Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup is loaded with the goodness of veggies and rich yummy cheese. Super flavorful, and one of my all-time favorites. If you love Panera, I think you’ll love this easy 10 minute prep soup!
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Fast and Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup
My Crockpot Broccoli Cheese Soup is a (very) hands-off dinner recipe. Just because life can get busy and chaotic doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a healthy and satisfying meal.
Our favorite Panera broccoli and cheese soup gets rave reviews. But one question I get often is “can I make it in a slow cooker.”
Well, the answer is now YES.
- Set it, shut it, forget it. Once you close the slow cooker, you’re pretty much done. All the complex and yummy flavors will develop inside the pot while you wander off, ticking other tasks off your to-do list.
- 10 minutes of prep. You can assemble and prep all the ingredients in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker and let it cook away.
- Easy to clean. Another benefit of this recipe is that clean-up is minimal. Thank you for that, too, slow cooker.
If you love Panera, we’ve got some other favorites you may enjoy. Our Panera Mac and Cheese is a huge hit!
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Broccoli – Frozen broccoli saves a lot of time as you don’t have to wash, clean, and cut it. It also saves time you’d otherwise spend cleaning the mess after prepping fresh broccoli.
- Onion – Yellow onions form the base of the soup’s flavor. They add a slight sweetness to the soup.
- Celery – It adds a bit of texture to the soup.
- Garlic Powder, Nutmeg, and Black Pepper – They add layers of flavor to the soup. Feel free to skip any or add more of what you like.
- Cream Cheese
- Chicken Broth – You can use homemade broth or store-bought.
- Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base – It has a richer and more robust flavor than regular bouillon since it’s made with roasted chicken.
- Evaporated Milk – Using evaporated milk instead of regular milk prevents the soup from splitting in the slow cooker.
- All-purpose Flour – It helps thicken the soup while retaining its smooth texture.
- Parmesan Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese – Choose a good quality, sharp cheddar for the best taste.
- Kosher Salt
Slow Cooker Instructions
I prefer to make this recipe in a slow cooker because it requires very little hands-on effort. Here are the easy instructions,
- Combine and cook. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker except salt, cheddar, and parmesan. Cover and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours.
- Adjust the texture. Blend the soup using an immersion blender or potato masher until you get the desired consistency.
- Add the cheese. Add parmesan and cheddar. Then stir until melted. Add salt to taste.
- Serve. Turn off the slow cooker and let the soup rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Tips and Tricks
- Shred your own cheese. Freshly shredded cheese melts into the soup so much better than the pre-shredded stuff you’ll find at the store. This is mostly because pre-shredded cheese is covered in an anti-clumping agent.
- Let the soup sit before serving. Letting the soup sit for about 15 minutes before serving allows the flavors to develop further and lets the cheese melt, making the soup thicker.
- Adjust the soup’s consistency. Slow-cooker soup tends to be thinner than stovetop soup. If you prefer a thicker soup, mix 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch (or all-purpose flour) with 1 tablespoon of cold water, and then add this slurry into the soup during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Alternatively, you can increase the amount of cheese.
- Make it vegetarian. Make the soup vegetarian by swapping the chicken broth and chicken base with vegetable broth and vegetable base.
- Add more texture. Garnish the soup with bacon bits, chives, or spring onions to add a slightly chewy and crunchy texture to it.
- Spice things up. Add red pepper flakes while making the soup or when serving the soup.
- Make it in the Instant Pot. Be sure to try our Instant Pot Broccoli cheese soup next!
Homemade Broccoli and Cheese Soup is the perfect excuse to make a batch of Olive Garden Breadsticks or Dinner Rolls to dunk into the soup. Or you can take it a step further with my Cheesy Garlic Bread.
Don’t forget to make a homemade Olive Garden salad too. The perfect soup, salad and breadsticks at home!
Store the cooled soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Make sure you adjust the soup’s consistency and reheat it properly before serving.
Yes. Just make sure you cool the soup properly before storing it in a freezer-safe airtight container or bag. Then you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
That’s completely fine. When you reheat the leftover soup, try to do it on the stovetop to heat it all the way through. Add some chicken broth or water to thin the soup to your desired consistency. Also, remember to taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
To add some spice to this soup, throw in 2-3 minced garlic cloves. You can also add a couple of bay leaves while cooking and remove them before serving. Some other spices that go well with this broccoli cheese soup are paprika, oregano, cumin, or thyme.
More Easy Dinner Recipes
- Spaghettios and Meatballs
- One Pot Chili Mac
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Egg Salad Recipe
- Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken
Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 16 ounces frozen broccoli
- ¾ cup chopped yellow onion (1 small onion)
- ¾ cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons Better than Boullion Chicken Base
- 1 can evaporated milk (12 ounce)
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (optional to taste)
To make in slow cooker:
- In a large, 6 quart slow cooker, add broccoli, onion, celery, garlic powder, nutmeg, black pepper, cream cheese, chicken broth, chicken base, evaporated milk, and flour. Stir to combine and cover.
- Cook soup on low for 3-4 hours, or until broccoli is fork tender.
- Use an immersion blender to help thicken the soup. Do not blend completely, just about half the broccoli (you can also use a potato masher if preferred).
- Add parmesan and cheddar cheeses to the soup. Stir until melted. Add up to 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, to taste. This will depend on the types of cheeses you have chosen. Turn off slow cooker and let soup sit for about 15 minutes before serving. This gives the soup time to thicken and cheese to melt.
To make on the stovetop:
- Add 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil to large soup pot or dutch oven. Saute onion and celery for 3-4 minutes, until softened but not browned.
- Add garlic, nutmeg, pepper, cream cheese, broth, chicken base, evaporated milk, and flour. Stir to combine. Add in frozen broccoli.
- Cook soup over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is tender. Do not boil soup, just simmer.
- Use an immersion blender to thicken soup by blending some of the broccoli. Turn off heat and add parmesan and cheddar cheeses. Stir until melted. Add salt and enjoy.
- We recommend shredding your own cheese for best texture and flavor. Choose a sharp cheddar, of good quality, for best results.
- Store soup in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Slow cooker soups tend to be thinner than stove top soup. If you prefer a thicker soup, in the slow cooker, either add more cheese or add an additional 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1 Tablespoon of water. Stir into the soup during the last hour of cooking.
- If using fresh broccoli, you’ll need about 4-5 cups of broccoli florets.
- Make it vegetarian by swapping out the chicken broth and chicken base for vegetable broth and vegetable base.
- See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.