Copycat Panera Cheddar Broccoli Soup: Slow Cooker Homemade Goodness

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This Cheddar Broccoli Crockpot Soup is the perfect comfort food for those upcoming chilly, cozy nights! Use your slow cooker to enjoy a hearty, warm, cheesy soup that tastes like a bowl of Panera’s divine Cheddar Broccoli Soup.

This copycat soup is a hearty, creamy, veggie-packed soup the entire family will devour, since it tastes just like their favorite takeout. If you’re anything like me, you love the idea of making delicious, restaurant-quality homemade meals for your family. But the prep work, the standing, and the stirring? Not so much.

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That’s why I’m a huge fan of slow cooker recipes – it’s my secret weapon for easy, delicious weeknight meals. You just toss in a handful of simple ingredients, set the timer, and a delicious dinner awaits you at the end of the day.

So, whether you’re a crockpot newbie or a seasoned slow-cooking pro, this article is for you. We’ll cover everything from the ingredients you’ll need, a step-by-step guide, and my tried-and-tested tips and tricks.

Reader Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I made this soup yesterday and this will definitely be my go to recipe for this soup. I always thought i had a great recipe but this definitely beat my prior recipe hands down. Probably made enough for several servings that was comparable to the cost of one bowl at the restaurant.
— Joan

🥦Ingredient Notes

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

  • Broccoli: This is the star of the recipe. I prefer to use fresh broccoli for this recipe, as frozen broccoli can become mushy in this hearty, slow-cooked soup.
  • Onion
  • Carrots: Matchstick carrots are my favorite for this recipe.
  • Celery
  • Chicken stock: I recommend using a low-sodium version to control the saltiness of the soup.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: Choose sharp cheddar cheese to add tangy flavor to your soup. I’ve tried milder cheeses, but they just don’t pack the same punch. Plus, sharp cheddar melts beautifully, creating that creamy, cheesy texture.
The ingredients for a cheddar broccoli soup.

Looking for more delicious soup recipes for busy nights? Try Mexican street corn soup, Olive Garden gnocchi soup, Crock Pot Asian spare ribs, or Crock Pot ham and potato soup.

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🥣How to Make Cheddar Broccoli Crockpot Soup

The beauty of this broccoli cheese soup recipe (aside from its cheesy deliciousness) is that it’s so simple to make!

  1. Add the chopped veggies, salt, pepper, and chicken stock to your slow cooker.
  2. Cover it up, set it on low, and let it do its magic for about 5 hours. If you’re in a hurry, you can crank it up to high and cook for 3 hours instead.
  3. Once your veggies are nice and tender, it’s time to create the creamy base of the soup. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt your butter. Then, whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste. This is called a roux, and it will thicken your soup and give it that creamy, velvety texture.
  4. Add this mixture to your slow cooker, along with the milk and cheese. Let it cook on low for another hour or until the cheese is melted and your soup is the perfect consistency.
Soup ingredients in crock pot.
Adding the veggies to the Crockpot
A crock pot filled with carrots and broccoli.
Veggies after slow cooking
A bowl of flour and a whisk next to it.
Whisk butter and flour
A crock pot full of soup with broccoli and cheese.
Add milk and cheese

🍴Serving Ideas for Your Broccoli Cheese Soup

Now, the best part of making a hearty pot of cheddar broccoli crockpot soup is, of course, eating it. But the presentation is part of the fun of cooking too. So, let’s jazz up this broccoli cheddar soup!

I usually serve this soup with a side of garlic bread. The crispy, buttery garlic bread contrasts perfectly with the creamy, velvety soup. The crusty bread also tastes fantastic when dipped into the rich, creamy soup.

And if you’re feeling particularly fancy, sprinkle some scallions and additional shredded cheddar on top of the soup. Because, really, can you ever have too much cheese?

Another great way to serve this soup is in a bread bowl. It adds an extra layer of deliciousness, not to mention the “oohs” and “aahs” you’ll get from your family. I buy the bread bowls at my local bakery, but if you are adventurous, you can make homemade ones.

