Thick and creamy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup is a quick and easy, naturally gluten-free broccoli cheddar soup prepared in only 15 minutes!
It started with a simple craving for healthy, homemade, thick and creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup in the instant pot.
What should have been an easy task to find THE BEST RECIPE sent me down a recipe rabbit hole, with overwhelming possibilities of ingredients, methods, and soup consistencies.
My brain literally turned into soup mush, and I still didn’t have one recipe I was entirely convinced of. They were either not gluten-free, extremely unhealthy, looked too blah, or weren’t easy enough.
So our family consumed a lot soup of for the following weeks while I tried my hand at making THE BEST Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup RECIPE.
why this instant pot BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP recipe works
Try it for yourself and see. But if you need some convincing first, I’ve come prepared.
- It takes 15 minutes! If you don’t have 15 minutes to make soup, go to Panera. (However, I must point out it will take longer than 15 minutes to go to Panera.)
- The recipe requires only a handful of basic, wholesome ingredients.
- Don’t have an instant pot or scared of pressure cooking? I’ve included stove top directions too. Equal-Opportunity-Equipment soup here.
- The taste is spot-on Broccoli Cheddar Soup heaven! And what is not to love about the classic combo of broccoli and cheese (Hello, Chicken Broccoli Pasta Bake!)
- Butter – This is where the soup gets a lot of flavor. Many recipes skimp on the butter, but it gives it that “it” factor
- Broccoli – Use fresh broccoli florets or frozen broccoli.
- Broth – Chicken or Vegetable broth
- Cheese – I suggest using sharp cheddar cheese for best taste, but Velveeta, mild cheddar, or smoked cheddar may be used.
- Half & Half – This is what I recommend, but use heavy cream for a richer soup or milk to save calories.
- Optional add-ins – Readers have written in with many suggestions, such as adding a touch of dijon mustard, chopped ham, diced potatoes (cut small to cook faster), or shredded carrots (similar to Panera Bread soup).
How To Make Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
(Below shows step-by-step photos and modified instructions. For the complete recipe, along with ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- Cut broccoli in small florets. This eliminates the need to process the soup with an immersion blender.
- On the SAUTE mode, cook onions and garlic until soft and translucent.
- Add broccoli, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Cook on HIGH manual pressure in the Instant Pot 2 minutes for fresh broccoli, 1 minute for frozen broccoli.
- Quick release the pressure and change back to SAUTE function. Add cornstarch slurry to pot and boil until thickened.
- Stir in cheese to melt. Slowly stir in half and half.
Can I Use Pre-Shredded Cheddar Cheese?
I’m not going to call the shredded cheddar police if you’d rather save your arm strength, but hear me out.
Bagged shredded cheddar has a tendency to leave a grainy texture. Manufacturers add cellulose to prevent the cheese from clumping together. The additives make the cheese not melt as smoothly.
So, although both types of cheese can be used interchangeably in the recipe, I find shredding your own cheese yields better results and it’s cheaper to boot!
How to Thicken or Thin Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup uses 4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with water because I love a thick, hearty soup, just like creamy gluten-free corn chowder.
To thin the soup, either use 1-2 tablespoons less cornstarch mixed with less water or add additional milk or cream at the end.
To thicken, add softened cream cheese, additional cheddar, or more cornstarch mixed with water.
Can I Substitute Other Kinds of Cheese?
Of course you can! I love using sharp or extra sharp cheddar because the cheese flavor shines through more than mild cheddar.
Some people prefer using Velveeta cheese in Broccoli Cheese Soup. Velveeta will guarantee smooth results and is very tasty, but the “cheese” flavor will be more subdued.
To make Velveeta Broccoli Cheese Soup in the instant pot replace the cheddar with 8 ounces cubed velveeta cheese. For velveeta cheese lovers, also check out Velveeta Mac and Cheese recipe!
A mixture of cheeses can also be used. Extra sharp cheddar, pepper jack, white cheddar, or gouda would also work perfectly!
is this recipe Gluten-Free?
If you are looking for a gluten-free broccoli cheese soup recipe, you are in luck! No modifications have to be made, since cornstarch is used as a thickener and all the other ingredients are naturally gluten free.
For a complete meal planning guide, check out the best gluten-free instant pot recipes!
For a low carb or keto version of broccoli cheese soup, replace the cornstarch with xanthan gum. Generally 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum replaces 1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour, but I start with less because a little goes a long way!
For Low Carb / Keto Broccoli Cheese Soup in the instant pot, start with 2 teaspoons xanthan gum dissolved in 2 tablespoons water. Increase by the teaspoon (mixed with a little water) for thicker soup.
Using Frozen Broccoli
Fresh or frozen broccoli can be used in this instant pot recipe. It’s just a matter of preference.
