Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup is a thick and creamy soup that uses evaporated milk and a roux to achieve ultimate creaminess and sharp cheddar cheese, vegetables, and herbs for amazing flavor. With the Instant Pot, broccoli cheddar soup is ready to eat in 35 minutes. It's a fast dinner that the family will love— an easy way to sneak lots of veggies to those picky eaters!
I hate to admit it, but it took me one year to break my Instant Pot out from the deep dark caverns of my pantry.
What were all these functions, what do these buttons do, and why does this thing not come with an instruction manual?!
The Instant Pot can be overwhelming. I get it. I've been there!
But everyone I knew raved about their IP so I mustered the courage to give it a try. It's now 2 years later and I use the Instant Pot 5 times a week— sometimes twice a day!
Soup is my favorite thing to make, whether it's in the slow cooker, on the stovetop, or in the Instant Pot. Instant Pot soup is my go-to for busy nights or when I need to throw a dinner together at the last minute.
There are many Instant Pot broccoli cheese recipes out there that proclaim 1 minute cook times. If it's too good to be true, then it probably isn't true. And it isn't.
While it does have a pressure cooking time of only 1 to 2 minutes, there is still time needed to saute the carrots, onions and garlic and simmer the broth to get a thick, creamy consistency.
This takes about 30 minutes from the beginning of preparation to the time you can sit down as a family and enjoy it.
It's ultra creamy.
And ultra veggie-packed!
This Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup is full of nutrient-loaded broccoli, carrots, onions and garlic.
The broth is made with evaporated milk instead of dairy milk to give it an extra rich and creamy flavor.
It's thickened with a roux made from flour and butter— not cornstarch or cream cheese.
And of course, the best part, loads of cheddar cheese!
I don't believe that cream cheese belongs in soup, like many broccoli cheese soup recipes call for. Cream cheese belongs in dips (like this fantastic buffalo chicken dip or stuffed inside breakfast croissants and pumpkin muffins).
Not in soup.
The evaporated milk, extra cheddar cheese, and roux make an incredibly thick soup without the need for cream cheese.
When the temperature of the broth reaches 150 degrees, the proteins in the cheese break down, releasing too much moisture from the cheese and causing clumpy broth full of unmelted rubbery cheese.
To prevent this, add cheese to soup that is on a low simmer and test the temperature with a digital thermometer before adding cheese.
Add cheese a handful at a time rather than all at once. Stir the soup until each handful is melted and incorporated into the broth before adding more.
If the broth is more than 150 degrees, let it cool off the burner for 5 minutes. Test again and repeat as needed until the temperature is low enough.
Pair broccoli cheese soup with simple garden salads, dinner rolls, garlic bread, crispy kale chips, or dipping breads such an toasted naan or pita.
Broccoli cheese soup is a thick, hearty soup so it's filling enough for a lunch or dinner if eating on its own.
In addition to the above ingredients, you'll need:
- chicken broth
- evaporated milk
- melted butter + flour to make a roux for thickening
- herbs + spices
Can I use frozen broccoli?
Yes! Frozen broccoli can be used instead of fresh. Follow the instructions as written— there is no need to change the timing or process.
To keep Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup completely vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
🔪 Step-By-Step Directions
The simple steps to making Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup are:
Set the Instant Pot to saute mode on the normal setting for 3 minutes. Add the 2 tbsp of butter, onion, celery, garlic, and carrots and stir.
When the saute cycle is complete, add the broccoli and chicken broth. Stir and close the lid. Set to pressure cook on high for 2 minutes. Quickly release the steam once the cycle is complete.
While pressure cooking, make the roux to thicken the broth. Mix ¼ cup of melted butter with the flour and stir until a paste forms.
Set the pot back to saute for 10 minutes. Add the evaporated milk, salt, pepper and paprika. Stir and add the roux. Stir again, constantly for 1 minute.
The soup will begin to thicken and bubble around the 8 minute mark. For the roux to create a thick and creamy soup, it should boil for 2 minutes.
If the soup hasn't begun to boil by 8 minutes, extend the sauteeing time for as long as needed so that it boils for 2 minutes.
When the saute cycle is complete and the broth has bubbled, turn off the Instant Pot. Using pot holders, remove the inner pot to a trivet or the stove and let cool for 5 minutes.
