half until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until slightly thickened. This should take 10 minutes or so.
- Add broccoli and carrots to the broth mixture in the large pot. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until broccoli and carrots are tender. Remove bay leaf. Ladle half of soup mixture into blender container and blend until smooth. Add blended mixture back to the large pot, along with the pureed potatoes and cauliflower mixture. Add cheese and black pepper, and stir until cheese is completely melted. Now taste the soup and add kosher salt as you like.
- Serve in bowls, garnished with bacon pieces and a sprinkling of grated sharp cheddar.
** If omitting bacon, simply add two more tablespoons of butter (6 tablespoons total) when sauteeing the onion and garlic.
from a farmgirl's dabbles
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 639mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 19g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
This blender continues to amaze me every single time I use it. There is so. much. power. It blends the potatoes and cauliflower into the silkiest consistency. Fast.
I also want to share about how much we like the Personal Cup Adapter and the personal size blending cups. The Vitamix is so easy (and fun!) to use, that our daughters can now regularly be seen making their own smoothies. They especially like using this cup adapter, where they can customize exactly what goes into their own individual-sized smoothie, and then cap it off with a spill-proof lid. Off they go!
Thank you to Vitamix for sending me the blender featured in this post and for providing another one as a giveaway prize. This post was originally published in 2018, then updated in 2022.