This Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup is as rich and cheesy as the ultra popular Panera Bread soup, but made a bit healthier. It comes together in 30 minutes with just 9 ingredients. Serve with a crusty baguette for dunking. The whole family will love this cozy soup!
📋 About the Recipe
- Ready in 30 minutes! Making your own Panera Bread inspired soup at home doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. Ladle this velvety cheesy soup into serving bowls in 30 minutes or less.
- Made in one pot. If you need quick and easy recipes, you probably need recipes that don’t make a lot of dishes, too. This broccoli cheddar soup is made in one pot and makes minimal dishes for easy clean up, just like my chicken minestrone soup and instant pot chicken rice soup!
- Vegetarian-friendly. It may come as a surprise to you that the Panera Bread classic is not vegetarian. According to their website, their broccoli cheddar soup is made with a chicken stock base and chicken fat. This homemade version, however, is made using vegetable broth and is 100% vegetarian friendly.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Broccoli - I used 2 fresh crowns of broccoli cut into florets. If you'd like to save time, you can buy pre-cut florets!
- Carrots - I julienned my own carrots, but similar to the broccoli, you can typically buy pre-shredded carrots to speed up the prep work. If you’d like to julienne your own carrots at home, learn how to julienne carrots with this helpful step-by-step tutorial.
- Flour - All-purpose flour is stirred in with the vegetables before adding the liquid to help thicken the soup while it pressure cooks.
- Vegetable broth - The broth of this soup is made primarily with low-sodium vegetable broth.
- Milk - I like to make most of my cream-based soups and sauces with full-fat coconut milk for a lighter dish. If you prefer, you can use heavy cream instead. It will be equally delicious and slightly more rich. If you’re looking for more healthy creamy recipes, you may enjoy my Pink Sauce Pasta, Pumpkin, Carrot, and Sweet Potato Soup, and Coconut Lime Rice.
- Cheddar cheese - You’ll need 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. I’d recommend sharp cheddar over mild cheddar cheese for the best bite.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Fresh broccoli substitute: Equal amounts of frozen broccoli florets would work too!
- Vegetable broth substitutions: As written, this soup is vegetarian-friendly, but if you are not vegetarian, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead. I would not recommend beef broth.
- Olive oil substitutes: Any neutral tasting oil will work. Try avocado oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil. You could also use refined coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil will give this soup an underlying coconut flavor.
- Cook the onions. Turn your instant pot to the “sauté” setting and swirl olive oil around the bottom of the pot. Add in the onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until it starts to turn translucent.
- Add in broccoli, carrots, spices and flour. Once the onions are translucent, add in the broccoli, carrots, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and all purpose flour. Stir to coat the vegetables in the flour and spices.
- Immediately add in the vegetable broth. Turn off the sauté setting. Cover your instant pot and place the valve in the “sealing” position. Pressure cook on manual high pressure for 1 minute.
- Naturally release pressure. Allow to naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes before switching the valve to the “venting” position and manually releasing the remaining pressure.
- Stir in coconut milk and cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the soup is thick and creamy.
- Serve. Ladle broccoli cheddar soup into bowls while hot and creamy. Garnish with extra cheddar cheese and sliced green onions.
❄️ How to Store
How long is broccoli cheddar soup good for? This soup will keep for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring to a storage container and refrigerating.
Can broccoli cheddar soup be frozen? You technically can freeze this soup, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Soups that are high in dairy and milk (coconut milk included), are very likely to separate and result in a grainy tasting soup texture upon defrosting.
Reheating instructions: This creamy soup will reheat best in the microwave, on the stovetop over low heat, or in the Instant Pot on the “sauté” setting. If using the stovetop or Instant Pot to reheat, stir frequently to prevent burning and make sure to use a low heat. High heats can cause the soup to separate and curdle.
🔍 Recipe FAQs
Yes, both this homemade version and the Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup contain wheat and therefore contain gluten. Wheat flour is used to thicken the soup and make it smooth and creamy in consistency.
If your soup has a grainy texture or consistency, it is likely that the coconut milk curdled from being cooked at too high of a temperature. This can happen if you accidentally add the coconut milk in at step 3 and pressure cook it with the broth. To prevent curdling and separation in the soup, stir the coconut milk and cheddar cheese at the end.
The all purpose flour stirred in with the broccoli and carrots should help to thicken your soup while it pressure cooks. However, if you want an even thicker soup, stir together 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon all purpose flour and stir it into the hot soup.
💭 One More Tip
Shred your own cheese! If you’ve made my Cheesy Ground Turkey Enchiladas or Air Fryer Nachos, you may know this tip already! Pre-shredded cheddar cheese might work, but pre-shredded cheese is coated with an anti-caking agent to prevent it from sticking together in the bag.
This preservative also prevents the cheese from fully melting. For the best thick and cheesy broccoli cheddar soup, shred the cheese yourself!
🍴 Related Recipes
Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I'd love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups diced yellow onion (about 1 onion)
- 4 cups roughly chopped broccoli (about 2 heads of broccoli)
- ¾ cup matchstick (shredded) carrots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 garlic cloves)
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- ½ cup unsweetened canned coconut milk solids and liquids mixed together
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- green onions for garnish
- Turn your instant pot to the “sauté” setting. Add olive oil and swirl around the bottom of the pot. Add onion, sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until it starts to turn translucent.
- Add in broccoli, carrots, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and all purpose flour. Stir to coat the vegetables in the flour.
- Immediately after, pour in vegetable broth. Turn off the sauté setting. Cover your instant pot and place the valve in the “sealing” position. Pressure cook on high for 1 minute.
- Allow to naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes before switching the valve to the “venting” position and manually releasing the remaining pressure.
- Stir in coconut milk and cheddar cheese.
- Serve soup hot garnished with extra cheddar cheese and sliced green onions.
- Low sodium chicken broth can be used in place of the vegetable broth.
- You can also use heavy cream in place of the coconut milk, but I prefer the coconut milk for a lighter version.
Want more recipes like this delivered right to your inbox? Be sure to subscribe above and never miss a thing!