If you love Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup, then you are going to love this easy homemade low carb Broccoli Cheddar Soup. It’s Keto-friendly, delicious and will become your favorite soup recipe!
There aren’t too many soups that get me really excited to make, but this Keto broccoli cheddar is one of the exceptions.
I’ve always loved Panera’s Cheddar Broccoli soup, but it’s full of gluten, and so many other additives that are not necessary at all.
I was determined to find a way to make this soup not only gluten-free but overall a much healthier version. The nice thing about this recipe is that I’ve solved both of these issues without sacrificing the flavor or taste.
It’s SO delicious, I promise you!!
Even for those of you who don’t typically like broccoli, give it a try it really might surprise you. My nephew who is not only gluten-free but who hates broccoli ended up loving this soup!
Yes, it’s technically keto, but even if you aren’t on the keto diet this soup is perfect for you. It’s going to be a go-to comfort soup that you and your family are going to want all winter long.
What is Broccoli Cheddar Soup?
Broccoli cheddar soup is a thick creamy soup full of fresh broccoli and cheese. Usually, it’s thickened using flour and cream.
It’s a great winter comfort food, perfect for dipping some nice fresh bread.
Cheddar broccoli soup is also a staple on the Panera Bread menu, but now this recipe will save you a lot of money since you will be making a big pot at home all the time.
Benefits of Broccoli
Ok, so we all know that broccoli is healthy…right? But do you know exactly how healthy it is?
Broccoli is apart of the cruciferous vegetable family and is a close relative to cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts.
Broccoli has sulforaphane which is a compound that is in cruciferous vegetables. It has been researched and studies that show sulforaphane has anti-cancer properties.
This is just some of the awesome stuff that’s in broccoli but there are many other vitamins and minerals, there’s really just too much to list.
Broccoli is high in nutrients and can help reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar control, and can boost immunity and help with heart health.
The bottom line is eating broccoli may enhance your health in different ways.
What Ingredients are in Broccoli Cheddar Soup?
Broccoli – 4 cups of fresh broccoli chopped into small pieces. I use both the tops and the stalks.
Cheddar Cheese – 2 cups of freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese. The more cheese you add the thicker and creamier it will make it.
Butter – One stick of butter is melted down and used to cook the veggies.
Onion, Celery & Shredded Carrots – ¼ cup of each is just enough to add some flavor. If you aren’t on keto then up the amount to ½ -¾ cup of each.
Chicken Broth – 3 cups of chicken broth. If you need it to be completely vegetarian, then use vegetable broth instead.
Heavy Cream – A small amount is needed, I only use about ½ cup. Now if carbs don’t matter then use half and half or use milk to make it fewer calories.
Spices – Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika
Xanthan Gum – When using xanthan gum always start off with a small amount. Start with ¼ tsp then add more for a thicker consistency.
What Cheese is the Best for Broccoli Cheddar Soup?
It seems pretty obvious by the name “Broccoli Cheddar Soup” that you would use cheddar cheese.
Cheddar has a lot of options…mild, sharp, extra sharp, white cheddar, orange cheddar. But what kind of cheddar cheese is best?
My go-to is always going to be a sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese. For this particular recipe, I always use an orange sharp cheddar.
Freshly grating it is always the best but it takes some time to do. However, if you are in a hurry then you can use a bag of pre-shredded cheddar cheese.
What’s the Best Broccoli for This Soup?
Fresh ingredients are always my favorite. So, of course, I’m going to tell you that fresh broccoli is the best option for this soup.
If organic is the same price as regular broccoli heads, then go for the organic option. But if it’s not on sale then I just buy regular heads of broccoli.
I buy the whole head and chop it up myself. It takes a couple of extra minutes, but it’s not hard at all.
Another option is to buy a bag of chopped broccoli florets. But it’s not usually the most cost-effective option.
Is Broccoli Cheddar Soup Keto?
This homemade broccoli cheddar soup is keto-friendly. Instead of using any flour I use 1 tsp xanthan gum to thicken it.
Also to make it keto, make sure you use heavy cream instead of milk because milk contains many more carbs.
To give you a nice example, 1 cup of Cheddar Broccoli Soup from Panera Bread is 19 carbs!
Whereas for 1 cup of my homemade cheddar broccoli soup, it’s only 5 NET Carbs. What a difference right?? You might not think that 1 cup is a lot but it’s actually pretty filling.
Is This Recipe Similar to Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup?
Yes!!! This recipe is just like Panera’s cheddar broccoli soup, actually maybe even better.
One of the best things about this homemade soup is that it’s so much healthier than Panera’s but you aren’t sacrificing the great texture and taste.
There isn’t any flour in this keto broccoli cheddar soup, just a very small amount of xanthan gum which is a low carb thickener. It’s made with all fresh ingredients and no hidden additives or fillers.
How to Make Keto Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This is a really easy recipe to make and perfect for beginners. Just follow our easy step by step instructions:
First, start off prepping all your veggies. Chop your broccoli, onion, and celery. Once it’s all chopped set aside.
