Broccoli-Cheddar Soup, Similar to Panera’s Recipe

There is something so beautiful about waking up knowing there are Good Leftovers in the fridge. Today I have leftover Broccoli Cheddar Soup to look forward to, from this Taste of Home recipe:


Cheesy Broccoli Soup in a Bread Bowl Recipe


  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water or additional chicken stock
  • 2-1/2 cups (10 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 bread bowls


  • 1. In a 6-qt. stockpot, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 6-8 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in broccoli, carrot, stock, cream, bay leaves and nutmeg; bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, 10-12 minutes or until tender.
  • 2. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into soup. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove bay leaves; stir in cheese until melted. Stir in salt and pepper.
  • 3. For bread bowls, cut top off each loaf; carefully hollow out bottom of each, leaving a 1/4-in. shell (discard removed bread or save for another use). Serve soup in bread bowls. Yield: 6 servings.

(That whole part between sets of asterisks-lines is from


Isn’t it so annoying when people are like, “This was great! But I made it with this instead of that, and I left out the this, and I added that, and I used half again as much this,” and after awhile you’re like, “Why didn’t you just find a different recipe?”/”How can I possibly tell from your review if THIS recipe is any good or not?” Ahem. But anyway, I didn’t do bread bowls, I just put rolls on the side. And I used extra-sharp cheddar cheese instead of cheddar. And I used an entire 1-pound/5-cup bag of frozen broccoli florets (I’m not sure why the recipe estimate of ounces-to-cups is different than the estimate on the bag of frozen broccoli). And I used a big handful of pre-shredded carrot, because I happened to have that. And I used about half the amount of onion called for, because I am wary of onion. And I did happen to have a 6-qt stockpot, but there was a LOT of extra room in that pot.

Well! Anyway! This soup claims to be similar to Panera’s, and it’s been awhile since I’ve had Panera’s, but I would say this soup is at least within range of it. Also, it pleased me by being surprisingly easy to make. I’ve tried other soups where I work for an hour and a half just fussing with all the prep, and this one I started at 5:00 and it was ready by 5:40, and some of that was time I spent playing Candy Crush on my phone while supervising the simmer. I guess it would have taken longer if I’d cut up fresh broccoli florets and finely diced a carrot. And hadn’t used frozen pre-diced onion. And hadn’t had Paul mince the garlic and Rob shred the cheese. WHATEVER. But I can do all those things NEXT time TOO!

Oh! Also. The nutmeg looked weird to me in this recipe but, despite what you’d think after the paragraph about all the changes I made, I have a GENERAL preference for making the recipe as-written the first time I make it, so I went ahead and nutmegged it up—and there was nothing weird about it. I didn’t think, “Whoa, nutmeg” or whatever. In fact, it is possible my jar of nutmeg has gone off.

17 thoughts on “Broccoli-Cheddar Soup, Similar to Panera’s Recipe

  1. Val

    My all-time favorite macaroni and cheese recipe–Martha Stewart’s–calls for nutmeg too, and I similarly worried–if that is really the right word–when I added it the first time, but the end result doesn’t taste like nutmeg at all. I’ve made it without and have noticed the difference, though, so there you go. The bay leaves surprise me here, though! How interesting. I bought a huge bunch of broccoli for a stir-fry last night, so I’m now planning to make your soup tomorrow night. :)

    Work woes any better? ‘Have been thinking of you.

  2. Judith

    Right with you on the not-helpful I-replaced-everything comments. Which is why I found this hilarious:

    I put nutmeg on/in many things that I cook, but that’s because my parents also used it a lot and it never appeared as an unusual ingredient. I find it sort of rounds out the taste of many things, without appearing dominant (or even being really noticeable), which you wouldn’t expect when smelling it. It seems like it would be more noticeable, like cloves or so.

    If you have nutmeg powder in a jar, it’s possible it has lost much of its aroma. It keeps longer if you use a single nutmeg with a grater, and I actually prefer that, because I can be more exact with the amount I put into the dish.

    1. Squirrel Bait

      I love that Toast article! I quote the one about raspberry yogurt every time I make something from Allrecipes.

    2. Carmen

      This article is fantastic. My favourite one was “Due to dietary restrictions, I am only able to eat Yatzhee dice. I made the necessary substitutions, and it turned out great.”

      This soup looks great. I may have to make it this week as well. I have lots of Taste of Home recipe books/magazines and while some recipes make me shudder in terms of the sheer amount of butter/sugar/lard, etc., there are a huge amount of just plain good recipes in there. I think I should drag one out again and have a look through for something new.

      1. Judith

        My favourite is the „I just started Paleo yesterday, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to make this without the ingredients.” But they are all pretty on the nose, hard to pick just one!

        I actually found the article again by googling „this recipe is terrible“, because that phrase had stuck in my brain.

      2. Judith

        Oh, and do read the comments! That article is one of the rare cases where they make it all even funnier.

  3. Life of a Doctor's Wife

    This sounds pretty amazing – so little prep! It is so nice to be able to truly just toss things into a pot and just cook it. I was thinking the other day how very grateful I am for convenience foods. Ten years ago I never would have looked twice at a jar of minced garlic but now I refuse to let it get below a certain level without ensuring I have a backup. Let someone else do the chopping!

    Also I am very wary of nutmeg so I would not have faulted you for leaving it out. Just in case you needed someone to release you from that particular obligation to recipes. :-)

  4. LeighTX

    This post and Judith’s link both made me laugh–I am the WORST about changing up recipes. Every single time I send a recipe to my mom or a friend I have to annotate it: “This is a great recipe! I used ground beef instead of steak tips, added onion, left out the jalapenos and tomatoes, and used a third less broth.”

  5. liz

    I tend to get three or four recipes together, and do like “I like this thing about this one and that thing about that one, ” and then I annotate the one I used the most of.

  6. Shawna

    Ugh, I posted a recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and the commenters were all “I added spice X [Note: in fact I think it was nutmeg!] to make these muffins taste more like pumpkin pie and they were great!”.

    But they’re not supposed to taste like pumpkin pie!

  7. laura

    Nutmeg is a yes in lots of things, I always go??? and add and then think !!!!! so good. In my mind it’s sort of like an under spice, doesn’t play a huge roll but definitely lays the groundwork for deep flavor.

  8. Tracy

    My husband loved this soup until the cashier helpfully told him it’s not vegetarian (we are) do you think if we swapped vegetable stock it would taste similar?

    1. StephLove

      I made it yesterday with vegetable stock and it was fine. I also didn’t have enough broccoli so I subbed cauliflower for half of it and it made a nice addition.

      And I’m with you Swistle, I’m already thinking about leftovers for lunch! That intro was probably what inspired me to try it.

  9. allison

    I’m wary of onion too! And I love the word ‘florets’. I like broccoli, but for some strange reason broccoli cheese soup always smells faintly like vomit to me. It’s distressing.

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