Homemade Broccoli Cheddar Soup – Instant Pot

A big bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup is pure delicious comfort food. This velvety creamy soup is amazingly flavorful.

Broccoli cheese soup is iconic soup at Panera Bread and similar café restaurants. Warm soup filled in bread bowls is favorite food for kids and adults alike. This copycat recipe makes BEST homemade soup.  

Learn to make this popular soup at home with this easy recipe. The whole family will enjoy this hearty dinner soup. Restaurant Style meal made in 30 minutes in the comfort of your own home! Let us make this gluten free creamy soup together.

An overhead shot of white serving bowl filled with creamy soup and garnished with cheddar cheese.

I love to make this vegetarian soup in electric pressure cooker like Instant Pot. No pressure cooker? No problem! I am including directions to make this soup on the stovetop as well.

Treat yourself to the coziest bowl of soup that fill your belly and soul with warm soothing comfort vibes. It is like a hug in a bowl. And a delicious way to sneak in broccoli in picky eater’s diet. 

I am sure, this comforting recipe, like our Instant Pot Creamy Gnocchi Soup and Instant Pot Ministrone Soup is sure to become your family favorite.

PRO TIPS TO MAKE INSTANT POT BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP

    • For Instant Pot, if you want to double the soup, the cook time remains the same. Make sure the ingredients don’t go above the max fill line. To avoid messy splatters, only use a full natural release.
    •  Freshly grated cheese melts better in warm soup. I prefer to avoid store brought pre-shredded cheese since it has anti-bacterial and anti-caking agents in it. Pre shredded cheese tends to clump up instead of melting.
    • Since there aren’t that many flavoring ingredients, it is important to use a flavorful broth in this recipe. You can use low sodium broth or use Better than Bouillon base.
    • The soup is mildly flavorful. If you are looking to spice it up, add more ground black pepper or red chili flakes.
    • I prefer to use mild or sharp cheddar cheese for this soup. You can substitute it with Italian cheese blend, Colby Jack or Pepper jack cheese.
    • To make this soup vegan, use plant-based milk and vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. Almond milk or coconut milk both work well.

A ladle full of soup scooped from Instant Pot.

MORE DELICIOUS INSTANT POT SOUPS AND STEWS YOU’LL LOVE

PANERA STYLE HOMEMADE SOUP IS INEXPENSIVE AND EASY

This delicious soup is as creamy and flavorful as Panera bread’s classic soup. It is easy to prepare at home. You will also enjoy saving a lot money when you make it home made. For under $10, you can feed a family of 4 multiple times. I love saving money especially when it so easy to do.

You can also make a big batch and save the leftovers for later use. It makes a cozy delightful lunch when you heat it up. This copycat version you can enjoy from the comfort of your kitchen even without having to leave the house.

Three bread bowls filled with creamy broccoli cheddar soup.

INGREDIENTS :

  • Oil or Butter – for sautéing the ingredients and adding a layer of the flavor.
  • Broccoli – use 1 medium to large head of broccoli (16 ounces – 3 CUPS) cut the stems and use only florets.
  • Shallot – a shallot or yellow or white onion finely chopped.
  • Garlic – 3-5 minced garlic cloves.
  • Carrot – 1 cup shredded carrots. I used store brought matchstick cut variety.
  • Low sodium vegetable Broth – Adding a flavorful broth is important to soup does not taste bland. Use low sodium option.
  • Corn Starch – A corn starch mixed with water adds a wonderful creamy texture. You can use almond flour to make it Keto friendly.
  • Milk – Milk adds nice and creamy texture to this soup. You can use regular milk or plant-based milk like almond or coconut milk to make it vegan. For extra creamy version, you can use half and half or heavy cream but it will raise calorie count substantially. 
  • Cheddar cheese – Sharp, mild or medium cheddar works best. Avoid pre-shredded cheese since it doesn’t melt well  . To make it vegan, use plant based cheese and nutritional yeast.
  • Grated ​​nutmeg – for milk based creamy dishes, adding a few dashes of grated nutmeg adds amazing flavors. DO try it. Since Nutmeg is intensely flavorful, use very little about 1/8 teaspoon.
  • Italian Seasoning – Adding a teaspoon of Italian Seasoning adds wonderful flavors to the soup. Use your favorite blend.
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
  • Red Chili Flakes – optional garnish but if you want to add some spice kick to the soup, dust it on top.

Ingredients used in making this comfort soup recipe.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

A typical café style pairing is half and half combos. So, you can pair this creamy soup with sandwiches and salads. Add a side of few potato chips, apple slices or kale chips to munch on.

We love to serve the broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl or with a crusty baguette on the side.

HOW TO MAKE A BREAD BOWL TO SERVE SOUP

My family loves to eat this soup in the bread bowls. This is how we used to order it in the restaurant. It is easy to mimic that experience at home.

Here is how I do it. Buy round shaped hard rolls at any grocery store. They are often sold in the 6 counts pack near fresh bakery area. Cut the top about 1” diameter. Then gently pull the bread around in the circular directions. Make sure to leave a decent thick layer at the bottom.

The hard rolls hold the soup well. If you prefer, lightly toast the bread bowls in the oven. You can eat the bowl along with the soup.

