Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

4.72 from 32 votes
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It’s so easy to make a keto Broccoli Cheese Soup that is just as cheesy and delicious as Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup. A simple swap with some sneaky hidden cauliflower makes this healthy soup recipe velvety smooth and creamy while keeping it gluten free and low carb.

A bowl of broccoli cheese soup and a soup spoon on top of a small turquoise plate with a glass of water.

Keto Broccoli Cheese Soup – Made With Cauliflower

This comforting and easy soup recipe is a healthy copycat of Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup, which used to be one of my favorite things. But since it isn’t gluten free, I can’t just go there anymore and order a You-Pick-Two. Now I make my own with a healthier spin.

Instead of a flour-based roux or cornstarch slurry, it’s thickened with cauliflower. Yes, if this cruciferous vegetable can become cauliflower tots, then it can certainly make a delicious soup.

Sneak in some extra veggies with cauliflower puree while keeping it low carb and gluten free. You won’t believe how creamy and silky smooth is it, with all the cheesy flavor you love.

Some keto broccoli cheese soup recipes use pureed broccoli. But by using cauliflower you still keep the carb count low without giving it a strange greenish color.

A bowl of broccoli cheese soup on top of a small plate on a table with the pot of soup, salt and pepper shakers, and a glass of water.

What makes this cauliflower broccoli cheddar soup healthier?

Unlike most recipes for broccoli cheese soup, there’s no cream, no butter, and no flour for thickening. This makes it naturally gluten free and low carb. Plus there are no unrefined carbs or extra fat. The cheese makes it rich and flavorful. And when you use a good quality, extra sharp cheese, you don’t have to use as much to still have it taste super cheesy.

And since the soup is made from cauliflower, plus all of the broccoli swimming in that sea of golden goodness, it is full of good vegetable nutrition. Both are low in calories and excellent sources of fiber and vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as the B vitamins including folic acid. Broccoli is an excellent plant source of protein and calcium. And cauliflower is filled with compounds that may help prevent cancer.

Lastly, it only has 9 grams of carbs per serving. And that can easily be reduced by skipping the carrots and even using less onion. There is also the option of swapping some of the chicken broth for heavy cream if you do prefer a higher fat content for your diet needs. 

An orange enameled cast iron pot of broccoli cheese soup with a black ladle in it.

Recipe Ingredients

This comforting broccoli cheese soup recipe feels so comforting and indulgent, but it’s made with a simple list of wholesome ingredients that are all natrually gluten free. Here’s some information you might need, but you can get the full amounts and detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Olive oil
  • Onion – feel free to use less, skip it altogether, or try a bit of onion powder to reduce the carb count further.
  • Cauliflower – one large head, approximately 2 lbs total, yielding 3 to 4 cups or about 1.5 lbs of florets.
  • Nutmeg – just a pinch is known to enhance the flavor of any creamy sauce.
  • Dry mustard – adds sharpness to help it taste extra cheesy. I always add Colman’s Mustard Powder to my cheese or egg dishes.
  • Cayenne pepper – optional, but just a pinch wakes up the flavors.
  • Chicken or vegetable broth – from a carton or homemade. I typically use the Kirkland brand from Costco.
  • Broccoli – about 3 cups of florets that can be fresh or frozen.
  • Carrots – julienned or finely diced. It can be omitted for a keto soup, but add a nice color and texture.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese – definitely opt for a nice, sharp cheddar, like Cabot Seriously Sharp.
  • Salt and pepper – season to taste.
  • Garnishes – add some cooked bacon, a sprinkle of more shredded cheese, or even some minced chives.
Overhead photo of ingredients in Cheesy Cauliflower Broccoli Soup

How to Make Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

You won’t believe how simple it is!

Saute the veggies. In a large pot, saute onion in olive oil. Add the cauliflower, nutmeg, dry mustard, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and pepper and saute for a minute or two.

Simmer and puree. Add the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer until the cauliflower is very tender. Use an immersion blender or transfer the mixture to a blender and pureee until it is smooth and creamy.

Images of sauteeing onions and cauliflower in a pan, letting is simmer in broth, and pureeing the mixture in a blender.

Cook the veggies. Return the soup to the pot over medium heat. Add the broccoli and carrots, and cook until the broccoli is tender.

Add the cheese. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese a little at a time. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with additional shredded cheese and crumbled bacon, if desired.

Step By Step photos of adding the cauliflower puree back to the pot, cooking the broccoli and carrots, stirring in the cheese, and serving in a bowl with bacon and shredded cheese.

Recipe FAQ’s

Why is my broccoli cheddar soup grainy?

The first ready the soup can be grainy or clumpy is that you added the cheese too fast. If you add it all at once, it will clump and not fully melt and distribute to give you the velvety texture. 

Second is that your heat is too high either while you add the cheese or after it has been added. The proteins in the cheese tighten up and cause the fat to separate, giving you a curdled consistency and a greasy soup. Once you have started adding the cheese to the soup, you want to be sure you do not let it boil.

