What Makes a Recipe My Favorite?
If one question can make me freeze up when asked, it’s “what’s your favorite recipe?” That question is the culinary version of “so tell me more about yourself!” Your mind begins to spin through the Rolodex of every meal you’ve made, and it’s nearly impossible to narrow the answer down. During the winter, soups are one of my favorite recipe categories to prepare. There’s a soup for everyone, from lighter broth-based recipes to hearty stews. If I’m looking for a bowl of winter comfort, my go-to recipe is broccoli cheddar soup.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup is Perfect for Winter Nights
When it comes to soup recipes, some classics never fail to deliver. Chicken soup will always help you feel better when sick, even if it’s a bit of a placebo effect. And when it comes to tomato soup, grilled cheese will always pair perfectly. But now that we’re in the midst of winter, I want a soup that offers more richness, warmth, and, most importantly, comfort. That’s why I’ll rarely say no to a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup when it’s a cafe special during winter. But there are advantages to making soup at home, especially if you have dietary preferences.
Why Homemade Soup Can't Be Beat
While cafe soups are delicious, restaurants can sneak in some ingredients you may wish to avoid, especially if you’re a vegetarian or sodium conscious. That’s especially true with broccoli cheddar soup. The name may make you think it’s a vegetarian recipe. However, many recipes include chicken stock. And if you are trying to lower your sodium intake, soups can pack a high daily value of sodium. Between the stock, cheese, and added salt, to total amount can quickly add up. Homemade soup allows you to choose reduced or sodium-free stock to use and keep the soup within your dietary needs.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup Elements
To make broccoli cheddar soup, you’ll need simple ingredients, many of which you may already have at home. Those ingredients include:
- Butter and flour create a quick white roux as the base of the soup.
- Chopped onions, broccoli, and carrots add flavor and texture to the soup. If you have frozen vegetables on hand, they can be used instead of fresh ones. See the recipe notes below for instructions on how to use frozen instead.
- Whole milk and chicken stock provide the liquids for the soup. What makes this soup extra creamy is a combination of cream cheese and cheddar cheese. You can use a dairy-free alternative and a vegetable stock for a vegetarian version of broccoli cheddar soup.
- To boost flavor, black pepper, white pepper, nutmeg, allspice, and salt are added to create layers of warmth and a hint of spice.
Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 4 cups broccoli florets (or 4 cups frozen broccoli florets, see notes)
- ¾ cup carrots, chopped into ½ inch cubes. (or ¾ cup frozen chopped carrots, see notes)
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- ½ cup yellow onions, diced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. white pepper
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. allspice
- salt to taste
- 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (Plus extra for garnish if desired)
- Fill a large pot with 8 cups of water and bring it to a boil.
- Add the broccoli florets and chopped carrots to the water. Boil until the carrots are slightly soft, about 5 minutes.
- Once slightly soft, transfer the vegetables to an ice water bath to blanch. Once chilled, drain the water and set the vegetables aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and return the large pot to the stove. Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
- Once the butter melts, add the chopped onions and stir to combine. Cook the onions until they turn translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter melts, add the flour and whisk to combine.
- Add the whole milk, chicken stock, cream cheese, black pepper, white pepper, nutmeg, allspice, and salt to taste. Stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to low, and allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the cheddar cheese, broccoli florets, and carrots to the soup. Stir to combine, and cook over low heat until the cheese has melted.
- Serve immediately, topping each bowl with shredded cheddar cheese.
- If you use frozen broccoli and carrots in place of fresh, add the frozen broccoli and/or carrots during step 7, along with the milk, cream cheese, stock, and seasonings. The simmer stage provides extra time to cook the vegetables.
- Nutrition facts are calculated by WP Recipe Maker using an AI generator. Nutrition information will vary based on the brands and ingredients selected. The nutrition information is a general guide.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup Storage
Broccoli cheddar soup stores refrigerated and frozen well, making it a perfect meal prep recipe. If you have leftovers, they can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to five days. For extended storage, you can also freeze leftover soup. To make single frozen portions easy, you can use single-serve plastic containers or fill freezer-safe bags.
How to Easily Freeze in Bags
- Refrigerate the soup first to chill it thoroughly.
- Once chilled, fill each bag about 2/3 of the way and close the seal almost completely.
- Squeeze out as much air as possible and then fully close the seal.
- Lay the bags flat on a baking sheet and place the tray in the freezer until frozen solid.
Once frozen, you can store the bags flat or on their sides. For the best flavor, use frozen servings within six months. What are some of your own favorite winter soup recipes to make? I’d love to hear in the comments!