Best Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup

This deliciously creamy Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup is both rich and comforting, but is lightened up with healthy ingredients. It features loads of fresh broccoli and cauliflower, freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and whole milk in lieu of heavy cream — plus white beans and ground chicken sausage for a boost of protein, fiber, and flavor!

Bowl of creamy broccoli cauliflower cheese soup with white beans and sausage in a white bowl with a spoon and crusty bread in the background

Do your kids love soup? My kids love soup — and I, for one, am here for it. We’re talking about a nutritionally complete meal served in one bowl, made in one pot, with plenty of leftovers for later in the week. I call that the dinnertime trifecta. 

We have several favorite soups but I just couldn’t wait to share this cozy Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup because we’ve been eating it on repeat for months now. Yep, we ate it all summer — that’s how good it is! And now that soup season is here I can finally (finally!) share it with you.

Loaded with veggies and is full of cheesy flavor, this deliciously creamy soup is healthy, kid-friendly comfort food at its finest. This broccoli cauliflower cheese soup features loads of fresh broccoli and cauliflower, freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and milk in lieu of heavy cream, as well as fiber-rich white beans and ground chicken sausage for extra protein and flavor.

What ingredients do I need for broccoli cauliflower cheese soup? 

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Italian chicken sausage (or sausage of choice)
  • White beans
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot powder
  • Milk
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

What makes this soup healthier?

Broccoli cheese soup typically calls for lots of heavy cream, cheese, and butter. This version is made lighter by using less cheese, olive oil instead of butter, and milk instead of heavy cream. 

Adding cauliflower and white beans, and pureeing some of the mixture gives this soup a thick and creamy finish without any cream at all. 

How to Make This Soup

To make this broccoli cauliflower cheese soup, start by sauteing some onion, carrots, and chicken sausage in a little olive oil, breaking up the sausage as you go. 

When the sausage is cooked, then add the broth, salt, pepper, broccoli and cauliflower. Bring it to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat. Let everything simmer for 15 minutes, or until the broccoli and cauliflower are tender.

Once the broccoli and cauliflower are soft, stir in the canned beans. Then, puree about three cups of the soup either in a blender or with an immersion blender until very smooth, and return the pureed soup to the pot. 

For a thicker soup, whisk one tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder into the milk. Add the milk and cheese to the pot, stirring until the cheese has melted. If using a thickener, bring the soup to a boil for a few minutes to activate the starch, then remove the pot from the heat and allow it to thicken for a few minutes before serving. 

Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and portion into bowls. Serve with extra shredded cheese on top and large slices of crusty bread.

closeup photo of a spoonful of creamy broccoli cauliflower cheese soup with carrot and white beans

How to Thicken Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup

This soup comes out fairly thick and creamy thanks to the addition of the white beans and cauliflower that are pureed and added back to the pot. 

Beans and vegetables are great for thickening sauces, casseroles, and soups, like this one! Not only do they help create a creamier consistency,  these foods actually increase the nutritional value of recipes since they also contain healthy vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

For an extra thick broccoli cauliflower cheese soup, starch can be added at the end of cooking. Cornstarch and grain-free arrowroot starch are some of the most potent thickeners, but flour can also be used — you’ll just need more of it. 

To thicken broccoli cauliflower cheese soup, whisk 1-1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder (or 2-3 tablespoons of flour) into the milk just before adding it to the pot. Bringing the soup to a gentle boil and simmering for a few minutes will activate the starch. Just be sure to remove the soup from the heat after a few minutes as the starch may break down and the liquid will thin again if overcooked. Allow the soup to cool (and thicken) for a few minutes before serving.

What do I serve with broccoli cheese soup?  

A bowl of broccoli cauliflower soup is hearty enough to stand on its own, but serving it with a thick slice of crusty bread (or in a sourdough bread bowl, gasp!) will make it meal-worthy even for the hungriest family members and guests.

If you plan to enjoy this broccoli cauliflower cheese soup as a side, here are a few delicious things you can serve with it:

  • A warm turkey or ham and cheese panini
  • Crusty garlic cheese bread 
  • Fresh tomato bruschetta

How long is broccoli cheese soup good for?

Leftover broccoli cheese soup that is refrigerated within two hours of making will keep for 3-4 days. Leftover soup should be stored in a covered container and cooled at room temperature for 1-2 hours before refrigerating.

Can I freeze broccoli cauliflower cheese soup?  

Creamy soups tend not to be the most freezer-friendly meals, but because this soup is largely thickened with pureed beans and cauliflower, it freezes well and reheats like a dream.

