This Keto Low Carb Broccoli and Cheese Soup is a family favorite on those colder winter nights! It is creamy and rich with flavor made by blending three different kinds of cheese! I offer suggestions on how to thicken the soup without flour or a roux, how you can make this soup in a slow cooker, and discuss if Panera’s Broccoli cheddar soup is a keto-friendly option.
How to Make Keto & Low Carb Broccoli & Cheese Soup
Have you made Broccoli Cheese Soup only to end up with a disappointing mess of clumpy, grainy cheese in your pan? I understand! That is why I developed this fool-proof two pan method that makes perfectly creamy clump-free soup every single time. In this post, I also include other essential tips for making the very best smooth and cheesy broccoli soup you’ll ever put in your mouth.
This soup is easy and doesn’t take too long to whip up either! What makes this recipe stand out is the addition of nutmeg, Swiss cheese, and cream cheese. Those ingredients add a ton of flavor and an extra creaminess you will love! This recipe is also crock pot friendly, so choose your method and enjoy!
Ingredients Needed to Make Low Carb Broccoli and Cheese Soup
- Onion and Garlic: These two flavors build the foundation for this delicious soup!
- Chicken Broth: Chicken broth allows the soup to have a good but flavorful liquid base.
- Heavy Whipping Cream, Cream Cheese, and Spices: Using these ingredients, the combination of the chicken broth allows the soup to come into its own and truly become cheesy.
- Xanthan Gum: This is specifically used in this recipe to thicken the soup while keeping it Keto-friendly.
- Bacon: A must-have topping for this soup recipe, bacon adds that top of flavor that you want to find in this classic dish.
How to Make Keto and Low Carb Broccoli and Cheese Soup Recipe
Scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe and instruction in the printable recipe card.
Step 1: In a large saucepan or pot, add 3 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add your broccoli florets and simmer for 6 minutes or until your broccoli is tender. Take off the heat.
Here are some tips on How To Cut Broccoli Florets if you are using a huge head of broccoli.
Step 2: Add butter to a skillet and saute your onions and garlic until your onions are translucent. Add more chicken broth, your heavy whipping cream, cream cheese, and spices until melted through and creamy.
Step 3: Bring mixture in the skillet to a boil and whisk continuously. Once it begins to boil, turn the stove down to medium-low and simmer for 6 minutes, then turn off the heat. Slowly add your shredded cheese a bit at a time, stirring gently until the cheese is fully incorporated.
Step 4: Add cheese mixture to the saucepan with the broccoli and chicken broth and stir.
Step 5: Serve with more shredded cheese and bacon bits on top.
Want to make this vegetarian? Leave out the bacon bits and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Is Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup Keto Friendly?
No. In fact, MOST broccoli and cheese soups are not keto-friendly because flour is usually used as a thickener. According to the ingredients in Panera’s soup, three of the ingredients listed are not keto-friendly. They are potato flour, cornstarch, and wheat flour.
With that said, this recipe is 100% keto AND low carb friendly at only 5g net carbs per serving.
How to Thicken Keto Broccoli Cheese Soup
Thickening soups is not easy to do without flour or cornstarch, but it IS possible!
Here are a few ways I like to thicken my keto soups:
- Use Xanthan Gum!
- You can find this in your food store by the flour and cornstarch. Use very little at a time and stir, then let it sit for 5-10 min before serving with the heat turned off. It may seem like it isn’t working at first, but be patient and give it time to work. (If you add too much, it can make the soup slimy.)
- Use an Immersion Blender!
- I love my immersion blender. It is SO convenient, especially for this purpose. Using one is my favorite way to thicken soups since it does not require additional ingredients. You can puree some of the soup while it’s still in the pot, or you can puree all of the soup. MY tip is to save half of your broccoli until after you finish pureeing the soup and then add it back in so you have a thick, creamy soup with chunks of broccoli.
- Add More Cheese!
- Cheese is naturally thick, so adding more cream cheese or freshly shredded cheese to the recipe will help thicken it a bit.
- Simmer Longer!
- As you simmer soup, the water in the added liquids (milk and broth) will eventually evaporate, leaving a much thicker texture.
Tips For Creamy Clump-Free Soup:
Following all of these tips will ensure you do NOT have a clumpy cheesy soup!