In your pot, add 1 stick of butter followed by the onions and celery, shredded carrots and all of the spices. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Now add your chopped broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Once the broccoli has started to get a little darker in color, add 3 cups of chicken broth and ½ cup heavy cream.
Let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the broccoli is no longer hard or crunchy.
Add 1 tsp of xanthan gum, stir until mixed in.
Next, slowly add the shredded cheddar cheese while continuing to stir until the cheese has melted.
Cook for about another 10 minutes or until it’s reached your desired thickness.
Tips for Making the Best Cheddar Broccoli Soup
Chop the broccoli florets into small bite-size pieces
For best results shred your own cheese, it tends to be cheaper and melts better than the pre-shredded kind
If you want your soup pureed, put into a blender or use an immersion blender
Top with extra shredded cheese, bacon or scallions
If you want a protein then add some ham or chicken to the soup
How to Make it Creamier and Thicker?
One of the best parts about broccoli cheddar soup is that it’s thick and creamy, though sometimes you might want to increase it even more.
Here are a few tips for making your soup thicker and creamier without adding flour:
Xanthan Gum – a low carb thickener that is commonly used in low carb or gluten-free cooking and baking. Always start with a small amount…½ tsp at first. You can always add more if you need to.
More Cheese – the more cheese you add to the soup the thicker it will be. But keep in mind even though it will thicken it some, it won’t be as thick as if you added an actual thickener.
Simmer – this recipe contains cream, so the longer you let it simmer the thicker the cream will get.
Puree – you can use an immersion blender to thicken the soup. The pureed broccoli itself will act as a thickener.
How to Make it Smoother?
I like my cheddar broccoli soup to have small chunks of broccoli in it. But some of you might prefer their soup to be on the smoother side and not as chunky. So if that’s the case, then what you need to do is puree it.
You can transfer it to a blender, or the easier option is to use an immersion blender to puree it until it becomes smoother.
Different Variations on Cheddar Broccoli Soup
There are a few things that can be added or changed to this keto cheddar broccoli soup recipe if you are looking to mix things up.
Instead of broccoli, you can use cauliflower, or you can use half broccoli and half cauliflower
Adding chicken or ham will make it more of a filling meal
Add chopped sundried tomatoes
Use white cheddar cheese, or substitute with any cheese of your choice
What Toppings Can I Use?
Toppings are based on your own personal preference. So feel free to add what you like.
A few of my favorites are:
shredded cheddar cheese (it melts up and gets all cheesy!!)
Can I Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a Slow Cooker? In a Crock-Pot?
Making your soup in a slow cooker is totally an option but with any slow cooker recipe, it always takes more time.
Here are directions for cooking in the slow cooker:
Add chopped onion, celery, chopped carrots, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika to the slow cooker.
Pour in the chicken broth
Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
30 minutes before serving add cream, cheddar cheese, and xanthan gum. Stir well.
Cover and cook for another 30 minutes until soup has thickened.
Other Diets This Recipe is Good For
This is already keto-friendly, but what other diets is it ok for?
Considering that there is absolutely no flour it makes it gluten-free. But make sure that your chicken broth is gluten-free as well.
Speaking of chicken broth, unfortunately, since we use it, it doesn’t make your soup 100% vegetarian.
However, an easy fix to that problem is to replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and now your problem is solved.
What to Serve with Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Broccoli cheddar soup can be served as an appetizer or it can be your main meal. One of the best things to eat this soup with is fresh bread dipped right into your soup.
If you aren’t watching your carbs then get a loaf of crusty French or Italian bread. But if you’re watching your carbs then any toasted keto bread would be good too.
If you love Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup, then you are going to love this easy homemade Keto broccoli cheddar soup. It’s delicious, low carb and gluten-free and will become your new favorite soup recipe!
4 cups chopped broccoli
1 stick of butter
2 cupsshredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped celery
¼ cupshredded carrots
1 tspblack pepper
⅛ tspcayenne pepper
3 cupschicken broth
½ cupheavy cream
1 tspxanthan gum
Start by prepping all your veggies. Chop broccoli into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Then chop the onions and celery and set aside.
In a large soup pot, add butter, onions, celery, shredded carrots, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes while continuing to stir.
Now add the chopped broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
Once the broccoli has started to change color and has gotten darker, then it’s time to add chicken broth and heavy cream. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the broccoli is soft and no longer crunchy.
Slowly add the shredded cheddar cheese while continuing to stir. Once the cheese has been melted the sprinkle in xanthan gum and stir. Cook for another 10 minutes or so until it’s reached your desired thickness.
5 NET CARBS PER SERVING
For a thicker soup add more xanthan gum, more cheese, or puree it
To puree the soup, use a blender or immersion blender.
For fewer calories, replace the heavy cream with half and half or milk, but keep in mind the carbs will go up.
Variations can be: adding cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, scallions, chicken, or ham.