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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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This healthy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup takes forty-five minutes to make. It’s a lightened up version of the classic, without losing any of the cheesy goodness of the original!

easy healthy instant pot broccoli cheddar soup recipe in a white bowl

One of my family’s favorite soups is Broccoli Cheddar Soup like the one at Panera Bread.

Warm, gooey, cheesy, rich – there are a lot of things to love about Broccoli Cheddar Soup.

What I don’t love is the fact that one tiny cup of the traditional recipe can run you over 400 calories and 18 grams of saturated fat! That’s because most versions of this recipe end up being more like “cheese soup with a tiny bit of broccoli.”

This easy instant pot broccoli cheddar soup recipe is comfort food at its best: delicious (thanks to the cheese and cream) but also nutritious (thanks to the fiber and nutrients from the broccoli – which have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties!).

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My whole family loved this recipe and we managed to finish all of this delicious soup between us!

And the best part — this great recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make in the Instant Pot! Serve this bowl of hot soup with some crusty bread and you’ve got yourself a delicious, light, dinner.

👩‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy Recipe
  • Flavorful Soup
  • Low in Calories
  • Low in Fat
  • Healthy and Satisfying
  • Rich and Creamy
  • Family Friendly
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten-Free
  • Low Carb
  • Panera broccoli cheddar soup copycat!

🥘 Ingredients

This recipe calls for simple ingredients easily found in your pantry or local grocery store! For the full ingredients list and nutritional information, see the recipe card below.

ingredients for easy healthy instant pot broccoli cheddar soup recipe

Vegetables: This vegetarian soup is loaded with broccoli, with added diced onions, garlic, and carrots for flavor and texture.

Vegetable Broth: Use a low-sodium vegetable broth, or chicken broth if you are not making this soup vegetarian.

Reduced Fat Shredded Cheese: Keeping this recipe low in saturated fat, I used reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese. You can also use full fat cheddar cheese, just use half the amount this recipe calls for. I recommend shredding your own cheese for maximum flavor! If you can’t find sharp cheddar cheese, you can also use mild cheddar.

Heavy Cream: You only need a small amount of cream or half and half, but it gives the soup a nice creaminess without adding too much fat or calories. You could also use whole milk if you don’t have heavy cream. While you can use skim milk, I don’t recommend it as the cream really makes this instant pot broccoli soup recipe shine!

A little bit of salt and black pepper to taste. If you want more of a kick, add some crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce. Don’t forget the chopped parsley for a fresh garnish!

🍽 Equipment

📖 Variations

Make it Vegan: All you need to do to make this soup vegan diet friendly is to use vegan cheese shreds in place of the regular cheese, and full fat coconut milk or almond milk in place of the heavy cream.

Slow Cooker Version: Prepare this instant pot cream of broccoli soup in the slow cooker by adding the onion, garlic, carrots, broccoli, vegetable stock, salt, and pepper to your slow cooker. Set to low, and warm for 4 hours. Blend with the immersion blender, then stir in the cheese and cream.

Stove Top Version: Sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add the carrots and broccoli and sauté an additional three minutes. Add the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until broccoli is soft. Blend with the immersion blender, then add the cheese and cream.

🔪 Instructions

Step 1: Press the saute button on the Instant Pot – set it to medium heat. Add olive oil, chopped onions and the minced garlic to the pot. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until onions are soft and translucent.

onions sauteeing in a pot

Step 2: Add the chopped carrots and broccoli florets. Stir to combine. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.

broccoli and veggies added to pot

Step 3: Add the vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Secure the Instant Pot lid. Set valve to sealing. Set the Instant Pot to Manual High Pressure for 10 minutes.

broccoli and veggies added to pot

Step 4: Allow to naturally release for 10 minutes. Then turn the valve to vent to quick release any remaining pressure.

broccoli and veggies cooking in the instant pot

Step 5: Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth, or leave a few chunks of broccoli if you like a chunkier texture.

broccoli cheese soup in instant pot

Step 6: Stir in the cream and cheese.

cheese and cream added to instant pot

Step 7: Ladle the instant pot broccoli cheese soup into serving bowls. Top evenly with 1 tablespoon of cheese per bowl and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

easy healthy instant pot broccoli cheddar soup recipe in a white bowl

❓Recipe FAQs

Is Cheddar Broccoli Soup vegetarian?