For best results, defrost frozen broccoli cauliflower cheese soup in the refrigerator overnight and warm on the stove over low to medium-low heat to desired temperature. Boiling the soup may cause separation, so taking a low-and-slow approach when reheating will yield the best (and creamiest) results.

Bowl of creamy broccoli cauliflower cheese soup with white beans and sausage in a white bowl with a spoon and crusty bread in the background
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Recipe

Best Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup

This simple Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup is deliciously creamy, and packed with veggies and cheesy flavor.

  • Prep Time:
    20 minutes
  • Total Time:
    50 minutes
  • Makes:
    11 cups 1x
  • Prep Time:
    20 minutes
  • Total Time:
    50 minutes
  • Makes:
    11 cups 1x
  • Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 8 ounces sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
    • 1 cup shredded carrots (about 34 ounces)  
    • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 8 cups (20 ounces) finely chopped broccoli and cauliflower florets (about 1 small head of each)
    • 1 (15-ounce) can Great Northern beans (or other white bean), drained and rinsed
    • 1 cup whole milk 
    • 11 ½ tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder (optional; see notes)
    • 2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving if desired

    Instructions

    1. Sauté sausage, onion, and carrots. Heat oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add sausage, onion, and carrots and cook, breaking sausage up with a wooden spoon, for 7-10 minutes, or until sausage is cooked and onions are tender. 
    2. Add broccoli, cauliflower, and broth; season and simmer. Add broth, salt, pepper, and broccoli and cauliflower florets. Bring to a near boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until broccoli and cauliflower are tender, stirring occasionally. 
    3. Add beans and puree. Remove the lid and stir in the beans. Remove about 3 cups of soup and puree with an immersion blender. If using a standard blender, allow the soup to cool slightly and leave the lid slightly cracked when blending. Return pureed soup to the pot. 
    4. Stir in milk, cheese and starch. For a slightly thicker soup, whisk cornstarch or arrowroot starch into the milk. Add the milk and cheese to the pot, stirring until cheese has melted. If thickening with starch, bring the soup to a brief boil (no more than 3 minutes); remove pot from heat and let it sit/thicken for a few minutes. 
    5. Serve. Portion into bowls and serve immediately with a sprinkle of cheese and large slice of crusty. 

    Notes

    Favorite Equipment

    Ingredient Notes

    • Cornstarch or arrowroot powder: Arrowroot powder is an excellent grain-free substitute for cornstarch and can be used as a 1-to-1 replacement in this recipe. We use (and love) Bob’s Red Mill Cornstarch and Arrowroot Starch
    • For a gluten-free soup: Use cornstarch or arrowroot starch to thicken (certified gluten-free if necessary.) 
    • For a vegetarian soup: Omit the chicken sausage and use vegetable broth.

    Ingredient Prep

    • Chop the onion, broccoli, and cauliflower  
    • Shred the carrots and cheese
    • Rinse and drain the beans

    Little Helpers

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating and increase appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help: 

    • Toddlers: Remove sausage from casings; help chop the broccoli and cauliflower (with supervision and a kid-friendly knife); rinse and drain the beans, make the cornstarch-milk slurry
    • Little Kids: All of the above, plus open the canned beans; help with blending the soup (closely supervised)
    • Big Kids: All of the above plus shred the cheese and carrots

    Leftovers

    Leftover broccoli cheese soup should be refrigerated within two hours and will keep for 3-4 days. Cool at room temperature for 1-2 hours and store in an airtight container before refrigerating.

    Freezing Instructions

    Freeze leftover soup in an airtight food storage bag or container. For best results, defrost frozen broccoli cauliflower cheese soup in the refrigerator overnight and warm on the stove over low/medium-low heat to desired temperature. Boiling the soup may cause separation, so taking a low-and-slow approach when reheating will yield the best (and creamiest) results.

    Nutrition Notes

    Nutrition information calculated using Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage, whole milk, full-fat cheddar cheese, and without cornstarch. 

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 1 cup
    • Calories: 218
    • Sugar: 5 g
    • Sodium: 886 mg
    • Fat: 12 g
    • Saturated Fat: 5 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 7 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 13 g
    • Fiber: 4 g
    • Protein: 16 g
    • Cholesterol: 57 mg

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    If you make this Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup, please leave a comment and give this recipe a rating! Ratings and comments help other busy parents and families discover this recipe. Plus, I always love hearing from you and how you’re enjoying (and adapting) our recipes!

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    Bowl of creamy broccoli cauliflower cheese soup with white beans and sausage in a white bowl with a spoon and crusty bread in the background

    Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

    I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

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