The easiest bowl of comfort food! This lightened-up broccoli cheddar soup is made with olive oil and milk instead of butter and cream. It’s loaded with wholesome broccoli and freshly grated cheddar cheese.

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Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup (Without Heavy Cream!)

Do I have a delicious bowl of comfort food to share today! It’s a classic bowl of broccoli cheddar soup that will warm you up from inside out. This lighter milk-based soup is made with olive oil instead of butter and milk instead of cream.

It’s flavored with aromatics such as a bay leaf, mustard, and nutmeg. The milk along with stock and roux base give the soup a creamy rich taste. It’s insanely delicious and so easy to make! 

Homemade Broccoli Cheddar Soup Ingredients

You can whip up this soup in no time. It’s super easy to make with most ingredients likely in your pantry. You’ll need the following ingredients:

ingredients for broccoli cheddar soup.
  • Olive oil
  • Onion, carrot, garlic
  • All-purpose flour
  • Spicesbay leaf, dry mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper
  • Whole milk 
  • Vegetable stock
  • Broccoli – fresh or frozen (see note below for frozen)
  • Cheddar cheesefreshly grated from a block

Frozen Broccoli: You can make this broccoli soup with frozen broccoli. The instructions are the same. No need to thaw out the broccoli. Just keep in mind the cooking time might slightly vary depending on the size of the florets. Frozen broccoli usually cooks a little quicker since it is pre-blanched. 

How to Make Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup with Milk

  • Step 1: Sauté onions and carrots in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for additional 30 seconds. 
  • Step 2: Sprinkle flour over the veggies and cook for about 1 minute, while stirring.
  • Step 3: Stir in bay leaf, mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Step 4: Add broccoli, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until tender.
  • Step 5: Turn off heat, discard the bay leaf, and gradually stir in cheese. Taste for salt and pepper before serving.
Step by step on how to make healthy broccoli cheddar soup

Cheddar and Broccoli Soup Variations

You can make this broccoli cheddar soup recipe with coconut milk. You’ll need one (14-ounce) can of full-fat coconut milk. Just make sure to shake the can of coconut milk really well before adding into soup as the cream and liquid tend to separate.

I personally love the creaminess of coconut milk in soups. I find that almond milk tends to be a little bland for my taste, however, some of my readers had great success using almond milk.

Here’s what Eleanor says: “Wow, this is an amazing recipe! The only changes I made were I used almond milk (same amount) and almond flour (1/8 cup), and I didn’t have any nutmeg, so I used pumpkin spice instead. This one is a keeper, for sure.”

Close up broccoli cheddar soup recipe in a dutch oven.

Cheddar Broccoli Soup Recipe Tips

  • Low heat is the key to this soup, especially when adding the cheese. The cheese can break down and look grainy if melted over high heat. 
  • Buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself. Not only is fresh and creamy but it melts way better than bagged cheese from the store.
  • Use whole cow’s milk for the soup and if using non-dairy milk, such as coconut milk, make sure it is full-fat and not lite.
  • Reheat the soup on the stovetop over low heat.
  • For a thicker soup, add a handful or two of cauliflower florets or diced potatoes.

Love creamy soups? Try our Potato Corn Chowder Recipe, Quick & Easy Potato Soup, or Broccoli Potato Soup.

Overhead homemade broccoli cheddar soup recipe.

What to Serve with Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

This broccoli cheese soup is great for lunch or dinner. Pair it with a salad and some crusty bread for a cozy meal. Here are some vinegar-based salads that work amazingly with this soup.

Or serve broccoli soup with a lean protein and a side for a filling dinner:

Cheddar and Broccoli Soup FAQs

Can you freeze cheddar broccoli soup?

From my personal experience, soup that contains milk (or even cream) does not hold up well in the freezer. Normally it separates and turns grainy when rewarmed. However, it will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

When reheating the soup, do it over low heat on the stovetop.  I would not recommend reheating in the microwave.

What kind of cheese melts best in soup?

Cheeses that are higher in moisture such as mild Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, and Swiss melt best in soups, because they have a lower melting point. In addition, freshly grated cheese melts better than pre-shredded varieties, which contain anti-caking agents.

Why did my broccoli cheddar soup curdle?

Using a stovetop heat that is too high will cause the soup to curdle, especially when adding dairy products. Simmer over medium to low heat, and be careful not to bring the soup to a boil! Also, avoid using reduced-fat milk products.

How can I thicken my broccoli cheddar soup?

If your soup is too thin for your liking, try simmering it longer, and feel free to stir in more cheese. Or, use a starch thickener such as arrowroot powder or cornstarch. To do so, combine a tablespoon of starch with a tablespoon of cold water or milk. Then, stir it into the soup.

If you try our recipe, please leave a star rating and let us know how you liked the recipe in the comments.

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup - lightened up classic made with milk and olive oil. So creamy, rich and with fraction of the calories! | @littlebroken

Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup without Heavy Cream

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 14 reviews
  • Author: Katya
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: American


The easiest bowl of comfort food! This lightened up classic is made with olive oil and milk instead of butter and cream. It’s loaded with wholesome broccoli and freshly grated cheddar cheese.


Units Scale
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced, 3/4 cup
  • 1 medium carrot, diced, 1 cup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 8 oz. block cheddar cheese*, freshly grated, plus more for serving
  • cayenne pepper, for serving, optional


  1. In a 4-quart dutch-oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and carrots, and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for additional 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute while stirring. Add the bay leaf, mustard, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and then gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer, then simmer for 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  5. Add broccoli, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until tender.
  6. Turn off the heat, discard the bay leaf, and gradually stir in cheese. Taste for salt and pepper.
  7. Serve immediately, topped with extra cheese and cayenne pepper, if desired.


  • Buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself. It’s much creamier and melts way better than pre-shredded bagged cheese. Only melt cheese over low heat or it will separate and look grainy.
  • Leftovers will keep refrigerated up to 3 days. My biggest tip would be to reheat the soup on the stovetop over low heat so it does not separate. Soup does not freeze well.
  • Variations: Use frozen broccoli instead of fresh. Amount and instructions are the same. For non-dairy milk, full-fat coconut milk is a good alternative. You will need one (14 oz.) can which yields anywhere from 1 2/3 cups to 1 3/4 cups of milk, depending on the brand.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 322
  • Sugar: 8.3 g
  • Sodium: 937.5 mg
  • Fat: 21.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.7 g
  • Protein: 14.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 44 mg