Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup in 15 Minutes
Quickest and easiest Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe. It’s as tasty as Panera’s but you don’t have to leave your house!
A new Panera restaurant has been built not far from my house. I sometimes go there to take advantage of the coffee and free wifi when I want to work without household distractions. I’m also there for the famous Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup. It’s so good that I’ve even heard broccoli-haters rave about its deliciousness.
I thought that an easy broccoli cheese soup recipe for home would be a great way to get extra broccoli into my kids. They don’t really hate broccoli; they’ll eat a few stalks if they’re promised fruit right afterwards. But they eat this soup, no bribes required.
I made sure to include carrots in this creamy broccoli soup, just like Panera does. I used carrot matchsticks because they’re sold already peeled and cut into small quick-cooking pieces. Another way that I saved time with this soup is to not make bread bowls. I figured that none of us has time to be carving bread. Instead, the recipe includes quick garlic croutons to sprinkle over top of the soup before serving.
Between the protein in the cheddar cheese and milk, the carbs in the croutons and the big veggie portion, a bowl of this soup is a full meal on its own. And it’s vegetarian so it’s perfect for Meatless Mondays, if you do those (we do it about half the time).
Like all the soups in my SOUPin15 series, the Broccoli Cheese Soup is ready in under 15 minutes. The Souper Tip that makes it so tasty so quickly is the use of frozen vegetables, specifically frozen broccoli. Frozen vegetables are flash frozen when fresh, which means that they have all the nutrients of fresh vegetables. But I find that the freezing process makes them softer than fresh veggies, resulting in a shorter cooking time. For this recipe, the frozen broccoli is popped into the microwave for a few minutes to defrost it and heat it up before adding it to the soup. At that point, it’s already soft enough to eat but a bit of a simmer with the rest of the ingredients lets the broccoli flavor spread out a bit while gaining some milky flavor of its own. Get more Souper Tips for making quick and easy soups here.
If you’re craving more cheese in your soup, you’ll also want to check out my Mozzarella Fondue Soup recipe.
And now, here’s my quick and easy Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe. See you in 15!
Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup
Frozen broccoli is the ingredient that makes this soup so delicious so quickly. Frozen broccoli doesn't require as much cooking time as fresh does. The other time-saver in this soup is to buy carrots that are already cut into matchsticks, no peeling required. To make this soup in under 15 minutes, first read through the recipe so that you know what to expect. As you read, gather together all of the ingredients, pots, pans and other tools that you will need so that everything is at your fingertips. No prepping is required though - all chopping, etc. is part of the instructions and counted in the 15 minute time. Yield 7 and 1/2 cups.
4 cups low or no-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup carrot matchsticks
1 (14 oz.) bag frozen broccoli
2 Tbsp. butter
2 slices bread
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup flour
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk or 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
Put a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the chicken broth and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover. Roughly chop the carrot matchsticks and add them to the pot. Stir and cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Meanwhile, put the frozen broccoli in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave it on high until hot, 5-7 minutes. Add it to the simmering broth.
While the broccoli is in the microwave, put a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Chop the bread into 1-inch squares. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the garlic powder. Push down on the bread a bit so that the seasoning stick on. Put the bread into the pan of butter and stir and toss. Increase heat to medium-high and cook stirring occasionally until toasted and crunchy. Turn to low and stir occasionally until soup is ready.
While the croutons are toasting, the broccoli is heating and the broth is simmering, measure the flour into a large mason jar. Add the milk and put on the lid. Shake it around and tip it around until the flour is mixed well into the milk. Shred the cheese.
After you've added the broccoli to the soup, remove it from the heat and add the flour mixture all at once. Stir. Return it to medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Remove it from the heat and stir in 2 and 1/2 cups of the cheese. Serve topped with the remaining shredded cheese and the garlic croutons.
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