Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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This warm and filling Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup is packed with veggies, loaded with flavor, and has an irresistible cheesy and creamy texture. This classic soup is similar to Panera Bread’s broccoli cheddar soup. It’s so good that you’ll want to make it again and again—comfort food at its best!

Perfect for chilly days, this hearty broccoli and cheddar soup is welcome during the warm months, too! It’s no wonder because it’s just that good. Thanks to your pressure cooker, it’s a snap to make, so there’s every reason to make this filling soup, which will most likely become one of the most requested meals by your hungry family.

Bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup

The two main ingredients in this vegetable soup are broccoli and cheddar cheese. However, bits of carrots, sautéed onions, and garlic are also present, which is necessary for awesome flavor. This easy-to-make soup gets its creaminess from a béchamel mixture of half and half, butter, and flour, which helps thicken it to velvety perfection.

Not only is this soup a family favorite, but it’s also a great way to get kids to eat some veggies. Let’s face it: Most kids won’t request broccoli or carrots as a side item for any meal, but somehow, they become magically delicious when incorporated into soup form and surrounded by melty cheesy goodness. So, for that reason alone, I think you’ll love this kid-friendly Instant Pot soup recipe!

Bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup made in the Instant Pot

Ingredients Needed

Please scroll ⬇️ to the recipe card to see the full ingredient amounts and instructions.

  • Olive Oil – provides subtle flavor and is used so the ingredients do not stick to the pot
  • Onion – sautéing the onions prior to pressure cooking the soup guarantees they will be soft and tender. It also adds to the flavor.
  • Garlic – to make it more fragrant and tasty
  • Vegetable or chicken broth – use either broth, according to your preference. To make this vegetarian, use vegetable broth.
  • Broccoli – I originally used fresh broccoli in this recipe, but frozen can also be used—no alterations to the cooking time are necessary. If you use fresh broccoli and want to speed up prep time, then use pre-cut florets.
  • Carrots – diced, but to save prep time, use pre-shredded/grated carrots.
  • Butter – for flavor and buttery goodness
  • Flour – used to thicken up the soup
  • Half and half – necessary to make the soup creamy and rich
  • Cheddar Cheese – Use freshly grated cheese; the prepackaged kind does not melt very well since it’s coated with starch to prevent it from sticking together
Ingredients for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Frozen Broccoli vs. Fresh Broccoli

There’s really no difference in using fresh vs. frozen broccoli in this broccoli cheddar soup. I prefer to use fresh, but that’s just my personal preference.

You can certainly use frozen broccoli, too. Just add the frozen broccoli directly into the soup; there is no need to thaw. The cook time will be the same for both. Just note that if you use frozen broccoli, there will be extra liquid at the end. You can adjust the recipe by adding less broth (3 1/2 cups broth instead of 4 cups) or cook off this extra liquid to thicken up the soup at the end.

Cheese Variations

Before we discuss cheese variations, let me just say that grating whatever cheese you use is essential. Please avoid pre-packaged cheese if at all possible, as it won’t melt well and will have a strange texture in this recipe.

The recipe calls for cheddar cheese because this is classic and it pairs really well with this soup.

Here are some other varieties that will give it a little twist on the cheesy flavor:

  • Gouda or smoked gouda
  • Pepper jack
  • A mix of cheddar and parmesan cheese

Step by Step Instructions: Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Steps to make Broccoli Cheddar Soup in the Instant Pot
  1. Press the [Sauté] button and wait until the display says “hot.” Then add olive oil and onions; stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add more olive oil, if needed, to prevent the onions from sticking to the pot.
  2. Add garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Deglaze the pot by adding vegetable (or chicken) broth and loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot to prevent the “burn” error message. Then, press the [Cancel] button.
  4. Add broccoli, carrot, salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme. Place the lid back on and turn the knob to the “sealing” position. Press [Pressure Cook] (or Manual for older models) and set it to high pressure for 3 minutes. (It will take about 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure)
Steps to make Broccoli Cheddar Soup in the Instant Pot
  1. While the instant pot is coming to pressure, melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Whisk together the butter, flour, and half and half. (If the mixture is not mixing together, you might have to microwave the half and half until it becomes room temperature.) Then, set it aside for later.
  2. When it is done cooking, Quick Release the pressure by turning the knob to “venting”. Open the lid and give it a quick stir. Whisk in the butter/milk/flour mixture until it is fully mixed. Vigorously stir while adding the grated cheddar cheese. Do not let the cheese stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Use an Immersion Blender to blend the soup to your desired consistency.
  4. Serve while hot!
Spoonful of Broccoli Cheddar Soup

HOW TO SERVE BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP

This Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup will pair well with just about anything. Eat this with just about any kind of bread or crackers. But if you want to get really fancy, here are some awesome pairings:

  • Bread bowl: cut the top of each bread bowl. Scoop out the center (save the center to dunk into soup!) and fill with soup. Got a picky eater? This is a fun way to get kids to eat some hidden veggies.
  • Air-fried Garlic Bread is always a winner. Use your favorite bread, slather on butter and garlic (or garlic powder), and toast in the air fryer (you can do this in the oven, too). Cheesy Pull-Apart Garlic Bread with Broccoli Cheddar Soup is definitely a bucket list meal.
  • Cornbread is awesome, and you can make it from scratch or use the boxed kind.
  • Simple rolls that you can purchase and heat up are a quick and no-fuss option.
  • Salad is a healthier, lighter, and fresh pairing to balance out the creaminess of the soup.

How to Store Leftovers

Because of the dairy content (the half and half and the cheese) this particular soup doesn’t reheat well from being frozen. You’ll likely get separation and a graininess that won’t improve when heated, which is not what you’re looking for in a creamy and velvety soup.

But it does hold up extremely well when refrigerated. If you have leftovers, just let them cool before putting them in an airtight container and refrigerating. The leftover broccoli cheddar soup will keep for up to 3 days. Reheat on low in a saucepan on the stove. Be sure to stir to keep it from sticking.

RECIPE

Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Quynh Nguyen
The absolute best Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup (resembling Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup)! It's packed with veggies, loaded with flavor and has an irresistible cheesy and creamy texture. It’s a classic soup but made in a fraction of the time thanks to your pressure cooker.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 14 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 267 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 pound broccoli florets (approximately 6-7 cups)
  • 2 carrots large dice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese

Instructions
 

  • Press the [Sauté] button and wait until the display says "hot." Then add olive oil and onions; stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add more olive oil, if needed, to prevent the onions from sticking to the pot.
  • Add garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Deglaze the pot by adding vegetable (or chicken) broth and loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot to prevent the "burn" error message. Then, press the [Cancel] button.
  • Add broccoli, carrot, salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme. Place the lid back on and turn the knob to the "sealing" position. Press [Pressure Cook] (or Manual for older models) and set it to high pressure for 3 minutes. (It will take about 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure)
  • While the instant pot is coming to pressure, in a small bowl melt butter in the microwave. If the half and half is coming straight from the fridge, microwave it for 15 seconds so that it becomes room temperature. Whisk together the butter, flour, and half and half. Then, set it aside for later.
  • When it is done cooking, QUICK RELEASE the pressure by turning the knob to "venting." Open the lid and give it a quick stir. Whisk in the butter/milk/flour mixture until it is fully mixed. Vigorously stir while adding the grated cheddar cheese. Do not let the cheese stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your desired consistency.
  • Serve while hot!

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