I’ve cooked it both ways and there is no noticeable difference between using fresh or frozen. Whichever used, though, make sure the broccoli is cut in small florets or use frozen florets (not stalks or chopped).
Using a smaller-sized broccoli eliminates the need to process the soup with a blender.
Substituting Milk, Cream, or Non-Dairy Milk
This recipe calls for half and half because it’s creamy but doesn’t have as many calories as heavy cream.
Regular milk or dairy-free milk, such as almond milk may also be substituted. It would reduce the calories in the soup and make it even healthier. However, the soup will be thinner and not as rich tasting.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a richer taste use heavy cream and more power to you.
Can I Freeze Broccoli Cheddar Soup?
Yes, it can be frozen, BUT the soup may “break” or have a thinner consistency upon thawing.
Move the soup from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Reheat gently on the stove or at 50% power in the microwave. If the soup is thinner than desired mix together 2-4 tablespoons of cornstarch with equal amount of water.
Bring soup to a boil, add cornstarch slurry, and stir until thickened.
Click here to see the
step-by-step web story instructions for this recipe!
Intimidated by using an Instant Pot? Learn in minutes with this Easy Start Instant Pot Guide full of tips, hacks, and tricks.
More of the best soup recipes!
- White Chicken Chili – A creamy, white bean chili loaded with tender chicken, diced chiles, and a secret ingredient made in the instant pot or slow cooker.
- Cream of Tomato Soup – Recipe is made from scratch, using fresh tomatoes, yet it requires hardly any work!
- Stuffed Pepper Soup – To die for version full of peppers, rice, ground beef, and a flavorful tomato base.
- Lemon Orzo Soup – Made all in one pot, loaded with tender bites of chicken, orzo, carrots, spinach, dill and of course, tangy lemon flavor.
- Lasagna Soup – Made in the slow cooker or on the stop in just 30 minutes.
- Buffalo Chicken Chili – The perfect amount of spice, a smooth creamy base, lots of tender chicken, and takes only 10 minutes to prepare.
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Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds fresh or frozen broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 8 ounces freshly shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 cup half and half
- Select SAUTE mode on the pressure cooker to melt butter. Once the butter is melted add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer.
- Stir in the fresh or frozen broccoli, broth, salt, and pepper. Lock the lid in place and select HIGH manual pressure for 2 minutes cook time if using fresh broccoli or 1 minute cook if using frozen. When the timer ends, carefully quick release the pressure, wait for valve to drop, and carefully remove the lid.
- In a small bowl whisk together ¼ cup cornstarch with ¼ cup water until it's smooth. Select SAUTE function and add the cornstarch / water mixture to pot, stirring constantly, until the soup comes to a boil and thickens. Hit CANCEL to turn off the pressure cooker.
- Add handfuls of cheddar at a time, stirring to melt between each addition. Once the cheese has melted, stir in the half and half. Serve hot with additional shredded cheddar on top, if desired.
- DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?? DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE FEEDBACK AND/OR CLICK A STAR RATING ON THE RECIPE CARD!
stove top instructions
- Complete step one in a large saucepan.
- Add broth, salt, pepper, and broccoli. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer until broccoli is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup cornstarch with 1/4 cup water until smooth. Add cornstarch slurry to pot and boil until thickened.
- Return to pot and add handfuls of cheddar at a time, stirring to melt between each addition. Once cheese is melted, stir in half and half. Serve hot with additional shredded cheddar on top.
Substituting Milk, Cream, or Non-Dairy MilkRegular milk or non-dairy milk, such as almond milk may also be substituted. It would reduce the calories in the soup and make it even healthier. However, the soup will be thinner and not as rich tasting.
Freezing Broccoli Cheese SoupBroccoli Cheese Soup can be frozen, BUT the soup may “break” or have a thinner consistency upon thawing. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stove. If the soup is thinner than desired mix together 2-4 tablespoons of cornstarch with equal amount of water. Bring soup to a boil, add cornstarch slurry, and stir until thickened.
Low Carb / Keto Broccoli Cheese SoupReplace the cornstarch with xanthan gum. Start with 2 teaspoons xanthan gum dissolved in 2 tablespoons water. Increase by the teaspoon (mixed with a little water) for thicker broccoli soup.
How to Thicken or Thin Soup
- To thin the soup, either use 1-2 tablespoons less cornstarch mixed with less water or add additional milk or cream at the end.
- To thicken broccoli cheese soup add softened cream cheese, additional cheddar, or more cornstarch mixed with water.
I made this tonight and it was super delicious!
I followed the recipe, but did add celery and grated carrots with the onion.
I needed to add another cup of broth
Originally I thought 8 oz of grated cheese was too much but I added it all and the soup was so good!! My husband asked if we could have it again tomorrow, told him I was eating the rest ( he’s leaving to go back to PA for time at their cabin and hunting)
Thank you for a recipe that is a keeper!
