This gluten-free broccoli cheddar soup is creamy, comforting and cheesy. Make this easy recipe in 30 minutes or less. Dairy-free options are included.
Be sure to check out more of my gluten-free soup recipes including my, gluten-free creamy mushroom soup, and hearty satisfying lentil quinoa soup. All of them are dairy-free or have dairy-free options.
Smooth or Chunky Soup?
I have a texture snob in my house so I am very aware of this controversy. I personally love a thick, chunky soup. but this one can easily be pureed. If you plan to puree it, I recommend leaving some of the broccoli in bigger pieces. You’ll remove the bigger pieces before blending and save for garnish. The remaining will be pureed with the cooked soup,
Creamy Gluten-Free Soups
This soup is thickened with gluten-free flour to give it a creamy, silky texture. White rice flour is my preferred way to thicken gluten-free sauces and soups. It is the most consistent gf flour I have tested (brown rice flour is not starchy enough). Gluten-free flour blends can be used too but, I have found that different gluten-free flours (even different brands of white rice flour) will give varying thickening results. If the soup is not thick enough after stirring in the cheese in step 9, and you don’t plan to puree it, here is how to thicken it more:
Make a paste of equal parts of soft butter and flour, mixing them together until all of the flour is moistened. Use 1 Tbsp of each for a little extra thickening or 2 Tbsp each for a lot of thickening. This paste is called a “buerre manie” (burr man-yay) and it is my not so secret weapon when making gravy or creamy soups. Drop this paste into the warmed soup and stir over medium high heat until the liquid boils and thickens.
Dairy-Free And Vegan Substitutions
Violife Just Like Cheddar Shreds or Epic Mature Cheddar Flavor Block are both good vegan cheddar cheese alternatives. You’ll have to shred the block, but it has a stronger, sharper cheddar flavor than the shreds. Both incorporate into the soup nicely and help add to the thick, creamy texture.
My preferred broth for any soup, vegan or not, is Imagine “No Chicken” broth. It has the best flavor of any vegan broth I have tried.
Vegan butter substitutes like Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks or Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter are good alternatives to butter. It can be difficult to find an unsalted one so be sure to taste your soup before adding any extra salt.
This soup uses a butter and gluten-free flour roux as part of the thickening. If you puree the soup it will be thickened further by the veggies.
The cheddar cheese also adds to the rich creamy texture. I prefer to use a sharp cheddar for the strong tangy flavor.
The liquid in this soup is a combination of milk (or milk sub) and low-sodium broth. Many recipes call for heavy cream but I prefer to skip all that extra dairy and allow the roux and cheese to add the rich, thickness to this soup.
A low-sodium broth with allow you to control the salt level best. I do not give an exact amount of salt. Between the varying saltiness of brands of broth, vegan butters and cheeses, it is best to taste and add salt according to your preference.
Gluten-Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Violife Epic Mature Cheddar Flavor Block (vegan option)
- Violife Just Like Cheddar Shreds (vegan option)
- White Rice Flour
- 5 oz fresh or frozen broccoli fresh or frozen
- ¼ of a medium – large brown or white onion
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) stalk celery optional
- 6 Tbsp butter or vegan butter Earth Balance or Miyoko's vegan butter
- 6-7 Tbsp white rice flour or gluten-free flour blend
- 2-2¼ c milk or dairy-free milk substitute (almond, soy, oat or coconut milk subs)
- 2 c low sodium chicken or vegetable broth Imagine "No Chicken" broth is an excellent vegan broth
- 1½ c shredded cheddar cheese or vegan cheddar sub Violife Epic Mature Cheddar Flavor Block or Just Like Cheddar Shreds are excellent vegan options
- salt to taste
- 2 pinches ground black pepper optional
- NOTE: White rice flour is my preferred way to thicken gluten-free sauces and soups. Gluten-free flour blends can be used too but, I have found that different gluten-free flours (even different brands of rice flour) will give varying thickening results. If the soup is not thick enough after stirring in the cheese in step 9 and you don't plan to puree it, here is how to thicken it more:Make a paste of equal parts of soft butter and flour, mixing them together until all of the flour is moistened. Use 1 Tbsp of each for a little extra thickening or 2 Tbsp each for a lot of thickening. Drop this paste into the warmed soup and stir over medium high heat until the liquid boils and thickens.
- If leaving the soup chunky, cut the broccoli into very small bite-sized pieces. If using frozen, let it thaw at room temp on an absorbent kitchen towel for 5-10 minutes. Then cut while partially thawed. If you plan to puree the soup, I recommend leaving some larger pieces of broccoli. This way you can easily pull them out before pureeing and chop up for a garnish.
- Mince the onion and celery.
- Heat a 2 quart pot over a high flame for a minute or two. Add about 2 teaspoons of the butter and melt.
- Turn the flame to medium and add the celery and broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes or until the onions turn translucent, Do not brown, Turn the heat down if the onions start to brown.
- Add the remaining butter and melt. Add the flour and stir with a wire whisk, The mixture will turn thick and pasty. Keep cooking and stirring until it loosens up a little, about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in 2 cups of the milk and all of the broth and turn the heat to high. Stir every 30 seconds or so until the liquid boils and thickens. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for another minute,
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and black pepper, if using. Stir until it is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- If you want your soup less chunky or completely smooth, pull out the larger pieces of broccoli (if you want some for garnish) and blend with an immersion blender or in a high powered blender. **When using the blender, be sure to remove the center piece from the lid (or open the spout) to allow steam to escape.
- Because different cheeses and broths will add varying level of saltiness, I have not given an exact amount of salt. First take a taste of the soup. Is it a little blah? Are the flavors not POPPING? Start with 1/8 tsp salt. Stir it in and taste again. I usually use between 1/8 and 3/8 tsp salt.
- If you are serving immediately and the soup is too thick, stir in the remaining 1/4 c milk.