Creamy, cheesy, and better than any restaurant, this Pumpkin Broccoli Cheddar Soup is hiding a fall veggie addition that you and your family are going to love! Made in one pot in less than an hour, you can be on your way to comfort food any night of the week.
I normally have to be in a particular mood for soup.
Living in Florida does that to a person. It’s generally too hot most of the year for any soup that’s not gazpacho – but for some reason, I’m always game for broccoli cheddar soup!
It’s cozy and cheesy and comforting any day of the year – and it’s surprisingly quick and easy to make!
This page includes step by step instructions, as well as tips and notes. If you’d like to skip all that, feel free to scroll down to the full, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
One of my very favorite soups is broccoli cheddar soup. Specifically, the one from Panera.
I make it pretty regularly in the chillier months, and sometimes I stick some pumpkin in there.
Why? Well, surprisingly, pumpkin fits well in all kinds of savory things! This pumpkin and sweet potato soup is a perfect example. I’ve personally put it in chili, beer cheese soup, and hummus, and even made Pumpkin Alfredo Stuffed Shells – so why not this?
Honestly, the pumpkin just helps to thicken the soup, and you can sneak a little more veggie goodness into the soup with no one being the wiser!
- Pumpkin puree – canned or fresh.
- Cheese – freshly shredded cheddar, or your favorite kind of cheese if you prefer your soup a bit less sharp.
- Broccoli florets – go ahead and throw in the whole head. The more the merrier!
- Onions, carrots, celery, and garlic – these veggies really enhances the flavor of this tasty soup.
- Chicken broth – or vegetable broth, if you want to keep it vegetarian friendly.
- Heavy cream – or half & half, to keep the end result super creamy.
- Butter – unsalted, to control the sodium levels in the soup.
- All-purpose flour – this is part of the roux that thickens the soup.
- Kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, cloves – season this up to your taste, just trust me when I say go light on the nutmeg!
- Pepitas – aka pumpkin seeds! You can buy them at the grocery store, or roast your own.
Do you have to use cheddar in this pumpkin broccoli cheese soup?
Nope! You can use any kind of cheese you want, really – cheddar IS the classic type, though. The sharpness of the cheese is up to you, but I think the sharper, the better!
Can you use frozen broccoli in this soup?
If you’ve got a lot of frozen broccoli stored, you can definitely use it up in this soup recipe!
Frozen broccoli is usually blanched before freezing, so even if you toss it in the simmering soup frozen, it may cook quicker than the fresh variety.
This only means you might be eating dinner even sooner! Test the tenderness of the vegetables after 10 minutes, then decide if your soup needs a bit more time.
How To Make Pumpkin Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Sauté some onion and celery in melted butter in a Dutch oven or stockpot set over medium heat. After about 5 minutes, when the veggies are softened, add in garlic, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and peppers and stir, cooking an additional 1 minute.
- Melt some more butter in the pot, then sprinkle everything with a few tablespoons of flour. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking constantly, until everything is coasted and the flour is browned. This is the base of your roux – the magic that thickens the soup.
- Gradually stir in the chicken broth, then the heavy cream and pumpkin puree, whisking constantly while adding. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer everything uncovered for 5 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add broccoli and carrots to the pot and simmer another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are crisp-tender to your liking. Taste the soup and season it with salt and pepper, as desired.
- For a smoother soup, you can use an immersion blender at this point to break up some or all of of the vegetables.
- While the soup is simmering, use a cheese grater to shred your cheese directly off the block. I always recommend freshly grated cheese for melting, since pre-shredded cheese is coated in an anti-caking agent that inhibits even melting.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese until it’s melted. Taste again and and season if needed. Ladle the soup into bowls or bread bowls, sprinkle with pepitas and additional shredded cheese and serve.
Tips For Making the Best Broccoli Cheddar Soup EVER
- Use heavy cream. If you want to opt for a dairy milk, go with whole milk. Anything thinner will mean your soup will also be thinner – which is the opposite of what you want!
- Shred your own cheese! Whatever you do, DO NOT use pre-shredded cheese in this soup. Shredded cheese in coated in cellulose, a substance that keeps moisture from causing the cheese to clump. It also keeps the cheese from melting properly in the soup.
- Keep the temp low. Cooking this soup at too high of a temperature can cause it to scorch, curdle, or even separate, so keep the heat at medium-low to low when simmering, and be sure to stir frequently.
How Long Does Broccoli Cheese Soup Keep?
If you manage to end up with leftovers, this pumpkin broccoli cheddar soup will stay good stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reheat the soup on your stovetop over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. You can also microwave it, covered, in 1-minute increments, stirring between heating times.
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Broccoli Cheddar Soup?
Yes, you can freeze this easy fall broccoli cheddar soup! Allow the soup to come to room temperature in your Dutch oven, transfer it to gallon-sized plastic freezer bags, and freeze it flat before storing it for up to 3 months.
The day before you plan to eat it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Then reheat it in a Dutch oven or saucepan over low heat, stirring to prevent scorching.
What to serve with pumpkin broccoli cheddar soup
If you’re used to Panera’s version, you already know that any kind of sandwich will go well with this soup. You also know that the #1 BEST way to serve it is in a sourdough bread bowl! If you’re not a baker, your local grocery store bakery may be able to accommodate you – otherwise, you can purchase them from Panera itself.
If you’re serving it in normal bowls, don’t forget some tasty rolls for dipping!
And if you’re wanting to serve this creamy soup as a side dish, try pairing it with:
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Pumpkin Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups heavy cream or half & half
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree fresh or canned
- 1 pound coarsely chopped broccoli florets 1 head
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 8 ounces Cabot cheddar cheese hand-shredded
- ¼ cup pepitas toasted
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion and celery about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and peppers and stir, cooking an additional 1 minute.
- Add remaining butter and melt. Once melted, add flour and cook 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly, until thickened.
- Gradually stir in chicken broth, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in cream and pumpkin puree, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add broccoli and carrots to pot and simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender, 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as desired.
- If you would like a smoother soup, you can choose to use an immersion blender at this point to break up some of the vegetables.
- Remove soup from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Taste and season if needed. Ladle into bowls or bread bowls, sprinkle with pepitas and additional shredded cheese and serve.