Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup


I have an interesting discovery to share today:

Healthy broccoli cheddar soup still tastes as rich and comforting as the classic version.

For this recipe, I took out all the flour, butter, and cream and thickened the soup with a cauliflower and onion purée.

I loved it (no surprise), but (to my amazement) it was also 100 percent family approved.


This broccoli cheddar soup is a lighter, more veggie-filled version of the hearty, classic winter comfort food.

Aside from the obvious (broccoli!), this soup is also loaded with fresh produce like shredded carrots, onions, and cauliflower purée.


This is a slightly sneaky dish because you can’t actually taste the healthy cauliflower purée.

But it does add some healthy nutrition to the soup, along with a thick and creamy consistency.

Serving Note: This soup is not starchy enough to hold its consistency when stored and reheated as leftovers. I recommend cutting this recipe in half if you’re only cooking for two.


I’m now convinced that broccoli cheddar soup just needs the right combo of fresh ingredients and flavorful seasonings to taste amazing.

On the next cold, dark, wintry night, pair this soup with some freshly baked bread and let me know if you agree!


Here’s the recipe for Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup:

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Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • Author: Jen Elizabeth's Journals
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soups & Stews
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups riced cauliflower (you can find bags of riced cauliflower in the produce aisle or the freezer section)
  • 2 cups organic whole milk
  • 3 cups broccoli florets (you can find bags of broccoli florets in the produce aisle or the freezer section)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (you can find bags of shredded carrots in the produce aisle)
  • 1 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups organic, shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. If you’re using frozen cauliflower or frozen broccoli, be sure to thaw it first in the microwave.
  2. Prepare the broccoli by chopping the florets into bite-sized pieces, according to your preference. I prefer quarter-inch mini florets.
  3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chopped onion, and riced cauliflower and cook until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Add the milk and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Use an immersion hand blender to puree the mixture until it’s smooth (or transfer mixture to a food processor to purée). The mixture should have a thick and creamy texture. Set aside.
  5. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the broccoli and shredded carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are softened, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then adjust the heat to a light simmer. Stir in the dijon, honey, and paprika. Adjust the heat to low.
  6. Carefully stir in the cauliflower purée and the shredded cheddar until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.



For Related Recipes, Check Out:

30-Minute Tomato Soup Au Gratin

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Dumpling Soup

Vegetable and White Bean Soup with Pesto

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup [Vegetarian]

30-Minute Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Bake

Cheesy Broccoli Skillet Potatoes


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  1. November 30, 2012 / 12:39 pm

    We just hit temparatures below zero this week, this soup arrives right on time!

  2. November 30, 2012 / 12:47 pm

    Love, love, love the pictures of Racecar Calvin! And I can’t wait to try the soup. It sounds delicious!! Thank a bunch.

  3. November 30, 2012 / 1:26 pm

    I love that you still kept all the cheese! Sometimes I feel like it’s too much to eliminate ALL the “bad” stuff from a recipe…it compromises the taste! This looks great, I’ve been meaning to try cauliflower puree lately on its own but it sounds even better in this 🙂

  4. November 30, 2012 / 1:41 pm

    Healthy cheesy and delicious? You rock 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. November 30, 2012 / 2:59 pm

    More points to you for taking delicious food and making it more healthy without compromising taste. I can’t wait to try this recipe! And those photos of Calvin are priceless.

  6. November 30, 2012 / 4:01 pm

    I usually avoid broccoli cheddar soup (especially in restaurants!) because of all the fat, but I love your skinny, loaded with veggies version!

  7. November 30, 2012 / 5:42 pm

    Looks so good. Does Calvin hire out? How cute. Good and good for you – got to be a great combination.

  8. November 30, 2012 / 6:34 pm

    Ooooh, broccoli and cheddar is one of my fav combos! Yum! Also, I can’t believe Calvin is the same puppy from your amazing dog biscuits post (I still make those for my guy btw, he loves them!) – he’s grown so much. Still a cutie though 🙂

  9. Eha
    November 30, 2012 / 10:12 pm

    Absolutely love the inclusion of honey here: that extra touch! Oh, Calvin, why do I feel he would be better around the wheel than some with whom I drive 🙂 !

  10. December 1, 2012 / 10:10 am

    Such a good idea to puree the veg! I love broccoli cheddar soup but I usually steer clear and try and be a good girl 🙂 Will have to try your version, this is like the ultimate comfort food

  11. December 1, 2012 / 11:15 am

    Great twist on a childhood favorite and absolutely love how Calvin uses his nose for balance! That was a laugh out loud moment for me!

