Cozy, comforting, and best of all: quick! This Instant Pot broccoli cheddar soup has all the hallmarks of a great weeknight fall and winter meal.
While this recipe isn't an exact copycat - it will definitely remind you of the Panera version, which, is amazing.
Instant Pot broccoli cheddar soup is everything you know and love about the classic - but faster. Perfect for a winter weeknight!
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Frequently Asked Questions
It depends on how you make it. There's lots of veggies in it, but the large amount of dairy content, including milk and cheese can make it high in fat. You can definitely adjust this by using skim milk, and lower fat cheese.
It will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge.
Yup! It will stay good for up to three months. Just make sure you use an airtight container.
It can be - it depends on the recipe. The main ingredients are all vegetarian - you just have to watch for the stock. Some recipes are made with chicken stock, others with vegetable stock.
Whisk 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Add to the soup at the end of cooking, and stir until thickened.
Why You're Going to Love this Recipe
- Broccoli and cheddar is a flavor match made in heaven. It just can't be beat.
- It's so nostalgic! I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, I was a brat and hated it when mom made homemade cheddar soup. I didn't like it then but I sure do now.
- You can swap out the type of cheese (I know I know, but you can. Try using a sharp old cheddar for a more complex flavor).
- Cooking it in the Instant Pot makes it SO EASY.
- And it's also made in one pot!
- And it's so fast, you pressure cook it for like three minutes.
- There's a couple of different ways you can make this soup even thicker and cozier. We're using a shredded potato to give it some start, but you can also mix in a slurry.
The ingredient list for this soup is pretty basic, but there's a few preparation curveballs thrown in, so let's go through the list.
- Chopped onion: This can be in just a rough dice, no worries.
- Shredded or matchstick carrots: you can also dice these - we're just trying to make sure that the carrots, celery and onions sauté at close to same speed.
- Garlic: depending on how you want your soup to come out, you can either mince the garlic, or just slice it. If you like a smooth soup, we're going to be blending it anyway, so no need to dice. If you like a chunkier soup, then I would cut it smaller.
- Shredded potato: this is just an old trick I like to use for soups and stews as a thickener. The starch from the potato adds some body to the soup.
- Fresh broccoli: just cut into florets, nothing special here.
- Unsalted chicken or veggie broth: You can use whatever you prefer. Both are great options for a soup base.
- Milk: I find that 2% or whole milk works best in this recipe, but if you're trying to cut back on calories, by all means, go with skim.
- Grated cheddar cheese: this is the classic pairing, but feel free to swap with aged cheddar, smoked cheddar, or your favorite cheese.
How to Make Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This is definitely a very easy process, but stick with me, because there's a couple of different steps to it.
Step 1: Sauté your Veggies
Set your Instant Pot to the sauté setting. Wait for it to heat up, then add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot. Add your onion, carrot, celery, and shredded potato. Sauté until soft, and starting to become translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
Step 2: Cook the Garlic
Add you garlic, and cook until fragrant - About 1 minute.
Step 3: Add the Broccoli & Broth
Add your broccoli and broth, and give it a good stir, making sure everything is nice and mixed together.
Step 4: Pressure Cook
Cancel the sauté function on the Instant Pot. Set to pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. Secure the lid and let the Instant Pot do it's thing.
Let the soup naturally release for five minutes before releasing the rest of the steam.
Step 5: Blend
This step is optional. You can blend as much or as little of the soup as you want, depending on how chunky you like it. I would recommend blending at least half of it though for a beautiful thick texture. You can do this either in a stand blender, or with an immersion blender.
Step 5: Add the Dairy
Cancel the keep warm function, and switch back to the sauté function on the Instant Pot.
Add your milk and cheddar cheese, stirring occasionally until the cheese is melted and the soup is hot. At this point, I would also add your salt and pepper. One teaspoon was perfect for me, but taste it and make sure you adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Step 6: Garnish & Serve
Garnish with more shredded cheddar cheese, and some sour cream if you want. Serve piping hot.
Making it On the Stovetop
Follow steps 1-3, but instead of using an Instant Pot, sauté vegetables in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once you add the broth, bring the whole pot to a boil. Turn it down so it's simmering, and then cook for 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is soft.
Blend the soup, put it back on medium heat, and add the milk, cheddar and salt and pepper.
Garnish and serve.
Tips and Tricks
- If you like a thicker soup, you can whisk one tablespoon of cornstarch and one tablespoon of cold water together, and add it to the soup at the end. Let it thicken for 3-5 minutes before serving.
- You can definitely swap out fresh for frozen broccoli in this recipe to make it even easier. You might find it's a bit more watery at the end due to the extra moisture though. You can combat this by letting it thaw before you add it (although it's really not a huge deal and won't make too much of a difference).
- I like using unsalted broth, because it allows me to control how much salt flavor to add. I also wait until closer to the end of this recipe (after we add the cheese) to add it and then taste to adjust the seasoning. I ALWAYS encourage you to taste test and adjust seasoning in recipes as you go (if possible of course, please don't do this with meatloaf).
Here's a couple of things I love serving with broccoli cheddar soup to make it a full meal:
Freezing & Storage
This soup will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
To reheat it, I would gently warm it in a saucepan over medium heat. You can also do it in the microwave though - no biggie.
Freeze it in an airtight container for up to three months. When you're reheating it after frozen though, definitely do it in a saucepan and whisk as it's heating up in case the milk and water have separated.
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Instant Pot
- Blender or Immersion Blender
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 medium carrot grated
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 medium potato peeled & grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 C broccoli fresh or frozen
- 3 C chicken stock or veggie stock
- 2 C milk
- 2 C cheddar cheese grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Set your Instant Pot to the "Saute" function, and let it heat.
- Add the oil, onion, carrot, celery and potato. Sauté until veggies are starting to become tender and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the broccoli and the stock. Cancel the sauté function, and set to "Pressure Cook" on high for 3 minutes. Secure the lid and allow the Instant Pot to do it's thing.
- Once pressure cooking it's finished, allow to naturally release steam for 5 minutes, then vent.
- Carefully blend the soup using an immersion blender or a traditional stand blender (you can do as much or as little as you want, it just depends on how chunky you like your soup!).
- Add the milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Switch the Instant Pot back to the sauté function so it heats the soup through quickly. After that, you can switch to "keep warm" until you're ready to serve.
- Serve with additional grated cheddar and sour cream, if desired.