Most versions of this soup are not vegetarian because they are made with chicken stock. This healthy version is vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead.

I also made this popular recipe healthier by increasing the broccoli and decreasing the cheddar and cream without losing any of the cheesiness that makes this cream of broccoli soup instant pot recipe such a favorite!

How do you add cheese to soup?

Add the cheese to the soup when the broccoli and stock is hot and blended. Add a little at a time, stirring gently until it is melted. Make sure that the cheese is melted and incorporated into the soup before adding more. The heat from the soup will melt the cheese as you add it a little at a time. 

What cheese melts easily in soup?

Cheddar is the perfect cheese to melt into soup as it creates a smooth creamy sauce. Other great cheeses for melting include Asiago, fontina, Colby, Gruyere, and Monterey Jack. You can mix it up and choose your favorite melty cheese for this instant pot cheddar broccoli soup!

Will kids like this version of instant pot broccoli cheese soup?

This is the perfect recipe for kids – they will love digging into this soup. Even picky eaters who aren’t huge fans of big chunks of broccoli will likely enjoy this soup since the broccoli has been blended to create a smooth consistency. That coupled with the cheddar and cream, make for a flavorful kid friendly soup!

Is instant pot panera broccoli cheddar soup healthy?

Unfortunately no! One small bowl of Panera’s broccoli cheese soup has 360 calories and 21 grams of fat. Not to mention their soup is not vegetarian friendly

But this broccoli cheese soup is super healthy for a few reasons:

Low in Fat and Calories: This soup is heavy on the broccoli and light on the cheese and cream, making it a lightened up version of the original. With only 163 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving, this soup is satisfying while being heavy!

High in Fiber: Broccoli is an excellent source of fiber. One serving of this soup has 4 grams of fiber. Fiber is essential for healthy digestion, and can improve cholesterol and blood sugar.

High in Vitamins and Minerals: Broccoli is an excellent source of Vitamin C, E, K, folate, and potassium. It also contains anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and antioxidants!

👪 How To Serve

  • Crusty Wheat Bread
  • Garlic Bread
  • Whole wheat Pita and hummus
  • Light green salad with vinaigrette dressing
  • Whole wheat bread bowl

🧊 How To Store

Refrigerator: Allow leftover soup to come to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Freeze: Allow the soup to cool. Transfer to a freezer safe container. Label with the contents and the date. Keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. You can also store this soup in freezer bags, and freeze it flat to save space.

Reheat: Transfer soup to a saucepan. Warm over medium heat until thawed and heated through.

💭 Expert Tips

  • For best results, use fresh organic broccoli since that will have the brightest broccoli flavor. But if you can’t find fresh broccoli, you can use frozen broccoli as a backup!
  • Use an Immersion Blender for easier clean-up, or a stand blender if you do not have one. I highly recommend getting an immersion blender for soups. It saves time and you still get a nice and creamy soup!
  • Add cheese a little at a time and be sure it is well incorporated before adding more.
  • Top with cheese and parsley.
easy healthy instant pot broccoli cheddar soup recipe in a white bowl

🍲 More Instant Pot Soup Recipes!

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📋 Recipe Card

easy healthy instant pot broccoli cheddar soup recipe in a white bowl
Print Recipe
4.88 from 16 votes

Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This healthy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe takes forty-five minutes to make. It's a lightened up version of the classic, without losing any of the cheesy goodness of the original!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 163kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 4 cups broccoli florets coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ + ⅛ cup half-and-half
  • 4 ounces shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese divided
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves optional, garnish

Instructions

  • Set the Instant Pot to the sauté function on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and the minced garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the chopped carrots and broccoli florets. Stir to combine. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Secure the Instant Pot lid. Set valve to sealing. Set the Instant Pot to High for 10 minutes.
  • Allow to naturally release for 10 minutes. Then turn the valve to vent to release any remaining pressure.
  • Transfer to a high speed blender. Blend until smooth, or leave a few chunks of broccoli if you like a chunkier texture.
  • Return the soup to the instant pot and stir in the cream and cheese.
  • Ladle into serving bowls. Top evenly with 1 tablespoon of cheese per bowl and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Notes

Tips for Making Healthy Cheddar Broccoli Soup
  • Ideally, use fresh organic broccoli since that will have the brightest broccoli flavor. But if you can’t find fresh broccoli, you can use frozen broccoli as a backup!
  • Use an Immersion Blender for easier clean-up, or a stand blender if you do not have one. I highly recommend getting an immersion blender for soups. It saves time and you still get a nice and creamy soup!
  • Add cheese a little at a time and be sure it is well incorporated before adding more.
  • Top with cheese and parsley.
Adapted from Cooking Light

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 1223mg | Potassium: 475mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g

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121 responses to “Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup”

  1. Made this last week on a cold night for picky eater hubby and me, and we both loved it! I pureed it in the Vitamix. Easy & delicious!

