You’ll never miss the extra fat in this lightened-up version of a familiar comfort food classic: Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup. This soup is thick, cheesy, creamy and downright decadent. No one will ever know you used reduced fat ingredients to prepare it!
The reason I say “no one will ever know” is because I recently took this soup to my parents’ house for them to enjoy. My dad LOVES broccoli cheese soup and I always share with him when I make it.
But every time I’ve shared, it’s been the full-fat version. Well, he didn’t even notice and said it was the best pot of broccoli cheddar soup I’ve made to date. Oh, and he does not care for reduced fat cheese… he does now, I guess!
I reduced the fat from my original recipe by using low fat 1% milk, reduced fat cheese and less butter.
- Broccoli – I normally use fresh florets, but a 24-ounce bag of frozen baby florets will also work.
- Cheese – reduced fat sharp cheddar
- Carrots – I julienne my carrots (cut into thin strips). You can save time by buying a bag of “matchstick carrots” in the produce section of your grocery store.
- Yellow onion – chopped
- Bay leaf
- Flour – all-purpose
- Ground nutmeg
- Salt and black pepper
- Chicken broth – you can easily make this soup vegetarian by using vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.
- Butter – I use unsalted butter so that I can control the salt amount.
- Milk – 1% low fat milk
How to Prepare
Following is a very brief overview – please see the recipe card for full instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Boil broccoli and carrots in a 6-quart Dutch oven or large soup pot for three minutes.
- Drain in a colander and set aside.
- In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook for three minutes, then add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Slowly add flour while stirring until a paste (roux) is formed.
- Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk while continuing to stir. Bring to a gentle boil.
- Slowly add cheese and stir constantly until cheese is melted.
- Add broccoli, carrots, salt, pepper, nutmeg and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes (stirring occasionally). Remove and discard bay leaf before serving.
This creamy and delicious soup is a dinner everyone will agree on – with lower fat. The leftovers (if you’re lucky enough to have any) are just as delicious the next day.
More Comforting Soups
Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 6 cups fresh broccoli florets that have been cut into bite size pieces or 1 (24 ounce) bag frozen baby florets
- 1 cup peeled and julienned carrots or matchstick carrots
- 5 tablespoons butter unsalted
- 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken broth or stock low sodium
- 2 ½ cups low fat 1% milk
- 8 ounces reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 teaspoon salt more or less, to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper more or less, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- Place broccoli florets and carrots in a 6-quart Dutch oven (or large soup pot) and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a moderate boil.
- Drain vegetables in a colander and set aside.
- In the same Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes (or until tender), while stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Slowly add flour (about a tablespoon at a time) while constantly stirring. Once all of the flour is added and there is a paste formed, slowly pour in chicken broth, while continuing to stir.
- Pour in milk, while continuing to stir constantly.
- Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, while continuing to constantly stir.
- Once a gentle boil is reached, slowly add cheese (a handful at a time) and stir constantly until cheese is melted.
- Add broccoli, carrots, salt, pepper, nutmeg and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
- Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove and discard bay leaf before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
If provided, nutritional info is a courtesy, is not guaranteed and should only be considered as a guideline.
Originally published September 2014. Updated with new photos, new text and recipe slightly revised January 2022.