  12. December 1, 2012 / 3:31 pm

    I am in love with Calvin. SO cute!! YUMMMM to this soup!

  13. December 1, 2012 / 4:04 pm

    THis looks incredibly delicious. You had me surprised because I totally thought you would have added flour and a little butter to thicken this up, cauliflower is brilliant. Of course, you definitely need lots of cheese to compensate for the lack of butter, but at least it’s good for you. I love this idea, bookmarking it.

  14. December 2, 2012 / 6:52 pm

    We’ve been going soup crazy over here at my house…it’s been pouring down rain for days on end so soup has been hitting the spot. We haven’t made a broccoli cheddar yet and it sounds soooo good! I’ll try your recipe and let you know how it goes!

  15. December 2, 2012 / 7:04 pm

    Naww Calvin is just the cutest! Maybe in another life he was the worlds best bus driver 😉

  16. mjskit
    December 2, 2012 / 9:42 pm

    I better never find out where you live, because I’ll come and steal Calvin. 🙂 Thanks for the pictures of the little four legged race car driver. Love the broccoli soup recipe. I bet the cauliflower not only adds flavor, but a little thickness for the soup as well. It sounds good to me!

  17. December 2, 2012 / 10:18 pm

    The cheddar plays a big part. I always wondered what type of soup stock is best for soup or risotto. I’ve tried the Knorr’s non-MSG chicken and veggie cubes, they don’t seem to taste right. I must try THIS recipe. I love the creamy cheddar and broccoli in soup.

  18. December 3, 2012 / 10:06 am

    I love a good, creamy broccoli cheddar soup! I’ve been looking for ways to make it healthier without losing flavor. . .must try!

  19. December 4, 2012 / 7:38 am

    What a great way to thicken up your soup – very creative and healthy! It looks so delicious.

  20. December 4, 2012 / 7:43 am

    This recipe sounds fantastic! I love brocolli cheese soup – I’ll definitely have to try this one. And the pictures of Calvin are just adorable!

  21. December 10, 2012 / 1:25 pm

    This is a definite “try” recipe. Can’t wait to cook it, as we love any kinda soup this time of year…especially one this good!

  22. Natalia
    September 9, 2013 / 9:42 pm

    I’d love to try this recipe, but was actually hoping to make it as a make-ahead lunch to bring to work – would the consistency be way too off for me to try??

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      September 10, 2013 / 11:55 am

      Hmmm, I think it will depend on your taste and you may like this soup as leftovers (I don’t love it as leftovers myself). I think it may be worth trying, especially if you eat a bowl fresh on the day that you make it (when it tastes best).
      I do have a couple of other soups that I think hold up a bit better as leftovers: Creamy Chicken Florentine, as well as 8-Veggie Soup. 🙂

      • Girl4God
        January 14, 2015 / 2:50 pm

        I didn’t get any separation when I reheated the next day. I did use my Vitamix for pureeing and 2% milk instead of 1% because it’s what I had on hand. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. It tasted even better the next day, just as most soups do. Many thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  23. Rachel
    September 15, 2013 / 12:32 am

    This looks extremely scrumptious! Any suggestions what to serve as a side with this?

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      September 15, 2013 / 11:42 am

      I like to serve it with my favorite bread for dipping (baguette!) and a big salad 🙂

  24. Lindsay
    October 16, 2013 / 9:25 am

    This looks amazing- can’t wait to try this healthy version!

  25. amy
    October 21, 2013 / 3:38 pm

    just wondering what you recommend as a substitute for mustard in this soup. neither my husband or i like the taste of mustard, and i’m always wondering what to replace it with in recipes.

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      October 23, 2013 / 4:44 pm

      My best suggestion for this soup as a substitute for mustard would be turmeric (maybe about 2 teaspoons) and white wine vinegar (maybe about 2-3 teaspoons). These two things combined should help season the soup a bit if you’re leaving out the mustard.

  26. Jennifer
    October 29, 2013 / 6:51 pm

    Would it taste okay if I don’t purée?

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      October 30, 2013 / 12:18 pm

      I know everyone has their own tastes, but in this case I do recommend puréeing the cauliflower-cheese mixture. This will provide the thick, rich consistency you’d want in a broccoli cheddar soup.

  27. Kate
    November 9, 2013 / 9:36 pm

    Using the base of this recipe to make a healthy zucchini and corn queso chowder tonight! It smells so good. Thanks for the idea!!

