Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup that is perfectly thick, creamy, and delicious without any cream! If you love a broccoli cheese soup like I do, you’ll love this recipe. Made with simple real food ingredients and topped with smoky crispy bacon, this hearty soup is hard to beat!
Healthy broccoli cheddar soup! Yes, we’re doing it…we’re making a delicious broccoli cheddar soup made with simple real food ingredients, packed with veggies, and filled with flavor.
Broccoli cheddar is such a delicious soup and the Panera version is one of my favorites. I wanted to create a healthier version of the classic soup that was made with simple ingredients and so easy to make, even on a weeknight.
Watch How to Make This Recipe
This recipe uses pureed cauliflower to create a smooth and creamy soup base without the use of any extra milk or cream. A little crispy bacon on top brings everything together for the most delicious bite.
This soup is extra special because it is thick and creamy without the use of any cream, coconut milk, or thickeners. All of these real food ingredients come together to make a delicious soup that is perfectly satisfying.
Bacon: This is optional, but I mean you cannot go wrong with crispy bacon.
Veggies and Aromatics: This soup uses plenty of onion and fresh garlic to help create flavor. Of course, there are also grated carrots for that classic broccoli cheddar soup deliciousness.
Cauliflower: This soup gets its delicious creaminess from a secret ingredient – cauliflower! Once it’s blended, it creates a thick and creamy base for the rest of the soup without the use of any thickeners or cream.
Broccoli: Can’t have broccoli cheddar soup without plenty of fresh broccoli!
Chicken Broth: You could use veggie broth if you prefer!
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Extra sharp cheddar cheese has the most delicious flavor. You can use mild, if you prefer, but I love the flavor of sharp cheddar in this soup.
How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Step One: Start by heating a large dutch oven over medium heat and then add in the bacon lardons. Sauté the bacon until crisp, and then use a slotted spoon to carefully remove it from the pan.
Step Two: Next, add the minced garlic, diced onion, cauliflower florets, salt, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Sauté everything for three to four minutes until fragrant. Next, add three cups of chicken stock to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer. Let everything simmer for around fifteen to twenty minutes until the cauliflower florets are tender.
Step Three: Use a ladle to carefully transfer the soup to a high powered blender. Blend everything until until smooth, creamy, and there are no remaining lumps.
Step Four: Carefully pour the pureed soup base back into the pot. Next, stir in the remaining chicken broth, grated carrot, and chopped broccoli florets until well combined. Let the soup simmer for 5-10 minutes until the broccoli is tender.
Step Five: Lastly, stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until well combined and the cheese is thoroughly melted into the soup. Serve the soup warm topped with crispy bacon and sliced green onion.
How to Serve
I love to serve this soup with plenty of crispy bacon and green onion on top! If you want, you can also serve it with your favorite fresh bread or crackers on the side, although I truly think it is filling and hearty all on its own.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
You can store this soup in the fridge in an airtight container for three to four days. If you would like to freeze the soup, I recommend transferring it to a freezer safe container and then freezing for up to three months. When you are ready to reheat the soup, transfer it to the fridge to let the soup thaw and then reheat on the stovetop.
Tips and Tricks
I highly recommend shredding your own cheese for this recipe. Pre-shredded cheeses often contain stabilizers which make it harder for them to break down and melt. Instead, grab a block of your favorite cheddar cheese and use your box grater for freshly shredded cheese and the best results.
If you would like to make a vegan version of this soup – you can sauté the vegetables in olive oil instead of the bacon fat and use veggie broth instead of chicken broth. Although I have not tried it myself, when it comes to the cheese, you will likely able to use your favorite dairy-free cheese!
Be sure to blend the cauliflower and broth until completely smooth. This is going to form the base of the soup so you want it to be nice and creamy.
I hope you give this Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup a try! It’s the perfect spiced loaf and the cream cheese takes it over the top!
If you do give this recipe a try, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings on Instagram. Your reviews help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you know and love.
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So good! Love that the cauliflower makes the creamy base… it is truly creamy and the flavor is rich. So glad I found this recipe! Definitely making it again!
