Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup ♥

Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup, another healthy seasonal soup for fall ♥, tons of broccoli, tons of flavor. Great for Meal Prep. Easily Made Gluten Free, Low Carb and Vegan. Recipe, cooking  tips, nutrition and WW Weight Watchers points included.
My longtime recipe for homemade broccoli cheese soup, substantial enough for supper, light enough for lunch. It is rich and savory yet not fat with empty calories. Lots of fresh broccoli makes it all come alive. The spices build a flavor layer that other broccoli cheese soups just don't have. Gorgeous color!

Fresh & Seasonal, Especially for Fall, Winter and Cold-Weather Meals. Pretty Color. Great for Meal Prep. Weight Watchers Friendly. Easily Made Gluten Free, Low Carb, Vegetarian or Vegan. Rave Reviews.

What Makes This Soup Special?

There are hundreds, maybe thousands of broccoli potato soup recipes out there. Why choose mine? What makes mine stand out from the crowd? I've been making this soup since 2005 and it still pleases. Here's why.

DAIRY-FREE Some bowls of broccoli potato soup are all about the cream and the cheese, they're thick and white and gloppy. Not here. In contrast, my Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup is based on broth not milk. That means it's extra-easy to convert to dairy-free (it is just as delicious without the cheese). But even more importantly, a broth base lets the broccoli itself really stand out.

LOTS OF FRESH BROCCOLI Many broccoli potato soups call for hardly any broccoli and then mash it all up into bits. Not here. In contrast, my Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup calls for an entire pound of broccoli and makes good use of both the stems and the pretty green florets. Here, nobody's gonna ask, "Where's the broccoli?" because the soup has big pieces of broccoli right there to notice!

GOOD FLAVOR Most broccoli potato soups and broccoli cheese soups are more about cheesy, creamy texture than flavor. Not here. My Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup calls for cumin, it's an unusual choice but really works, giving the soup a rich earthiness that's especially savory. It also contains a touch of dry mustard, that bit of acidity just does wonders here.

HEALTHY SOUP! This is a healthy Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup, that's thanks to the high proportion of vegetables and the low volume of dairy products.

TEXTURE Every delicious spoonful has a chunky texture and a mouthful of flavor. It's way more than a bowlful of white mush with a few bits of broccoli.

MAKE IN ADVANCE This soup may be made ahead of time, in fact, I recommend it! That means it's perfect for meal prep. I do also recommend cooking the soup only partway. Then about 20 minutes before serving, bring the soup back to a simmer, add the broccoli tops and the cheese. That way, the broccoli remains bright green and perfectly cooked.

What's In Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup?

Like all my recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

BROCCOLI Overall, broccoli contributes bulk, nutrition and color. The stems are diced and added first since they take longer to cook. The florets are added near the end so they keep their bright green color and cook just enough. No mushy broccoli here!

POTATOES Potatoes add bulk, texture contrast and nutrition. Potatoes also act as a slight thickener. If the soup were being puréed, potatoes would also contribute to the sensation of "creaminess" without using cream. Substitutes for these properties would include turnips and cauliflower. But soups with potatoes also help "fill you up". Substitutes for this property would be cooked rice or cannellini beans (these stay in the white color) or possibly cooked lentils or dried peas (which might create color issues). By the way, I've specified Yukon gold potatoes, that's on purpose too. If small red potatoes are what we call the most "waxy" and Idaho baking potatoes are the most "starchy," then Yukon gold potatoes are a good middle ground, an all-purpose potato. I also like that Yukon gold potatoes needn't be peeled.

RED BELL PEPPER A pepper adds bulk, nutrition and color. A good substitute would be a poblano.

CHEESE Cheese adds creaminess. It's used in a fairly small quantity here so it's actually easy to omit the cheese entirely. Lots of cheeses work, cheddar cheese is the classic choice. I'm partial to smoked gouda which has more flavor than other cheeses. Can you throw in some Velveeta? Of course!

CUMIN Cumin is present for flavor! A substitute might be smoked paprika or a spoonful of chipotles in adobo.

How to Adapt Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup to Fit Dietary Needs

HOW TO CONVERT TO DAIRY-FREE Sauté the vegetables with olive oil or another plant-based oil instead of butter. Omit the cheese entirely or use a vegan cheese that melts.

HOW TO CONVERT TO VEGETARIAN or VEGAN For a vegetarian soup, just use a vegetable stock. For a vegan soup, use a vegetable stock but also sauté the vegetables with olive oil or another plant-based oil instead of butter. Omit the cheese entirely or use a vegan cheese that melts.

HOW TO CONVERT TO GLUTEN-FREE Thicken the soup with yellow cornmeal instead of flour.

HOW TO LOWER THE CARBS Omit all or part of the potatoes. If you like, substitute with turnips or cauliflower.

HOW TO LOWER THE CALORIES Omit all or part of the potatoes. If you like, substitute with turnips or cauliflower.

FOR WEIGHT WATCHERS, HOW TO MAKE IT FREESTYLE-FRIENDLY Omit all or part of the potatoes. If you like, substitute with turnips or cauliflower or cannellini beans.

Can You Make Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup In Advance?

This hearty soup is great for meal prep. In fact, I really do recommend making it a day ahead of time, this allows the flavors to meld. But you'll just add the broccoli florets when it's reheated to serve.

Can You Freeze Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup?

