Panera (Inspired) Broccoli Cheddar Soup

broccoli cheddar soup

Comfort Food Week continues here at The Keenan Cookbook. After that snow storm that blew into the North East, Rachel and I decided we needed some good comfort food to cheer and warm us up after the unpleasant shock of snow in October. Yesterday we shared an Oven Roasted Chicken, which fills not only your belly but the house with warmth and a delicious aroma. Today we are sharing this delicious Panera (Inspired) Broccoli Cheddar Soup – perfect to warm you up at the end of a cool Fall day.

broccoli cheddar soup

Rachel and I are big fans of Panera Bread, it being our date spot during college. Even after getting married we would still treat ourselves now and then, or when on the run, to soup from Panera. Now with Baby Boy in our lives and running the show, we don’t really eat out much.

Rachel surprised me last month with a big pot of Panera (Inspired) French Onion Soup when I got home from work.  So last weekend (the one before that ridiculous snow storm) when Rachel had to attend a looong work conference on a Sunday, I decided to surprise her with this Panera (Inspired) Broccoli Cheddar soup.

broccoli cheddar soup

Working on the weekend is never fun, but it’s even less fun when it keeps you away from Baby Boy for the better part of the day. So while Rachel attended her conference, Baby Boy and I went shopping for Broccoli Cheddar soup ingredients, including a stop at Panera for some sourdough bread bowls. I prepared this soup while Baby Boy bounced away happily in his jumparoo, smiling and cooing at me as he played and I cooked.

(Note from Rachel: When I try to cook, the Baby likes to give off ear-piercing shrieks from the jumparoo until I make eye contact. Then he laughs. If I don’t look, he keeps shrieking until I do. Not so conducive to cooking!)

The recipe is easy enough that I was able to get it ready fairly quickly, so I could get back to hanging out and playing with Baby Boy. And when Rachel walked in at the end of the day,  she was greeted not only by the smiling faces of her two boys, but the delicious aroma of Broccoli Cheddar soup.

broccoli cheddar soup

I lightened this recipe up from the original, reducing the amount of butter it called for, and swapping half and half for skim milk. I also used my own homemade chicken stock that I made from the left over oven roasted chicken, though any low-sodium chicken stock should do.

This soup is perfect for a chilly day or bad day. If you need comfort food, we recommend it!

Comfort Food Week isn’t over yet. Stay tuned to see whose recipe we feature on tomorrow’s Taste Test Thursday!

Recipe: Panera (Inspired) Broccoli Cheddar Soup


  • 1/2 medium chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups fat free milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 lb fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper


  1. Sauté onion in non stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the milk.
  3. Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper. Transfer contents to a blender and pulse until desired consistency (if at all). Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

broccoli cheddar soup

What is your favorite comfort food?

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