Homemade Keto Broccoli Cheddar Soup in 30 Minutes
Nothing says comfort food and nostalgia like broccoli cheese soup. The creamy, cheesy base and the bits of broccoli are married together into a delicious, hearty bowl of soup that you’ll wish was bottomless.
Our version of this classic American soup will not only take you back to the good ol’ days when you weren’t thinking about your net carb count, but it will also suffice as a full meal, all on its own. And better still, it’s a keto-friendly, low-carb soup recipe.
Most broccoli cheese soup recipes, whether for the home cook, at a restaurant, or in a soup can, contain starchy thickeners like cornstarch, white flour, or arrowroot. These thickeners tend to raise the carb count beyond what’s ideal for a low-carb diet or keto diet, so the recipe we’ve come up with skips those ingredients and adds extra cheese instead — both cream cheese and sharp cheddar.
If You’re Avoiding Dairy
Keto broccoli cheese soup isn’t exactly friendly to those who are trying to avoid dairy, or specifically lactose. There’s cheddar cheese and heavy cream in nearly every recipe you’ll find. But if you’re still craving the stuff and need to find an alternative that won’t upset your stomach but will still count as a keto recipe, we have three substitutions for you to try. The finished product won’t be exactly the same, but it will be delicious.
First, swap out the heavy cream for 100% coconut milk. (Try to avoid fillers here, too. We recommend Aroy-D coconut milk.) Second, opt for lactose-free or vegan cream cheese. Green Valley makes a delicious lactose-free cream cheese, and Kite Hill makes an almond-based option with a great flavor.
You could stop there if you’re happy with the flavor and consistency of your soup, but you might find that it’s still a bit thinner than you’d want. If that’s the case, our third substitution is to try some vegan cheese options or some very dry, aged cheese that’s been aged long enough that very little lactose remains.
Go Veggie makes a vegan shredded cheddar, and very aged options include either cheddar that’s aged for at least a year or other hard cheeses like parmesan, romano, or asiago. You can find good options for those the next time you visit your local grocery store’s cheese counter. Just make sure you shred the cheese well before you add it to your soup. The very aged cheddar options don’t always come pre-shredded.
We’ve come up with a work-around to achieve the thick soup you’re used to while still avoiding starchy thickeners and ensuring that this remains a keto recipe. There are two options, one with a bit more cleanup than the other.
The first option is to use an immersion blender. This recipe calls for a lot of broccoli (perhaps double what some other broccoli soup recipes might call for), because we’re using the broccoli partially as a thickener. Thicken the soup up by using an immersion blender to blend up the broccoli florets into smaller pieces, and even partially pureeing them. The shredded cheese helps thicken the soup, too.
You’ll decide as you blend the broccoli into the beef or chicken broth in your stock pot exactly how you want your soup to turn out. You can do a few pulses for a thinner liquid with larger chunks of broccoli, or you can blend for longer and get a thicker, more uniform consistency.
If you don’t have an immersion blender but have a powerful blender like a Vitamix or NutriBullet Rx, we recommend ladling half of the soup into the blender and completely pureeing it, and then adding it back into the pot. This way, you’ll keep some larger pieces of broccoli but still have a hearty base of thick, low-carb soup.
No Time for Cooking?
There’s not always time to make a full-blown meal from scratch, even when you’re on a special diet. That’s why we’ve developed a line of ready-made keto soups for nights like those. We’ve even created a pre-made keto broccoli cheese soup that’s ready to go with just a couple of minutes to heat on the stove top.
Keto Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 1 pack 8–10 pieces bacon
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced or pressed (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 2 big heads of broccoli chopped into small florets
- 4 cups Kettle & Fire beef bone broth
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup cream cheese
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese plus more for topping
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3–4 scallions chopped for topping
- Black pepper or red pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with foil, and place bacon strips flat on baking sheet.
Roast bacon for 10–12 minutes. (Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.)
Place bacon on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess grease, and set aside.
Add olive oil, onions, garlic, and red bell pepper to a large stock pot over medium heat, stirring to coat. Saute until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
Add in broccoli florets and salt, and continue sauteing for another 2–3 minutes, stirring to incorporate all ingredients.
Add in bone broth and apple cider vinegar, lower the heat, and cover for 5 minutes.
Add in cream cheese, stirring with a fork or whisk to break it up and allowing it to melt into the broth.
Use an immersion blender to pulse through the vegetables. Coarsely blend for larger broccoli chunks, or blend more thoroughly for a more uniform soup.
Slowly add shredded cheddar cheese, bit by bit, stirring the whole time to avoid chunks of cheese forming or clumping.
Stir in heavy cream and cook on low, stirring occasionally for 7–10 minutes more to allow the soup to thicken.
Top with crumbled bacon, chopped scallions, and extra shredded cheese and serve piping hot.
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