Easy Cream of Broccoli Soup is one of those thick, rich bowls of dunk-able goodness just waiting on a crusty loaf of bread and a hearty appetite. Dark green flecks of little broccoli flowers are suspended in every ladle of this full-bodied soup, loaded with flavor and all the nutrition benefits of one of my favorite cruciferous vegetables!
HOW TO MAKE EASY CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP:
Creamy soups can be intimidating, but all you need is a pot and a blender to pull off a velvety masterpiece. My Easy Cream of Broccoli recipe will make you a believer!
Start off by sautéing onions and garlic in a little butter. Four tablespoons of butter may seem like a lot, but we’re starting a base for the roux that will help thicken the soup.
Once you add the flour, you’ll want to cook it for a few minutes to get rid of the raw flour smell and brown the flour to a light tan color.
Rather than whisking in all the liquid next, start with just the chicken stock.
Your pan will be pretty hot at this point, and you want the temperature low when you start adding dairy. Milk products can and often do separate when boiled, and “curdled” is not the texture we’re shooting for here!
This is one of many dishes I’ve transformed using my favorite flavor bomb: Better than Bouillon. Imagine the perfect chicken stock, slow cooked for days until every bit of chicken essence is extracted. Now imagine those flavors concentrated into a paste that makes everything taste like it’s cooked all day too. That’s what this stuff does, and it will make all the difference in this soup.
I also want the flavor of the broccoli to stand out (this is a recipe for Cream of BROCCOLI Soup), so the other seasonings are complementary – bay leaves for a slightly floral addition and nutmeg.
Nutmeg is a unique spice that somehow morphs its flavor profile based on the other ingredients. Yes, it’s great in eggnog, but it’s also wonderful in macaroni and cheese and magical when paired with spinach. Used sparingly (we’re not making pumpkin pie here), nutmeg adds a little something to this soup that deepens the flavor but leaves the diner wondering just what that “little something” is. (FYI – Use fresh grated whenever possible; if you’ve ever tried it that way, you’ll understand how much better the flavor is.)
So, about that broccoli. Kiddos love that it looks like little trees (which is a bonus if you’ve ever tried to wrestle veggies into a picky eater), but I love its flavor and all the health benefits. Just one cup has the same amount of Vitamin C as a whole orange, plus it packs Vitamin A, tons of fiber, and anti-inflammatory properties. Eating it is almost as beneficial as visiting the gym, right?
When it comes to veggies, I always opt for fresh if I can, but you can save a little time in this recipe by substituting frozen broccoli with little noticeable difference in the end product. Just cook your carrots a few minutes before adding the broccoli since frozen veggies are usually already partially cooked.
Carrots are the only other veggie that gets a place in my recipe, unlike some other recipes for cream of broccoli potato soup. Potato’s starchy texture is a bit of a distraction from the luscious mouth feel of this soup, so I skip it and rely on the roux and cream to thicken it up nicely.
Once the flavors are melded and the veggies are tender, blend everything to the texture you like (don’t forget to retrieve those bay leaves first!). You can process it super smooth or leave it slightly chunkier. You can also fish out some of the broccoli before you blend to use as a garnish.
Just be sure when you add it back to the pan for its final enrichening with the heavy cream that you keep the heat nice and low to avoid the boiling/curdling ugliness.
Finish off my easy broccoli soup recipe in spectacular fashion by serving it in bread bowls (either store bought or homemade if you have a better relationship with yeast than I do J), or your favorite soup bowls, garnished with the reserved broccoli, a generous grind of black pepper, or even a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.
I also like to make croutons out of a leftover baguette to float on top. Your insides are sure to get a big ol’ hug from this soup, however you choose to serve it!
Blender – Using a blender with hot liquids requires a bit of patience and concern for your own personal safety. If you’ve ever watched a tea kettle spew steam once the insides are up to pressure, you’ll know exactly what to expect if you fill your blender full of hot liquid and seal it up tight. When it’s time to blend the soup, work in small batches and vent the top of the blender by removing the fill cap and covering it loosely with a dish towel. You can use an immersion blender, but I think the countertop version handles the broccoli chunks better.
Slow cooker – I know we all love the “set it and forget it” freedom of our Crockpots, so you can make a Cream of Broccoli Soup slow cooker version by sautéing your veggies then cooking everything on low for 3 to 4 hours.
Cheese it up – If you’d prefer the gooier version of this soup, you can make a cream of broccoli cheese soup by adding a pound of cubed Velveeta or 2 c. of shredded cheddar instead of the heavy whipping cream, stirring just until smooth. Remember to keep the heat just warm enough to melt the cheese!
Healthy version – You may be looking at the high-fat dairy and wondering how to make healthy broccoli soup. Well, you can substitute an equal amount of chicken stock for the half and half, and then either use ¼ cup of half and half instead of the whipping cream or omit that ingredient altogether. Maybe you don’t just want a healthy cream of broccoli soup, you want to make this Cream of Broccoli Soup vegan. No problem! Use olive oil instead of butter, then a dairy-free milk like unsweetened almond in place of the half and half. Believe it or not, the folks at Better than Bouillon make a “No Chicken” version that’s pretty much indistinguishable from the chicken version. To make the soup extra rich, substitute cashew cream for the whipping cream, using soaked cashews (¾ cup of nuts covered in water at least 30 minutes), drained, then pureed with a cup of water until super smooth and creamy.
Easy Cream Of Broccoli Soup Recipe
- Unsalted Butter - 4 Tablespoons
- Onion, Chopped - 1 Large
- Garlic Cloves, Minced - 2
- All-Purpose Flour - 1/4 Cup
- Chicken Broth - 2 Cups
- Half and Half - 2 Cups
- Better than Bouillon~Chicken Flavor - 1 Heaping Tablespoon
- Bay Leaves - 2
- Salt - 1/2 Teaspoon
- Black Pepper - 1/2 Teaspoon
- Nutmeg - 1/4 Teaspoon
- Carrot, Peeled and Diced - 1/2 Cups
- Broccoli Florets, Chopped - 4 Cups
- Heavy Whipping Cream - 1/4 Cup
- In a soup pot, over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and garlic, adjusting heat lower as needed, and saute until translucent and very soft, about 8-10 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook 6-8 minutes or until golden.
- Remove pot from heat and sowly add chicken broth, whisking until flour mixture is dissolved and smooth. Add half and half, Better than Bouillon, Bay Leaves, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.
- Add the carrot and broccoli and simmer, uncovered, until veggies are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves and discard. Ladle soup into blender, in batches, and puree until smooth (flecks of the veggies are okay). Return to the pot. Add heavy cream and gently heat through. Adjust seasoning and serve.