This chunky, creamy, veggie-laden recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup should definitely make it on your "to do" list this week. Hearty and satisfying while still packing a hefty nutritional punch, this chowder-like soup is sure to please even the pickiest of palates.
I know, I know. I've posted like 8 bajillion soup recipes of late. But you know what? This is soup season, people. Don't judge. I'm craving cozy things right now, and this comforting and cheesy soup absolutely makes the cut.
Why I Love This Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe
While food is my passion and I've dedicated my life to it, cheese holds a very special place in my heart. It's melty and gooey. It's awesome with everything from fruit and chocolate to vegetables. And in my opinion? It's basically the epitome of comfort food.
When you add cheese to soup, well that's a whole new level of comfort. Broccoli, cheddar and ham are a natural grouping - seriously, throw them in a calzone stat - with a perfect balance of salty, creamy, smoky and vegetable-y. If I were Michael Scott, I'd say this soup takes the dream team to Comfort Level: Midnight.
I also love that this recipe for broccoli cheese soup comes together faster than I could drive to Panera and buy a bowl. If you have 45 minutes to spare, this yummy dinner can be on the table for a fraction of the price you would spend getting it to go.
This recipe makes a pretty darn big batch, too! That means one night of cooking keeps Joe and I fed for several meals, even if I happen to share with his family. If 8 servings is too many, feel free to halve the recipe.
Finally, this recipe is one that is completely family friendly. I know I often go pretty big and bold with flavors on this blog, but this broccoli cheddar soup is tame enough for even a kiddo's palate. If you're worried in the slightest, just sub regular paprika for the hot Hungarian stuff I love so dearly. Now stop dilly-dallying and make this yummy soup!
How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This recipe doesn't require a whole lot in terms of specialty items. Just a few notes to keep in mind:
- I keep both milk and heavy cream on hand at all times rather than buying "half n half." My recipe for this broccoli cheese soup calls for a cup of each milk and cream, but SURPRISE! You can totally sub in 2 cups of half and half instead.
- As far as cheese is concerned, feel free to use any that suits you. I like my cheddar sharp, and I just happened to have white cheddar on hand this week. Mild or medium, yellow or white cheddar will work, as will a host of other cheeses like gouda or jack. Just DON'T BUY PRE-SHREDDED CHEESE for this recipe. It won't melt nearly as well. Just trust me.
- To save on time (and money), I buy ginormous bags of broccoli florets at Costco and break any large pieces down with my hands. If you opt to buy whole broccoli, I'd shoot for 2 small to medium sized heads. And just so you know? The stems are delicious too. Just cut them into appropriately sized pieces.
Step 1 - Sauté
Heat the oil over medium heat in your sauté pan. When it's shimmering, add your onion and cook until it is beginning to soften and become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add your ham (if using) and garlic, sautéing until fragrant. That should only take about a minute.
Step 2 - Roux
Making a roux might sound fancy, but it's actually quite simple. All you need to do is melt your butter in the dutch oven. When it's nice and bubbly, tip in your flour.
Cook, stirring constantly, until butter and flour are combined. Allow to keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture smells nutty and is a light golden color.
If you're more of a visual learner, this video is quite informative. Just note that you want to move to the next step as soon as the mix hits the "light stage."
Step 3 - Soup Base
When the roux is light golden and the flour is no longer raw (it should smell nutty), slowly begin to drizzle in your milk, whisking constantly. The mixture will look like it's seizing, but keep calm and carry on.
Once the milk is added, follow with the cream and broth until the mixture is uniform. Add the spices to the mix and stir to combine.
Step 4 - Simmer
Now that the soup base is complete, add the ham and onion mix to the dutch oven. This is also the time to toss in your veggies. Give everything a good stir, then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the broccoli and carrots are sufficiently cooked to your liking.
Step 5 - Putting it All Together
You're in the home stretch now! Add your cheese to the pot - working in batches if necessary - and stir until everything is combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Heck yeah! As with most soups, this one will taste better after about a day or so in the fridge. It *can* last for up to a week in the fridge, but I have a feeling you'll finish it before then.
Absolutely! Simply swap the AP Flour for a good cup-for-cup gluten free flour mix. I like this one.
Sure! If you're not a meat eater, simply omit the ham from the soup. You can add up to ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke if you like that smoky flavor, or you can opt to use a smoked cheddar for the cheese. YUM! In terms of the broth, swap out the bone broth for veggie broth, water mixed with some vegetarian bouillon or marmite, wine, or a mix of the three.
Due to the creaminess of the cheddar in this broccoli soup, I honestly don't recommend it. If you want some recipes to stock the freezer with, check out this post with over 20 good options!
When it comes to knives and cheddar, I like mine nice and sharp. That said, feel free to use a cheese that makes sense for you! If you're more mild in taste, there's no shame in opting for a milder cheddar, or even subbing in some jack or mozzarella.
As far as whether to choose white or yellow cheddar, that's entirely up to you! I used white this time because it was on sale so I stocked up. I have made this recipe for broccoli cheese soup with yellow cheddar too, and it was still delicious.
Be warned, though. DON'T USE PRE-SHREDDED CHEESE. It has a coating that keeps it from melting into a big clump in the bag, but that coating keeps it from well... melting. Put in the little extra elbow grease and grate your own cheese. I promise you won't regret it.
Need more cozy weather inspiration? Check out these other yummy recipes:
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Ginger Raisin Pan Sauce
- Sheet Pan Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower Potato Curry)
- Mom's White Clam Chowder
- Easy Chicken Divan Casserole
If you tried this recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup, let me know how it turned out! You can comment or rate it below, or feel free to tag me on the social network of your choosing to show me!
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Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Ham
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion diced small
- 4-6 cloves Garlic chopped
- 2 C Cooked Ham diced. Optional, read notes.
- 4 tablespoon Butter
- ¼ C AP Flour or sub gluten free
- 1 C Milk
- 1 C Cream
- 3 C Chicken Bone Broth or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon Paprika preferably hot
- 1 teaspoon Dried Mustard Powder
- 1 ½ lb Broccoli torn into florets and stems cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 Carrots cut into coins
- 10 oz Sharp Cheddar or sub cheese of choice, grated
- Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat oil in sauté pan. When shimmering, add onion and cook until beginning to soften and become translucent, 2-3 minutes.Add garlic and ham to pan, cooking until the garlic is fragrant - about 1 minute. Set mix aside.
- Melt butter over medium heat in dutch oven. When it is bubbling, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is no longer raw. The roux should smell slightly nutty and have a light golden color. This takes 2-3 minutes.Slowly add milk and cream while whisking constantly to combine. Follow with broth, continuing to stir until it is uniform.
- Add ham and onion mix to the dutch oven along with the broccoli and carrots. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, until veggies are al dente, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from burning.
- Add cheese to pot and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!