How to make bread bowls at home to serve soup.

HOW TO STORE

This soup can be stored in freezer friendly glass containers. Keep it in refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can freeze the soup for up to 3 months.

Defrost it completely before reheating. I recommend using microwave for reheating or lightly simmer it on the stove top. You might have to add little more broth or milk to make it thinner.

CAN I USE FROZEN BROCCOLI?

You can use fresh or frozen broccoli to make this delicious soup. The texture will vary depending upon which one you use. Frozen broccoli might turn too mushy when pressure cooked. So adjust the cooking time accordingly.

HOW TO MAKE

Start the Instant Pot on SAUTE mode. Add oil or butter. Let it warm up for a minute. Add chopped shallots and minced garlic. Sprinkle some salt. Sauté for couple minutes. Add broccoli florets, carrots, Italian seasoning and vegetable broth or water. Give a good stir and make sure nothing is stuck at the bottom.

Mix the corn starch with ¼ cup water. Pour it in. Add salt and pepper. Close the lid. Valve at SEALING. Press MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK and select 1 minute. (use 0 zero minutes if using frozen broccoli) After Instant Pot finishes cooking, allow for pressure to release naturally.

Open the lid. Using a potato masher or back of the metal spatula, mash the cooked soup mix. Press SAUTE. Add milk and let the soup come to gentle boil. Add grated nutmeg. Stir well. Cancel SAUTE. Now slowly add grated cheese. Stir well so that cheese dissolves smoothly. Serve immediately garnished with some grated cheese, fresh ground black pepper and chili flakes. Bon Appetite.

Process step collage show 6 major steps involved in making this Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup.

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A bread bowl filled with Broccoli Cheddar Soup and garnished with frashly grated cheese.

Homemade Broccoli Cheddar Soup - Instant Pot

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Broccoli Cheddar Soup is classic comfort food soup. Enjoy this homemade creamy soup in bread bowl for cozy cafe style meal. Instant Pot and Stove top instructions included.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil
  • 4 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 cup grated or match stick style carrots
  • 1 shallot or onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth ( or use water + Better than Bouillon Base)
  • 2 cups milk - full fat preferred
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • Cheese - 8 oz Cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper per taste
  • Red chili Flakes - optional per taste

Instructions

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS :

Start the Instant Pot on SAUTE mode. Add oil or butter. Let it warm up for a minute. Add chopped shallots and minced garlic. Sprinkle some salt. Sauté for couple minutes. Add broccoli florets, carrots, Italian seasoning and vegetable broth or water. Give a good stir and make sure nothing is stuck at the bottom.

Mix the corn starch with ¼ cup water. Pour it in. Add salt and pepper. Close the lid. Valve at SEALING. Press MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK and select 1 minute. ( If you are using frozen broccoli , choose 0 minutes ) After Instant Pot finishes cooking, allow for pressure to release naturally.

Open the lid. Using a potato masher or back of the spatula, mash the soup mix. Press SAUTE. Add milk and let the soup come to gentle boil. Add grated nutmeg. Stir well. Cancel SAUTE.

Now slowly add grated cheese. Stir well so that cheese dissolves smoothly. Serve immediately garnished with some grated cheese, fresh ground black pepper and chili flakes. Bon Appetit !

STOVE TOP INSTRUCTIONS :

Use a heavy bottom Dutch Oven or Soup Pot on medium high heat. Warm up oil and saute all the vegetables and Italian seasoning for few minutes. Add vegetable broth and corn starch water mix, lower the heat , cover the pot and let them cook til broccoli and carrots are tender. Mash the cooked mix using potato masher.

Add milk and let the soup come back to gental boil. Stir in grated cheese and mix well stirring often so cheese dissolves smoothly. Serve immediately garnished with some grated cheese, fresh ground black pepper and chili flakes. Bon Appetit !

Notes

  • For Instant Pot, if you want to double the soup, the cook time remains the same. Make sure the ingredients don’t go above the max fill line and to avoid messy splatters, only use a full natural release.
  • Freshly grated cheese melts better in warm soup. I prefer to avoid store brought pre-shredded cheese since it has anti-bacterial and anti-caking agents in it. Pre shredded cheese tends to clump up instead of melting.
  • Since there aren’t that many flavoring ingredients, it is important to use a flavorful broth in this recipe. You can use low sodium broth or use Better than bouillon paste.
  • The soup is mildly flavorful. If you are looking to spice it up, add more ground black pepper or red chili flakes.
  • I prefer to use mild or sharp cheddar cheese for this soup. You can substitute it with Italian cheese blend, Colby Jack or Pepper jack.
  • To make this soup vegan, use plant-based milk and vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. Almond milk or coconut milk both work well.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 341Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 519mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 16g

Nutritional values are provided as a courtesy and the values are approximate. The values will change depending on the exact ingredients, measurements and brands used. As always, for specific health issues and dietary requirements please consult medical professional.

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4 thoughts on “Homemade Broccoli Cheddar Soup – Instant Pot”

    • Zero minutes cook time means Instant Pot comes to pressure and does cooking. Frozen broccoli does not need much cooking under pressure so zero minutes does steam it perfectly.

      Reply

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