A spoonful of broccoli soup in a bowl.

💭Storing Your Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This makes a big pot of soup, so leftovers are likely. Once the soup has cooled down, transfer it to an airtight container. Once in the container, the soup can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.

Need more time? No problem. This soup freezes beautifully for up to 3 months. Just leave some space at the top of the container for the soup to expand as it freezes.

To reheat, let the soup thaw in the fridge overnight. Then reheat on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

A bowl of soup with broccoli and carrots.

⭐Tips

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

  • Cheddar Choice Matters: Cheddar is one of the stars of this recipe, so picking the right one is crucial. I recommend using sharp or extra sharp cheddar. It packs a flavor punch that can stand up to the cooking process.
  • Fresh vs Frozen Broccoli: I prefer to use fresh broccoli in this recipe. But frozen broccoli will work if it is all you have. The soup will just have a slightly different texture.
  • Thicker Soup: If you prefer a creamier texture, replace half the milk with heavy cream to make it thicker. Or use an immersion blender to puree some of the veggies before adding the milk and cheese.
Easy Cleanup
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📝FAQ

Can I use pre-shredded cheese?

Maybe. Pre-shredded cheese often has additives that prevent it from melting smoothly. And it’s worth going the extra mile in a soup that’s all about that silky, cheesy goodness. So either grab that block of cheddar and get shredding or buy a high quality shredded cheese without additives.

Can I make this soup vegetarian?

Absolutely! Swap out the chicken broth for vegetable stock; you’ve got a vegetarian-friendly recipe. Just make sure to check the labels if you’re using store-bought broth. Some brands sneak in animal products where you least expect them.

How can I make my soup thicker?

If you prefer a thicker soup use an immersion blender to puree a portion of it. Make sure to do this before adding the cheese to the Crock Pot. This will give your soup a thicker, creamier texture without changing the flavor.

Did You Make This? Leave a Star Rating!

Cheesy broccoli soup in a white bowl.
4.43 from 14 votes

Copycat Panera Cheddar Broccoli Soup Recipe

Published By Anne
Craving that rich and creamy Panera Cheddar Broccoli Soup? Learn how to recreate this favorite right in your own kitchen, with your slow cooker.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients
 

  • 1 small yellow onion chopped
  • 4 cups of fresh broccoli chopped
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 stalk of celery sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded, see notes
  • Scallions for garnish

Instructions

  • Add the broccoli, onion, carrots, celery, chicken broth, salt, and black pepper to your slow cooker.
    1 small yellow onion, 4 cups of fresh broccoli, 1 cup matchstick carrots, 1 stalk of celery, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 4 cups chicken broth
  • Cover and cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave and whisk the flour into the butter.
    ¼ cup butter, ¼ cup flour
  • Whisk the butter/flour roux into the slow cooker, stirring to eliminate any lumps.
  • Stir in the milk and cheese.
    2 cups milk, 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • Let cook another hour on low or until the cheese is melted and the soup thickens.
    Scallions for garnish

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.
  • Pre-shredded cheese often has additives that prevent it from melting smoothly. So either shred a block of cheddar or buy a high quality shredded cheese without additives.
  • Garnish with green onions and extra cheese.
  • Serve this in a bread bowl for a fantastic presentation.
  • For thicker soup, replace half the milk with heavy cream. Or use an immersion blender to puree a portion of the soup before you add the butter and flour mixture.

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Nutrition Information

Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 1839mg | Potassium: 319mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4533IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 525mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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Two bowls of broccoli soup on a table.
anne

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

2 thoughts on “Copycat Panera Cheddar Broccoli Soup: Slow Cooker Homemade Goodness”

  1. 5 stars
    I made this soup yesterday and this will definitely be my go to recipe for this soup. I always thought i had a great recipe but this definitely beat my prior recipe hands down. I like to always keep soup in my freezer as a go to meal or lunch. Makes a lot of soup and less costly than going to the actual restaurant. Probably made enough for several servings that was comparable to the cost of one bowl at the restaurant.

    Reply

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