Melissa Erdelac says
Oh, love this, Janet! Thank you so much for taking the time to share!
I’m not much of a cook but I was able to do this. I used precut onions and garlic from a glass jar because I’m lazy lol and didn’t feel like crying onion tears lol. It’s soooo yummy! Just finished eating a bowl of it and ready for another!
I love when “unexperienced” cooks find successes in the kitchen! And there is no shame in using the jarred stuff. You’re still making a homemade meal and making your life easier! Thanks for taking the time to let me know!
This recipe rocks! I made it on the stovetop and used my stick blender to break up veggies (I added a diced up carrot) a bit before adding the cheese and cream. Wowzers this is good stuff! And simple easy ingredients! Thank you!
Wow, I’m so happy you loved this recipe so much. We enjoy it as well, we have it at least once a month!
Love love love this!!! So quick and easy. Restaurant quality!
Thank you! I really appreciate this 🙂
Joni Szela says
Loved it used fresh broccoli!!!!
Making it tonight! I do prefer the fresh broccoli over frozen, but sometimes I don’t even have it in me to chop! Glad you liked it, Joni!
Hi again Melissa,
Just wanted to thank you for responding about the Vegetable Broth in your Broccoli Cheese soup. I plan to give it another try in a few weeks using your recipe and see how it turns out. I made your Stuffed Pepper Soup for my husband yesterday and he really liked it. He is not a Vegetarian, like me, so sometimes it is a bit challenging for me to make dishes that I don’t eat. So, thank you for a good recipe that I know that he likes.
You are so welcome! I’m happy to help and I’m so glad your husband enjoyed the soup!
Just came across your site the other day. I was wondering if this soup could be made with Vegetable Broth instead of Chicken Broth, since I am a vegetarian. I made a different recipe from an Instant Pot Cookbook last week – before I found your site – and although my husband and I ate it – we didn’t like it enough to eat it a second time. I did use Vegetable Broth instead of Chicken Broth (4 cups), but that was the only change. My soup turned out dark in color from the Vegetable Broth and it was very runny. There was no thickener in the recipe. We were both very disappointed. I would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.
Yes, switching to vegetable broth wouldn’t affect the recipe at all. I created this recipe because I’ve been so disappointed in SO MANY broccoli cheese soup recipes. This recipe is my idea of perfect, so I hope it works for you as well!
The best soup!
Thank you! And thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.
Delicious, fast and so easy! My daughter (8) loves broccoli cheddar soup, and she said this was the best she’s had. Mission accomplished. 🙂 I served it in a bread bowl and it was a big hit. Oh, question: I thought the 1 min for frozen and 2 mins for fresh broccoli could have been a typo, but I followed your direction and the frozen cooked perfectly. Why less time for frozen in the IP?
Biggest compliment ever! I especially love when kids are sold on recipes because I know that makes your life so much easier! Frozen broccoli has a shorter cooking time because the broccoli is already cooked then frozen. Basically it thaws and reheats as the instant pot is coming to pressure, so it doesn’t need any time to cook. You could even set the IP to “0” cooking time, but I thought that would throw too many people off!
Sharon Rocco says
Fabulous and quick soup for a cold day! Only I added some diced potatoes and used a 4?minute cook time with quick release. Delicious and will be making again and again!
Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I appreciate it! Love the tip about the potatoes. I’m sure others will love that addition as well!
Made this tonight for the first time. So incredibly easy and delicious! Turned out perfectly. Thank you for sharing your creation with everybody. We loved it!
You are SO WELCOME. I’m so glad you enjoyed it because that’s what makes sharing recipes totally worth it.
Second night in a row, this is the best and honestly taste just like Big Boys. Thanks so much for posting this, its in my menu rotation while its cold in Mi
I haven’t tried Big Boys, but I’ll take that as a compliment! I hear you about the soups being in heavy rotation. That’s all I want to eat in Indiana too!
Would you thaw the frozen broccoli first?
Hi Amber, Nope just throw it in!
Made this recipe tonight and WOW! Not only was it delicious, but it was so quick and easy! Adding this to my rotation for sure. Thanks for all the trial and error you did to create this recipe for us. 🙂
Thank you so much for this comment. It really brightened my day and I’m so glad this recipe was a hit for you!
Jennifer H says
Just made this for dinner tonight! I used avocado oil instead of butter and I thought it was delicious! Great recipe, and one I will be making again!! Thank you! ☺️
Hi Jennifer, Thank you much for taking a moment out of your day to write. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe and that’s helpful to know it works great with avocado oil too. Do you use it to follow a special diet or just like the health benefits?
