Broccoli Cheese Soup

I’ve talked at length before about my aversion to vegetables growing up, but I had a special sort of aversion to broccoli. No matter how it was prepared, I refused to eat it. I would always finish whatever protein and starches were on my plate, but those lonely little stalks never had a chance with me. It seemed that I inherited the “vegetables are disgusting” gene from my dad, while my sister was a beneficiary of my mom’s plant-loving genes. My sister would gobble up her vegetables while I sat in protest, very astutely pointing out that my dad wasn’t eating them, therefore it wasn’t necessary for me to eat them either. My mom told me years later that she would plead with my dad privately to at least eat some of them so that I couldn’t argue my point, but he protested that he hated them too. Poor Mom, she was doomed with us. Finally, though, she found a way for me to eat broccoli. A last resort, and probably not approved of by nutritionists. She smothered my broccoli in melted cheese. Artificial, processed cheese. I think that it was Cheez Whiz. Maybe Velveeta, but I’m leaning towards Cheez Whiz. Turns out, I could stand those little green stalks when they were smothered with bright yellow liquid cheese. (This was clearly not my finest foodie moment.) No surprise, then, that I eventually became a big fan of broccoli-cheese soup. Pieces of broccoli so small that I hardly notice them, in a creamy, cheesy soup? Pass me a bowl and the crusty bread, please.

I gave up on the condensed version of the this soup long ago in favor of take-out varieties from Panera, as well as the salad and soup bar at the local grocery chain (which makes really good soup, it turns out). Still, I wanted to have a recipe that I could make at home. Since I made homemade soup a huge part of my food goals for 2012, I thought it was the perfect time to tackle such a project. The soup is made of a rich mixture of half-and-half, milk, and vegetable broth, with a subtle blend of seasonings that really lets the flavors of the broccoli and cheese come through. I like using mild cheddar cheese so that it doesn’t overpower the rest of the soup, but you can certainly use sharp if you prefer. Add a healthy dose of cracked black pepper on top, and I’m ready to dig in!

P.S. Writing that first paragraph about Cheez Whiz and Velveeta brought back all sorts of memories of grade school sleepovers. Watching movies like Clue, telling ghost stories, doing each others hair, talking about cute boys, playing telephone, and… loading up Ritz crackers with sky-high mounds of Easy Cheese. Now I’m sort of craving crackers and cheese from a can. Here’s hoping that passes momentarily :)

One year ago: Traditional Mardi Gras King Cake
Two years ago: Asiago Bagels
Three years ago: Baked Oatmeal
Four years ago: Royal Crown’s Tortano

Cream of Broccoli-Cheese Soup

Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
4 heads broccoli, stems removed and discarded, and florets cut into bite-size pieces
Pinch of nutmeg
12 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
Salt and pepper
2 cups vegetable broth

Directions:

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until they begin to soften. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to combine, cooking for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and half-and-half.

2. Add the nutmeg, broccoli, a dash of salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring to melt the cheese after each addition.

3. At this point I did a quick pass with my immersion blender on low to blend up the broccoli a bit, but still leave a good amount of texture. You could also choose to mash it with a potato masher to break up the broccoli a bit, or transfer to a blender in two batches and puree completely. Finally, whisk in the vegetable broth, and re-warm over low heat if needed, and serve.

(Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

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72 Responses to “Broccoli Cheese Soup”

  1. CouponClippingCook on March 8, 2012 at 12:46 am

    This soup sounds like delicious comfort food to me. When you mentioned Velveeta cheese it also brought back memories to me of my grandma’s grilled cheese sandwiches. I had no idea there was any other kind of cheese out there back then.

    Reply

  2. Kiri W. on March 8, 2012 at 6:04 am

    I was right there with you with the broccoli aversion! Now I love pretty much any veggie I encounter, but it took me a good 20 years to see reason. Looks like a wonderful, creamy soup, well done!

    Reply

  3. Katrina on March 8, 2012 at 7:05 am

    This is my all time favorite soup! Yum!

    Reply

  4. Hbeauty on March 8, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Great blog.. yummy..

    Reply

  5. Erin @ Brownie Bites on March 8, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Mmm, what a great, comforting soup for the last of winter.

