Simple Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe – In 30 Minutes

One of my favorite soups is this simple broccoli cheddar soup.  I’ve been making this over the last couple years and am excited to share it with you!  After researching recipes online, and several tweaks to get it just right, I’ve found a way to simplify and get it down to an easy, 30 minute recipe without loosing any of that amazing creamy, cheesy flavor.

To begin, I always want to make sure I have all the ingredients I’ll need ahead of time.  Yes, I actually do this, I get everything out and on the counter – there is nothing worse than starting to cook something and half way through realize you don’t have an ingredient you’ll need.

To make this delicious, simple broccoli cheddar soup you will need:

  • 6 tablespoons butter (I used salted, but you can go with unsalted if you prefer)
  • 1 medium onion – yellow or sweet
  • 4 Cups broccoli (I used a 14oz bag of frozen spears, you can use fresh if you’d prefer)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half (I use fat free but you can use regular if you choose)
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I make mine with bullion cubes)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt – add more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper – add more to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Broccoli in steamer

After making this so many times, I know the steps and process…  The first thing I always do is get the broccoli in the steamer and I let it steam until it’s time to add it in.  I prefer my broccoli to be pulverized – I don’t personally like big chunks in my soup, so I let it steam during the entire prep time.  If you prefer bigger chunks, you will still need to steam, so get it going first thing!

Diced onion

Once I’ve got the broccoli in the steamer, I put 6 tablespoons of butter into my Dutch Oven on the stove-top on medium heat to melt.  while the butter is melting, I dice up my onion and get it ready to add into the soup.  I prefer small diced, but you can chop larger depending on your taste.  If you’re looking for a chunky soup, go with bigger pieces of both your broccoli and onion.

Translucent onions sauted in butter

You’re going to saute the diced onion for about 3 minutes until it’s translucent.  If you’re going with bigger pieces, you might want to go up to 5 minutes – just keep your eye on it and when the onion starts to become translucent its time to move on!

I use those 3-5 minutes to get my broth ready.  I boil my 3 cups of water in my electric kettle (you can boil in pot on stove if you don’t have one!) and pour it into my measuring cup with two bullion cubes, this gives the cubes the chance to dissolve before adding into the soup.  If your using ready-made broth, your good to go and don’t have to follow this extra step.

After the 3-5 minute saute of your onions, you’ll then add the 1/4 cup of all

Golden-Brown roux

purpose flour – this will create your roux.  Get that stirred in and, keeping the heat still at medium, you will leave this on for another 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.  You’re looking for the roux to slightly golden-brown to add extra deliciousness!

Once you’ve got that nice golden-brown color, you’ll then add in your 2 cups of half & half.  Pour it in slowly and stir as you’re adding to the roux mixture.  Once the half & half is incorporate, continue to stir as the mixture thickens.  You can turn up the temp on the stove, but only small increments as you don’t want this mixture boiling, just a little hotter to help thicken.  This should only take a minute or two – you can then add in your seasonings!

bay leaves, nutmeg, salt and pepper

Get the bay leaves, nutmeg and salt and pepper mixed in – and yes, that is nutmeg.  When I first heard about adding nutmeg to this soup I said Whaaaat?  That can’t be right – but it is – it is SOOO right!  Its a very small amount (trust me, don’t add extra!) and it adds a wonderful flavor!  The soup wouldn’t be the same without it!  Once your seasonings are added in, you can then pour in your 3 cups of chicken broth.  Get everything incorporated and leave on that “just above medium” temp to simmer while you get your broccoli ready to add in.  FYI – you’ll be removing those two bay leaves just before adding the broccoli to your soup!

SPECIAL NOTE:  This is where you have a fantastic Cream of BLANK soup base – Yes, we’re making simple broccoli cheddar soup, but must admit I’ve used this base to change it up and instead, put in cooked wild rice and cooked chicken chunks to make a fantastic chicken and wild rice soup.  The options are endless, so hold onto this base recipe and create something new!

My broccoli has been steaming for about 20 minutes now while I’ve been prepping the soup – because I’ve started with frozen spears, its going to be pretty mushy, which is what I want.  Again, if you want larger chunks – you’re still okay, just go a little “gingerly” with this next step!  I’m going to use my potato masher to mash up the spears.  Depending on the size of chunks you want – mash away!  Mine will be pulverized by choice…

Just before I add my mashed broccoli into the soup base, I’ll need to take out those two bay leaves.  Once removed, you can then add the broccoli to your soup base and get that stirred in.  You’re in the home stretch!  All that’s left to do is get that 2.5 cups of shredded cheddar cheese mixed in to turn it into simple broccoli cheddar soup.  I’ll tell you that everyone in our household is a big-time cheese lover… so, the first few times I made this, I played with putting a little “extra” cheese in – I don’t recommend this – as much as we all love cheese here, you can overdo it on this recipe!  Stick with the 2.5 cups and you can add a little cheese to the top for garnish if you feel you want a little extra.  Too much cheese also will ruin its creamy texture and make it a gloopy-oily mess, so trust me on this one!

That’s it!  You’ve now just made simple broccoli cheddar soup in 30 minutes!  I like to garnish mine with a bit of shredded cheese and a couple breadsticks or croutons, but honestly – it disappears in this house with or without the garnish.  This batch was made last night and there is only 1 cup of it left today – yeah… it’s that good!

Simple Broccoli Cheddar Soup!

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