Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

Creamy, filling, and packed with layered broccoli flavor. Photographs and video: J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Charring broccoli florets and simmering the stems builds in layers of different types of broccoli flavor.
  • Adding a potato to the simmering soup provides a natural thickener that helps the cheese emulsify and gives the soup a creamy texture.

In the world of cheaty foods, broccoli cheese soup has always seemed like one of the cheatiest. There's nothing wrong with owning it: Cheese is delicious, and not every single lunch has to be virtuous. Still, I sometimes wish that the broccoli part of the whole thing was taken a little more seriously, if only for the purely selfish reason that I love broccoli. My goal here was to create a recipe for broccoli cheese soup that was as comforting as the ultra-cheesy kind you typically find, but simultaneously really tasted like broccoli.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 6 servings

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  • 1 1/2 pounds (700g) broccoli

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter

  • 1 medium onion, sliced (about 6 ounces; 170g)

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced (about 4 ounces; 120g)

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 2 cups (475ml) water, or homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken stock

  • 3 cups (700mlwhole milk

  • 1 small russet potato, peeled and sliced (about 4 ounces; 120g)

  • 12 ounces (340g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated (see note)

  • 8 ounces (240g) deli-style American cheese, diced (see note)

  • 1 teaspoon (3g) mustard powder

  • Dash of hot sauce, such as Frank's RedHot


  1. Separate broccoli into florets and stems. Cut florets into bite-size pieces and set aside. Roughly chop stems and reserve separately.

  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add broccoli florets and cook, without moving, until charred on the bottom, about 1 minute. Stir, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until tender and charred on several surfaces, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

  3. Return Dutch oven to medium heat and add butter, onion, carrot, and broccoli stems. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes, lowering heat if necessary. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  4. Add water or chicken stock, milk, and potato and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli and potato are completely tender, about 30 minutes.

  5. In a large bowl, toss both cheeses together along with mustard powder. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a countertop blender, blend soup, adding cheese a handful at a time, until completely smooth. Stir in hot sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in reserved broccoli florets and pulse with blender a few more times until a few pieces are broken down, but most bite-size pieces remain. Serve immediately.

Special equipment

Immersion blender or countertop blender, rimmed baking sheet


Look for deli-style American cheese at the deli counter of your supermarket. You can use any combination of cheddar, American, and other young, moist cheeses, like Jack or Colby.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
615 Calories
44g Fat
29g Carbs
30g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 615
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 56%
Saturated Fat 23g 114%
Cholesterol 115mg 38%
Sodium 1509mg 66%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 81mg 403%
Calcium 1157mg 89%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 941mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)