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 un-perfect Broccoli Cheese 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 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. I boiled my broth, added my broccoli, then dumped in a truckload of cheese. What could go wrong?
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 to its final resting place as an inedible, broccoli-studded orange blob. I’ll never forget it.
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, heavy cream is not necessary. Pinky swear!
Tips for Making Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Use whatever milk you’ve got on hand but know that I achieved thick and creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup perfection with skim milk. Yes, you heard that right. No heavy cream needed.
- This recipe works best with freshly grated cheddar cheese. Pre-grated cheese is coated in anti-cakers which means it won’t melt as smoothly.
- 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.
- The temperature you cook the soup at is key to making sure it doesn’t end up grainy or curdled. Medium heat is best for dairy-based soups.
How to Make It:
Start by melting 3 Tablespoons butter in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat then add 1 large grated carrot and 1 large chopped shallot. Season with salt and pepper then saute until the carrots are tender, 3-5 minutes.
Sprinkle in 3 Tablespoons gluten-free flour then whisk to form a paste and cook for 1 minute.
Next, slowly pour in 3 cups gluten-free chicken broth while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Once everything is nice and smooth, add 2 cups milk. Again, use whatever you’ve got on hand – I used skim milk. 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, measure out 3 cups fresh broccoli florets chopped 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 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.
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!
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!
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Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup
Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup is perfectly thick, creamy, and cheesy. The ultimate comfort food!
- 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
- 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.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.