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A yummy, cheesy chowder, this comforting one-bowl meal is hearty and filling.
Potato Broccoli Cheese Soup is loaded with chunks of potato, broccoli, and pancetta adding delicious depth of flavor — just what a tummy craves on a chilly day!
Today’s easy soup recipe is essentially a cross between broccoli cheese soup and my favorite old-fashioned potato soup. What’s more, this recipe is extremely versatile.
That’s because although many of the ingredients can be substituted, in the end you always end up with one fantastic thick and creamy bowl of homemade soup!
Looking for more Italian inspired soup recipes? My family loves Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup — it has the most delicious lemony broth! Or, you may enjoy my Olive Garden copycat recipe for Zuppa Toscana Soup or this Pasta e Fagioli Soup. All are delicious!
Key ingredients & substitutions for Potato Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Potatoes — Basically any variety of potatoes work in this soup. My preference is Yukon Gold, but russet or red potatoes are also good.
- Broccoli — Fresh broccoli florets or frozen chopped broccoli
- Onion — Along with a sweet Vidalia or white onion, celery or carrots diced and cooked together adds a delicious depth of flavor.
- Cheddar cheese — Use whatever you have on hand, like sharp or mild cheddar, Gruyère, or smoked gouda.
- Milk — For a richer broth, you can always substitute heavy cream or half and half.
- Pancetta — Cured pork adds delicious flavor. If you don’t have pancetta, substitute diced bacon, ham, or kielbasa. Remember to drain off the rendered fat before adding the other ingredients.
- Since this soup is made with pancetta — which is already salty — use salt sparingly when adding more to your soup. Taste and season the soup for your preference.
How to make broccoli potato soup
STEP 1 | Build base of flavor
First, cook aromatics like onions, celery, carrots, or garlic to start building flavor. For today’s soup, we’re cooking the onions and pancetta together. This smells so good, you’ll be ready to eat it up before you even finish the soup!
STEP 2 | Cook the potatoes
Next, add the liquid and the ingredients that require more cooking time, in this instance potatoes. My recipe uses mostly chicken broth with a little milk or heavy cream to make the broth creamy, but you can use all broth or all milk.
If using milk or cream in the liquid, cook at a lower temperature to avoid scalding the milk. Cook this mixture until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
STEP 3 | Add the quick cooking ingredients
Ladle some of the soup into a bowl of the soup and use the back of the spoon to mash the potatoes against the side, then stir them back into the soup. This helps thicken the soup.
Stir the chopped broccoli into the pot and cook for another five minutes until tender.
STEP 4 | Stir in the cheese
When adding cheese to soup, it is best to remove the soup from the heat first and stir in the cheese gradually to avoid the cheese seizing or curdling.
- Some chefs make sofrito — a mixture of slow-cooked, caramelized onions, carrots, and celery — and store it in the refrigerator or freezer to use as a jump start when making soups or stews.
- It’s a little thing, but garnishing a warm bowl of soup with fresh herbs definitely ups the ante. Imagine raising that first spoonful toward your mouth and getting a whiff of freshly chopped herbs along with the soup’s savory aroma. JUST. YUM.
Frequently asked questions
Potato soups are not the best for freezing because when thawed, the potato texture can become grainy. That being said, if you do choose to freeze this soup I would recommend you make it to freeze with all chicken or vegetable broth and not add any milk or cream.
You can safely store Potato Broccoli Cheese soup in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. To reheat, add a little chicken broth or milk to each bowl of soup and warm in the microwave.
Easily make vegetarian potato broccoli soup by omitting the diced pancetta and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. Otherwise, follow the recipe directions as written.
Italian-Style Potato Broccoli Cheese Soup: behind the recipe
Now that the weather is a bit chilly, you can bet I’ll be making a bit pot of soup or chili every single week.
Homemade soup is not only much tastier than canned soup, it’s over all better for you. I know it takes a little longer, but it’s really not that hard and it’s great having leftovers for lunch throughout the week.
One of the easiest soups you’ll ever make, this Potato Broccoli Cheese Soup is chock full of veggies and is thickened without adding any flour.
Once the potatoes cook, spoon a cupful out, mash them up, and stir them back into the soup—and pronto! You’ve got yourself a perfectly thick and delicious chowder.
Potato Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 4 oz. pkg. 4-oz. pkg. diced pancetta
- 1 medium garlic clove minced
- 4-5 medium potatoes peeled and diced
- 1 bunch broccoli
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup milk or heavy cream
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- chopped Italian parsley for garnish
- To a dutch oven or soup pot over medium low heat, add the olive oil, onion, and pancetta. Saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion is tender and pancetta begins to crisp. Add the garlic and cook another minute, until fragrant..
- Add the potatoes, chicken broth and milk. Bring the soup to a gentle boil; then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
- With a slotted spoon, remove 1 1/2 cups of the soup to a bowl. Use the back of the spoon to mash the potatoes against the side of the bowl, then stir them back into the soup.
- Add the chopped broccoli florets and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cheddar cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, if desired.
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.