How do you add cheese to soup?

To prevent these problems, you’ll add the cheese at the very end, after the soup is pureed, and the broccoli is cooked to the desired doneness. Then, reduce the heat to low and add the cheese a little at a time. Stir and allow each addition to melt completely and become fully distributed and smooth before adding any more. Then slowly allow it to come back to the desired temperature without letting it boil.

Closeup of the side of a bowl of cauliflower broccoli cheese soup garnished with crumbled bacon.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigertor for up to 3 to 4 days. If it begins to smell off, then throw it away.

To reheat it, transfer the leftover soup to a pot on the stove over very low heat and reheat slowly and gently to avoid boiling, as this will cause it to curdle. You can also reheat it in the microwave, but again, you’ll want to do this carefully to avoid curdling. Use 50% power and stir frequently.

Can broccoli cheese soup be frozen?

I would not recommend freezing this broccoli cauliflower cheese soup. Creamy soups typically do not freeze well, as the fats tend to separate when frozen and reheated, leading to an undesirable texture. Also, the broccoli florets will become mushy. So while not unsafe, it would not be as delicious. 

An orange bowl on top of a turquoise plate filled with broccoli cheddar soup with a pot and a salt and pepper shaker in the background.

Serving Suggestions

This soup is truly satisfying on its own, but there are plenty of delicious options to serve with it.

An orange bowl of keto Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup set on top of a turquoise plate topped with crumbled bacon.

Shop the Recipe

  • Large pot – I like to use a heavy-bottomed pot, such as enameled cast iron. With a nice large soup pot, you can saute the vegetables in the pot, then return the pureed soup to the same pot to let it simmer. The vegetables can saute and caramelize without scorching. And while this soup doesn’t have to simmer for a long time, if you want to keep it warm, it can stay over low heat for a longer time without burning. 
  • Immersion blender – also called a hand blender or stick blender, an immersion blender allows you to puree the soup right in the pot without transferring it to a blender. This makes it easier, with less mess to clean up.
  • Blender – you can use any blender you have, but for the smoothest, most silky soup, I love to use my Blendtec Designer 725. The Wildside+ Jar is nice and big, so you don’t have to blend it in batches, as you would with a smaller blender, and it gets perfectly smooth in seconds. You can even use the “Soup” setting to keep it hot while you blend it.  I am a Blendtec ambassador, and should you make any purchases through that link, I will receive a small commission, but that also means you can use the code CUPCAKESANDKALECHIPS to receive 20% off. 
  • Box grater – don’t forget a good grater to shred all that cheese.
Closeup of the side of a bowl of cauliflower broccoli cheese soup garnished with crumbled bacon.
4.7 from 32 votes

Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

It's so easy to make a keto Broccoli Cheese Soup that is just as cheesy and delicious as Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup. A simple swap with some sneaky hidden cauliflower makes this healthy soup recipe velvety smooth and creamy while keeping it gluten free and low carb.
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 1 hr
Total: 1 hr 5 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, core removed and chopped into small florets (about 3-4 cups of florets)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 3 cups broccoli fresh florets or frozen
  • 1/3 cup julienned carrots (1-2 large carrots)
  • 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese plus more for sprinkling on top, if desired
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crumbled bacon optional, for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower, nutmeg, dry mustard, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and peper and saute for a minute or two.
  • Add the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for least 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender, such that it can be mashed easily with a fork. You can break it up a little while it’s cooking to help speed the process along.
  • Use an immersion blender, or transfer the mixture to a blender, and puree until smooth and creamy. Return the soup to the pot over medium heat and add the broccoli and carrot. Bring to simmer and cook 25 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender (if you are using frozen broccoli, you only need to cook until the broccoli is thawed and heated through)
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese a little at a time. If you want a thinner soup, add additional broth, cream, milk, or water to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve in bowls and sprinkle with additional shredded cheese and crumbled bacon, if desired.

Notes

 Adapted from Alaska From Scratch.
Nutrition Facts
Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 185 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 29mg10%
Sodium 798mg33%
Potassium 606mg17%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 1755IU35%
Vitamin C 98.2mg119%
Calcium 259mg26%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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65 Comments
  1. Elizabeth Lavender

    5 stars
    This soup was amazing! I make soup from scratch almost every week (after boiling down my Wegman’s plain organic rotisserie chicken for stock), so I’m always looking for great recipes. I couldn’t believe how flavorful it was, with relatively few ingredients. I didn’t even use the bacon! The only thing I changed from the stated recipe was that I oven-roasted the cauliflower (with a little olive oil and sprinkled with garlic powder) before adding it. I’m going to try the butternut squash with sage and thyme next week. Thanks!

  2. Beth

    Does this soup freeze well? I like to make a big pot and freeze individual servings. (I apologize if this was addressed and I missed it.) Thanks!

