Chicken Broccoli Cheddar Soup: A Nutritious and Delicious Comfort Classic

Few dishes are as comforting and satisfying as a warm bowl of chicken broccoli cheddar soup. This savory soup perfectly blends tender chicken, crisp-tender broccoli florets, and a luscious, creamy cheese sauce for a meal that manages to be both nutritious and indulgent at the same time.

Whether you’re looking for a filling yet lighter lunch option, a starter course for a larger meal, or just some soothing warmth to combat the winter chill, chicken broccoli cheddar soup absolutely hits the spot. Let’s explore the benefits of this beloved soup and how you can easily prepare it at home.

The Nutritional Benefits

Beneath its creamy and indulgent exterior, chicken broccoli cheddar soup is actually packed with a surprising amount of nutritional benefits. The various ingredients combine to make this comfort food favorite a well-rounded, vitamin-rich meal.

Starting with the protein sources, both the chicken and cheddar cheese provide complete sources of protein to help build and repair tissues while making you feel pleasantly full and satisfied. The chicken is an excellent source of lean protein as well as beneficial nutrients like niacin, selenium, and vitamins B6 and B12.

The broccoli is the true nutritional star, bringing a bounty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to the soup. As a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli is packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, vitamin K for bone strength and blood clotting, folate, manganese, and potassium. It’s also an excellent source of fiber to support digestion.

Broccoli also contains sulforaphane, a bioactive compound found to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming nutrient-dense broccoli regularly has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

While indulgent, the creamy, cheesy broth also contributes to the soup’s nutritional prowess. Whole milk and cheddar cheese provide calcium, protein, and vitamin B12, while the chicken stock is rich in protein, zinc, and B vitamins like niacin and folate.

Even the basic aromatics like onions, garlic, and carrots used to build the flavor base provide antioxidants and beneficial nutrients. Overall, chicken broccoli cheddar soup makes for surprisingly nutritious, vitamin-rich, and fiber-packed comfort food.

Preparing the Perfect Pot

Making homemade chicken broccoli cheddar soup from scratch is quite straightforward, though the process does require some patience to build the flavors and richly textured broth properly. Here is a simple step-by-step method for preparing a classic version of this savory soup:


– 3 Tbsp butter

– 1 onion, diced 

– 2 carrots, peeled and diced

– 3 cloves garlic, minced

– 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

– 3 cups chicken stock

– 2 cups milk

– 1 bay leaf

– 1 tsp dried thyme

– 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

– 4 cups broccoli florets 

– 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

– Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and carrots and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute until fragrant.

2. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, creating a roux. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock and milk and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and chicken breasts. Simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked through.

3. Remove the chicken breasts from the pot and transfer to a plate. Once cool enough to handle, shred or roughly chop the chicken into bite-size pieces. 

4. Add the broccoli florets to the simmering broth and cook for 5 more minutes until the broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender. Remove the bay leaf.

5. Remove the pot from heat and whisk in the shredded cheddar cheese until fully melted and incorporated. Fold the shredded chicken back into the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.

That’s all there is to preparing this rich, cheesy, veggie-loaded comfort food favorite! For extra indulgence, serve the piping hot soup garnished with extra shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, or crispy croutons.

Tasty Variations

The beauty of any soup recipe, including chicken broccoli cheddar, is its versatility and how easily it can be adapted to your tastes and dietary needs. Here are some tasty ways to tweak the classic recipe:

• Instead of cheddar cheese, try substituting or combining other melty favorites like Swiss, Gruyère, pepper jack, or smoked gouda for different flavor profiles.

• Replace up to half of the milk with unsweetened almond, oat, or cashew milk to lighten it up.

• Use frozen riced cauliflower florets instead of broccoli.

• Add extra veggies like spinach, kale, bell peppers, or zucchini.

• Make it creamy without dairy by blending in silken tofu, cashews, or coconut milk. 

• Amp up the protein with turkey or ham instead of chicken.

• For extra richness, drizzle in some heavy cream at the end.

• Top with crispy bacon, croutons, green onions, or toasted nuts for crunch.

• Finish bowls with a sprinkle of spices like smoked paprika, thyme, chili powder, or cayenne for subtle heat.

No matter how you prepare this classic comfort soup, chicken broccoli cheddar is a nutritious, delicious, and soothing meal that you can feel great about enjoying and serving your family. With a variety of health benefits and endless versatility, it’s no wonder this humble soup continues to be such a beloved favorite.

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