Creamy and delicious, this healthier Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup is a cinch to make and tastes so much better than the restaurant version. It’s perfect for a vegetarian or gluten-free dinner or lunch.
I’m a broccoli fan, pure and simple. I love broccoli in any form, but most especially roasted. Roasting broccoli makes a convert out people who are professed broccoli haters.
My dad is not a broccoli fan but he’ll definitely eat this broccoli salad with no complaints and he usually goes back for seconds. But hey, it has bacon in it, which kind of is cheating a little bit, bribing him with bacon. Or cheese. Add creamy cheese sauce to broccoli like this Instant Pot mac and cheese with broccoli, and he’ll happily eat broccoli.
Well, today I have a broccoli cheese soup recipe for you that will convert even the most reluctant broccoli eater. I bet you’ll find them sneaking spoonfuls behind your back because they don’t want to admit they actually like it. Reportedly, my dad loves it.
The beauty of this broccoli cheese soup is that it’s made in one pan, your Instant Pot, and only takes about half an hour to make. Restaurant style soup (think Panera’s) made quickly and economically! Plus I made it a bit more healthy for you: no cream, only 1 tablespoon of butter, and I promise that it has real Cheddar cheese, no Velveeta or other cheese “products”.
I think you’ll love it! It’s perfect on a cold winter evening: a steaming bowl of soup with a big slice of warm multigrain bread. Yum!
About this Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
This Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup is chock-full of broccoli, carrots, and onions. I like it with pieces of vegetable intact but if you want a super creamy soup, you could also puree it with a stick blender.
Start with the sauté function of your Instant Pot. Melt a tablespoon of butter with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and sauté them briefly to soften them up. Add four cups of finely chopped broccoli florets and matchstick carrots. Stir in broth, herbs, and seasonings; pressure cook for 4 minutes. (It will take your Instant Pot about 10 minutes to come to pressure.)
While the soup is cooking, measure out 2 cups of milk, whisk in a few tablespoons of cornstarch, and shred some sharp cheddar cheese. You’ll need three cups (12 ounces). Please don’t use pre-shredded cheese! It won’t melt nearly as well, due to additives in the cheese.
Quick release the pressure. Turn the Instant Pot to sauté again, and stir in the milk/cornstarch mixture. Boil gently until the soup thickens, turn off the heat, slowly stir in the cheese, and voila! You just made your very own beautiful broccoli cheese soup completely from scratch. And it’s so good!
How to make this Instant Pot soup your own:
- Don’t have a pressure cooker/Instant Pot? This soup could easily be made on the stove with a Dutch oven or large pan. The cooking time won’t differ all that much.
- I like matchstick carrots, but you could also use chopped, diced, or shredded carrots. Add celery, zucchini, or summer squash if you want to amp up the vegetables. My mom stirs in a big handful of chopped spinach right along with the cheese.
- Spice it up a little with more cayenne pepper, mustard powder, or smoked paprika. Or add some garlic if you’re a garlic fan.
- This broccoli cheese soup recipe is gluten-free. Make sure to check the label of the vegetable broth to make sure the brand you buy is gluten free.
- To make it keto/low carb, substitute arrowroot flour for the cornstarch, or leave it out. The soup will be thinner in consistency but will still be delicious.
Reheating and Storage Tips
To store any leftovers, cool soup to room temperature, put into an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Broccoli cheese soup should last up to three days in the fridge. I wouldn’t freeze leftovers–soups with a milk base just don’t fare too well in the freezer.
To reheat, put soup into a heat proof bowl and gently heat in the microwave, or reheat in a pan on the stove. Don’t boil the soup because that may cause it to separate and curdle. The soup will still taste great if that happens but won’t look quite as appetizing.
What goes well with Broccoli and Cheese Soup?
Broccoli cheese soup is perfect for “Meatless Mondays”. I like to serve it with cranberry walnut oat bread or no-knead cheesy bread. Cornbread muffins or savory quinoa muffins would be great, too. Accompany it with a bowl of fresh fruit.
Other great soup recipes:
Soup for dinner is always welcome and leftovers make an easy and nutritious lunch. Try:
- Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (slow cooker)
- Instant Pot Cauliflower Potato Soup — so creamy, without all the calories!
- Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Carrot Ginger Soup (vegan)
- Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Noodles
- Lasagna Soup
- Copycat Panera Squash Soup (you’ll love it!)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup diced onion (about 1 small yellow onion)
- 4 cups finely chopped broccoli florets (about 1 head of broccoli, florets and small stems)
- 1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots (OR 2 medium carrots, shredded or finely diced)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, more to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- In a 6-quart Instant Pot, heat butter and olive oil on “Saute” mode. Add onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes or until translucent. Turn off Instant Pot.
- Add broccoli, carrots, broth, thyme, pepper, salt, nutmeg, cayenne, and bay leaf.
- Secure lid, turn valve to “Seal,” and set on “Manual” (or “Pressure Cook“), high pressure, for 4 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for it to come to pressure.
- When cook time is finished, turn valve to “vent” to quick release pressure. Carefully remove bay leaf.
- (If a smoother consistency is desired, blend with immersion blender before continuing with remaining steps).
- In measuring cup, whisk together cornstarch and milk until no lumps remain.
- Turn pressure cooker back to “Saute” mode and add in milk/cornstarch mixture while stirring. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens slightly. Turn Instant Pot off and gradually stir in cheese until melted.
- Shred your own cheese for best results. Pre-shredded cheese doesn't melt as well due to additives.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.