Broccoli cheddar soup has never been on my list of favorites. But I learned long ago not to let that stop me. I had mentioned to a friend of mine that I didn’t like peppercorns. She then used peppercorns in every meal she made. When I complimented her food, she told me what she’d slipped into the mix. She told me that often it’s not the food that one dislikes, rather how it’s prepared. Blame the cook. I’ve taken her wisdom to heart.

When my food delivery service offered broccoli cheddar soup as a weekly meal choice, I decided to give it another try. After a couple of attempts and multiple modifications to the recipe, I found a combination of ingredients and a few techniques that result in a delicious bowl of soup. Follow the tips below for a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup that you just might like too.

Tips for a perfect broccoli cheddar soup

  • Grate the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheese can be coated in anti-caking agents that prevent the cheese from melting. In short, buy a block of cheese and use a grater.
  • Whisk continuously when you add the flour and half and half. Whisking prevents the flour from scorching on the bottom of the pot. When you add the half and half, whisking evenly disperses the flour and butter in the liquid, thickening the soup and preventing lumps from forming.
  • Low and slow. When you add the cheese to the soup, make sure that the burner is on its lowest setting. If the heat is too high, the cheese won’t incorporate and will give the soup a thin, gloopy texture. Add a little cheese at a time and stir well between additions to make sure the cheese fully melts into the soup. You can also remove the pot from the heat completely and add the cheese in small handfuls. This method will ensure that your soup doesn’t separate.
  • Make ahead but don’t freeze. Broccoli cheddar soup can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend freezing this soup because the soup can separate, producing a thin, gritty texture once thawed and reheated.
  • Reheat on the stove. To reheat the soup, you’ll once again want to go low and slow on the stovetop rather than in the microwave. Place it in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until heated through. This ensure that the soup will remain thick and creamy. If you try to rush the process, the soup will separate. If your soup is thin after reheating, combine a cup of the warm soup with a teaspoon and a half of cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Pour the mix back into the pot and stir together until soup thickens.
  • Serve in a sourdough bread bowl. My favorite way to serve this soup is in a crusty, sourdough bread bowl. The soup is absorbed by the innards of the bowl and is so satisfying when you tear away pieces of the soaked bread bowl to finish the meal.
broccoli cheddar soup

Chunky Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This comforting soup features broccoli, cheddar cheese, carrots, and onions blended into a creamy broth, and topped with roasted broccoli florets.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Soup
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb broccoli
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup half & half, cream, or whole milk
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (Recommend: Better Than Bullion)
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Cut the broccoli crowns into small florets. Cut the tender stems into chunks, then set aside. In a bowl, toss the florets with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and spread out on a baking sheet. Slide the sheet into the oven and roast until the broccoli is browned around the edges, about 12-15 minutes. Set aside half of the roasted broccoli.
  • Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  • Add the white wine and reduce.
  • Stir in the flour and cook until golden brown, then gradually whisk in the half & half until smooth.
  • Add the chicken or vegetable broth, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli stems to the pot and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Puree the soup using a standard or immersion blender to your desired texture. (Tip: leave chunkier for a more rustic soup or puree for a creamier soup). Return the soup to the stove and whisk in the cheese until melted. Continue cooking until cheese is fully incorporated and soup is heated through.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the reserved roasted broccoli.
  • Serve with your favorite topping: hot sauce, sour cream, bacon bits, or roasted pepitas and thick slices of bread.
Keyword broccoli, broccoli cheddar soup, cheddar