Absolutely LOVE this recipe!!! When I make it I completely purée the soup so it is very smooth. I must say that when I gave my 12 year old niece a small sample to see if she liked it she very quickly told me her ramekin was empty and needed filling. This soup is a winner for all ages!!! One of my go to winter soups. The freshly cooked bacon bits on it are so perfect too!
Oh wow, I am sitting here, eating my soup and couldn’t wait to leave a comment. This is delicious. Thank-you for sharing your skills with us. Everything recipe I have tried on this site has been top notch.
This soup is very tasty and I love the way the cauliflower became the creamy base of the soup…without any cream! My only issue was with the cheese. I shredded my own block of cheese and found that although it fully melted, it did not emulsify into the broth. It stuck to the bottom of the pan, the ladle and the soup spoon I used. It also clung to the broccoli florets. I was not expecting that so was a little disappointed.
Purely Delicious! I will be making again and again!
Very tasty and loaded with veggie but also cheesy- the kids loved it!
Omg. I have never left a review for a recipe before but this was absolutely delicious. Honestly I was skeptical but it was so very yummy and I have recommended this recipe to all my friends! Thank you!!
I’m so glad you liked it, Shannon!
Any thoughts on how to make this same recipe in an instant pot?
Hi, Alison! I haven’t made this recipe in the Instant Pot so I’m not sure.
This was so wonderful and creamy! Yum
Yum! I made vegan due to ingredients on hand in the InstantPot. I suateed the onion,garlic and spices added the cauliflower and carrots with 4c veggie broth. Cooked for 3mins with quick release and pureed with immersion blender. Added the broccoli set for 0 mins. Quick release and added 8oz Violife sharp cheddar. I did blend the broccoli a bit because my chop was irregular. Not sure I’ve ever had broccoli cheese soup due to lactose issues but this is fantastic!
This is delcious! Exactly how you would want it to turn out. Makes a good portion, and if there is any leftovers freezes well.
I cannot wait to try this!
Thanks for sharing, Erin! I hope you love it!
This soup was even better than I expected! The cauliflower base is so creamy and nutrient dense without using and milk! I was amazed! We’ll definitely be making this again!
I’m so glad you enjoyed, Tara! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
This is amazing and so creamy!! You can’t taste the cauliflower at all (which is a good thing in my book). I even made a few small changes (left out onions and garlic and blended the carrots in with the cauliflower) and it was delicious. Highly recommend. Thanks, Ashlea for a great recipe.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Andrea! Thanks for sharing!
Big snowstorm last night so I needed a warm cozy meal, and this hit the spot! I couldn’t even tell that it was made without all the heavy cream. Love how many veggie servings I got in this delicious soup!
I’m so glad you loved the recipe, Shannon! Hope you’re staying warm!
This was delicious!!! So creamy, you would have no idea there wasn’t any milk in it. I did not have nutmeg but I added a little smoked paprika for extra flavor.
I’m so glad you loved the recipe, Nicole! Thanks for sharing!
Delicious and so smooth!! made this soup for the Superbowl tonight! I was able to make it dairy-free by subbing nutritional yeast for the cheese but I followed the recipe for everything else. Sooo good!!!
Thanks for sharing, Ray! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!
Love love love this recipe! So many broccoli cheddar soups are too dairy for me, but this is hearty without all the dairy! Love it and will definitely make again.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Judy! Thank you for taking the time to share!
Oh my gosh when I tell you this soup is magnificent….I am a forever lover of Panera’s Broc Ched and I would put this up against it every single day of the week. Absolutely delicious in every way! Thank you for another fabulous recipe Ashlea!
I’m so glad you loved this soup, Amanda! Thanks for sharing!
I made this recipe today and it was amazing! I didn’t have any nutmeg spice but I don’t think it altered the flavour at all. It was impossible to tell that it was made without cream or milk. I will definitely be making this again in the near future.
Thanks for sharing, Krista! So glad you loved it!
This was so delicious and so healthy! I was missing a couple of ingredients, but what I did have turned into a fantastic soup. We didn’t even miss heavy cream in this recipe!
I’m so happy you loved the recipe, Allison!