It is so easy to make this Crock Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup for dinner (or lunch) when you only need 10 minutes of prep and the slow cooker does the rest!
AN EASY, CREAMY CROCK POT SOUP RECIPE
If you like the broccoli cheddar soup at Panera then you will really love this recipe because it’s even better! This creamy and cheesy Crock Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a comforting meal that’s packed with flavor and uses simple ingredients. With only a little preparation, you can let this delicious soup cook in the slow cooker while you get on with other things that need your attention (like relaxing!) Serve with crusty bread for a cozy meal that everyone will love!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Chicken base is thick pasty mixture that comes in a jar and is an ingredient used to season and flavor dishes like soup, gravy, and sauces. The most common brand is Better than Boullion (not a paid affiliate) but there are other brands. It’s a mix of chicken broth, salt, onions, carrots, celery, and other herbs. The ingredients in chicken base will vary depending on the brand you choose – some may include things like garlic or herbs like thyme or parsley.
It is very common to find it in grocery stores these days. You can find chicken base in most grocery stores near the bouillon cubes and chicken broth.
Sure thing. Add 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil (or 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter) to a soup pot or dutch oven and sauté the over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until softened but not browned.
Add the garlic, nutmeg, pepper, cream cheese, broth, chicken base, evaporated milk, and flour. Stir together to combine.
Add frozen broccoli to the pot. Stir to combine.
Cook over low heat for about 25-30 minutes, stirring periodically, until the broccoli is tender when pierced with a fork. The soup just needs to simmer, not boil.
Turn off the heat, add the grated Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, and stir until melted. Taste for salt and pepper and serve!
This is one of those recipes that is perfect for doubling to ensure you have leftovers for other meals or to put away for later. Just make sure you use a large enough crock pot!
Trust me, don’t let this throw you off! It’s totally worth it. So many cream based soups do really well with a little nutmeg added (like Olive Garden’s Chicken Gnocchi soup). You don’t taste it as a separate flavor, it just adds a little something that gives this deeper flavor.
If you require a gluten-free substitute for flour, you can use almond flour or cornstarch is also a viable option. However, it’s important to note that you should use half the amount of cornstarch as you would flour in this recipe (1 Tablespoon). For a gluten-free chicken base, consider Orrington Farm (paid affiliate) which is certified gluten-free. It’s worth mentioning that other bases may be processed in non-gluten-free facilities.
Slow cooker soups tend to have a thinner consistency compared to their stovetop counterparts. This is due to less evaporation, resulting in a soup with more liquid. Many folks prefer this but if you are one that likes an even thicker soup, there is a way to help. One option is to incorporate additional cheese, which adds richness and creamy texture. Or you can Mix 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch with one Tablespoon of water to make a cornstarch slurry in a small dish. Mix until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Then, add it to the slow cooker toward the end of the cooking time and turn the slow cooker up to high just for about 10 minutes or so until you start to see it thicken.
The soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
You can freeze this soup in a proper lidded container for up to 2 months. Thaw first then gently reheat on the stovetop or microwave.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- frozen broccoli – If you don’t want to use frozen broccoli, then you will need about 4-5 cups of fresh broccoli. I have made this with fresh and frozen broccoli florets, but we ended up preferring the frozen. We liked how it incorporated better into the soup but you go with what you love. I used frozen baby broccoli florets and found that they are the most tender and flavorful. It’s also a good alternative and a great timesaver!
- celery and onion – If you need a prep time saver, many grocery stores carry pre-chopped containers of celery and onion that are ready to use.
- garlic powder – If you prefer fresh garlic, you can certainly use that. Just make sure to finely mince it. A generous teaspoon should do it. I think garlic should always be measured with your heart, not a measuring spoon.
- nutmeg – this one is gonna through some of y’all for a loop but I need you to trust me on it. It’s not much at all but it is definitely an ingredient that is going to add flavor and everyone will be wondering what it is! But if you really just can’t stand the thought, then leave it out.
- cream cheese – this is going to make the soup super creamy! If you don’t care for cream cheese, you can substitute with a bit of heavy cream.
- chicken broth – If you want to watch the sodium levels, I would suggest a low or no sodium chicken broth.
- Better than Bouillon chicken base – see my FAQ (frequently asked questions) above for more details on this. If you can’t find chicken base, just use a couple of chicken bouillon cubes.
- evaporated milk– May substitute 2% milk or whole milk for this recipe. You will need about 1 ½ cups. I prefer the evaporated milk because it has already been cooked, holds up better to heat for a longer period of time and doesn’t curdle. I also tested this recipe using milk, and it is fine to as long as the heat setting is kept on low and you don’t try to cook this on high.
- all-purpose flour – this helps to thicken things just a tad but won’t make it super thick.
- grated Parmesan cheese – We added parmesan cheese for depth of flavor. It can be replaced with more shredded cheddar if preferred.
- shredded cheddar cheese – This might be one those times when you want to finely shred the cheddar cheese yourself but for a time saver, just go with the bagged stuff.
HOW TO MAKE CROCK POT BROCCOLI AND CHEESE SOUP
Place all ingredients except for the cheddar and parmesan 1cheeses in the slow cooker. Stir the ingredients to combine. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until broccoli is fork tender.
Add the parmesan and shredded cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Turn the slow cooker off (leave it covered) for about 8-10 minutes before serving to allow the soup to thicken a bit and to let the cheese continue to melt.
Serve by itself or with a little more shredded cheddar cheese on top.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Crock Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 16 ounce package frozen broccoli
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced (see notes below)
- 1 small onion, finely diced (see notes below)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons chicken base
- 12 ounce can evaporated milk (or 1 1/2 cups whole milk)
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (plus more for serving)
- Place all ingredients except for the parmesan and cheddar cheeses in the slow cooker. Stir the ingredients to combine.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until broccoli is fork tender.
- Add the parmesan and shredded cheddar cheeses and stir until melted. Turn the slow cooker off (with the lid on) for about 8-10 minutes before serving to allow the soup to thicken a bit with the cheeses.
- Taste test and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese on top.
- Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
- If you like your onion and celery super soft, try sautéing in a pan (in some oil) for a few minutes until the onion is translucent before adding to the crock pot.
- Need lower sodium? Better Than Bouillon makes a low sodium chicken base and you can purchase low or no sodium chicken broth.
- The soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for five days.
- Slow cookers vary in their temperatures and heating abilities. That is the reason a range for cooking time is given. We recommend checking the broccoli for doneness at the 3-hour mark and adjusting the time accordingly.
- With slow cooker soups, less evaporation occurs than when cooked on a stove top which results in a thinner soup. Many folks prefer this but if you are one that likes a thicker soup, there is a way to help. Mix 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch with one Tablespoon of water to make a cornstarch slurry in a small dish until the cornstarch is dissolved. Then, add it to the slow cooker toward the end of the cooking time and turn the slow cooker up to high just for about 10 minutes or so until you start to see it thicken.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.