Everyone knows that the best Panera soup is their broccoli cheese soup (their French Onion is pretty good too). This Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe in the Instant Pot makes the delicious, comforting and hearty soup an easy weeknight dinner.
I must admit that Panera Bread is a weakness of mine.
If I’m out running errands around lunch time, there’s a high probability that I’m going to swing by Panera, even if it would take the same amount of time to just go home and grab something from the fridge. It’s also my go-to place for lunch dates with friends and colleagues.
My order is the same, every time – a big, steaming bowl of Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup with crusty bread. Sometimes I’ll get it as a side with a sandwich but usually, especially in the winter, I just go all-in and get only soup.
I’m a big soup person. My favorites include chicken noodle soup, butternut squash bisque, beef stew, crab soup, minestrone and of course, this broccoli and carrot mixture. The ultimate of vegetable soups without it just being floating pieces of veg.
I love theses flavors so much that I found myself craving it even when Panera was nowhere in sight so I decided to try making my own copycat version at home. Hello, SOUP!
Instant Pot Soup
I don’t have the time or patience for a soup that takes all day to simmer and cook so I decided to give it a try in my current kitchen obsession, my Instant Pot. If you are just getting used to yours, make sure to check out my Instant Pot for Beginners!
The result? This recipe tastes like the real deal. Over 100 ratings and comments don’t lie!
And… it is ready, from prepping the veggies to your first steaming mouthful, in 30 minutes. It’s now one of my favorite easy instant pot recipes.
What makes this one of the best instant pot soup recipes? Well, first and foremost, because it’s easy. Just a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand.
- Unsalted butter – I always opt to use unsalted butter when cooking and baking. It allows me to control the amount of salt.
- Diced onion – Onion gives this soup a lot of flavor, but also adds another veggie into the mix. You can use yellow onion or white onion.
- Flour – Because this is a cream soup, we need some sort of thickening agent. The flour does just that. Corn starch can also work if you wish to keep it gluten-free.
- Garlic – You can never have too much garlic- that’s my motto! It’s one of my favorite ways to add flavor to a dish. Even though we are saving time, use fresh garlic instead of jarred.
- Carrot – Panera’s soup includes carrots. If you aren’t a fan of them, feel free to substitute with more fresh broccoli florets, or leave them out all together. It does balance the savory flavors with a hint of sweet.
- Broccoli – You can’t have a broccoli cheese soup recipe without broccoli! It gives flavor and substance to this delicious soup.
- Nutmeg – This is the secret ingredient! We add just a pinch of nutmeg to provide a unique and distinct flavor. Buy whole nutmeg and grate it yourself for maximum flavor.
- Vegetable broth or chicken broth – I also like to use unsalted chicken stock or vegetable stock so that I control the amount of salt, but whatever you have on hand works great too!
- Heavy cream – To get a creamy broccoli soup, we need a little cream!
- Cheddar cheese – If you really like the cheesy flavor in this soup, feel free to use a sharp cheddar. I always prefer using freshly grated cheese, which means grating my own cheese. It melts better and has better flavor.
- Salt and black pepper – Add this to taste, or even let each person add their own.
If you’re feeling in need of an additional dose of comfort food, try serving this in a bread bowl. Or at least with a few crusty slices of sourdough bread. Delicious. And if you want it hot, add some red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper.
Oh, and for those of you with kids, this Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a great way to sneak in an extra serving of veggies! Though, really, that’s a good trick for adults too! And if you need more that do this, check out my meatball soup too!
How to Make the Best Broccoli Cheese Soup
- First, use your Instant Pot on the sauté function, adding the butter and onion. Cook for about 2 minutes.
- Next add the flour and garlic, sautéing that for an additional 2 minutes until it makes a paste.
- Next, add the carrots, broccoli, nutmeg and stock (or whichever you’re using.)
- Change the setting on your Instant Pot to manual, high pressure and set for 15 minutes. Use the quick release method.
- Stir in the cream and cheddar cheese. Now is when you season the soup to your liking with fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper and enjoy!
- Bread is optional, but always welcome.
Double the Recipe, Double the Fun!
Want to make a big batch? Please note that you can easily double this soup by doubling the amount of ingredients, but you do not need to change the cooking time.
However, this depends on the size of your pressure cooker. This fits perfectly into a 6 quart IP, use a larger IP to double up.
Generally speaking, never fill your pressure cooker more than 1/2 to 2/3 full, although with raw broccoli, there is a ton of air between, so this is hard to judge. You should be fine in a 6qt or larger pressure cooker.
Slow Cooker & Stovetop Instructions
You can make this cream of broccoli soup in the slow cooker too! Follow the directions, but instead of putting it on manual pressure for 15 minutes, put it on high for 2-3 hours and then resume the instructions.
If you’d rather make it on the stovetop, you can do that too. You can follow the same directions, but in a Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium heat. Allow to simmer for about 1 hour.
Storage & Freezing
Just like freezing any leftover soup, place it in an airtight container or plastic bag and freezer for up to 3-4 months. Soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave.
More instant pot recipes:
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Instant Pot Chili
- Instant Pot Beer Cheese Soup
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Instant Pot Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Set the Instant Pot to the saute function. Add the butter and onion, saute for 2 minutes.
- Add the flour and garlic, saute for an additional 2 minutes. Add the carrots, broccoli, nutmeg and vegetable stock.
- Change setting to manual, high pressure and set for 15 minutes.
- Use quick release method. Stir in the cream and cheddar cheese. Season to your liking with salt and pepper. Broccoli should easily break into small pieces. Serve hot.
- If you've tried this recipe, make sure to come back and let us know how you liked it!