Soup | January 12, 2017

Southwest Soup

Southwest Soup is a recipe every busy person should have Pinned on their dinner board. It’s a quick and easy meal that everyone in the family will love. Southwest Soup takes just a few minutes to put together and can be made in the crockpot as well as on the stove top!

Southwest Soup

We are huge lovers of anything with Southwest/Mexican flavors in our home. I’m game to eat tacos or enchiladas several nights a week. In the winter, I’m a big time soup fan. Soup every night is okay with me…Especially soup topped with cheese, sour cream, avocado and tortilla chips. It’s like giving yourself a license to eat liquid nachos.
Southwest Soup
Southwest Soup
Any meal that takes less than 30 minutes to make and ready to serve is a winner in my book. Southwest Soup is a less than 30 minutes meal. My dear friend Sara gave me this recipe years ago, when my kids were all still at home, and mid week meal time often meant- grab whatever is edible before running out the door to the next event! You know how that goes… Serving something that was filling and semi nutritious AND  also appealing to kids and adults was always a challenge. Add on a meal that was simple to prepare and it almost seemed like the impossible task at times. This meal is one of the most simple I made back then, and still make now. Everyone loves it and it’s a perfect meal for new neighbors, friends with new babies, not to mention those nights when you need dinner and have 15 minutes to get it ready.
 I love this recipe because it can be made on the stove top, or cook the chicken and throw everything in the slow cooker for the day on low (instructions on recipe). At dinner time, make a little buffet with toppings and you’re the best mom (or dad). EVER.
Southwest Soup

Southwest Soup

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author A Bountiful Kitchen


  • 2 whole chicken breasts or 4 chicken breast halves
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 cloves garlic crushed or minced
  • Juice and pulp of 1 lime
  • 2 large 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 14 oz cans chicken broth
  • 1 small 10-12 oz package frozen sweet white corn or yellow corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • additional cilantro sour cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips for serving


  1. Place olive oil and chicken in a dutch oven or large pot over medium to medium high heat.
  2. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, covered.
  3. When chicken is done, reduce heat to medium and add minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Remove chicken from pot and shred or chop into chunks.
  5. Place chicken back in pot, squeeze lime juice over chicken.
  6. Add rest of ingredients to chicken and let simmer until hot.
  7. Serve with additional cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped avocado and tortilla chips.

Recipe Notes

-Slowcooker instructions:Cook the chicken on low, seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic for about 3 hours, no need to add olive oil. When chicken is cooked, shred or chop. Squeeze lime juice onto chicken. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low until ready to serve. -You may use frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts without thawing. Place the chicken in a single layer in bottom of slow cooker and follow instructions above. Remove juice from slow cooker before adding other ingredients (optional). The juice may become cloudy from chicken fat and change the appearance of the soup. I usually advise to use the broth that is cooked off from the chicken, but in this recipe I don't like the way it looks in the soup.

58 thoughts on “Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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Recipe Rating

  1. Yum!! My parents live in Farmington and every time they cone visit me in Seattle we have to make a stop at panera….???? Thanks for dinner tonight!! I am pregnant and cant plan meals ahead right now to save my life….this looks good and I don't need to hit the g. store!!! Love everything you share!!! Have a good one!

    1. Thanks Jen! I wish we had Panera here, Im a big fan of their breads. Such a fun lunch spot! Hope all is well with your pregnancy. It is hard to stay motivated to cook when you're dealing with being pregnant!

    1. Hi Christine,
      I have not shared that recipe yet, but will make sure to do it soon. I tis really simple and one I throw together when I'm in a hurry. Thanks for the reminder!
      Happy cooking 🙂

    1. I think this recipe will work with frozen broccoli, not as good as fresh, I would chop the pieces small. Let us know if you try it with frozen!

      1. I made it tonight with Costco’s frozen broccoli and it was incredible. I let the broccoli thaw and then cut it up and added it after the carrots had cooked for a bit. Everyone loved the soup!

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this soup for this first time and it’s delicious!!
    Definitely will be making it again. My kids were fighting over who had more 🙂 Thank you!!

  3. 5 stars
    I whipped this up for quick dinner and it really hit the spot for my family. I was out of baby carrots so I added celery. It’s just the right amount of cheese and the chicken broth gives it a delicious flavor. We loved that the broccoli was still crunchy and delicious too. Thanks for the great idea. As usual.

    1. You’re welcome, Emily! I love this recipe too, especially on colder days. Great idea to use celery! Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK,

  4. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Someone asked about frozen broccoli….I had frozen some roasted broccoli a few weeks ago and used it. I just added it (I gave it an extra chop, but it was still slightly frozen)after the carrots and onions were softened. It worked great!

    And, just a reminder…don’t let boil after you add the milk or it can funny.

    We will definitely make again!!

  5. 5 stars
    My whole family loves this soup! I love that all of my picky eaters will fill up their bowls. We especially love dipping the twisted breadsticks in it. This recipe is so quick and simple to make. I usually have the ingredients on hand, so it is one of our go-to hearty meals in a pinch! Thank you!!

