a bowl of perfect broccoli cheddar soup with shredded cheese on top

I made some Perfect Broccoli Cheddar 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 Cheddar Soup perfect because I know what un-perfect Broccoli Cheddar Soup tastes like. My first attempt at making this creamy, cozy soup was 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! 

I don’t remember where the recipe came from but I DO remember that it didn’t even call for milk or cream. (The more likely explanation is that my novice-chef-self glossed over that important part of the ingredient list but I digress.) I boiled my broth, added my broccoli, then dumped in a truckload of cheese. What could go wrong?

Uh, everything.

Instead of morphing into a thick and luxurious soup, the cheese turned into a previously unknown substance, wrapping its stringy tentacles around the broccoli crowns before descending to the bottom of the pot aka its final resting place as an inedible, broccoli-studded orange blob. I’ll never forget it.

Two decades and some change later I stepped back up to the proverbial plate and, after a few tries, achieved the perfect batch of Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Redemption is mine!

overhead photo of a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup topped with shredded cheese

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The key to perfect Broccoli Cheddar Soup is timing and temperature – I’ll show you how. Oh and freshly grated cheese, and milk, not cream. That’s right, heavy cream is not necessary for the most cozy, creamy bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup you’ve ever made at home. Pinky swear!

Tips for Making Perfect Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  1. Use whatever milk you’ve got on hand but know that I achieved thick and creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup perfection with skim milk. Yes, you heard that right. No heavy cream needed.
  2. You MUST use freshly grated cheddar cheese to get creamy broccoli cheese soup. Pre-grated cheese is coated in anti-caking agents which means it won’t melt as smoothly.
  3. When it’s time to add the cheese into the soup, sprinkle it in in batches, stirring until each batch is melted before adding the next batch vs dumping it all in at once. This will ensure there are no clumps in the final soup.
  4. The temperature you cook Broccoli Cheese Soup at is key to making sure it doesn’t end up grainy or curdled. Medium heat is best for dairy-based soups so it doesn’t boil and curdle.

spoon resting inside a thick and cheesy bowl of broccoli cheddar soup

How to Make This Recipe

Start by melting butter in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat then add grated carrot and chopped shallot. Season with salt and pepper then saute until the carrots are tender, 3-5 minutes.

Sprinkle in gluten free flour (or AP flour if you don’t need to eat GF) then whisk to form a paste and cook for 1 minute.

Perfect-Broccoli-Cheese-Soup-05_mini

Next, slowly pour in chicken broth while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Once everything is nice and smooth, add milk. Again, use whatever you’ve got on hand – I like skim milk, or 2% milk for a bit of a richer flavor.

Turn the heat up just slightly to bring the broth to a simmer – NOT BOIL – stirring occasionally, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, dice fresh broccoli florets into small, bite-sized pieces.

broccoli florets in a bowl

Add the broccoli to the soup then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the broccoli is tender.

spoon stirring a pot of broccoli cheddar soup

Remove the pot from the heat then add freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese in three batches, stirring until completely smooth before adding the next batch. Let each batch slowly melt before adding the next to make sure there’s no clumping whatsoever.

shredded cheddar cheese being melted into a pot of broccoli cheese soup

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 like. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. I like TONS of fresh cracked black pepper in my Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup!

a potato masher mashing broccoli cheese soup to smooth it out

Ladle the Broccoli Cheese Soup into bowls then top with a bit more shredded cheddar cheese and dig in. Like I said…perfect! Thick, creamy – total comfort food – enjoy!

a bowl of perfect broccoli cheese soup with shredded cheddar on top

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Perfect Broccoli Cheddar Soup

4.5
4.5/5 (8 REVIEWS)

Description

Perfect Broccoli Cheddar Soup is hearty, cheesy, comfort food! I'll show you the correct timing and temperature to get the PERFECT outcome.

Ingredients

serves 4

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons gluten-free flour (I like Domata or Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Sweet Rice Flour)
  • 3 cups gluten-free vegetable or 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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 then add milk and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper then turn heat up to medium-high to bring soup to a simmer. Turn heat down to medium-low then simmer - NOT BOIL - for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. 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. Ladle into bowls then serve with extra shredded cheese on top.

Notes

  • I do not recommend freezing > thawing dairy-based soups such as this one as they have the tendency to break and/or curdle when reheated.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

photo collage of perfect broccoli cheddar soup