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Copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup

All the flavor of the comforting favorite in your own home!

Panera Bread knows how to do soup right and their ahhhh-mazing broccoli cheese soup is no exception. Every time we order it, we wonder how they create something so creamy and cheesy and rich in veggie flavor. Well, mystery finally solved. This recipe lets you create that signature Panera soup flavor in your very own home. And soup season or not, we just might be making this one every few days. It’s that good.

The nice thing about this soup is that it’s chock full of healthy broccoli and carrots, and they make the perfect contrast to the other indulgent creamy, cheesy qualities of this soup. It’s easy to put together, but letting it simmer for a while really lets the flavors develop. We think that’s what makes the Panera version taste so darn good.

You can puree the soup a lot, or just a little, or not at all depending on what texture you tend to like your soup. We like to puree about half, so there are still some toothsome chunks, but most of the soup is velvety-smooth.

All in all, it’s pretty hard to believe how easy it is to get that Panera Bread flavor at home. Add a tender, doughy bread bowl and you’re in soup heaven!

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

Serves 6-8; 1 hour

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound (about 1 cup) broccoli
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preparation
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and saute the onion until translucent. Add remaining butter and cook until melted. Stir in flour and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Gradually whisk in half-and-half and stock and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add broccoli and carrots. Let simmer until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper, and cheddar cheese. Once cheese is melted, puree soup to desired consistency. (Puree all for a smooth soup, half for a chunkier soup, or none at all for a very chunky soup.) Top with a little more cheese, serve, and enjoy!