Slow Cooker Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup–reminiscent of Panera Bread’s broccoli cheddar soup this slow cooker version has chopped broccoli, shredded carrots and celery simmered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce. I believe this version is just as good or better than you could order at any restaurant! Try it for dinner this week.
Get the INSTANT POT version of the recipe here
Slow Cooker Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
YUM is all I can say about this broccoli cheddar soup. The vegetables and broth are slow cooked and then the creamy and cheesy goodness is added in to the pot to produce a soup that will knock your socks off. This slow cooker panera broccoli cheddar soup is amazing served in bread bowls or served with some crusty bread…or just some crackers on top.
Some notes about the recipe:
Better than Bouillon Chicken Base*: I don’t always have a carton or can of chicken broth in my pantry but I always have Better than Bouillon in my fridge. I buy the big jars at Costco…they are so much cheaper. Then when a recipe calls for a cup of chicken broth I simply add in one cup of water and one teaspoon of the chicken base.
Broccoli: I chose to go with fresh broccoli for this recipe. You could totally go a lot heavier on the broccoli if you like to have broccoli in every bite. I just used the florets but if you like the stems you could dice them up and throw them in as well.
Carrots: I used only 2 carrots for this recipe but again, you could totally throw in a third carrots if you like to have more vegetables. I chose to cut my carrots up matchstick style which took a while but you could also just used grated carrots or diced carrots.
Sharp Cheddar: I love that sharp cheddar can bring so much more flavor to a dish than mild or medium cheddar. Don’t worry it’s not overwhelming. I used an entire 8 ounce block of cheddar. I grated my own. I don’t like to use pre-grated cheddar for soups because it has that weird powdery substance on it. What is that stuff anyway?
More recipes you’ll love…
Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili
Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Pizza Soup
Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup
What Slow Cooker Did You Use?
For this slow cooker panera broccoli cheddar soup recipe I used my 6 quart oval Kitchenaid slow cooker.* I love this slow cooker (you can see me talking about it in a video here). It cooks low and evenly. I love the medium heat choice because most slow cookers that I’ve seen only have the option of cooking on low or high. If you’re going to buy just one slow cooker, this is the one that I recommend.Print
Slow Cooker Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 hours
- Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 1/2 cups of soup 1x
Reminiscent of Panera Bread’s broccoli cheddar soup this slow cooker version has chopped broccoli, shredded carrots and celery simmered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce. I believe this version is just as good or better than you could order at any restaurant! Try it for dinner this week.
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 or 3 celery ribs, diced
- 2 or 3 carrots, match-stick style or grated or diced
- 4 cups coarsely chopped fresh broccoli florets
- 3 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups of water and 3 tsp of Better than Bouillon Chicken Base)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 Tbsp of cornstarch and 3 Tbsp of water
- 2 cups milk, warmed
- 1 (8 oz) block of sharp cheddar, grated
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Once the butter is melted stir in the diced onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add the onion to the slow cooker.
- Add in the celery, carrots, broccoli and broth.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
- Turn the slow cooker to high. In the microwave or on the stovetop melt the 1/4 cup butter. Slowly whisk in the 1/4 cup flour until a creamy mixture forms. Stir one cup of the broth from the soup into the flour/butter mixture. Whisk until smooth. Then whisk the entire mixture into the slow cooker. In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Stir the mixture into the slow cooker. Stir in the milk, cheddar and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on HIGH for another 60 minutes.
- Remove the lid, ladle into bowls and serve.
I used my 6 quart oval Kitchenaid slow cooker.*
- Category: Soup
- Method: Slow Cooker
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I love Panera broccoli cheese soup. So I made this recipe on the stove top. The soup came out very salty per the recipe. Dumped that batch. Made a new batch without any salt added . It was delicious so close to Panera’s original soup.
This soup was amazing! We used a mixed bag of frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Cooked on high for 2hrs, added a little shredded chicken, and put it in a bread bowl. 10/10 will be making this again and sharing with family and friends!
I love love love the idea of a bread bowl. That sounds awesome!
I have a question, if I don’t have 4 hours. Could I cook on high for 2 hours and get the same results??
Yes should be great!
Mikki Krupowski says
I have cooked this many times NOW. I use extra sharp cheddar made by cracker barrel. Delish! I’m wondering how I could do this And add potatoes to it?
Yes I think that would be great. Cube them up!
Easy, quick and very filling! Was a little bland, so added some hot sauce. I agree with a comment above, about reducing the cornstarch. Will make again. Thank you for the recipe!
you’re welcome Jojo!
