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Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup is perfectly thick, creamy, and cheesy. The ultimate comfort food!
I made some Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup for your soul (and your soul, and your soul, and your soul!) Sorry, having an Oprah moment here.
I feel like I can call this Broccoli Cheese Soup perfect because I know what truly unperfect Broccoli Cheese Soup tastes like. Like, the worst. My first attempt at making this creamy cozy soup was way back in the day when I was 13 years old. I stood at the stove with my perm, big bangs, glasses and stretchy pants (just painting you a picture here,) rubbed my hands together in anticipation and exclaimed, let’s do this!
It was actually my first attempt at making anything that didn’t involve eggs, sugar, and chocolate (read: chocolate chip cookies for the dough. Literally abandoned the project right before breaking out the cookie sheets 100% of the time. #followthrough)
Anyway, I don’t remember where the recipe came from but it didn’t even call for milk or cream. The more likely explanation is that my novice-chef-self glossed over that rather significant portion of the ingredient list but I digress. So, I boiled my broth, added my broccoli, then dumped in a truck load of cheese. What could go wrong?
Instead of morphing into a thick and luxurious soup the cheese turned into a previously unknown substance, wrapping it’s stringy tentacles around the broccoli crowns before descending to the bottom of the pot to it’s final resting place as an inedible, broccoli-studded orange blob. RIP culinary confidence.
All is not lost, however, because nearly two decades later I stepped back up to the proverbial plate and, after a few tries, made the perfect batch of Broccoli Cheese Soup just in time for the start of soup season!
The key to perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup is timing and temperature – I’ll show you how. Oh and freshly grated cheese, and milk, not cream. That’s right, I achieved thick and creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup perfection with skim milk!
There’s a time and a place for heavy cream of course, like a splash in my Mediterranean Smothered Chicken and Starbucks Clone Pumpkin Scones (<– just do it,) but in this soup? Totally not necessary. Pinky swear.
This soup would be killer with gluten-free crostini, in a bread bowl, or with a squishy loaf of fresh pretzel bread on the side, which is how I garnished Ben’s bowl when we had this for dinner last week.
“This is the best Broccoli Cheese Soup I’ve ever had!” he proclaimed after stuffing an offensively large hunk of soup-soaked pretzel bread into his mouth.
“Yay! Thanks hon-, wait, are you saying this is the best Broccoli Cheese Soup you’ve ever had because you hate Broccoli Cheese Soup and it’s the best of all the other bowls you’ve had and hated, or did you really think it was the best Broccoli Cheese Soup you’ve ever had?” Because he does this, you see.
“I feel like this is a trick question.”
6 minutes later we reached an understanding. He does like Broccoli Cheese Soup and this was the best bowl he’s ever had. I’ll take it!
Start by melting 3 Tablespoons butter in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat then add 1 large grated carrot, 1 large chopped shallot, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until the carrots are tender, 3-5 minutes. Medium heat is the key to a dairy-based soup. It helps the cheese melt smoothly and prevents the milk from getting grainy.
Sprinkle in 3 Tablespoons gluten-free or all-purpose flour (I used Domata brand,) then whisk into the veggies to form a paste and cook for 1 minute. It’s ok if the paste is a bit crumbly. (Whisk is from IKEA, by the way. Best $1.99 I ever spent!)
Next, slowly add 3 cups chicken broth while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. I add big splashes then whisk until smooth before adding another splash. Once everything is nice and smooth, add the rest of the broth plus 2 cups milk. Use whatever you’ve got on hand – I used skim.
Turn the heat up just slightly to bring the broth to a bubble (not a rolling boil,) stirring occasionally, then turn the heat back down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile chop 3 cups fresh broccoli florets. You want them chopped pretty small.
Add the broccoli to the soup then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the broccoli is tender.
Remove the pot from the heat then add 8oz freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (skip the pre-grated stuff!) in three batches, stirring until completely smooth before adding the next batch. This is the other key to creamy and silky cheese soup – do not make my 13 year old-self mistake and dump all the cheese in at once! Let each batch slowly melt before adding the next to make sure there’s no clumping whatsoever.
Now, I happen to like bigger hunks of broccoli bobbing in my Broccoli Cheese Soup but if you like yours a little more smooth, take a potato masher to the soup and mash until you get the texture you want. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. I like TONS of fresh cracked black pepper in my Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup!
Ladle the Broccoli Cheese Soup into bowls then top with a bit more shredded cheddar cheese and dig in. Like I said…perfect!
Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup
3 Tablespoons butter
1 large carrot, shredded
1 large shallot, chopped
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons gluten-free or regular all purpose flour (I used Domata)
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk (I used skim)
3 cups small-chopped fresh broccoli florets
8oz freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
- Melt butter in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat then add carrots and shallot, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until carrots are tender, 3-5 minutes.
- Sprinkle in flour then whisk to combine and cook while whisking for 1 minute. Slowly stream in chicken broth while whisking constantly to avoid lumps (I add a big splash at a time then whisk until smooth before adding more.) Add milk then season with salt and pepper and then turn heat up to medium-high to bring soup to a simmer. Turn heat down to medium then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add broccoli florets to pot then simmer for 20 more minutes, or until broccoli is tender. Remove pot from heat then add cheese in three batches, stirring until completely smooth before adding the next batch. Mash florets slightly with a potato masher to reach desired texture – this is optional. Taste soup then add salt and pepper if necessary and then ladle into bowls and serve with shredded cheese on top.
- NOTE: I do not recommend freezing this soup.
Thick, creamy – total comfort food. Enjoy all fall and winter long!