    Reply

  6. Wendy M on March 8, 2012 at 8:35 am

    My favorite part of this post I have to admit (besides the soup that looks yummy even though I’m not a big fan of soup) is the sleepovers watching Clue! My bff, my brother and I used to watch it (and reenact scenes!) constantly, and I was starting to think we were the only ones! I hardly ever run into anyone who has even seen it!

    Reply

  7. Cookbook Queen on March 8, 2012 at 8:41 am

    One of my most favorite soups EVER!! Can’t wait to try this :)

    Reply

  8. Ally on March 8, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Wow, this looks so rich, creamy & divine… stunning photography as always!
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  9. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on March 8, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Your soup looks amazing!! I just love a cream brocolli soup! This is one to bookmark! Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply

  10. A-Tooch on March 8, 2012 at 9:59 am

    So simple and delicious! I, too, grew up with broccoli smothered in cheese sauce and brussels sprouts breaded and sprinkled with parm cheese :) I secretly love it.

    Reply

  11. Sweettwist_Meg on March 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Your soups always looks so delicious. Makes me want to make more homemade soup.

    Reply

  12. Tracey on March 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

    That’s too funny! My husband is a veggie hater and I can already foresee the trouble convincing my future child to eat veggies… I love broccoli cheese soup, and have a version I’ve been making, but this one looks wonderful too!

    Reply

  13. Kim Daly on March 8, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Mmmm … this looks divine! I was just craving this recently. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  14. Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt on March 8, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I have not had a good bowl of soup in a while, and that looks so good!

    Reply

  15. Mireia on March 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Yum!! I love broccoli!!!!

    Reply

  16. Sisters Playing House on March 8, 2012 at 10:54 am

    The soup look delicious. I love broccoli cheese soup. I have a recipe for the soup and homemade bread bowls on our blog. Come check it out!

    http://sistersplayinghouse.blogspot.com/2011/11/homemade-bread-bowls.html

    http://sistersplayinghouse.blogspot.com/2011/11/broccoli-cheese-soup-from-scratch.html

    Always love your recipes!

    Reply

  17. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on March 8, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I was never a huge broccoli fan either, but I do like the sound of broccoli smothered in cheese!

    Reply

  18. Linda in KS on March 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Wow, your childhood memories brought back so many of my own. My mom would top broccoli with a slice of processed American cheese! This soup looks wonderful–can’t wait to try it!

    Reply

  19. Mercedes (Satisfy My Sweet Tooth) on March 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    One of my favorite soups! Your version looks so creamy and wonderful!

    Reply

  20. Margaret on March 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    this is one of my favorite soups. But have yet to find a recipe I like. This one sounds like a winner!!

    Reply

  21. Erin on March 8, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I love a good broccoli cheese soup. And the canned versions really are not that great.

    Reply

  22. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on March 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    This looks so hearty and soothing.

    The weather has actually been pretty nice in LA but as soon as it gets chilly again, I will have to make this! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe :)

    Reply

  23. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids on March 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I absolutely love broccoli cheese soup, and this one looks amazing!

    Reply

  24. Danielle W on March 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Looks delicious!! Can’t wait to make it.

    Do you think half of it would freeze well?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 10th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Hi Danielle, I haven’t tried to freeze it; sometimes recipes with cream don’t freeze/thaw that well. It won’t be bad to eat, but the consistency might be funky. I would recommend cutting the recipe in half instead of freezing half.

      Reply

  25. Heather on March 8, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Eeeek! Clue is one of my favorite movies of all time!! I quote it frequently, and hardly anyone has seen it. If you haven’t, go buy it from Amazon right now.

    And I will definitely be trying this soup – I wish I already had the ingredients so I could make it tonight. It’s cold, rainy, and windy in Texas!

    Reply

  26. Jolene on March 8, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Yum! Have pinned it!

    Reply

  27. Kate on March 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Your soup looks wonderful! I had to laugh about the sleep overs…I remember those days…down to the squirt can of cheese!

    Reply

  28. Megan @ Megan's Munchies on March 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    This soup looks amazing! I haven’t had broccoli cheese soup in a long time!

    Reply

  29. Kaitlyn on March 8, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Ah my favorite soup. It’s sad but I usually settle for the Panera version. So if that’s good enough for me, I’m sure to be addicted to a richer, tastier homemade version!