Stir in the cheese slowly, 1 cup at a time.
It is important to allow the soup to cool before adding the cheese so that it melts smoothly. If the cheese is added to broth that is too hot, it will turn into rubbery chunks and not melt into the broth.
Stir between additions and add more cheese only after the prior cup has melted.
The soup does not need to sit in order to thicken more. It can be served immediately.
If, however, it is too thick for your liking, add more broth ½ cup at a time. If you'd like it thicker, add more cheese ½ cup at at time.
I hope you enjoy making and eating Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup. Happy eating!
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup diced onion
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 grated carrot
- 4 cups broccoli, chopped small
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 3 cups evaporated milk
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 4 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode on the normal setting for 3 minutes. Add the 2 tbsp of butter, onion, celery, garlic, and carrots and stir.
- When the saute cycle is complete, add the broccoli and chicken broth. Stir. Close lid and set to pressure cook on high for 2 minutes. Quick release the steam when complete.
- Mix the ¼ cup melted butter with the flour until a paste forms, called a roux. Set the pot back to saute for 10 minutes. Add the evaporated milk, salt, pepper and paprika. Stir, then add the roux and stir constantly for 1 minute. The soup will begin to thicken and should begin to bubble around the 8 minute mark. For the roux to create a thick and creamy soup, it should boil for 2 minutes. If the soup hasn't begun to boil by 8 minutes, extend the sauteeing time so that it boils for 2 minutes.
- When the second saute cycle is complete, turn off the Instant Pot. Using pot holders, remove the inner pot to a trivet or the stove and let cool for 5 minutes. It is important to allow the soup to cool before adding the cheese so that it melts smoothly. If the cheese is added to broth that is too hot, it will turn into rubbery chunks.
- Stir in the cheese slowly, 1 cup at a time. Stir between additions and add more cheese only after the prior cup has melted. The soup does not need to sit in order to thicken more once the cheese has been added. It can be served immediately. If it is too thick for your liking, add more broth ½ cup at a time. If you'd like it thicker, add more cheese ½ cup at at time.
💭 Expert Tips
When making Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup, follow these tips for the best possible outcome.
Cool the broth for 5 minutes before adding the cheese. If you have a digital thermometer, check the temperature of the broth before adding the cheese. It should be below 150 degrees.
Remove the inner pot when cooling for those 5 minutes. If you leave it inside, it will still be on the hot plate and will take significantly longer to cool.
Add the cheese slowly, whisking as you add handfuls.
If the broth is too thick for how you'd like it, add more chicken broth or evaporated milk ½ cup at a time. Stir and repeat until the desired texture is achieved. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed.
If the broth is too thin, add more roux. Melt ¼ cup butter and mix it with ¼ cup flour. Add it to the soup, stir and bring to a low simmer for 2 minutes.
While thin broth can be thickened and too-thick broth can be thinned, there is no way to recover soup that has clumpy, rubbery cheese. You'll need to start over.
Since Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup is a thick and hearty soup, it can be eaten as a satisfying meal on its own. Serve it with garlic bread, toasted flatbread or pita bread, or top with extra cheese and croutons (like in slow cooker chicken parm soup).
This recipe makes approximately 12 cups, with one serving being 2 cups. It will feed a family of 4-6, depending on how big your family's appetite is!
For large families or those with big appetites, this recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled. Keep the ingredients propionate.
You'll need at least an 8 quart Instant Pot to double it. If tripling, you'll need to make it on the stovetop as no Instant Pot is large enough.
To make it on the stove, follow the recipe as written but instead of pressure cooking the broccoli, saute it with the vegetables. Then add the broth and milk, and follow the steps as written, letting the broccoli cook in the broth.
🍲 How To Store
Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup is good in the fridge for up to 5 days.
It can be frozen but the texture will change, as the process of freezing and thawing causes the cheese to separate from the liquids.
Therefore, it is best to enjoy broccoli cheese soup immediately after it's made or a few days later. Save your freezer space for more freezer-friendly soups, like classic chicken noodle, beef barley, stuffed pepper or vegetable soup.
That's all there is to making Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup! I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Please leave a comment below and let me know.