Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
An easy-to-make Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup that’s soul-warming, delicious, and full of healthy veggies! Done in 30 minutes, perfect to see you and yours through chilly nights!
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Broccoli cheddar soup is one of those classic comfort foods that always hits the spot. So many people love the Panera version, and it’s also crazy easy to make at home and adapt to your own tastes.
This simple pressure cooker version is one of the first things I started making after we got an Instant Pot, and it’s still a go-to when we want a dinner cozy that’s also supremely healthy. In essence, the Instant Pot quickly pressure cooks a ton of veggies, then you stir in some milk and cheese for a hearty soup that will knock your socks off.
What you’ll need to make Instant Pot broccoli cheddar soup
- Veggies: Onion, carrots, broccoli (of course!), and cauliflower.
- Broth: Veggie or chicken.
- Dairy: Milk and cheddar cheese.
- Butter, oil, and spices: A generous sprinkling of thyme, nutmeg, salt, and two types of pepper makes this soup pop with flavor.
Of the many Instant Pot soups we’ve tried, this broccoli cheddar is a definite stand out. It’s hearty, rich, and flavorful, without relying on tons of butter or heavy cream. In fact, it’s mostly vegetables, and vegetables that are easily available in the winter, at that!
Can I use fresh or frozen broccoli?
This recipe works best with fresh broccoli, but you can use frozen if needed. It might be a bit more watery, but you can always let the finished soup rest on the keep warm setting at the end for a few minutes, or add a cornstarch slurry to thicken things up.
What kind of cheese is best?
Use whatever cheddar you have and love! We prefer the flavor of sharp – so good!
If possible, it’s worth it to grab a block of cheese and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese typically has a coating to keep the individual shards intact — which is pretty much exactly the opposite of what you want in a creamy, melted soup. 🙂
The steps for making this broccoli cheddar soup in the Instant Pot are very simple:
- Sauté onions and carrots.
- Add remaining veggies, broth, and seasoning. Pressure cook.
- Purée the now-tender veggies. You can do this to a completely smooth texture, or leave it with small pieces of veggies intact, whatever suits your preference. I make it very smooth to reduce kids’ temptation to inspect and reject small bits of veg. 🙂
- Stir in milk and cheese. Let it melt into creamy, cheesy goodness.
- Serve it up!
The real bonus of the Instant Pot to me is the hands-off aspect. Yes, it does actually “cook” things very quickly, but by the time it comes up to pressure and releases it, it’s not always that much of a total time-saver over other methods of cooking. What it does do, though, is make that time completely hands-off. This has been a game-changer. Throw everything in, set the cook time, and let it go.
No checking, no prodding, no poking. No wondering, is it simmering? Too fast? Not enough?
Tools to make kitchen life easy
In addition to your Instant Pot — we have and love this version — an immersion blender is a great tool to have for this recipe, so you can blend the soup right in the pot. Any old blender will work, or even a food processor, but if you like to make soups like this, an immersion blender is inexpensive, takes up little space, and saves an incredible amount of hassle.
What to serve with broccoli cheddar soup
Try this with some miracle breadsticks or a loaf of seeded Dutch-oven bread. Yum! It’s equally terrific with biscuits, crescent rolls, or really any type of crusty baguette or French bread that you like.
Otherwise, friends, this is totally a one-pot meal as far as I’m concerned. All those veggies, and super filling? We are one and done.
More Instant Pot recipes
- Creamy Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup
- (Vegan!) Instant Pot Chickpea Curry
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto … and Mushroom Risotto
- Garlicky, Buttery Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
You might also enjoy Pinch of Yum’s round-up, 16 Magical Ways To Use Your Instant Pot. I read and immediately wanted to try them all!
If you try this Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 3-4 cups broccoli florets about 18 ounces
- 1-2 cups cauliflower florets about 10 ounces
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 10-12 cranks fresh-ground black pepper
- 3 cups veggie or chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 and 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Set Instant Pot to the sauté function, and add olive oil, butter, onion, and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, until fragrant and slightly softened. Add broccoli, cauliflower, thyme, salt, nutmeg, cayenne and black pepper, followed by the broth. Cover, seal, and cook for 8 minutes on manual/high pressure.
- When finished, use the quick release function to vent steam. Puree the soup using an immersion blender, or transfer to a regular blender, puree, then return to the Instant Pot. (An immersion blender is so much easier here!)
- With the Instant Pot on the keep warm setting, stir in the milk and cheese. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and smooth.
- Garnish as desired with fresh herbs or more cheese. Serve with bread, crackers, biscuits, etc. as desired. Enjoy!
- Cooking Time. The cooking time of 30 minutes includes an estimated 10 minutes for your Instant Pot/pressure cooker to come to pressure. If yours is faster, this might be less!
- Recipe. This recipe is adapted from Half Baked Harvest – I’ve added carrots, swapped cauliflower in, zucchini out, and slightly altered the method for mixing in milk and cheese.
This post was originally published on January 25, 2019, and has been updated to include new photos, more helpful tips and ingredient notes, and slightly more seasoning in the recipe itself.