    Reply

  30. Esther on March 9, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Will it make a big difference if I substitute half and half with heavy cream? This is the only broccoli dish I like!

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 10th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Esther, Sure, you can definitely substitute half-and-half, it will just be a little less rich.

      Reply

  31. Brei on March 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    loved it! so good…thanks for sharing

    Reply

  32. Debbi Hook on March 10, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Having a good recipe for broc cheese soup in the arsenal is always a good thing. This looks delicious and I’m saving it! Thanks :-)

    Reply

  33. janet warner on March 10, 2012 at 9:53 am

    YUMMY!!! THANKS

    Reply

  34. bonnie@tlcinspirations on March 10, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I am addicted to soups! Can’t wait to try this one! Thanks for posting this recipe!! Yum!

    Reply

  35. amelia on March 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Making this tonight. Buying the ingredients today.

    Reply

  36. Willow on March 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Haha – great post! I always LOVED my veggies, even as a kid, but smother them in cheese and they’re all the better. I really like broccoli cheddar soup, but haven’t had it in ages… this brought back a lot of nostalgia. I’ll have to try making it for myself sometime! Thanks for sharing. :)

    Reply

  37. Jordann on March 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I have this exact recipe! It tastes a lot like Panera Bread’s broccoli cheese soup, which is why I love it so much. The nutmeg definitely adds a little something to it. It’s pretty easy to make, and is a loved recipe.

    Reply

  38. Ambika on March 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Such a comforting bowl of soup that it! Perfect for the gloomy weather in Texas right now :)

    Reply

  39. Debs @ The Spanish Wok on March 11, 2012 at 4:35 am

    This looks sooooo good, have saved recipe for another day.

    You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

    Reply

  40. Sherry on March 11, 2012 at 6:12 am

    I’d been craving this soup so I think I might be making it soon. But I’ll probably halve the recipe since it seems like a lot.

    I started off as a veggie hater too (though I’ve always adored broccoli, and later spinach and brussel sprouts) but I grew out of it rather young, while still in elementary school and now, I lean more towards a vegetarian lifestyle than anything else. It’s funny how our tastes change as we get older…

    Reply

  41. ATasteOfMadness on March 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Broccoli in soup is one of my favorite things. This looks great!

    Reply

  42. Breezy on March 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I made this for company yesterday and it was wildly praised! I also made; for the same meal, your cheddar bacon onion biscuits and the Ginger tea lemonade. Great tip about using the immersion blender. One of the best broccoli cheese soup recipes I’ve had/tried!

    Reply

  43. silas aaltonen on March 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    dis is mean nicely cooked!

    Reply

  44. Sandra's Easy Cooking on March 12, 2012 at 1:55 am

    I love this soup and your made it to look so pretty and appealing! Beautiful photos and awesome recipe!!! Congrats on top 9!!!

    Reply

  45. Geraldine Saucier on March 12, 2012 at 10:25 am

    The Broccoli Cheese Soup looks and sounds delicious. What a tasty way to get your veggies:)

    Reply

  46. The Mistress of Spices on March 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I love broccoli cheese soup, and this sounds like the perfect version! I’d probably try to make it a bit lighter but otherwise wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Alex MacLean on October 7th, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      That was my approach – I cut the cream in half and used half butter and half vegetable oil to lower the cholesterol. Very, very good. The nutmeg is a winner, and the fresh black pepper a must. Excellent.

      Reply

  47. Corina on March 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    It sounds lovely. I think the way you describe broccoli is exactly how I feel about cauliflower! I have always happily eaten broccoli but I need a lot of cheese or spice to enjoy its paler cousin.

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 12th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      Haha, so funny you say that Corina! I *still* can’t bring myself to eat cauliflower in any form at all. Bleh. My mom claims she found a recipe for roasted cauliflower that’s delicious and that I might like it. I’m skeptical. Maybe I’ll try it one day ;-)

      Reply

  48. Cassie on March 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    This soup was delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  49. Kevin (Closet Cooking) on March 13, 2012 at 6:52 am

    That is some really nice looking broccoli and cheese soup!

    Reply

  50. Jeniece on April 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I made this for myself while housesitting for a few days and halved it. It turned out great! I didn’t have any veggie broth so I substituted with chicken broth and it was delicious. I did have to cook for the full 30 minutes for the broccoli to be tender. This is a deliciously dangerous recipe! Yay for cheese!