- Block cheeses that have been shredded by hand work best. There are additives in pre-shredded cheeses that may cause it not to melt thoroughly. Freshly shredded cheese ensures that all the pieces of cheese are the same size and melt evenly.
- Let your cheese sit out and come to room temperature before adding to soup to prevent sudden temperature change, which can cause the cheese to get clumpy and stick together.
- Turn down the heat when adding the cheese.*
- Add a little bit of cheese at a time and stir each time before adding more.
Why Is My Broccoli Cheese Soup Grainy/Curdled?
When you add cheese to something super hot, like simmering soup, the cheese will seize up, causing the proteins to separate from the fat and the emulsifiers to break down, leaving a yucky gritty texture. *To make sure this doesn’t happen, follow the steps above, especially Step 3!
CAN I FREEZE BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP?
Freezing soup is easy to do as long as you have the proper containers. You have two options for freezing. The first option is to use a plastic Tupperware container with a lid. Place the soup inside a large container or two smaller ones and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn. Then secure the lid on top and freeze for up to 3 months. You can also add your soup to large heavy-duty freezer bags.
Reheating Your Soup
If previously frozen, defrost your soup in the fridge overnight first. Then reheat in the microwave or over the stove until warmed through.
How To Make Low Carb Broccoli and Cheese Soup In My Crock Pot
If you would like to make this soup using your crockpot or slow cooker, you will want to add your broth and broccoli to your crockpot first and set it to high. If you prefer to saute your onions and garlic, do this separately in a skillet with the butter. Then add the onions, garlic, and butter to the slow cooker along with the spices. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
Once your crockpot is done cooking and set on a low or “warm” setting, you can use your immersion blender to thicken your soup. This is optional. Lastly, add the heavy cream, cream cheese, and shredded cheeses mixing well. Cover for 10-15 more minutes to allow the cheeses to melt. Mix again to fully incorporate everything and serve with bacon and more cheese on top!
Have you tried my Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese soup yet?
*Update: After hearing that some were having trouble getting the cheese to melt properly, I have revised this recipe. Although it adds an extra step, it is foolproof in getting perfectly melted cheese.
More Great Keto Soup Recipes:
- Queso Keto Taco Soup
- Low Carb Chicken Fajita Soup
- Keto Cheeseburger Soup Recipe
- Green Enchiladas Chicken Soup-Keto
Keto & Low Carb Broccoli & Cheese Soup Recipe:
Keto & Low Carb Broccoli & Cheese Soup (Perfectly Clump Free & Creamy)
For the Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 yellow onion diced
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 14 oz frozen broccoli florets or 4 cups fresh
- 3 cups cheddar cheese
- 3 slices Swiss cheese
- 1 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp pink salt (or regular table salt)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum (for thickening) *Optional (See Notes)
- 3 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- In a large saucepan or pot, add 3 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Add broccoli and cook on medium-low for 6 minutes with the lid on the pot until broccoli is tender. (If needed, chop your broccoli to make sure your florets are bite-sized, so you don't have huge florets in your soup.)
- While the broccoli is cooking, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and saute diced onions and garlic until onions are translucent.
- Add remaining 1 cup of chicken broth, heavy whipping cream, cream cheese, spices, and salt/pepper to the onions and garlic in the skillet.
- Bring mixture in the skillet to a boil and whisk continuously. Once it begins to boil, turn the stove down to medium-low and simmer for 6 minutes, then turn off the heat. (Make sure to check your broccoli in the meantime!)
- To the skillet, slowly add your shredded cheese a bit at a time, stirring gently until the cheese is fully incorporated. Take your time!
- Add cheese mixture to the saucepan with the broccoli and chicken broth and stir.
- Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
- Turn stove off and remove from heat.
- Serve each bowl with shredded cheese and bacon on top. Enjoy!
- *If you wish to thicken your soup, see my notes below.
- Add 1/2 tsp of Xanthan Gum to the saucepan. Stir well with a whisk then allow to thicken for a few minutes before serving.
- Use an immersion blender OR your food processor to puree the soup. See post above for tips on how to do this properly.
- Add between 1/2 cup to 1 cup of shredded cheese or 1-2 more oz of cream cheese.
- Simmer your soup for 10-20 minutes longer.