Loved it. I drank a glass of dry red wine with the soup. The soup and wine were made for each other.
So glad you liked it Barry!
Shannon Crowe says
I made a bigger batch and it came out pretty good. No complaints over here!
Made this for me and my 80-yr old father tonight. He thought it was delicious and ate 2 full bowls. I just thought it was okay, but that’s just my taste difference, not the recipe. I thought 3 tbsp of cornstarch was too much because the soup already looked pretty thick, so I used 2 instead of 3, and it was still thick n creamy. Thank you for the recipe!
Glad he liked it! What a nice daughter you are!
Lisa Osborne says
DELISH! My kids and husband request this to be made on all cold snowy days, like today! Great with some french bread!
Yes yes yes to the French bread!
I made it according to the recipe. I used what block cheeses I had and it was delicious!!!
Good to hear it Stephanie!
Sharmin Begum says
I absolutely loved this recipe, and so did everyone who tried it! I used apple wood cheddar cheese, but other than that followed the recipe. For me, the vegetables didn’t get as soft, so I left it for longer. Delish!
Apple wood cheddar cheese sounds so good!
Just made this recipe and used heavy cream, Vermont cheddar, smoke Gouda and Parmesan cheese for a three cheese soup. OUT OF THIS WORLD.
wow that sounds truly amazing!
Jennifer L Gordon-Gird says
Loved this recipe! Want to save some for another day. Can I use my a vacuum sealing system & freeze it?
I love Panera! I just found this 376 days of crock pot Panera recipes & can’t wait to try more of them.
I bet you could do that!
barry raines says
Great! I used frozen broccoli and heavy cream. Super easy. Delicious.
Good to know! Glad you liked it!
I’m trying to make this recipe and have heavy cream as well. Did you do this in place of the flour, cornstarch and milk?!
Stephani Howell says
Loved it! It will be my go to. I immersion blended it a little at the end so the broccoli was pretty small.
Glad to hear Stephani! Thanks for sharing your experience.
Saige Vanessa says
Could I add chicken breasts in the slow cooker before I put the rest of the ingredients in the crockpot?
Yes I think that would work very well.
Was wondering if you tried the chicken in with it? I plan on doing that as well
Should all Vegetables be covered by broth while in the crockpot. I added more veggies and wasn’t sure if I need extra broth
It should be fine Jennifer.
Can I refrigerate it for serving two days from now?
Yes you can!
trying and sticking to someone elses recipe for something I make all the time was hard but the end result wasn’t bad let me know if I’m allowed and I’ll share my crock pot broccoli cheese soup here in the comments for you and your readers
sure that’s fine
Can I use frozen broccoli? Our store was out of fresh and I am making this for a family dinner tonight. Will it change the cooking time? I don’t want it to be too mushy. I have to make it shortly, so please answer ASAP!
I think that will work! How did it go?
J.B. Bulharowski says
Have you used the Slow Cook function on the Instant Pot? Any comments, criticisms?
I don’t use it because I’ve heard a lot of negative things about it. If you do use it make sure to adjust to the highest setting. Otherwise it cooks like it’s on warm.
I made this today and I’m in love! Added some coked chicken breast for that last hour. Yummmy!
Sounds like a great meal!
Loved it. Tossed everything in the ninja blender before serving. Even better on day 2.
nice! Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂
Made this for a ladies meeting. They liked it 🙂 I didnt use any of the butter but used EVOO, did’nt make the rue (so no flour or corn starch) and…This is terrible but I had a solo cup full of nacho sauce so I threw that in instead, (just the saice, not the cup 😉 lol. In place of the milk I used heavy cream. Looking forward to making this again according to recipe. Only thing I will add for my liking is turmeric to counteract the inflammatory dairy ingredients, because it has beautiful color in such a soup and simply because I love it! Thanks for the great recipe!
I just made this but with old dutch cheese because they don’t have cheddar here (netherlands) and It was amazing
Wow the Netherlands! How cool!
WILL NEVER MAKE THIS AGAIN I FOLLOWED IT WORD FOR WORD & IT WAS FLAVORLESS & NOT ENOUGH CHEESE
Way too much onion. I used only 1/3 instead of a whole onion and it was still too much. Also, I don’t think Panera uses celery. This doesn’t taste anything like Panera’s and I can’t tell if it would or not because of the overwhelming taste of onions.
If I need it done faster can I slow cook it on high?
Yep for about half the time.