Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Panera Copycat)

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This Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup copycat recipe is easy to make in the Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. It’s made with simple ingredients and is quick, budget-friendly and delightfully cheesy. Stovetop instructions included.

panera copycat broccoli cheddar soup made in instant pot and served in white bowl with silver spoon.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy to make.
  • Quick to make (it only takes about 20 minutes total!).
  • Creamy and comforting.
  • Rich and flavorful.
  • Tastes very much like Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
  • Gluten-free, vegetarian, nut-free, soy-free.
a close up photo of a bowl of panera copycat broccoli cheddar soup recipe.

Ingredient Notes

Butter: Butter adds additional creaminess, but olive oil, avocado oil or plant-based butter can be used instead.

Onion and garlic: This is the basic flavor base to get this soup started off on the right foot.

Broccoli florets: Fresh or frozen broccoli florets can be used in this soup with great results.

Vegetable broth: Vegetable broth adds additional depth of flavor. If not vegetarian, you can use chicken broth. If you do not have stock on hand, you can use water instead!

Half and half: Half and half, heavy cream or whole milk work well in this recipe. If making a vegan or dairy-free version, you can use canned coconut cream instead.

Shredded cheddar cheese: What’s a cheddar cheese soup without cheddar cheese? Mild, regular or sharp cheddar work well here, as does Colby Jack. If vegan or dairy-free, you can use a shredded plant-based cheese instead.

Tapioca starch: Tapioca flour mixed with water creates a slurry that thickens the soup and lends additional creaminess. In a pinch, you can use corn starch, arrowroot powder or potato starch instead.

Dijon mustard: This is basically the secret ingredient in this recipe and adds mega flavor.

Hot sauce: While this adds a bit of bite, it really helps round out the savory flavors beautifully more than anything. If you are sensitive to spice, simply omit. If you are a major spicy food fan, add more!

Smoked paprika: The hint of smokiness this provides is divine.

Salt and black pepper: What’s a soup without the basic seasonings?

How-to Make

  1. You will begin by sautéing the onion and garlic in butter.
  2. Add the broccoli florets and broth, stir well, close the lid, set to sealing, then cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  3. Release the pressure and open the lid.
  4. Whisk in the cheese, half and half, tapioca starch, mustard, hot sauce, pepper and paprika.
  5. Salt to taste. Serve as is or use an immersion blender to make extra creamy.
  6. Enjoy!
a close up shot of broccoli cheddar soup garnished with fresh broccoli.

What to Serve With

Toasted bread: Toast up some favorite bread and serve as a dipper.

Crackers: Crumble some crackers into the soup for some texture.

​Salad: A fresh salad served on the side helps balance the rich flavors.

Cornbread: Cornbread complements this broccoli cheese soup recipe beautifully.

Condiments: Hot sauce, sour cream, plain yogurt, and more a great swirled into the soup.

Seeds: A sprinkle of hemp seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds adds a bit of welcome crunch.

Roasted veggies: Roasted vegetables served on the side or to top off the soup make a healthy addition.

Bread bowl: If you want to go super cozy Panera Bread-style, serve this soup in a bread bowl!

a close image of panera copycat broccoli cheese soup.

How-to Store and Reheat

This soup keeps stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. To reheat, add the to Instant Pot in saute mode and heat until warm throughout or place in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat until warm. To freeze, place in a storage container safe for freezing and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen you can thaw or warm directly in the Instant Pot or stovetop as instructed above.

a silver spoon scoops a spoonful of instant pot broccoli cheddar soup out of a white ceramic bowl.

FAQ

Why is my broccoli cheddar soup grainy? 

This can depend on a few factors including the brand of cheese used, how quickly the cheese was added to the soup or the temperature of the soup. 

How do you fix grainy cheese soup?

Be certain to add the cheese slowly while stirring frequently for best results.

Can I make this soup if I don’t have an Instant Pot?

Yes! You can make this soup on the stovetop instead, though pressure cooking is quicker. You will find stovetop instructions in the recipe card below.

Can I use frozen broccoli instead?

Yes. Fresh broccoli or frozen broccoli can be used to make this soup.

a white bowl filled with copycat panera bread broccoli cheddar soup recipe.

More Instant Pot Soup Recipes You Will Love

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Soup

Instant Pot Cashew Carrot Ginger Soup

Instant Pot Vegan Potato Soup

broccoli cheddar soup recipe

Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe (Panera Copycat)

This Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup copycat recipe is easy to make in the Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. It’s made with simple ingredients and is quick, budget-friendly and delightfully cheesy. Stovetop instructions included.
4.69 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Coming to Pressure Time for Instant Pot: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Kristen Wood

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter or oil of choice
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 cups broccoli florets fresh or frozen
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 cup half and half or cream or milk
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or any cheese of choice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce optional, but adds great flavor
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Set the Instant Pot to the saute function. Add the butter, onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli and vegetable stock. Place the lid on and set to manual high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • When the 5 minutes are up, quick release the pressure and remove the lid.
  • In a small bowl combine the half and half and the starch. Mix well. Pour this mixture into the Instant Pot. Mix well.
  • Slowly stir in the cheese, until the soup is smooth and creamy.
  • Add the mustard, hot sauce, paprika and pepper. Mix well.
  • Salt to taste, then enjoy!

Stovetop Instructions

  • In a pot over medium heat, add the butter, onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli and stock. Turn the heat to high to bring to a boil. Once boiling, place the lid on and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Mix the half and half and starch in a small bowl. Pour the mixture into the pot, then stir well.
  • Slowly mix in the cheese until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the mustard, hot sauce, paprika and pepper. Mix well.
  • Salt to taste before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

If you want a super smooth and creamy soup, you can use an immersion blender before serving.
You might also like: 60 Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipes.
Also see: Sweet Potato Soup (Instant Pot + Stovetop).

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1504mg | Potassium: 489mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2330IU | Vitamin C: 85mg | Calcium: 531mg | Iron: 1mg
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4.69 from 19 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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11 Comments

  1. Even more delicious than Panera because it tastes so fresh. I love the little zing I get from the hot sauce.
    and I love broccoli soup!! TKS!!

  2. Even more delicious than Panera because it tastes so fresh. I love the little zing I get from the hot sauce. Great recipe!

    1. Hi, Cheryl! You can find the stove top recipe in the recipe card, under the heading “Stovetop Instructions”. The ingredients are the same, just the method differs. I hope this helps!

  3. 5 stars
    I LOVE broccoli cheddar soup. These ingredients work so well together and the hot sauce brings a little something different! Yum!

  4. 5 stars
    A great tasty soup to have! Love dunking my grilled cheese sandwich into this. More cheese!

  5. 5 stars
    Even more delicious than Panera because it tastes so fresh. I love the little zing I get from the hot sauce. Great recipe!