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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!).

Latest Recipe Video!

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!

If you have tried this recipe, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below!

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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”

    • Hi Holly! Honestly I’m not sure how it would freeze — I’ve never tried it with this recipe! The only ingredient in this soup that might not freeze well is the half and half – but it’s worth a shot to try freezing it and seeing what happens. If it freezes well let me know! 🙂

  1. Hi. I tried a few of your Italian recipes and love them.

    I am so looking forward to making this soup. But I don’t like the cheese flavour. Could you suggest any alternative for this please.

    • Hi Guna! I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my recipes! If you don’t like cheese, you could just leave it out of the soup and try it without the cheese altogether. Let me know how that works for you!

  2. Loved this soup. Couldn’t wait to make it so it had to be tonight. Had an abundance of broccoli in my first crop and had to make this soup. Awesome, delicious, healthy and best of all…so quick! Ready to try it with potato and soy milk and lactose free cheese. Thank you soooo much!

    • That’s so great Bron! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe. Let me know how it goes with the soy milk and lactose free cheese – I’d be curious to see if it tastes any differently!

  3. OMG!!! I love this recipe! I love broccoli and cheese and I think that soup is just for me! Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe! I will definitely try it!

    • I think that could probably work – coconut milk does pretty well in soups and warm dishes. Try it out and let me know how it works out for you!

    • Hi Amy! That just means you want 1/4 cup half and half and also 1/8 cup half and half. 3/8 of a cup (the total amount you need) is hard to measure, which is why I broke it down that way. Hope that helps!

      • Hi Lisa! Regarding the almond milk, it’s a 1:1 substitution. But honestly, I’m not sure how almond milk will taste in this recipe. I feel like it wont give you the same consistency or mouthfeel as the half & half – and I’m also not sure if it’ll coagulate in the soup. It’s worth a shot though – let me know how it goes!

  4. Hi,

    I was wondering why my cheese never fully integrated into the soup. I like my soup chunky so I did NOT blend it but when I added the cheese it just basically suck to the broccoli. Is it a requirement to blend?

    Also, I see the ingredients call for 4 oz of cheese but I only see where you use 2 oz. Is the rest just for topping?

    • Hi Caroline! Yes – I do think you need to blend this soup, because otherwise the cheese won’t be able to melt directly into the soup and combine with the rest of the ingredients. It’ll melt on one of the ingredients and just stick to it (like you experienced with the broccoli). And yes, the remaining 2oz is for topping the soup. Hope that helps!

  5. A wonderful skinny soup that does not taste skinny and so quick and easy I can make it after work. Looking forward to enjoying this again soon, thanks for the delicious update on Broccoli Cheese Soup.

  6. This is absolutely delicious! I don’t eat broccoli, neither does my 4 year old or my 2 year old nephew. We made this tonight, I added a few more carrots and about 3 more oz of cheese, which honestly was probably a little too much. lol Although the kids loved the extra cheesiness. 🙂 I added 2 small shredded chicken breasts per request of my daughter. It was great. We all love it and it will now be a regular in our household. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Oh wow!! That’s so great that you and your kids loved this recipe! Thanks so much for letting me know!! 🙂

  7. This is very kid-friendly. My 7 year old son ate 3 bowls! We all loved it was tasty and healthy. <3

  8. Made this today. Extremely easy to make and tasty. I love garlic so I added three extra cloves, used sea salt instead of reg salt, and subbed in an ounce of mozzarella for the sharp cheddar. Thanks so much for this

    • Oh great!! So glad you liked this recipe Aaron – and thanks for sharing your modifications!

  9. Just made this and it was absolutely gorgeous!!! Only difference I made was to use skimmed milk as I’m not even sure we get half n half in the UK. Couldn’t believe how yummy it was – it’s a keeper, and I’ll be making more soon.

    • Oh nice! I feel like skim milk would taste great in this recipe too! So glad you liked it Rebecca 🙂

  10. Hi i’m in England and want to make this soup so wondered how many grams or oz of broccoli is in 4 cups? and is 1 cup of onion equivalent to a whole onion? I have no problem with converting cups of liquid but i am struggling with solid weight. Hope you can help as i LOVE broccoli and cheese soup so a skinny version would be perfect! Thanks.

    • Hi Jenny! 4 cups is 32 oz, or about 946 grams. Depending on the size of your onion, 1 cup of onion could be a whole onion. 1 cup is about 236 grams. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions and I hope you enjoy the soup!

      • Thank you! although i was impatient and made the soup already by guesstimating! i used about 600g of broccoli and it turned out fab 🙂 Thank you x

      • Haha! Well I’m glad it turned out so well 🙂 Thanks for letting me know Jenny!

  11. Have you made this soup yet with just the stalks? I’m looking for a way to use up the stalks instead of waste them after my family eats the florets. Just curious if you’ve seen any variation… Thanks!

    • Hi Tituba! I actually haven’t seen this soup made with just the stalks and haven’t tried it that way myself. I’m not sure how it would taste since the florets generally have more “broccoli flavor” than the stalks do. Although you could try making this with the florets and the stalks — just make sure you get the stalks soft enough so they puree well. Hope that helps! If you end up trying this with the stalks, let me know how it turns out!

  12. I’m so glad to find this recipe. I just went to the grocery to pick up some lunch and they had a broccoli cheddar soup with nearly 800 mg of sodium and 22 grams of fat! Guess what I’m cooking tonight?

    • Omg that is crazy!! It’s much easier, cheaper and healthier to make this recipe at home 🙂 Hope you enjoy it Nancy!

  13. I tried to make this but my vegetable stock (Fresh Market brand) is brown so made everything brown and yucky looking. Can you tell which stock you used, please? What about just using water instead of stock? Thanks!

    • Hi Jan! Aw that’s too bad about the stock you used! I use Pacific Organic Low Sodium — it has a beige-clear-yellow color to it so it doesn’t discolor the soup. I wouldn’t just use water instead of stock — the stock has so much flavor in it, the soup would definitely taste different without it! Hope that helps!

  14. Ya know what? I didn’t even use the half n half and it turned out great!!!! Thank you!! I added a ton more carrots too 🙂

  15. I am reading all of these reviews saying it was delicious. However, I followed the directions directly, and it smelled like I was preparing a chinese dish, and I could not taste the cheese in it at all. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t taste like broccoli cheese soup to me.

    What did I do wrong?

    • Hi Randy! Thanks so much for your comment and your question! I’m glad you though the soup wasn’t bad, but I can’t figure out why it smelled like a Chinese dish, since there are no Chinese flavors in this recipe! I’d need more information from you to figure out exactly what happened. Do you want to email me at pickyeats@gmail.com and we can figure it out together? Happy to help in any way I can!

  16. Absolutely glorious soup!
    The Honey had some dental work done yesterday and I was looking around for something yummy-but-not-chewy. Lo and behold, I found your recipe and could not be happier with the results; The Honey adds his appreciation as well.

    • Hehe yay!! So happy to hear that Lizzie! And yes, this is a great recipe if you’re looking for something that’s filling but not hard to chew! I wish I had made this recipe when I had my wisdom teeth out — it would have been a nice break from jello and yogurt 🙂

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