    Reply

  51. Total flop on October 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I tried this recipe turned out to be a total flop! Not sure what I did wrong but it’s texture was like curdled milk.

    Reply

    • Stephanie on January 15th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Chances are you boiled the soup. It’s never a good idea to boil milk or cream. You end up separating the milk solids from the whey and that’s what makes it appear curdled. This is a great recipe so I recommend you try it again but this time, heat the soup to only a gentle simmer but no higher. I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

      Reply

  52. Kholmes on November 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Total flop- is sounds like the soup “broke”, meaning it separated. Sometimes it can be fixed but, if not, it’s very unappetizing.

    I just finished my second cup of this soup and I loved it. Only difference, I added a bit of cayenne. Delicious!

    Reply

  53. Erin on December 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Made this today and it was lovely! I added garlic when cooking the onions and a cup of carrots (I needed to use them), heavy whipping cream and 1% milk and added extra cheese. So, good! Thanks for sharing. I will be following you for sure.

    Reply

  54. Mary on December 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I’m making my signature soup, mushroom for my group of 8 yummy mummies for lunch tomorrow, gonna make this too, sounds simple and delish, I hope they’ll be all impressed ;-)

    Reply

  55. Neesha on December 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Very tasty. I’ve just made this soup and we all loved it including my dad who doesn’t really like veggies. He actually chose to eat this over his meat dish. My dog also cried until we gave her a bowl of this soup (after a quick internet search to see if broccoli is safe for dogs) and she licked the bowl clean. We do not have half and half here in South Africa so I just mixed a cup of cream with a cup of milk. Also didn’t have stock so I just added water and celery, thyme and spring onions. :-)

    Reply

  56. durga dawn on February 19, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I have made this soup for the third time, and this time substituted the half and half for goat cheese (chevre). A gourmet twist on what should be a staple for those cold Canadian winters. Hope you give this variation a try. Yeah for goat cheese!

    Reply

  57. Debi Sunshine on February 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Outstanding! 5 star flavor… will definitely be making this again and again and AGAIN!!! There is no restaurant version that is this delicious.
    Thanks for posting it.
    Tasty blessings to you all ~~

    Reply

  58. Loryn on March 27, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Don’t understand the part, where you said something about addung the broccoli and blending it?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 28th, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      You add the broccoli, simmer, and then (if you choose), use an immersion blender, regular blender or masher to break up the broccoli.

      Reply

  59. Rachel on April 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    This recipe looks awesome!!

    Do you think I can use fat-free or low-fat milk instead of whole milk?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 1st, 2013 at 10:44 am

      Hi Rachel, The lowest I would probably go is 2%.

      Reply

  60. Nayner on September 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    It took a bit longer than half an hour for my broccoli to get tender. Did I miss something? It’s still got a solid crunch.

    Reply

  61. goldie on October 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I made this and it is by far the best broccoli soup ever…made it better then my momma!!

    Reply

  62. Carolyn on October 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I am making this soup today….just noticed that you said 12 ounces of cheese is 3 cups…unless your measures are different than mine in Canada it is only 1 and a half cups for 12 ounces..so I am just going to go by how thick and how it tastes as to how much cheese I put in

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 31st, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Hi Carolyn, The whole 8 ounces = 1 cup is true for liquid measurement, but except for a few exceptions (like butter), that’s it. Solid ingredients have different volumes, thus 1 cup of cheese does not weight as much as, say, 1 cup of sugar (4 ounces vs 7 ounces, respectively). 1 cup of shredded cheese is about 4 ounces.

      Reply

  63. Lisa on May 1, 2014 at 5:44 am

    I just made this for my man- I didn’t have nutmeg (and it was ridiculously expensive in the store) so I omitted it. I also didn’t chop up the onions as finely as I would have liked- I’m not a fan of onions. Icky. But it came out really good! Tasted great, I think I added too much liquid because I would have wanted it a little creamier. I’m definitely putting this in my recipe book for future meals!

    And my man loves it!!

    Reply

  64. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup on August 27, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    This looks wonderful! My garden is producing broccoli right now, so this will be lunch. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

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