This Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe is easy and delicious and has become one of my favorite go to recipes when I want a comforting bowl of soup. There are many variations on this soup, but I find that this recipe provides the perfect balance of flavor and texture for people who are fans of Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
Why This Soup Is So Good
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup is pure comfort in a bowl. It's a hearty and healthy soup, perfect for crisp fall days and cold winter evenings. When you want something simple, but comforting to eat, this soup is the perfect choice.
It's a simple recipe that can be whipped up in less than 25 minutes.
This soup can be served as a hearty main course soup or as an appetizer.
For those who are fans of Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup, you will find the same rich, creamy, and cheesy goodness along with the larger pieces of broccoli and carrots. While there are many variations on this soup, I find that this recipe for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup provides the perfect balance of flavor and texture.
The Instant Pot not only makes the cooking process faster but, it intensifies the flavors because they are trapped inside the pot.
If you are new to the Instant Pot, check out my tips on How To Use The Instant Pot.
- Butter - adds richness. Feel free to substitute with an equal amount of vegetable oil, if you prefer.
- Flavor Base - onion, carrot and garlic
- Broccoli Florets - Use fresh trimmed and washed broccoli. Do not use frozen florets as they will overcook and turn mushy.
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth - I highly recommend you start with either a low sodium or no sodium added chicken broth. The regular chicken broth can add 1100 mg and up to 1400 mg of sodium to the soup. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 2300 mg of sodium a day for healthy adults. You can always add more salt later to taste.
- Cheddar Cheese - Use a box grater to shred a block of cheddar cheese. You can use pre-shredded cheese, but these often have additives, such as flour, to prevent the cheese from sticking together. Check the packaging to be sure. I also prefer to use a sharp cheddar cheese, but feel free to use a regular cheddar. I would not use mild cheddar as you won't get the rich flavor desired.
- Half and Half.
- Seasonings - paprika, salt and pepper
- An Optional Thickener.
See recipe card for exact quantities.
Instructions for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
1. Sauté the onions, carrots and garlic in butter right in the Instant Pot using the sauté function.
2. Add the broccoli florets and chicken broth.
3. Pressure cook for approximately 3 minutes.
Tip: When cooking in the Instant Pot, plan for additional time for the pot to come up to pressure and again to release pressure after cooking. This timing will vary between recipes.
Note: If you are making this soup in advance and planning to freeze it, stop here. Let the soup cool to room temperature before transferring to freezer safe containers. When you thaw and reheat the soup, stir in the cheddar cheese and half and half at that time.
4. Stir in the cheddar cheese and the half and half. Mix well until incorporated.
5. Season your soup to taste with salt and pepper. I also love to garnish mine with additional shredded cheddar cheese. Serve warm.
As a main course, Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup is really a meal in itself. Serve it with
- Sourdough Focaccia
- Baguettes (just like Panera)
- A Green Salad
Leftover Broccoli Cheddar Soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing the final soup as the dairy products tend to separate. The end result will not be as desirable.
If you want to make your soup ahead of time and freeze it, do not add the cheese and half and half before freezing. Let the soup cool to room temperature and then package it in freezer safe containers. Defrost the soup overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat the soup in a pot on the stove or back in the Instant Pot on the sauté setting. Complete the remaining steps of the recipe.
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 large carrot peeled and shredded
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 cups broccoli florets about 1 large head of broccoli
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 cups half and half
- Kosher salt
Slurry (Thickener) optional
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- Set your Instant Pot to sauté on Normal. When the display says Hot, add butter and heat until bubbly. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened. Add the carrots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Press Cancel.
- Stir in the broccoli, broth, ½ teaspoon pepper, and the paprika.
- Close and lock the lid and turn the steam release handle to Sealing. Set your Instant Pot to pressure cook on High for 3 minutes
- When the cooking time is done, press Cancel and turn the steam release handle to Venting. When the float valve drops down, remove the lid. The broccoli should be fork tender. (If more cooking time is needed, continue pressure cooking on High for 1 minute.)
- Add the cheese and half and half. Mix well until the cheese is fully melted and fully mixed in.
- For a thicker soup, mix the water and cornstarch together until you have a slurry. Slowly stir the slurry into the soup until you have reached your desired thickness.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
- For the 3 cups of broccoli needed in this recipe, use 1 head, 3 stalks or one-12 ounce package of 'washed, trimmed and ready to eat" florets from the produce section.
- Use a box grater to shred a block of cheddar cheese. You can use pre-shredded cheese, but these often have additives, such as flour, to prevent the cheese from sticking together.
- Leftover Broccoli Cheddar Soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing the final soup as the dairy products tend to separate. The end result will not be as desirable.
- If you want to make your soup ahead of time and freeze it, do not add the cheese and half and half before freezing. Let the soup cool to room temperature and then package it in freezer safe containers.
- When ready to serve, defrost the soup overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat the soup in a pot on the stove or back in the Instant Pot on the sauté setting. Complete the remaining steps of the recipe.