Instant Pot Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup get's done in a jiffy at the fraction of the cost, it's time to ditch Panera! Loaded with extra sharp cheddar cheese, fresh broccoli florets & amazing seasonings, this Pressure Cooker Broccoli Cheese soup will keep you hooked.
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Note: This post has been updated with reheating directions!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup Instant Pot
The Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar soup is the perfect balance of creamy, rich, cheesy flavors with the right amount of chunky texture from the broccoli that makes this soup one of the best Instant Pot Soups to try.
You can make it under 30 minutes just like this Instant Pot Tortellini Soup. Gluten free, extra creamy, extra cheesy, & frozen broccoli options provided at the bottom of the post.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Find the Ingredients with actual measurements at the bottom of the post. The list below is just a reference.
- Broccoli: Fresh Broccoli heads roughly chopped into small florets.
- Carrots: Dice into thin half moons or shredded.
- Aromatics: Onion & garlic. Yes, we love garlic in this soup. Do not skip it, it creates a flavor bomb!
- Cheddar Cheese: Extra Sharp is what we used and we chose pre-shredded cheddar cheese this time. We did not have any problem of cheese not uniformly melting etc.
- Dairy: Half and Half rewards this soup with the perfect creamy flavor & texture! It creates a flavor that's not overwhelming as heavy cream and not subtle as milk. However, you can use whatever you prefer, the texture of the soup will not be the same.
- Seasonings: Ground Black Pepper, Paprika (oh that amazing touch of smokiness, do not skip it), Dijon mustard paste (if you wanna take the soup to that another level, we so recommend this ingredient), salt.
- Roux: All purpose flour + unsalted butter. Acts as a thickener. For gluten free soup option sub the roux with cornstarch slurry.
- Liquid: Better than Bouillon dissolved in warm water is what we chose. Aamazing flavors! Vegetarians sub it with veggie broth.
- Garnish: A few blanched small broccoli florets and some extra sharp cheddar cheese grated.
Tips for Success
- Best Time to add Roux: You can cook the roux along with the onion (this recipe) or add it later after pressure cooking the soup. In that case, you have to quickly mix the flour and butter in a skillet on the stove top to make the roux & than add it back to the soup.
- Newer Models of Instant Pot: If you own the newer models it's better to add the roux after pressure cooking the soup (before adding the dairy). Newer models are sensitive & at times leads to the BURN error.
- Incorporating the Cheese: Make sure to turn off the Instant Pot before mixing in the cheese. Otherwise, the cheese might turn grainy. Stir in the cheese in 2-3 batches, this helps to uniformly incorporate the cheese in the soup.
- Soup consistency: A thick Broccoli Soup is what we prefer and the flour butter quick roux amazingly helps thicken the soup.
- Chunky Broccoli Cheddar Soup : We do not prefer creamy pureed broccoli soup. Hence, we kept the soup chunky with lots of good texture. I used a potato masher to mash a few cooked broccoli & carrots for added creaminess.
- Dairy: For extra creamy soup you may sub the half and half with heavy cream and for a lighter version add milk instead.
- Best flavor: Use better than Bouillon. It adds a gazillion more good flavors. We love it and do not miss the seasonings like paprika, dijon mustard, black pepper.
Find the detailed step by step recipe along with measurements + Video at the bottom of the post.
Step #1 Saute aromatics & make the roux
Note: If you own an older model Instant Pot follow the steps below. However, newer model Instant Pot owners skip making the roux now (skip the flour) add the stock directly after sauteing the onion. Add the roux after the pressure cooking cycle.
Saute the onion + garlic over NORMAL heat settings on SAUTE function. Add the flour (only if you own an older model Instant Pot, otherwise skip the flour now) and saute for 30 seconds.
Pour chicken stock in batches and stir very well until the flour fully incorporates. There should not be any lumps at all.
Step #2 Pressure Cook Broccoli
Add carrots and all the seasonings. Mix well and also de-glaze the pot very well scraping the sides and the bottom of the pot with a spatula to loosen any stuck food particles. This will prevent the BURN error and it's a very important step!
Throw in the broccoli florets, give everything a good stir. Cancel the SAUTE, close the lid, seal the valve and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for just 1 minute followed by a quick pressure release (QPR).
Note: Now, if you own a newer Instant Pot model you need to add the roux now (do not add it before the pressure cooking cycle). Make the roux in a skillet on the stove top and add it to the soup. Stir well to fully incorporate it. Bring the soup to a simmer on Low at Saute function.
Step #3 Add Dairy & Cheese
Add the cream. Mix well. Grab a potato masher and mash a few cooked brocolis if you prefer a soup with added body but still chunky.
Turn off the Instant Pot. Add the cheese in 2-3 batches and stir well with a spatula to help incorporate and melt the cheese very well into the soup.
Check for seasoning and serve hot. Enjoy!
What goes with Broccoli Cheddar soup?
A light salad, a few pieces of crusty bread or lightly toasted bread or even a simple coleslaw goes very well with Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
However, this soup is quite heavy and you can make a meal out of it even if you do not accompany it with any side at all.
You can store the Instant Pot Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup for upto 3 days in the refrigerator. Always use clean and dry air tight containers.
How to reheat
Microwave Oven: You can reheat the instant pot broccoli cheddar soup in the microwave oven until warm or hot.