Yes but I don't recommend it since potatoes don't freeze well. If you do freeze the soup, freeze it before adding the broccoli florets and cheese.

The History of This Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup

Back in 2005, when I first made this soup, it was instant love. I called it "one great soup" and then emphasized that even more, "one GREAT soup". I was impressed how the cumin and mustard deepen and sharpen the flavor of an otherwise bland mix of vegetables. I recognized that as the potato cooks and softens, it creams the broth without dairy. And besides, the broccoli and peppers just look pretty and taste good!

Over the years, when I return to an early recipe from the first year of A Veggie Venture, I wonder if it will stand up to its memory. This Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup does – and more. It's a really delicious broccoli soup, one to turn to again and again. In fact, I've committed this recipe to a 3x5 card, that means it gets made again and again. With fresh bread still warm from the oven, like My Easy Everyday Bread? Heaven.

It also says something, yes? that I only have two other broccoli soups. I have what I need. Three are enough.

Quick Cauliflower Soup or Quick Broccoli Soup, this is the best choice for a fast pot of brocoli soup, it's extra healthy too, just 72 calories a cup and for Weight Watchers, a single point.
Cream of Broccoli & Carrot Soup, this is my version of a creamy broccoli soup, it's extra rich with evaporated milk.

"This is super good!" ~ Anonymous
"LOVE this soup." ~ Anonymous
"delicious! ... will definitely make this again!" ~ Andrea

Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup, another healthy seasonal soup for fall ♥, tons of broccoli, tons of flavor. Great for Meal Prep. Easily Made Gluten Free, Low Carb and Vegan. Recipe, cooking  tips, nutrition and WW Weight Watchers points included.

Just updated. First published way back in 2005!


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 9 cups
For a head start, bring the vegetable broth or chicken stock to a boil in the microwave while starting the soup. For beautiful color, cook the sturdier broccoli stems along with the potatoes, adding the tender florets just for the last few minutes.

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (use olive oil for vegan and dairy-free)
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (use yellow cornmeal for gluten-free)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound (450g) broccoli, trimmed aggressively (see TIPS), stems diced, florets reserved
1 pound (450g) Yukon gold potatoes, skins on, diced

Seasoning Mixture
6 cups stock (use vegetable stock for a vegetarian or vegan soup, I use No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock)

Diced Broccoli Stems
Diced Potatoes

Broccoli Florets
4 ounces (about 1 cup, 112g) cheddar cheese, grated

SAUTÉ In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter/olive oil over MEDIUM HIGH. Stir in the onion, bell pepper and garlic as they're prepped, stirring to coat with fat. Cook just until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent browning.

SEASONING MIXTURE While the vegetables sauté, do some prep work on the side. In a small bowl, collect the Seasoning Mixture (the flour, cumin, mustard, salt and black pepper).

PREP Then trim and dice the broccoli stems (not the florets) and dice the potato, they'll cook together. Cut the broccoli tops into small florets, these will be added near the end. (You won't use it until later but if there's time, grate the cheese too.)

COMBINE Back to cooking! Stir the Seasoning Mixture into the onions/peppers until well combined, let cook about 1 minute (this lets the flour cook just a bit, removing a floury texture/flavor). A small splash at a time at first, add the stock, stirring each splash into the vegetables before adding another; as you go along, as the mixture becomes more liquid, you'll be able to add more at a time. Take your time here, adding too much at once at first makes it more likely you'll end up with floury lumps in the soup, yuck.

SIMMER Add the Broccoli Stems and Potatoes, still leave the broccoli florets aside for now. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to MEDIUM. Cover and let simmer until the potatoes are cooked, about 15 minutes. (If you're cooking ahead, stop here and refrigerate until ready to serve. Return to a simmer before continuing.)

FINISH Add the broccoli florets and cheddar and let cook for 10 minutes or until the broccoli tops are cooked but not mushy. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately.

HOW TO TRIM BROCCOLI AGGRESSIVELY The technique is taken from this post, Technique Tip: Trimming Broccoli Aggressively: "Cut the last 1/4" from the end of the stalks, use a paring knife to trim any gnarly stumps or little branches from the stalks and then, using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough outer skin from the stalks, starting at the base of the flower and going to the end of the stalks. Some larger stalks have a fairly thick skin and may need two passes of the peeler. You can tell when you got it all when the inner flesh of the stalk is exposed, it has a softer wet-green look, with no fibers visible and a consistency like a cut radish or potato."
No cheddar? No problem. Just choose a good melting cheese, I'm especially fond of smoked gouda. Or just leave out the cheese entirely.
While this soup is "best" – color-wise and texture-wise, especially with the broccoli – straight from the pot, I'm especially fond of this soup the next day when the flavors have a chance to meld.

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Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2005, 2010, 2018, 2019 & 2020 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. This is super good! I used frozen broccoli and frozen green bell pepper. For a lower-cal version, I think you could substitute cauliflower for the potato.

  2. LOVE this soup. Made it again tonight. My aunt loves to cook and loves soup, but she's not an Internet person. I'm making her a custom cookbook for Christmas, and I'm going to include this recipe.

  3. delicious! thank you for the recipe. i subbed some roasted peppers (1/2 a pepper's worthy probably) and a teeny bit of balsamic vinegar for the mustard, as i didn't have either of the original ingredients. oh and used a local cheese as good cheddar is hard to find here in south america. will definitely make this again!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna