Cheesy Broccoli Zucchini Soup is a luxuriously creamy one-pot family favorite! It's made extra hearty with the addition of zucchini, packed full of veggies, but shredded so they blend right in. This is an incredibly easy, 30 minute stovetop version of broccoli cheddar soup that we absolutely love!
We just love broccoli cheddar soup, and this recipe gets it just right! Creamy, velvety, but really pretty healthy! I've added an extra vegetable, zucchini, which is one of those easy veggies to just blend right in. It makes the perfect well-balanced meatless dinner!
And a homemade pot of soup doesn't need to be difficult or need to simmer all day! This is easy soup making 101, seriously simple and quick enough for busy weeknights. Even my semi-picky kids and the neighbor kid staying for dinner approved!
This ingredient list is simply seasoned and loaded with the good stuff! This vegetarian broccoli cheddar soup is very basic in its make-up, but huge on flavor and the perfect creamy consistency!
- Butter - This broccoli zucchini soup starts with butter, and it's a super important ingredient! It's first used to saute the vegetables, but then, with the addition of flour, it becomes a roux which is the thickener for the soup. Don't try using less butter or a substitute for the butter or it won't be thick and creamy.
- Onion, Carrots, Zucchini - The veggie base! This soup is super nutritious and packed with veggies while tasting on the indulgent side! If you're a gardener, you get used to throwing a zucchini in with everything! But shredded zucchini and carrots are easy to add year-round, they just blend right in with this soup.
- Broccoli - I use a big head of fresh broccoli, washed well, and chopped pretty small to fill up 4 cups. A big glass pyrex measuring cup works great for this. You can cut off the end of the stem, but the rest can be chopped and added in. Even the leaves are edible and fine to use too. You could use frozen broccoli, although it may be a little mushy in the soup. You will likely need to chop it smaller than it comes in the package.
- Salt and Pepper - This zucchini broccoli cheddar soup is super simply seasoned, so don't underestimate the importance of salt and pepper. Add them to the vegetables when they are sautéing and then taste the soup before serving to see if you need a touch more. Remember, salt is a flavor enhancer, it makes the broccoli taste more like broccoli and the cheese taste cheesier. You shouldn't taste salt, but each ingredient should be brimming with flavor!
- Garlic - Always use fresh minced garlic if you can! A teaspoon of garlic powder can be substituted.
- Flour - Along with the butter, flour is super important here! I've made this soup a handful of times, and getting the amounts of butter and flour just right is what made a good soup become perfect! The flour coats the sautéed veggies and mixes with the butter that you can no longer really see. It cooks for just a minute, forming a paste-like roux. This roux is what makes the liquid thicken as it heats.
- Vegetable or Chicken Stock - If you want to keep this a vegetarian broccoli cheddar soup, use vegetable stock. But either is just fine! Save your veggie scraps to freeze so you'll be able to make your own Homemade Chicken Stock!
- Half & Half - I chose to use half and half in this recipe for simplicity sake, and lately I feel like it's cheaper than buying a smaller container of cream. Half & half, of course, is half milk and half cream. So, if you want to use 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream in place of 2 cups of half & half, that would be just fine!
- Cheddar Cheese - I definitely recommend buying a block of cheddar cheese and grating your own for this soup! It's far better quality than the pre-shredded bags, which have an anti-clumping agent added. This actually works against you, keeping the cheese from smoothly melting into the pot. Blocks are usually cheaper and stay fresher longer anyway. I like sharp cheddar cheese for the best flavor.
See recipe card for quantities.
This is one of the easiest soups to make, all in one-pot on the stove and ready in just 30 minutes!
STEP 1 - Start by melting all the butter over medium heat and sautéing the onion, zucchini, carrots and broccoli. Season with the salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, this takes about 10 minutes.
STEP 2 - Add the garlic and flour and mix well, cooking another minute. The combination of the butter and flour here is forming a roux, which is what will thicken the soup.
STEP 3 - Add the stock and let the soup simmer another 5 minutes while whisking often. It will really start to thicken at this point.
STEP 4 - Add the half and half and keep whisking another few minutes. You can lower the temperature a bit so the soup doesn't boil. It should be kept fairly low after the half and half is added to avoid boiling. When the soup thickens, add the cheese and mix until melted.
It's ready to serve! If you aren't serving right away, keep the soup on a very low burner, or even cover it and just turn it off. You don't want to let it boil or overcook.
Garnish with fresh thyme leaves if you like, and serve with extra shredded cheese.
Fridge - Extra soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Microwave or reheat over a low burner on the stovetop, don't boil.
Make Ahead - This soup can be made ahead, cooled completely and stored in the fridge. Reheat anytime within 3 days.
Freezer - You can freeze this zucchini broccoli soup for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Toppings and Serving Suggestions
A hearty pot of soup is a complete meal on its own, but we love it with all the extras!
- Toppings - Extra shredded cheddar, fresh thyme leaves, a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt, crackers or crusty bread.
- Soup and Sandwich Night - For a bigger meal, add grilled cheese or these Italian Subs with Giardiniera!
- Soup and Salad Night - A simple salad and crusty bread can really stretch this soup for a larger group of people. Try this Prosciutto Parmesan Salad, or this Blueberry Goat Cheese Salad.
- Kid-Friendly - I've found this broccoli zucchini soup to be very kid friendly! Try topping it with goldfish crackers or cheddar bunnies for the perfect cheesy fun topping!
You could use just milk, but it won't be as rich and creamy. If you do use just milk, use whole milk. I definitely recommend using at least some half and half or heavy cream to get your soup to the right creamy consistency.
Yes, if all you have is cream, you can use it. If you also have milk, use 1 cup of each. If you only have cream, 2 cups is probably more than needed. I would start with 1 cup and maybe add another half cup. It will thicken as it heats through, so adjust as you go.
This is not a crockpot soup, nor one that needs to simmer all day on the stove. That can actually ruin it! This broccoli zucchini soup takes just 30 minutes and it's ready to serve. Overcooking it can break the half and half and cause your cheese to be grainy.
More Favorite Soups
Cheesy Broccoli Zucchini Soup
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 medium zucchini shredded (2 cups)
- 2 medium carrots shredded (1 cup)
- 4 cups broccoli chopped (about 1 pound)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 grinds fresh black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ⅓ cup flour
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups half & half
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- In a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, carrot, zucchini and broccoli, seasoned with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, about 10 minutes.
- Add garlic and flour. Stir well, cooking another minute.
- Add stock and simmer about 5 minutes while whisking to thicken the soup.
- Whisk in half & half, lowering the heat to medium low to keep the soup from boiling. Simmer another few minutes until thick. Whisk in cheese and taste, season with more salt and pepper if needed. Once you have added the cheese, keep over very low heat, do not boil. Serve and enjoy!
- If you aren't serving right away, keep the soup on a very low burner, or even cover it and just turn it off. You don't want to let it boil or overcook. This soup should NOT simmer on the stovetop all day!