Stove-top: You can also reheat this soup in a heavy bottomed saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat. Stir the soup frequently to prevent it from burning. You can also add a splash of water, milk or cream before reheating the broccoli cheese soup. This help to thin out the fridge cold soup!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup becomes grainy if the heat if too high while mixing in the cheese. The proteins in the cheese tighten up and releases out the fat resulting in a curdled or grainy consistency. Make sure to turn off the heat and than add the cheese & stir to incorporate it well.
Yes, broccoli cheddar soup has carbs to some extent because we use starches as thickeners like all purpose flour.
The adding of a simple roux like butter flour mixture helps thicken the soup. You can also add cornstarch mixed in water to thicken the soup.
Pressure cooking the dairy leads to a curdled soup. Add the dairy always after the pressure cooking cycle is over & simmer the soup for few minutes over low heat. Also, the cheese when added at high temperature curdles up.
Yes, it can be frozen, but, there's a greater chance of the dairy separating leading to a curdled consistency. However, re-heating the soup gradually at low temperature and adding back some dairy in slots helps revive the soup. I would not recommend freezing the soup, it tastes best when made fresh!
More instant pot soups you'll love
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- Instant pot creamy chicken noodle soup.
- Instant pot chicken wild rice soup.
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- Instant pot Olive Garden zuppa toscana copycat.
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- Creamy chicken tortellini soup.
- Herbed white bean and sausage stew.
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Instant Pot Panera Broccoli Cheddar SoupPrint Recipe Pin Rate
Watch Recipe Video
- 4.5 cups Broccoli (**made into small florets, stem discarded. I used 2 broccoli heads.)
- ¾ cup carrots (**diced into half moons or use shredded, about 2 medium carrots)
- 1 cup onion (**roughly chopped yellow onion)
- 1 tsp garlic (**minced)
- 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 4 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 3.5 cups chicken stock (**I used better than bouillon, Vegetarians use Veggie broth.)
- 2 cups Half and Half
- 2 cups cheddar cheese (**I used extra sharp)
- Set the Instant Pot on SAUTE at NORMAL heat settings. Add butter and when it melts immediately add the onion and the garlic. Saute for about 1 min or until they begin to turn limp.
- Reduce the heat to LOW. Add the flour now only if you own an older model Instant Pot as newer models are sensitive (newer model Instant Pot owners skip this STEP & move to the next step and add the roux after the pressure cooking cycle is over , at #STEP 8). Stir briskly and saute for 30 seconds. **Newer model Instant Pot owners Read NOTES. below for roux instructions.
- Now, add the chicken stock in 2-3 batches and mix very well with the help of the spatula to fully incorporate the flour in every stage. There should not be any lumps at all.
- Next, add the carrots and all the seasonings. De-glaze the pot very well scraping the sides and the bottom of the pot so that there are absolutely no bits & crumbs stuck at the bottom of the pot. This will prevent the BURN error!
- CANCEL the SAUTE function. Add the Broccoli florets and give everything a very good mix.
- Close the lid. Seal the Valve and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 1 min.
- Once the pressure cooking cycle is over the Instant Pot will begin to beep. Immediate perform a Quick pressure Release (QPR) by moving the valve manually from the SEALING to the VENTING position.
- When the floating pin drops open the lid carefully and add the room temperature or warm half & Half (warm it up slightly in the microwave oven). Do not add fridge cold dairy.
- Turn back the SAUTE function & set it on LOW. Give everything a good mix and grab a potato masher and mash a few cooked broccoli. This will add a lot of body to the soup. Bring the soup to a simmer.
- When the soup begins to just simmer, immediately Turn OFF the Instant Pot.
- Now, add the cheese in 2-3 batches and mix very well until the cheese fully melts and incorporates into the soup.
- Check for seasoning. You can always add more black pepper & salt according to your preference. Serve hot. Enjoy!
- Measuring Units used, 1 cup = 240 ml & 1 teaspoon = 5 ml.
- New model Instant Pot owners Roux Instruction: As newer model Instant Pots are sensitive, I would recommend that you do not add the roux before pressure cooking cycle. Prepare the 4 tbsp flour+4 tbsp butter mixture in a skillet over medium low heat. Add this roux once the pressure cooking cycle is over, #STEP 8 just before adding the half & half. Bring the soup to a simmer than add the dairy and follow the recipe as such. In this case you need about 2 tbsp more butter to saute the onions & garlic.
- Old Model Instant Pot Owners Roux Instructions: You can follow today's recipe as such, i.e. add the roux before pressure cooking cycle. I own an older model and never have had any BURN error.
- Gluten free Broccoli Cheddar Soup: Replace the flour butter roux with a simple corn starch slurry, 1:1 ratio cornstarch mixed with water to form a slurry. I would begin with 2 tbsp and increase the amount if need be.
- Can you Freeze the soup? I would not recommend freezing the soup as the dairy and cheese might curdle. However, several people do successfully freeze it for months. You may give it a try after doing your own research and let us know how it worked for you 🙂
- Re-Heating Instructions: You can re-heat the fridge cold Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a heavy bottomed pot or saucepan over medium low heat stirring frequently. The soup thickens up a lot in the fridge.
- Serving Tips: You may blanch or steam a few small broccoli florets and garnish the soup with 2-3 pieces (each bowl), more cheddar cheese and more crushed black pepper.