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Broccoli Cheese Soup with a Surprise Ingredient – (Gluten Free)

I regularly whip together some version of homemade cream of vegetable soup, but when I put together this creamy broccoli cheese soup with a hint of bacon, my husband and the boys said it was one of the best I've ever made. What's the “surprise” ingredient? I raided the pantry for some dehydrated summer squash to use as an extra thickening agent. Eureka moment! It's a great use for an abundant veggie, and adds a little more vegetable punch to the recipe, which is never a bad thing.

homemade broccoli cheese soup

This recipe makes around 8-10 servings, unless you're serving teenage boys who say, “This is really good!”, and inhale nearly all of the soup in one sitting.


Broccoli Cheese Soup

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This easy gluten free broccoli cheese soup soup is rich and creamy and loaded with veggies and bacon and one ingredient you may not expect.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 10 bowls 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop cooking
  • Cuisine: American


Units Scale
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium head broccoli, cut into florets, or 1 to 2 10-oz bags frozen broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • Dehydrated summer squash, approximately 1 cup
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb cheddar cheese, finely grated


  1. In a large heavy stock pot or Dutch oven, saute bacon until crisp. Set aside. Use the bacon grease to saute the onions, garlic, celery and carrots. I like to get my onions cooking first so they get a little more done. While the onions start cooking, I finish chopping the garlic, celery and carrots and add each as they are ready. If your bacon didn't have much fat, you can add a little extra butter for sauteing. Cook until carrots are crisp tender, stirring occasionally. Do not brown.
  2. Add broth and broccoli to stock pot.
  3. Pulverize the dehydrated summer squash in a blender or food processor until it becomes a fine powder. Volume should reduce by about half. Add powdered summer squash to stock pot. If you don’t have dehydrated summer squash, you can either add more cornstarch or simply have a thinner soup.
  4. Simmer until the broccoli is tender (with frozen broccoli, heat through), at least 10-15 minutes, to give the summer squash time to rehydrate and start to thicken the soup.
  5. In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix enough cold water with the cornstarch to form a loose slurry (about an equal amount of water and cornstarch). Stir cornstarch slurry into simmering soup, taking care to mix thoroughly as you are adding so it doesn’t clump. Do not boil – that will make lumps more likely to form. As it cooks, the broth will thicken.
  6. Once broth has thickened, add spices and cream. Heat gently, do not boil. Once heated, start adding cheese, mixing after each addition, until all the cheese has been added. Crumble the bacon into the soup to finish.


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl

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broccoli cheese soup

Pair this soup up with some fresh bread or a salad, and you’ve got a quick and nourishing meal. If you prefer a non-cheesy soup, check out the cream of broccoli soup recipe. We also have a recipe for homemade bread bowls for soup here.

Dehydrating Summer Squash for Broccoli Cheese Soup

Summer squash is super easy to dehydrate. All you do it shred it finely, spread it on your dehydrator trays, set the temp at 125°F (52°C)and dry until crisp. If you have shredded squash in the freezer, you can thaw, drain, and then dehydrate. If you'd like to see the process step by step with photos, check out “The Best Way to Use Up Extra Zucchini“.

dehydrated summer squash

Do you have an unusual way to use zucchini or summer squash? I'd love to hear about it.

More Made from Scratch Recipes

If you like home cooking, then you'll enjoy the Common Sense Home Recipes and Kitchen Tips page. All of our recipes are listed in one spot and sorted by category to make it easy to find your favorites.

Some of the recipes include:

Laurie Neverman

This post is written by Laurie Neverman. Laurie is the creator of Common Sense Home (formerly Common Sense Homesteading). She was raised on a small dairy farm in northwest Wisconsin, and worked in the family catering business (Irene's Custom Cakes and Catering) as her summer job through high school and college. They baked thousands of homemade dinner rolls, and hundreds of pies, cakes and other tasty treats, as well as full course meals for parties of two to several hundred.

In college, Laurie earned her BS in Math and MS in Mechanical Engineering, with an emphasis in Alternative Energy. She and her family now live out in the country in their Green Built certified home on their permaculture oasis in progress homestead. Learn more about Laurie here.

Originally published in 2015, updated in 2018.

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  1. I have recently experimented with freeze drying broccoli; do you think it would work well in this recipe? I love the idea of having broccoli on hand since it’s just two of us in the house now and I don’t cook every day but I am having a tough time figuring out how to use it. Incidentally, cauliflower is giving me the same problem. I freeze dried some carrots because I can’t use a whole bunch of them before they start growing roots or rotting and I believe they would go well in it, I wonder if I could do celery the same way. I would LOVE for you to do a post about all the lovely things you have found to work well freeze dried! This soup sounds delicious and I’m starting to think it might be good to do some “soup in a jar” type meals or even freeze dried soup.

    1. Freeze dried broccoli works well in soups and stews, since you can just add a bit more water if needed, or have a thicker final product.

      We haven’t freeze dried this specific recipe, but it should work just fine. We’ve done other soups and dairy products. The main thing is just to avoid chunks that are too big, and excess fat, so everything dries down evenly.

      I like freeze dried veggies in quiche, as they keep it from getting watery like fresh veggies sometimes do. They work well in casseroles, too. Typically I end up grabbing for freeze dried options when I’m cooking and don’t have fresh on hand.

  2. This soup is delicious! I was looking for a broccoli cheese soup that was a bit different, and this was it! The curry powder is a great addition! I only had 1% milk on hand, and no dehydrated veggies so I used the milk instead of the heavy cream. I did want more thickness to the soup, and I’m not a fan of cornstarch, so I cooked up and mashed a couple potatoes and added that to the soup. This is my new favorite, and you have a wonderful website! I will be passing it along!

  3. Laurie, I don’t have any dehydrated veggies. If I make this without the dehydrated squash, I’m guessing I should decrease the broth? I think I’ll try cutting down by 1 cup. I can always add more if I need to. Thanks for this recipe! I have food sensitivities to tomato and potato, so I’m always looking for recipes without those ingredients. 🙂

  4. This sounded very appealing and different and I was determined to make it today. Didn’t have enough frozen broccoli so decided to use my home dehydrated broccoli. So then I decided it might be a good chance to use some other dehydrated veggies I have on hand so used all dehydrated vegetables in place of fresh. I also used half and half instead of the cream and omitted the cheese. I used the squash powder as you suggested (great idea!). Even with all the substitutions, this was a delicious soup! The flavor is unique and very tasty and satisfying, especially on a cold winter’s day. Thanks for a great recipe that really changes things up!