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Cheesy Broccoli Soup in a Bread Bowl

This creamy, cheesy broccoli soup tastes just like the one served at Panera Bread! My family requests it all the time. You can even make your own homemade bread bowls with the recipe on my blog, Yammie's Noshery. —Rachel Preus, Marshall, Michigan
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Cook: 30 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water or additional chicken stock
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 small round bread loaves (about 8 ounces each), optional
  • Optional toppings: Crumbled cooked bacon, additional shredded cheddar cheese, ground nutmeg and pepper


  • In a 6-qt. stockpot, heat butter over medium heat; saute onion and garlic until tender, 6-8 minutes. Stir in broccoli, carrot, stock, cream and seasonings; bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 10-12 minutes.
  • Mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into soup. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Stir in cheese until melted.
  • If using bread bowls, cut a slice off the top of each bread loaf; hollow out bottoms, leaving 1/4-in.-thick shells (save removed bread for another use). Fill with soup just before serving.
  • If desired, serve soup with toppings.

Test Kitchen tips
  • These make for a hearty meal on their own but are also delicious as appetizers. Smaller, sturdy breads such as hard rolls are a good choice.
  • Be a smooth operator. Avoid gritty cheese sauces by allowing soup to cool slightly before you add cheese. Stir in a little at a time until it melts in.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 cup (calculated without bread bowl): 422 calories, 32g fat (19g saturated fat), 107mg cholesterol, 904mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 17g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • Rosie4
      Feb 13, 2021

      No comment left

    • marciaa1
      Feb 12, 2021

      I have yet to make this soup, but Meliss.Beyer, try whisking the cornstarch into the cold half and half before adding to the soup. Cornstarch could lump if mixing into a hot liquid. This will be on the menu for the upcoming week.

    • TNbluffbaker
      Feb 7, 2021

      This is the best broccoli cheese soup I've ever made! My family doesn't like garlic so I leave that out. I've made it with and without the bay leaves and it's delicious either way.

    • meliss.beyer
      Jan 8, 2021

      This recipe was simple to make. I ended up just using bread on the side. I grated the carrot for smaller pieces. There were a few lumps from the cornstarch so I'll just have to make sure whisk it in better next time. Overall I'd make this again.

    • justducky76
      May 12, 2020

      My family loved it! Even my mother-in-law requested another container. I followed the recipe exactly and we all agreed it was very similar to Panera Bread however we did not use bread bowls (hubby was sad about that part). I will need to double or triple this recipe the next time I make it. Definitely a keeper.

    • mamoonis
      May 6, 2020

      Awesome! Used extra sharp cheddar. Best broccoli cheddar soup I've ever made. Will definitely make over and over. Next time double batch. :)

    • L
      May 5, 2020

      Needed a bit more flavor/spice- but overall it is a good basic recipe that you can modify to your liking. ??

    • Cheryl
      Apr 29, 2020

      No comment left

    • topper4
      Apr 21, 2020

      This recipe is very good. So glad that I decided to try it. My husband has a new found fondness for broccoli

    • Suzanne
      Apr 20, 2020

      This is so good and comforting. To make into dinner, I add shredded cooked chicken and, because I live in the Southwest, chopped green chili - not that canned stuff. I use frozen Hatch chili or fresh when it's available. Also kinda heavy on the cayenne.