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. This recipe provides the perfect balance of flavor and texture for people who are fans of Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
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.