Crispy Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

5 Ingredients or Fewer

Crispy Broccoli Cheese Soup

February 27, 2021
2 Ratings
Author Notes

How to make the broccoli-iest, cheesiest broccoli cheese soup? Skip the overcrowded ingredient list and use broccoli and the cheese multiple ways. That means no fluff like carrot, celery, potato, garlic, flour, cornstarch, vegetable or chicken stock, milk or cream or half-and-half, hot sauce, paprika, mustard, cayenne, or nutmeg. Just lots of broccoli, funky cheddar, and yellow onion. Here’s the game plan: You’ll purée blanched broccoli (including those starchy stalks!), while roasting even more broccoli in the oven for a crispy topping. Likewise, grated cheddar does double duty: yielding a creamy-silky soup and turning those broccoli florets into crackly-edged wonders. (For what it’s worth, that cheesy roasted broccoli is a recipe in itself—one that you could make on its own, pair with some warm bread and vinegary salad, and call it dinner.) Our third and final ingredient, sautéed onions, round out the flavor and add body. Because they end up whooshed in the blender, they serve the same savory role as vegetable stock: supporting, elevating, celebrating the broccoli and cheese. —Emma Laperruque

Watch This Recipe
Crispy Broccoli Cheese Soup
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • 1 1/4 pounds yellow onions (about 2 medium plus 1 large), diced
  • Neutral oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
  • 2 pounds broccoli (about 2 large or 4 medium heads)
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
In This Recipe
  1. Heat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Pour a glug of oil into a stockpot set over medium heat. Add the onions and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and lowering the heat if needed, until the pieces are soft, translucent, and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut away the broccoli stalks’ tough exteriors. Chop all the stalks into bite-size pieces and add these to a bowl. Chop what’s left into bite-size florets; add half of these to the bowl and the other half to a rimmed sheet pan.
  4. When the onions are ready, add 6 cups of water to the pot, along with a couple pinches of salt. Increase the heat to bring the water to a boil.
  5. While the water is heating up, generously drizzle the broccoli florets on the sheet pan with oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss with your hands, then spread out the broccoli as much as possible. Roast for about 15 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned and the stalks are knife-tender.
  6. When the onion water reaches a boil, add the broccoli stalks and florets in the bowl. Boil until the water is golden in hue and the broccoli stalks are fork-tender, about 8 minutes.
  7. Use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer the onions and broccoli from the stockpot to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add all but 1 cup of grated cheddar (we’re using that in a bit) to the blender. Blend again. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock from the stockpot and purée again. You should have about 2 cups of stock remaining; add more to the blender if you want the soup thinner; otherwise, pour the leftover stock into a container and refrigerate or freeze for soupy situations down the road.
  8. Pour the puréed soup into the emptied stockpot. If needed, set over low heat to stay warm.
  9. When the roasted broccoli is ready, remove the sheet pan from the oven. Increase the oven to 475°F. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of grated cheese on top of the roasted broccoli florets. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is lacey and deeply golden brown, about 5 minutes (you can rotate the sheet pan if needed for even cooking). Pull from the oven and let cool for a few minutes to slightly crisp.
  10. Divide the soup into 4 bowls and evenly divide the crispy-cheesy broccoli florets on top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jess Tylkowski
    Jess Tylkowski
  • Sarah Gladieux
    Sarah Gladieux
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • colorado56
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

    9 Reviews

    Jess T. March 6, 2021
    We enjoyed this last night, but I have a few notes:
    I whisked in the cheese after blending and got a bit of oily separation. Probably better than cleaning cheese blades but next time I might add a little cream cheese or sodium citrate to help emulsify.
    I made the broccoli frico on parchment and it took forever to crisp up and was difficult to free. Probably worth just using a heavy duty or nonstick sheet.
    Added some MSG and it helped tremendously to pump it up without adding any additional flavors.
    colorado56 March 1, 2021
    The soup itself was wonderful and the cheesy broccoli on top just delicious. However, the preparation left my blender covered with a greasy film that took nearly 20 minutes to clean off and even then I am not sure that I got it all. I think that the problem is related to putting the cheese into the blender with the warm vegetables. Could the cheese be added after the vegetables are pureed?
    Author Comment
    Emma L. March 1, 2021
    Hi colorado56—sorry to hear about the greasy film! I haven't run into that with my own blender, but I imagine that stirring in the cheese by hand would work. I'd just pour the hot pureed soup into the pot and stir in the grated cheese off-heat until it's completely melted.
    colorado56 March 1, 2021
    I agree. Thank you.
    LaaaaRoyce February 27, 2021
    This recipe although easy taste Absolutely delicious and for something so simple to make the broccoli with lacy cheddar takes this up a notch.
    k8mielke February 25, 2021
    Loved this recipe! I didn't have the greasy blender or grainy issues, but I think that is because I overcooked the broccoli. Rather than spooning the broccoli and onions out of the broth, I dumped the whole thing into a colander over a bowl to separate them, which was super fast and effective.
    Sarah G. February 26, 2021
    I did the same thing! Poured it all through a colander. It was much easier and less messy.
    jschatzlein February 24, 2021
    Taste was great, cooking process super easy and quick. I wonder if running the blended onion/broccoli through a mesh sieve (before cheese) would improve the texture. There weren't any chunks but I wouldn't call it smooth either. Adding cheese in the blender ended up with a greasy film that was a huge pain to clean off the blades and pitcher.

    I would make it again the next time I end up with a whole bunch of onions and broccoli that I need to use up.
    Sarah G. February 23, 2021
    The broccoli cheese soup is delicious and so easy to make! It’s creamy and crazy flavorful! This recipe will definitely be in my regular rotation of soups in the fall/winter. However next time I’ll use nonstick foil or parchment paper for the crispy cheese. A lot of it stuck too much to my baking sheet.