Warm up with a hearty bowl of Gluten-free Broccoli Cheddar Soup! Make this flavorful and healthy soup from scratch in about 30 minutes!
Spring does not seem to be showing its face any time soon. Cold and gloomy days have seemingly set in for good. As such, a warm and comforting bowl of soup is the perfect fit. Of all the soups, Broccoli Cheddar Soup is as much of a classic to me as Chicken Noodle Soup. It is healthy, flavorful, and filling! If you like Panera's Broccoli Cheese Soup, you will love this copycat! This version is just as creamy, cheesy, and delicious and even better, it's gluten-free!
Ingredients in Gluten-free Broccoli Cheddar Soup
If you've got a few pantry staples and a head of broccoli, you're well on your way to making this delicious soup from scratch!
- Broccoli: I use fresh broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces. I haven't tested this, but you may be able to substitute frozen broccoli.
- Mild Cheddar Cheese: I love using freshly grated cheese, but you can also use pre-shredded cheese.
- Carrots, Onion, & Garlic: I like to use shredded carrots in this soup. You can buy pre-shredded carrots if you want a time saver. Although, I prefer to shred the carrots and the onion at the same time in my food processor. Then I will also use the same attachment to grate the cheese. Each batch takes about 5 seconds to process. A julienne peeler or a box grater is another quick and easy way to shred carrots.
- Vegetable or Chicken Broth: I prefer the flavor of vegetable broth but either is just fine! Always read labels on broth and stock! They are not all gluten-free! I try to find stocks/broths without natural flavorings or yeast extracts and a simple list of only a few ingredients.
- Brown Rice Flour or Sweet Rice Flour to thicken the soup. (Read the note below.)
- Half & Half: not quite as indulgent as using heavy cream but still creamier than plain milk. You could use whatever you have on hand, just note that using milk may not make your soup quite as creamy as either half & half or heavy cream would.
A note on thickeners
I've made this soup many times, the only times it has failed was with cornstarch as a thickener. Cornstarch can lose its thickening power if it is stirred too much causing the soup to return to a thin, unappealing consistency. For this reason, stick with rice flour!
You may also have a gluten-free flour blend in your pantry. This can be used but preferably use one without gums. The gums in these blends can give soups a weird consistency.
Making the Soup
Step 1: Heat the butter in a large pot and sauté the onions, carrots, and garlic.
Step 2: Sprinkle the rice flour over the veggies and cook an additional minute or two, cooking flour in fat is called a roux.
Step 3: Gradually stir in the broth and water, then add in the broccoli. Simmer until the broccoli is fork-tender. About 10-15 minutes.
Step 4: When the broccoli is tender, turn off the heat. Allow the soup to cool for a couple of minutes so that it is not boiling, then stir in the cream and cheddar cheese.
Serve immediately or leave over low heat, stirring occasionally.
A Few More Tips for Success
- Take care that the soup is not too hot when you add the cheese. Some cheeses, especially cheddar, can separate and become grainy under temperatures that are too high. This is why I instruct to remove the soup from heat before adding the cheese.
- Leftovers should last 3-4 days in the fridge or can be frozen for longer periods. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- I do not recommend making this soup in the Instant Pot. I tried it and the broccoli gets too mushy, even at a 1 minute cook time. Using the Instant Pot would not save you much time or yield better results than stovetop in this situation.
Gluten-Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 small carrots, shredded, about 1 cup
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 Tablespoons sweet rice flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 lb broccoli florets, chopped in small bite-size pieces
- 1 cup half & half, or ¼ cup heavy cream
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese, 2 cups
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot. Saute the onions, carrots, and garlic in the butter until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the rice flour over the softened vegetables, stir to cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Gradually stir in the vegetable or chicken stock and water. Add in the broccoli. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until broccoli stems are fork-tender.
- When the broccoli is tender, remove the pan from heat and allow to cool for a minute or two. Use an immersion blender to purée soup a bit if desired. Stir in the cream and then the cheese. Serve immediately or keep warm on stovetop over low heat.
- Take care that the soup is not too hot when you add the cheese. Cheddar cheese can separate and become grainy under temperatures that are too high. Remove the soup from heat before adding the cheese.
- Leftovers last 3-4 days in the fridge or can be frozen for longer periods.
- Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- The Instant Pot is not recommended for this recipe. The broccoli gets too mushy.
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*Originally posted March 6, 2019, Updated January 11, 2020 with better instructions for thickening soup.