Nothing quite soothes the soul like a warm bowl of creamy broccoli cheese soup, and Panera makes one of the most beloved broccoli cheddar soups in the country. This comforting dish is best served up in a bread bowl, the traditional medium for imparting the cheesy goodness at Panera, and for many, there’s nothing else quite like it.
For some, it’s a soup that confirms true love. For Twitter user Crystal, learning her boyfriend also loves Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup proved their compatibility.
Recently found out my boyfriends favorite from Panera is broccoli cheddar soup and I’ve never been more convinced were soul mates
— crystal (@__2ndsucks) September 22, 2020
And if you needed a one-word affirmation about why this soup is so beloved, Aaliyah Jay summed up in a tweet, saying it “SLAPPPSSSSS”:
The broccoli cheddar soup from Panera Bread SLAPPPSSSSS
— ItGIRL (@AaliyahJay) August 5, 2020
OK, so this soup is amazing. But have you thought about trying to replicate the recipe at home? It can be done! In fact, it has been done, many times — there are a ton of copycat recipes out there to try.
Most recipes, such as the popular one at Food.com, call for basic ingredients you probably already have on hand, such as flour, butter, onion, nutmeg and, of course, cheddar and broccoli. Many recipes call for half-and-half versus regular milk, or a combination of the two, which is what the copycat Panera broccoli and cheese soup recipe at Shugary Sweets uses. But if you want to lighten it up, experiment with lower-fat milk.
For the broccoli, fresh or frozen both work for most recipes. If you opt for frozen, just give them a quick thaw before tossing them into the soup. They don’t need to be perfectly al dente as they will continue to cook and get tender in the soup, anyway. Same goes for carrots.
Some of these recipes call for chicken broth, and there’s a reason for that. Panera’s own recipe, which is surprisingly not vegetarian, uses chicken broth. Many copycat recipes are trying to get a perfect match with the original and therefore opt for chicken broth, but if you want to make your version vegetarian, just switch to vegetable broth.
One vegetarian version of this soup makes a big claim: Averie Cooks calls her recipe the “best broccoli cheese soup (better-than-Panera copycat).” In addition to the vegetarian take, she adds some optional spices that give it some extra oomph. This sounds like a recipe to try just to find out if you really think it’s better than Panera’s!
Serve the soup in a bread bowl (you can find this at your local grocery store) or warm up a few rolls in the oven while the soup simmers. Then … gobble it up!