Easy Homemade Broccoli Cheese Soup

The BEST recipe for homemade broccoli cheese soup, this version is easy and creamy, with tons of cheddar cheese flavor (no processed cheese in sight!).

homemade broccoli cheese soup in bread bowl on white plate

There is nothing in the world like sitting down to a warm bowl of broccoli cheese soup for dinner. 

This easy homemade broccoli cheese soup is super cheesy and creamy without any processed cheese. But even more astounding than that, it is one of a handful of meals that my entire family eats without complaining. 

It’s a highly requested recipe around here, and for good reason. This version is easily the best broccoli cheese soup recipe out there. 

spoonful of homemade broccoli cheese soup in white bowl

To Bread Bowl or Not

This soup is incredibly delicious served in carved out bread bowls. The combination of soup + bread is other worldly. 

These easy homemade bread bowls are my go-to. But they don’t always happen (hello, life). So rest assured that store bought bread bowls OR your every day bowl and spoon work just as well for this delectable soup. 

broccoli cheese soup in homemade bread bowl on white plate

Easy Homemade Broccoli Cheese Soup

This broccoli cheese soup is so easy to make. 

When the chopped broccoli and onions simmer in the first step, you want the pot chock full of broccoli. Even fuller than you think; the broccoli will cook down AND we still need to add a milk “sauce” and cheese. 

Instead of going to the extra work of making a roux in a separate pot, milk + flour is blended together and added to the steaming vegetables.

It’s a brilliant way to thicken the soup without a lot of fuss.

pouring milk mixture into steamed broccoli

Best Cheese for Broccoli Cheese Soup

This recipe calls for: cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese.

You might be giving me and this soup the side eye over the Swiss cheese, but I promise, it’s delicious. There’s no overt Swiss flavor, instead the light cheese enhances the creaminess more so than using all cheddar cheese. 

Since I know some will still ask, see the FAQ box below for answers to what other cheese can be used. 🙂 

Also, remember my age-old lecture to grate your own cheese instead of using preshredded cheese. It makes a world of difference! Ok, bye.

stirring cheese into broccoli cheese soup

The hardest part of this recipe is chopping the broccoli. Hint: kids make really great broccoli choppers.

The soup comes together really fast!

While it doesn’t necessarily freeze very well, it can be made ahead of time and kept warm in a slow cooker. And refrigerated leftovers reheat really well!

spoon in white bowl filled with homemade broccoli cheese soup

This really is the best homemade broccoli cheese soup out there. We’ve been making this soup for almost ten years now, and in that time, I’ve had zero desire to try any other variation or recipe. 

It’s easy. It’s fast. It’s incredibly delicious. It’s wholesome and homemade. And it’s a tried-and-true favorite. 

I hope it quickly becomes a family favorite for you, too! Around here, it’s always in the running for the highly honored birthday meal request (that and sweet and sour chicken). 

spoon dipping into bread bowl filled with broccoli cheese soup

A few comments from others who love it: 
Tammy: So, so so Gooooooood!!!!!  I made a little tweak of cooking the broccoli longer because kids like it really soft.  But, amazing flavor!  Served with your french bread rolls and an easy fruit salad.  It made a ton, which I’m thrilled so I can have leftovers for lunch,  Thanks for another winner!

Kristin: So delicious! One of the best soups I’ve ever eaten!

Shannon: Rivals Panera for sure! I made some bread bowls to serve this in, and my family gobbled it up!

FAQ’S FOR THIS BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP:

Can I sub in another kind of cheese for the Swiss?
You can, but I promise the Swiss cheese adds great creaminess without overpowering the flavor. If you want to sub in another kind, you’ll want a creamy, good-melting cheese like Monterey Jack.

Can I use frozen broccoli?
Sure! Use the same amount and simmer with the onions. When soft, use a potato masher or a couple of forks to break the broccoli into smaller pieces.

Can I make this gluten free?
Others in the comments have said they’ve used cornstarch in place of the flour (blending it with the milk). Try half the amount of cornstarch.

Does this soup freeze well?
I don’t think so, but others have frozen it and liked it – the broccoli is much softer after thawing and reheating and the texture is slightly grainy.

Can this be made ahead of time?
This broccoli cheese soup keeps really well in a slow cooker (set to warm or low) for a few hours.

Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Easy Homemade Broccoli Cheese Soup: No Processed Cheese!

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion (white or yellow)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 5-6 cups (about 30-36 ounces) chopped fresh broccoli (see note)
  • 4 cups milk (I use 2%)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (use 2/3 cup if you want it extra thick)
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) freshly grated cheddar cheese (see note)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated Swiss cheese (see note)

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan (6-quarts or so), add the chicken broth, onion, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the broccoli (it may not be completely covered with liquid). Cover the pot and cook for 8-9 minutes until the broccoli and onions are tender.
  2. In a blender, combine the milk and flour and process until smooth. Slowly add the milk mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring, and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat off or to low and stir in the cheese, one handful at a time, letting each addition melt before adding more. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Serve immediately (the soup will thicken as it cools).

Notes

Broccoli: I like the broccoli chopped pretty small for this soup - but you can chop it as small or as large as you prefer.

Cheese: I highly recommend using freshly grated cheese for this recipe; pre-shredded cheese doesn't melt as well (it's coated with powder to keep it from sticking, but that prevents it from melting smoothly). I prefer sharp cheddar cheese (extra sharp makes the soup a little gritty and mild cheddar cheese doesn't have as much flavor). You can substitute Monterey Jack for the Swiss.

Instant Pot: I think this stands a good chance of working in the IP (taking notes from this IP creamy potato soup recipe). Maybe combining the broth, salt, pepper, onions, and broccoli and cooking at HP for 1-2 minutes. Quick release the pressure and then use the saute function when adding the milk and cheese?

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Recipe Source: based off this old favorite – just streamlined the cooking method to eliminate the butter and use less pots and pans
Recipe originally published in Dec 2017; updated with new photos, recipe notes, etc.

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