    1. That’s why I love this soup too, Emily. I usually have most of the ingredients and everyone loves it. Great idea to serve it with twisted breadsticks. Sounds so yummy! Thanks for sharing,

  6. 5 stars
    We love love love this soup!!! My picky 3 year old asks for it daily! It’s one of the only things he will eat. We make it weekly and love how quick and easy it is. I always have the things needed on hand. Thank You Si!!!

    1. This recipe is perfect, even for the pickiest of eaters. I love how easy it is to make too, MJ. Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK!

  7. 5 stars
    I made this last night for my husband whose favorite soup is Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar and it was a hit! I made it exactly as directed and it was so creamy and delicious and a crowd pleaser… even the kids loved it. Thank you so much for the recipe. This will be one of our go-tos from now on.

    1. I’m so glad your family enjoyed it, Marlene. It’s one of our favorite soups to make too. Thanks for sharing!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this the first time, for a friend, and it turned out perfectly! So perfect that she told me her daughter’s favorite restaurant was Bread Co. (Panera to everyone outside of St. Louis) and her daughter said it was even better. I was pleasantly surprised. 🙂 I made it the next night for my family and let it sit just a tad too long with after the cream/half&half was added and it flopped so I learned that part of the instructions were really important. Third time’s a charm as I’ll be making this over and over again! Thanks Si!

    1. Hi Amy, sometimes the little details are what makes this soup so good. I’m glad you and your family enjoyed it, it’s definitely one of my favorite soups to make. It will only get better the more you make it! Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK,

  9. 5 stars
    I doubled this recipe for our family of 10. I cooked it in the Instant Pot on sauté mode and we ended up toasting some Grandma Sycamore bread to go with it and had a green salad. Fabulous dinner! No leftovers whatsoever! Thank you for the recipe-I’ll add it to our regular rotation! I love finding food that’s a hit with our gang of teenagers, middles, and littles!

    1. That sounds delicious, Sarah! I’m so glad you enjoyed this soup as much as our family has. Thanks for sharing,

  10. 5 stars
    Made this recipe last night, and it was easy and delicious! Our whole family loved it, including my picky toddler. Thanks for sharing it!

  11. 5 stars
    I have never tried Panera’s version of this soup but I really enjoyed this recipe. I thought it was very simple and all the ingredients were normal household ingredients that most people have in their home. I made a few adjustments: I used 3 C chicken broth and 1 C water. I still felt like there was plenty of flavor and a bit healthier. I didn’t have Tabasco sauce so I used a few drops of Tapatio hot sauce. Overall, 5 STAR rating!

    1. Thank you, Megan! I’m glad you were able to make some healthier substitutions that worked for you. I know this is especially helpful for anyone looking to cut out a few calories and still enjoy this yummy soup.

    1. Hi Jules, I usually let it simmer until it thickens up in consistency. The end result is a fairly thick soup. Thanks for asking and for reading ABK!

  12. 5 stars
    Made this soup today for company that was over. So delicious! Perfect for a cold, rainy day. Thanks for sharing! Also, I’m gushing over your pots – where are they from?!

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe WOWS both adults and children alike every time I make it. My 3 and 4 year olds beg for ‘Vegetable Soup’ anytime I let them choose what’s for dinner. I add as many veggies as I have on hand. The mustard and hot sauce give a subtle depth of flavor fit for a fancy restaurant—but it’s not anything that throws off my in-laws who don’t believe in any kind of spice or flavoring outside of salt and pepper. It’s just a win all around.

  14. 5 stars
    Very very good, would probably just add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard instead of a full 1 teaspoon. Was a little too much for my taste. Didn’t have any hot sauce so just threw some red pepper flakes in and it turned out great!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe Jillian, it’s perfect for altering to your own preferences. Thank you for sharing and for reading ABK!

  15. 5 stars
    Favorite broccoli cheddar soup! Even my 2yo loves it! It’s so easy and I love that it’s made with real cheese. Better than Panera‘s I think 🙂

  16. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! If you make this, you’re going to really want to make the garlic twisted breadsticks! I only had mild cheddar cheese on hand, so I added a little bit of Swiss cheese as well in an effort to add a bit more flavor. I also used frozen broccoli, but it turned out great! Hopefully I’ll be able to use the sharp cheddar next time.

  17. 4 stars
    This was easy to prep and cook as directed and was received by the rest of the Family as a reminder of a famous Restaurant soup. I had to tell them.
    Except for the temperatures and time details with each step, I was a little lost. The vegetables will be slightly steamed before adding to the pot next time to soften more. Will enjoy leftovers even better tomorrow. Following as directed, this made more than four servings; two ladles per bowl. Very filling, comforting, and delicious.

    1. Hi McKenna, the hot sauce gives the soup a little bit of vinegar that really makes the flavor profile amazing.
      Thanks for reading ABK,

  18. Love love love this soup! I made a big pot for dinner one night, and it lasted my husband so long to have for lunch throughout the week! We didn’t have any hot sauce, but it still turned out super yummy. I definitely want to try it with Tabasco next time! Also need to try the bread sticks with it! I loved how fast it was to make though!

    1. Hi Allie, yes you need to try this soup with the breadsticks! I LOVE making this during the fall because it’s so easy and filling.
      Thank you for sharing and for reading ABK,