The easiest instant pot Panera broccoli cheddar soup is made in minutes, so rich and comforting and absolutely delicious. Just as good if not better than Panera’s famous soup and so simple to make at home.
What’s so good about Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup?
One of the more popular Panera bread offerings, this instant pot broccoli cheddar soup is so delicious.
It’s creamy and rich, with broccoli, shredded carrot and seasonings in a creamy cheese base. Broccoli and cheese are such a natural pairing!
It’s a really simple soup to make, and is really filling and hearty.
The simple seasonings in this just highlight the natural flavors of the carrots, broccolis, and cheese.
Why make instant pot broccoli cheddar soup?
An instant pot makes soup so good! You can saute the onions and veggies, then pressure cook them all in an instant pot. The flavor is really intense from the pressure cooking, and the time is cut down significantly.
The keep warm function of an instant pot is super useful too. Once the soup finishes, the instant pot will automatically switch to keep warm mode and keep the soup warm for you until ready to serve.
Instant pot or not, this soup is absolutely delicious. So filling, creamy and cheesy. It’s more like a treat than soup! But still packed with veggies for that nutritional value.
Ingredients for copycat Panera broccoli cheddar soup:
Butter and olive oil: used to sauté the vegetables in and add some flavor.
Onion and garlic cloves: for aromatic flavor
Carrots: An essential part of Panera’s soup, the shredded carrots give lovely texture and visual appeal, plus a hint of sweetness to the soup. Don’t worry too much about getting super thin julienned carrots, regular grated carrots will do just fine. If you want to save on time, get these at the supermarket already shredded.
Broccoli: You can use fresh or frozen broccoli. My slight preference would be for fresh broccoli, but frozen broccoli is more affordable and saves on chopping time. It may be a little softer after cooking, but I don’t see this as an issue in a soup recipe.
Chicken or Vegetable Broth: If you want to keep this recipe vegetarian, you can definitely use vegetable broth. Either work equally well!
Spices and seasoning: I kept it super simple, with salt, pepper, paprika and a pinch of nutmeg. Nutmeg is optional, but I always think it compliments creamy sauces very well.
Melted butter and flour: These two ingredients mixed together will get our soup really nice and thick. They make a roux that you’ll stir into the other liquid ingredients to thicken it.
Shredded cheddar cheese: I like using yellow cheddar for the color, but you can also use a mix of white and yellow cheddar if that’s what you have on hand, something I frequently do.
Steps to making Instant Pot Panera broccoli cheddar soup:
- Turn instant pot to saute mode. Add the tbsp of butter and olive oil, and once hot, sautee the diced onions for a few minutes, then the garlic, carrot, and broccoli for another few minutes.
- Add the broth, then turn the instant pot to high pressure for 4 minutes. Make sure valve is sealed, and once cooking time is over, release the pressure immediately.
- Turn the instant pot back onto saute mode, and warm the milk and cream slightly in the microwave, this is so that the soup doesn’t separate when cold dairy is added to it. Add the milk/cream mixture, whisking, then stream in the melted butter/flour.
- Let the soup simmer for a few minutes while you whisk constantly to thicken. Add the cheddar cheese a little at a time, and stir until melted and combined.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup a little to combine and thicken. Alternately, you can leave it chunky and as is.
How to make copycat Panera broccoli soup on the stovetop:
Start off my sautéing the vegetables in the butter and oil like detailed in the recipe card. Once you add the chicken broth, add the milk and heavy cream alongside the broth. Stir in the melted butter/flour mixture and all the spices.
Reduce heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes until the broccoli is tender. Add the cheese, stir to melt, and remove from heat. Blend soup slightly with an immersion blender or leave it as is
FAQS and tips and tricks for soup success:
- If using fresh broccoli, cut into equal sized florets so they are evenly cooked
- Make sure not to add dairy until after the cooking process so it doesn’t curdle.
- Add cheese a little at a time to prevent graininess, stirring well between each addition.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly!
- To make the soup thicker, you can mix together 1 tbsp of cold water and 1 tbsp of cornstarch and add at the end of the cooking process while instant pot is on saute mode.
- Don’t do a mistake I commonly do and accidentally have the instant pot valve sent to vent while you’re trying to build up pressure! Make sure it’s sealed before you start cooking.
How to serve broccoli cheddar soup:
I like having a bowl of this with some toasted sourdough bread on the side. You could even serve this in a bread bowl for a really filling meal!
Storing leftover broccoli cheddar soup:
Leftover soup can be refrigerated tightly covered for 3 days.It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Either freeze in one big container, or divide it into individual portions and freeze. Wait for soup to cool (put it in the fridge) before freezing.To reheat frozen soup, let it thaw in the fridge (overnight or for a few hours) then place in a saucepan on the stove and heat on medium low. Whisk constantly while heating so that the milk and water combine again and they aren’t separated.
Instant Pot Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- heaped 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- pinch nutmeg
- 3-4 cups broccoli (fresh or frozen) 400g see note 1
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup whole milk 230g see note 2
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 250g
To thicken the soup:
- 1/4 cup butter, melted 56g
- 1/4 cup flour 31 g
- Turn the instant pot to saute mode. Melt the 1 tbsp of butter and oil then add the onion, and cook for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften.
- Add the carrot, garlic, and broccoli, and saute another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, (making sure valve is sealed) then turn the instant pot on high pressure for 4 minutes. Immediately release the pressure when cooking time is over.
- Warm the milk and cream slightly in the microwave, and separately mix together the melted butter and flour.
- Turn the instant pot back onto saute mode, then add the warm milk and cream, and the melted butter and flour mixture.
- Add all the spices, and mix in the shredded cheese a little at a time until smooth and melted.
- Blend the soup slightly with an immersion blender for a creamier soup, or keep it as is if you want a chunky soup. Enjoy!