Cream of Broccoli Soup
This cream of broccoli soup is perfect for a rainy day. It’s creamy and satisfying, yet light and nutritious at the same time. This soup is a lovely side dish for your favorite sandwiches and hearty salads.
You might be intrigued by some of the elements in this cream of broccoli soup recipe. For starters, it’s lusciously creamy with minimal cream—we’ll primarily use butter and just finish the soup with a drizzle of optional cream.
Secondly, this recipe makes use of the broccoli stems and crowns, which is a fun way to maximize broccoli flavor and minimize waste. You’ve seen me use this trick in my Broccoli Cheese Soup. If you’ve enjoyed that soup, you’ll definitely appreciate this one.
This cream of broccoli soup is not a superstar meal on its own, but is a really, really nice component in a springtime meal. I hope you’ll try it!
Cream of Broccoli Soup Ingredients
- Broccoli: But of course! We’ll peel the stems, cut them into pieces, and simmer them until tender enough to blend. Before blending, we’ll add the chopped florets and cook until they’re bright green.
- Unsalted butter: Since butter is a semisolid form of cream, it’s right at home in this soup. We’ll actually rely on butter for the “cream” element here.
- Yellow onions and garlic: These alliums form the backbone of flavor in this soup. To reduce prep work, we’ll just roughly chop the onion and smash the garlic. We’ll blend them up later on.
- Water: Water is better than broth in this soup because it lets broccoli’s inherent flavor and fresh green color shine. I find that vegetable broth can contribute quite a lot of sodium with minimal, or sometimes even off-putting, flavor.
- Salt and pepper: Since we’re using water instead of salty broth, we’ll use a decent amount of salt to enhance the flavor of this soup. The nice part is that you’re in full control of the sodium content in this recipe, but follow my guidance for best flavor.
- Squeeze of lemon: Stir just a teaspoon or two of fresh lemon juice into the finished soup for some brightness and acidity.
- Optional garnishes: Add a drizzle of heavy cream before serving to emphasize the “cream of broccoli soup” title. It makes the soup extra creamy and flavorful. You could also add a sprinkle of finely snipped fresh chives.
Creamy Broccoli Soup Serving Suggestions
Treat this soup as a side dish. It would go particularly well with fresh sandwiches, hearty salads with chickpeas or roasted vegetables, and even with veggie pizza. Here are a few ideas:
- Broccolini Almond Pizza
- Farro and Kale Salad with Goat Cheese
- Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwich or 10-Minute Quesadillas
- Chickpea Salad with Carrots and Dill or French Carrot Salad
- Green Goddess Hummus Sandwich
- Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese & Pistachios
- Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Feta and Avocado
Equipment Notes & Suggestions
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If you are serving two people or don’t want a lot of leftovers (note that this soup freezes well!), you could easily cut the ingredients in half. Here’s what you’ll need to make this soup:
- I’m convinced that soups always taste better when they’re cooked in a Dutch oven. I used my 5.5-quart Le Creuset for this recipe. A large, heavy-bottomed soup pot will also work well.
- You’ll need a lid for the pot. In a pinch, you could use a metal baking sheet.
- If you are making the full batch, you’ll need to blend it in batches in your stand blender. I could not blend the full batch at once in my Vitamix. Transfer the blended portion to a heat-proof pitcher or container as you blend the rest, then combine it all in the soup pot.
- Or, you could use an immersion blender. The trouble with immersion blenders is that even the best immersion blender never yields soup as creamy as you could accomplish in your stand blender. I wish it weren’t true!
Safety note: Never fill a stand blender past the maximum fill line, or you could end up with a giant mess (and a hot one, if you’re making soup). You need to know how your blender works. My lid’s design allows for steam to escape, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll want to remove the center piece so the contents don’t build pressure as they blend. Cover the hole with a tea towel, but don’t place your hand over it because the steam is hot.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6 bowls 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Blended
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
This cream of broccoli soup recipe is lighter than most, so it won’t weigh you down. It’s bursting with nutritious broccoli! Recipe yields about 6 medium bowls of soup (6 side servings).
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 pounds broccoli with stalks (3 large or 4 medium)
- 6 cups water
- 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
- Optional garnishes: Drizzle of heavy cream and/or sprinkled of finely snipped fresh chives
- Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and about 10 twists of black pepper.
- Stir to combine, then cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and are just starting to turn golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice off and discard the rough bottom ends of broccoli stalks. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the tough outer skin on the stalks, then discard those bits. Slice the stalks off and cut them into pieces about 1 to 2-inches big. Set aside.
- Working with the broccoli tops now, cut as closely to the base of the florets as you can. Slice any remaining stalks into chunks to match to the rest. Reserve the broccoli florets—we’ll use them in a bit.
- Add the chunks of broccoli stalk to the pot and stir. Pour in 6 cups water and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, then promptly reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot.
- Simmer until the broccoli stalks are tender throughout and easily split apart when pierced with a fork, about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the reserved florets into small pieces (I chop them all in one direction, then turn the cutting board and chop again).
- Once the stalks are tender, add all of the florets to pot, stir, cover, and cook until they’re bright green and easily pierced through by a fork, about 4 to 7 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and add the remaining tablespoon of butter.
- Working in a couple of batches (never fill your blender past the maximum fill line or it could explode!), carefully transfer several cups of the mixture—both the liquid and solids—to your stand blender. Blend until completely smooth, then transfer the mixture to a heat-proof vessel temporarily as you blend the rest. Alternatively, use an immersion blender (it just won’t be as lusciously creamy). Return the purée to the pot.
- Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Carefully taste (it’s hot) and adjust to taste—add more salt for more overall flavor (I usually add another ¼ teaspoon), another teaspoon lemon juice for more brightness, and/or more black pepper for kick.
- Divide the soup into bowls and garnish with a light drizzle of cream and/or sprinkle of chives, if desired. Serve. Leftover soup keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (you may want to wake up the leftovers with another squeeze of lemon). This soup will freeze well for several months.
Recipe adapted from my Broccoli Cheese Soup.
Make it dairy free/vegan: Use vegan butter or replace the butter with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. No need to add more before blending. Omit the cream. You might enjoy a dollop of vegan sour cream as a garnish, or just add a sprinkle of chives.