  2. Loved this recipe, I made it for my and myself. We both thought it was delicious, and the calorie savings made it even better. It is so simple to make too. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Hooray!! That is great to hear Erin! And yes – I love how easy this recipe is to make! It’s the perfect quick & healthy meal 🙂

  3. Tried this soup as my first time making a broccoli cheese soup. Amazing! Absolutely loved it! There was just the right balance of savory (onion, garlic, carrot), creaminess and broccoli flavor. Delish! Thank you!

  4. Wish the fat could be broken down – wondering about sat fat.
    Also I’ve heard instead if cream or 1/2 & 1/2 to use Greek Yogurt – what is your opinion of that ?

    • Hi! This recipe has 3.34g Saturated Fat per serving. I wouldn’t recommend using Greek Yogurt in this soup instead of the half and half — since the soup is hot I’m not confident the Greek Yogurt would mix in well (vs. coagulating). Greek Yogurt is usually a good substitution for sour cream (in recipes where it doesn’t require heating the Greek Yogurt). Hope that helps!

      • Oh thank you – that sat fat isn’t so bad per serving & with some sheepherders bread [no sat fat] and Benecol one has a delicious meal. And thanks for your opinion regarding the Greek Yogurt. Appreciate your help!

  5. I made this tonight and had to come to your blog to tell you it is one of the most delicious soups I’ve ever made or eaten (my Husband and I ate the whole pot.) I’ve already shared the recipe with 3 friends and am planning to make it again next week (seeing as how I have all that half/half left.) Thanks so much!!!!

    • Oh yayy!!! This is so wonderful to hear Kate!! I’m so glad you and your husband loved this recipe – sounds like it was as big a hit with him as it was with my husband 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  6. Hi! This sounds great but I’m terrible at measurements. Can you tell me approximately how many cups of broccoli, and of cheese, this is? Thanks!!

    • Hi Elizabeth! It’s about 3.5-4 cups of broccoli florets, and 1/2 cup of cheese 🙂 Hope that helps!

  7. I’ve been making a variation of this soup for a long time because I found it was a great way to serve broccoli to my children. They didn’t like broccoli much, but would always eat broccoli soup. I found if I added a peeled, chopped medium to large potato I could easily make the soup with low fat milk. It still has a creamy taste we all enjoyed.

    • Hi Deanna! Thanks so much for sharing — I LOVE the idea of adding a potato + low fat milk to the recipe (instead of the half and half)! I’ll definitely be trying that next time — I can totally see how it would give a creamy taste to the soup too. Thanks again!

    • Thanks Eisha! Awww hehe – Baby Picky Eater is doing really well! She’s kicking and I can feel her moving all over the place – it’s amazing! 🙂

    • Aw thank you so much Kendra!! I’m just like you – I mean, we always eat with our eyes first! 🙂 Hope you enjoy this when you try it!

    • Hi Priti! Thank you so much!! That’s actually a great question. I didn’t use fat free half and half because while it sounds healthy, it’s actually a highly processed ingredient. Regular half and half is exactly that: half cream and half milk (so it really should have just two ingredients). Fat free half and half is made by replacing butterfat (a mostly saturated fat) with corn syrup and adding chemicals and thickeners to simulate the texture and mouth-feel of fat.

      The ingredients list for fat free half and half is: skim milk, corn syrup, cream, and “less than 0.5 percent of the following: Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono and Diglycerides, Vitamin A Palmitate, Color Added (Ingredient not in regular half-and-half).” So I prefer to use regular half and half (which is closer to a whole food) and just use less of it, versus using more of the fat free version. Plus, a little bit of fat is good for you! 🙂 I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!!

    • Yes!! Exactly — which you know, tastes great but isn’t so great for your waistline 🙂 Hope you enjoy this made-over version!!

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