Daniel Giavelli says
Made it tonight with heavy whipping cream. Used 4 Oz. Sharp cheddar, 4 Oz pepper jack. Also used 4 cups of chicken broth to have it a little more soupy. This is a really solid recipe, Thank you!
Thank you, Daniel. So glad you enjoyed it and thank you for leaving a comment!
Really easy and delicious! Just the right amount of salt and pepper. Made this with 1/4 cup half and half and 1/4 cup 1% milk and it was still creamy and delicious. Will make again!
Yay! That’s great to hear. Thank you so much for taking the time to write.
This truly is the world’s best instant pot broccoli soup!! I’ve tried several recipes but this is the one I’ll keep. The only thing I did different was used instant potato flakes instead of cornstarch slurry to thicken the soup. I love the subtle potato flavor it adds and I am lazy! This is a little easier than making the slurry. A definite hit! Thanks for this recipe!
Hi Linda, Thanks for the rave review! I came up with this recipe because I was sick of trying different broccoli cheese soup recipes and none of them were what I was looking for. I’m going to get those potato flakes and try that. I love the idea of saving the step of making the slurry.
So easy to make and super delicious! New staple in our home for fall and winter!
So glad you enjoyed and love hearing when recipes become “staples.” Thanks for writing!
Jeannie H says
This soup was truly so easy to make and tasted great. We shredded our own extra sharp cheddar for it. We are making it again only a week later and we’re going to try broccoli and cauliflower this time.
I just picked up broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots from the store to try together because you inspired me! Thanks for taking a moment to write. It’s always greatly appreciated!
My entire family loves this and I just made it between bus drop off and soccer practice (20 min) and used the keep warm feature so it was ready when we got home.
That sounds like a winning mom moment! I make this recipe a ton because it’s so quick and easy. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the kids love it too (another winning mom moment).
I’ve been on the quest for a good and easy broccoli cheese soup recipe for years. This one foots the bill. Couldn’t be quicker or easier. Thank you!
Hi Paula, This makes me infinitely happy! When I made this recipe, I had the exact same goal in mind. I’m so happy we both believe we found our perfect match!
So Super Delicious and EASY!!!
Thanks for writing! I’m so happy to hear that 🙂
Can you double the recipe in the instant pot? And if so what would the cook time change to? Thanks
Yes, you can double it and the cooking time will not change. It will take a little bit longer to come up to pressure, though. Enjoy!
I made this for my family tonight. They loved it. Was a perfect hearty way to feel warm on a freezing night. It was super simple to make. Really liked the flavor from the sharp cheddar. Keep them coming MamaG!
Thanks JD and I’m so glad you are your family enjoyed it. You must be having the same weather we are here…Brr
I have been on the hunt for a perfect broccoli cheddar soup and I think I finally found it!! I made it exactly as written, using hand shredded extra sharp cheddar and the cornstarch slurry along with frozen broccoli. My family all loved it! It is definitely added to our favorite list and will be in regular dinner rotation. Thanks for the great recipe!
That makes me so happy, Sarah. You’re welcome! I can’t stop making this soup now because it’s so easy and so filling. 🙂
Made this last night and thought it was good. I think I’d probably prefer the sharp cheddar as I used medium. The only negative for my fam was the look of it lol They all liked the flavor, but were somewhat put off by the look & consistency. 🙄 they said they felt like they were eating baby food. I definitely didn’t have to do anything to the broccoli other than stir it to break it down. Thanks for a nice change to the menu, even though the fam is a bit dramatic lol
Oh, the joys of eating with children, right?? I do think using sharp cheddar (or even better extra sharp cheddar) makes the cheese flavor shine through more. Thank you for writing, Becca. I truly appreciate it!
Not sure what to say about this soup. I did do this on the cooktop and made half the recipe. When cooking it and tasting it seemed very blah to me. I didn’t do the cornstarch to thicken, I just simmered the broccoli and put in blender. You definitely must add the cheese and you can add a stronger cheese for better flavor. I did have to add more spice and cream. Not so healthy but tastes pretty good! I do like all your recipes, this was just a little flat without having to add a lot of other ingredients.
Hi Karen, Thanks for writing! I made the soup again today (recipe as written except using extra sharp cheese) and I thought it turned out wonderfully. The broccoli breaks down enough that the pureeing in the blender wasn’t necessary for me. Personally I like the cornstarch because I like a thicker soup. I’m really sorry the recipe fell flat for you, but I appreciate you following my recipes and always love to hear from you!
This looks so delicious, but I don’t have an instant pot. Can you share how to make this without one? That would be soooooooo appreciated! LOL!
Never mind – I see that you gave instructions for making it without an instant pot! THANK YOU!
I got you Penny! The stove top directions are in the recipe notes. It will take a little longer, but it’s still just as easy!