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      November 11, 2013 / 8:51 am

      That zucchini and corn chowder sounds so tasty! Enjoy 🙂

  28. Elle
    November 17, 2013 / 8:46 am

    Made this for supper last night and although I’ll have to tweak it a bit, I really enjoyed it (and hubby ate it too, which was a shock). For some reason the cauliflower puree and veg. broth didn’t mix well and it was more of a veg. broth with cauliflower puree bits mixed in. I didn’t mind it, but it wasn’t creamy as it was intended. Perhaps an immersion blender would help (just used a food processor).

    Thanks for the recipe!

  29. November 25, 2013 / 9:48 am

    this looks fantastic. i also have a healthified broccoli cheddar recipe on my blog but this looks better. with the cold weather this sounds so good. i will make this tomorrow and report back 🙂

  30. December 11, 2013 / 2:43 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! Just made it today and LOVE it!! Just starting to venture into the world of making stuff with cauliflower puree… this was spot on!

  31. Brenda
    December 28, 2013 / 11:03 am

    I just made this soup and loved it. Added some crispy leftover ham bits as a garnish on my husband’s portion – very tasty and good way to get some good veggies in!

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      January 6, 2014 / 4:12 pm

      Thank so much for your nice comment – I’m so glad you enjoyed the soup! 🙂

  32. Maggs
    March 19, 2014 / 3:09 pm

    Can I add cut up chicken breast to this recipe? I love the idea of pureed cauliflower! Do the leftovers separate too much?

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      March 20, 2014 / 9:16 am

      Yes, I think chicken would work well in this recipe. Season the cubed chicken with salt and pepper and brown it in a bit of olive oil in the large stock pot first before you start cooking the broccoli and carrots. Then scoop it out of the pot, transfer it to a bowl and cover with foil. Add a bit more oil to the pan and follow the recipe from there, cooking the broccoli and carrots and so on. Add the cooked chicken back in at the end, when you’re adding the cauliflower purée and cheddar.

      And yes, you’re right, I’ve found that the leftovers separate. Mainly, it seems, because the cauliflower contains so much water.

  33. Michelle
    April 16, 2014 / 1:45 am

    Total cook time of 40 minutes? 2 and a half hours late I am exhausted, but the soup is really yummy and fits the bill for the next week of lunches.

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      April 17, 2014 / 12:54 pm

      To all beginner cooks who may happen to read this: the prep work does get easier with time, much easier! I remember one of my first Rachael Ray “30-minute meals” took me 1 1/2 hours to complete. With practice, though, the process speeds up and gets a lot more fun along the way too! 🙂
      Time Savers for this recipe that save tons of prep work: try a bagged, pre-shredded organic sharp cheddar cheese 2) try chopped frozen cauliflower florets (thawed in the microwave) 3) try chopped frozen broccoli florets (thaw in microwave and just be sure to chop them up into smaller, bite-size pieces before adding to the soup) 4) buy bagged, shredded carrots.

  34. Lynette Farrand
    November 7, 2014 / 1:58 pm

    First of all, made this for dinner last night for extended family and everyone LOVED it. (Makes the hubby nervous when I prepare brand new recipes for guests – you’d think he’d be use to it by now.) As far as leftovers, I wish I could tell you what I did differently, but mine didn’t separate and is just as delicious as last night, if not more so because the flavors have melded. For convenience sake, I did buy frozen cauliflower & broccoli (and used sliced onions I had in the freezer). I kinda did a double recipe, but didn’t measure anything. It was really thick, so I probably didn’t end up adding as much milk as the recipe called for, maybe that accounted for no separation. But it was (and still is) really, really yummy!!

    • November 7, 2014 / 4:00 pm

      That’s wonderful, and you must be a pro in the kitchen to brave brand new recipes for company 🙂 I think using less milk (and possibly less stock/broth too) is an excellent idea!

  35. November 19, 2014 / 5:04 pm

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! Perfect for the winter!! Thanks for sharing!

  36. Emily
    December 10, 2014 / 11:22 pm

    One thing unclear to me while I was cooking the cauliflower was whether I should cover it with a lid or not because I wasn’t certain that if left uncovered that it would get soft enough to puree. Since the recipe did not say to cover it I cooked it uncovered for several minutes. It was taking far to long to soften so I decided to cover it and I continued to cook it on low heat. I checked it several times and there wasn’t enough moisture left in the pan so I had to add a little chicken broth. Finally when I thought it was soft enough I turned off the heat and added the milk. I proceeded to blend it with an immersion blender but it remained chunky so I poured it into a blender and blended it on low until it was smooth and creamy. After combining the cauliflower mixture with the broccoli mixture I found it too thick so I added more chicken broth. The final product was delicious, and I will definitely make it again. I’m thinking about adding corn in it next time & maybe crushed red pepper.