  3. Erika

    5 stars
    I have never commented on a recipe before but I had to….:This was amazing. I modified a bit by using 1 1/2 heads cauliflower (as that is what I had), increased the liquid by adding 1 can dealcoholized beer, added 2 garlic cloves and 1-2 tbsp Parmesan. I also had to add about 1/2 cup skim milk to thin it a bit and I chose to dice the carrots rather than julienne and add the cooked bacon to the pot at serving time rather than as a garnish. Awesome! One of the best soups I’ve made. I will use the puréed cauliflower as a soup base a LOT going forward. Thanks!!

  4. Missi

    Made this today. Followed the recipe pretty much as written, except it seemed pretty thick when I added the broccoli & carrots. Added a cup of water then. At the end I added a cup of milk as well for extra creaminess. Very yummy! Pretty simple, too!!!

  5. Lola

    This soup is awesome! I used to make a version with canned soup (ugh!) and was looking for something healthier. This is way better, and has no crap in it. Love it!

  6. Chuck B

    5 stars
    Hi!

    I was looking for a recipe to use the heads of cauliflower and broccoli that we had in the fridge, figuring that I’d probably steam them and make a reduced-fat cheese sauce to simulate the Birdseye frozen version that’s relatively healthy. But I was delighted to stumble upon your recipe, and we gave it a try for dinner tonight.

    It turned out well and both my wife and I liked it. I’ll be honest and say that I’d prefer the version with butter, flower and cream, but too many of those kinds of delicious foods took their toll on me to the detriment of my health, and we no longer eat that way; So we compromise…

    I happen to love cauliflower — even raw — so this wasn’t a hard sell to get me to try it. It does yield a creamy texture, despite the absence of high-fat dairy and flour, and doesn’t leave behind much of a cauliflower taste. That’s probably a benefit for many who try this recipe, and are accustomed to rich foods on an everyday basis. They are more likely to not care for it than those of us who have weaned ourselves from that type of diet.

    So we give it a ‘very good’ rating and thank you for the time you’ve put into the site.

  7. Barb

    This looks and sounds delicious. I read all the comments and seems no one else questioned the approx cup amount of cauliflower. I was hoping to see some info on that. I bought an organic head and just got the prettiest one they had. ? I would say it’s medium in size.
    Any suggestions or ideas on this?
    Thanks.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy the soup, Pat. I hope you’re able to find something you enjoy more the next time. 🙂

  8. Sandy

    5 stars
    Made this soup today. While a bit time intense, it is awesome. Also added diced cooked potatoes, fantastic!!! Looking for one that is like CoreLife, this is better! Thanks !!!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the soup recipe, Sandy. You’re right that it does take some time to make, but I think the end results are worth it. 🙂

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Haha, yes, that’s a typo. My apologies! The serving size is 1/6th of the entire recipe, or approximately 1 cup of soup

  9. Courtney

    5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times now – love it! It’s my new go to broccoli cheese soup recipe. Feels healthier by throwing in a head of cauliflower. My family prefers this over my previously used recipe with butter, flour, and tons of cream.

  10. Barbara Powell

    Could you please include the nutrition value of your recipes. I printed the Creamy cauliflower broccoli cheese soup recipe and I need to know the calories, carbs and fiber

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Hi Barbara,
      We recently switched over to a new recipe format and we’re working hard to update the recipes on this site with the nutritional information. There are over 1,000 of them, so our apologies for the delay!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Sara, to make the soup in an Instant Pot, I would start by using the saute button to cook the onion. Then toss in the cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, chicken broth and seasonings and pressure cook on high power for about 5 minutes (you may need to cook it a minute or so longer if your florets are really big). You can use a quick pressure release. Then puree the soup and set the Instant Pot on saute again to stir in the cheese until it melts.

      1. Sara T.

        Great! Thanks for that. I made it on the stove top last night and it was delicious. Can’t wait to try it on the instant pot.

  11. KELLY FRANCIS

    My family and I love this recipe. I am wondering if you have the nutritional information for it? I would like to know the net carbs per serving?

  12. Jessie Jarvis

    Hi, I tried your soup around September last year and I thought it was delicious! My church is now having a soup supper and they are going to let me put this one on the menu!!! Do you know how many cups this makes? I need to fill 1 roaster.
    Thanks,
    Jessie

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Hi Jessie,
      I’m so glad to hear that you love the soup! There are 4 cups of broth in the recipe, but the veggies take up some room too, so I’d say that you’ll have about 6 servings of soup from this recipe.

  13. CK

    Can you purée the broccoli so it is a smoother soup? If so would you cook it with the cauliflower or follow recipe through as is and purée just before adding cheese?

  14. Cayti

    5 stars
    My husband is on a low carb kick, I’m allergic to casein and we have two boys. As you can imagine, it’s getting hard to find something we all can and will eat. This was a hit! I kept out a portion before adding the cheese and put it in a little saucepan for me, then made the guys’ according to the recipe. I added Daiya cheddar to mine and steeled myself for the first bite. (I’ve never had broccoli cheese soup and sometimes the diary free cheese does weird things). This is really yummy! This will be going onto my list of regular meals to cook from!

    Has anyone tried freezing it?

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