  37. Ashley
    January 4, 2015 / 8:05 pm

    Made this tonight. Really delicious! I modified only one thing, I added 1cup of Ragu Double Cheddar Sauce and Eliminated one cup of cheese. Otherwise I kept to the recipe. Oh and I used a blender since I do not have a food processor. Thanks for the recipe. I can sneak veggies in to my husband’s diet!

  38. My cauliflowerMichelle
    January 31, 2015 / 9:02 pm

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I didn’t have enough cauliflower and had some fresh spinach that I needed to use (about 5 cups), so after cooking the cauliflower for a while, I added the spinach. My cauliflower/spinach puree was quite green, but it looked great once incorporated into the rest of the soup. Great flavors – I will definitely make this again!

  39. Laurel
    February 26, 2015 / 7:28 pm

    I was looking for the nutritional information?

    This was wonderful. I might add more liquid as it was VERY thick. Maybe because I pureed about half of the broccoli.

    I prepared then put in the crock pot – added the cheese a few minutes before serving.

    • February 27, 2015 / 9:23 am

      Thanks so much for your comment 🙂 I’ve added the nutrition information to the recipe (and all of the newer recipes on this site also contain nutrition information).

  40. Anastasia
    March 5, 2015 / 2:23 pm

    This was delicious! Thanks so much for publishing it.

  41. Kari
    October 6, 2015 / 8:15 pm

    This is my ‘go to’ recipe now! It tasted amazing…..and little did the kids know that it was full of goodness….they aren’t big veggie fans and pretty picky eaters….but they loved this!!!!
    I actually added extra broth and a clove of garlic and it was still very thick and creamy…..and oh soooooooo good 🙂

    • October 8, 2015 / 11:58 am

      That’s great, I’m so glad this one worked for your family! Thanks for taking the time to send a review 🙂

  42. Heather Cooper
    February 27, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    This is an ok meal but a lot of work. If I make it again, I’ll use pre-cut broccoli and cauliflower and less or no mustard.

  43. Eve
    February 29, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    My family loves it!

    I’m the one who encourages healthy eating in our family so I’m amused to say that I was not as impressed.

    It’s fine if you’re not expecting a cheesy soup like something at a chain restaurant, but I was.

    This is not so much a substitute for broccoli cheese soup, as it is a nice take on Broccoli, cauliflower soup.
    Also, not enough zing for me and I used yellow mustard which is tangy-er than dijon.

    Still, my daughter has asked when we can have it again so thank you for posting!

  44. Darryn
    March 20, 2016 / 10:13 pm

    I just tried the recipie! Such great flavor, and was very fun to make. One note is That I needed more stock to thin the stock out. As maybe I used a bit more vegetable they this needed. I did not use mustard, but did keep the honey! Thanks for this!

  45. Angeline Schaaf
    October 9, 2016 / 1:22 am

    Made this tonight – the fourteen year old, who hates cauliflower, loved loved loved it, and found it super filling! She was really surprised that it was cauliflower. Thanks for the recipe!
    I added extra cheese, but it didn’t really seem to make much of a difference at the point it was at. Everyone (the four of us) ate all of their portions, and there’s so much left over.

    • Jen @ Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      October 9, 2016 / 9:42 am

      Yay, so glad this one worked out for you and your family! Thanks so much for taking the time to send a note 🙂

  46. Jam
    February 21, 2019 / 6:11 pm

    How many actual cups of chopped broccoli should i end up with? I buy the broccoli florets and I’m thinking its not actually 2 pounds of florets that end up in the soup. Is that correct?

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      February 21, 2019 / 6:30 pm

      You’re absolutely right! Chopping off all the stems, I discard at least half. I would guess closer to 1 pound, although that’s a guess since I haven’t done it this way. I really need to do this recipe with frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets and come up with more specific measurements. Please let me know how it works out for you! 😄

      • Jan
        February 25, 2019 / 8:06 pm

        A 12 oz bag of fresh broccoli florets worked great!

      • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
        February 26, 2019 / 11:40 am

        Perfect!👍 Thanks so much for your note! 😄

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      August 1, 2019 / 12:07 pm

      When I enter the recipe on the Recipe Calorie and Nutrition Calculator on VeryWell, it calculates approximately 358 calories per serving (the recipe makes a total of 6 servings). This is just an approximate/estimate though!😄

  47. February 2, 2021 / 12:54 pm

    Just made this and YUMMMMM The hubster is picky eater. And this is the bomb.
    Do I have to put down my spoon?

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