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Cheese Soup in Homemade Bread Bowls – Warm and Tasty Comfort Food

It's rather silly, I suppose, but one of my enduring memories of the Minnesota Renaissance Fair is the cheese soup in a bread bowl.

Back in college it was a fall ritual to road trip from Superior down to Shakopee and spend a day roaming around the fair grounds. We didn't have much money, but everyone pitched in for gas and the shows on the grounds were free.

They had a wide variety of foods, but cheese soup in a bread bowl was something I almost always indulged in.

cheese soup in a bread bowl

I hadn't had soup in a bread bowl in years, until the winter of 2007-2008 when I saw it on the menu at a local restaurant. It was so good that I really wanted to have it again, but we don't go out to eat very often. I figured why not make it at home?

Now we don't have to wait for the fair  or a restaurant visit to enjoy the crispy crust of a bread bowl filled with piping hot soup. It's warm and filling – plus, it's budget friendly, especially if you use garden veggies and homemade chicken broth

Sometimes I use the ham, sometimes not – it depends on what I have on hand. My youngest added a small minced hot pepper in our last batch and it added a nice kick. Feel free to mix and match your favorite veggies. If you avoid GMOs, non-GMO cornstarch is available online and in many grocery stores.


Cheese Soup

You'll love this homemade cheese soup in crusty bread bowls. It's fancy enough to impress company, but easy enough that even teenagers can make it.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 14 cups 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped ham
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 lb sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (reserve a little for garnish, if desired)
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a large heavy bottomed kettle, melt butter or margarine. Add carrots, celery, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and ham; cook over medium heat until vegetables are crisp tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not brown.
  2. Add broth cornstarch. Cook, stirring constantly, until quite thick. Add milk, paprika, cayenne, and mustard.
  3. Stir in cheese gradually, stirring until cheese is melted. To avoid curdling, do not allow soup to boil after cheese is added. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve piping hot, garnishing with shredded cheese, if desired.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup

Keywords: soup, cheese soup

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cheese soup in bread bowl on white plate

Bread Bowls for Soup or Chili

You can enjoy your cheese your cheese soup served in your favorite soup bowl, but if you enjoy fresh baked bread and have a little extra time, these homemade bread bowls are the bomb. I prefer SAF-INSTANT yeast and King Arthur flour or organic bread flour such as Heartland Mills.


Homemade Bread Bowls

These bread bowls have a crackly crust that's perfect for dipping in your favorite soup.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 bowls 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American




  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  •  3 1/2 cups bread flour

Salt Water Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. To make the dough, you can either use the dough cycle on your bread machine, mix in a heavy stand mixer with dough hook or Bosch Kitchen Machine, or mix by hand. Dissolve sugar, yeast and salt in warm water.
  2. Add flour cup by cup, mixing after each addition, until a firm dough is formed (or let the dough cycle do its thing). Let rise about 20 minutes, punch down, allow to rise until doubled in size.
  3. When dough has doubled in size, divide it into four portions and shape it into rounds. Place on baking sheets that are well greased or lined with reusable parchment paper. Let rise until doubled again.
  4. Make the salt water glaze by mixing the salt and water together in a small bowl. This will give your bread a crispy crust. Use a pastry brush to brush the rounds with the salt water glaze.
  5. Bake at 400°F for around 15 minutes, until lightly browned.


Since this recipe makes four bowls, you'll need two baking sheets, and will bake the bowls in two batches.

Keywords: bread, bread bowl

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

homemade bread bowls for soup

More Easy Recipes and Homemade Bread

If you want to make the bread recipe as a loaf instead of bowls, visit Easy Homemade French Bread for a quick rolling tutorial.

You can also check out all our recipes and kitchen tips neatly sorted by category on the Common Sense Home Recipes and Kitchen Tips page, including:

Don't forget to check out my book “Never Buy Bread Again – The Bread Book for Beginning Bakers” for an assortment of bread recipes, including gluten free options. It's available in print and digital versions. Need inspiration to tackle baking your own bread? Take a peek here. Has your bread turned out like a brick? Check out these troubleshooting tips.

 A Peek Back in Time…

This cheese soup recipe was one of the first that I published back on the website. In 2009, the boys were quite a bit smaller. In the photo below the bread was still so warm from the oven it was tough to cut it into bowl shapes. The boys were “so hungry, mom!'

boys hungry for cheese soup in bread bowls

They still enjoy the soup, but now both are taller than I am – and they can make the soup and bread bowls themselves.

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 2009, updated in 2018.

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  1. Huzza! You just sent me down a memory lane. We had the exact same ritual at Cornell College. Every year members of the Mediaeval Recreational Club would take a road trip up to Shakopee, MN. We usually got on the road around 3:30-4:00am to arrive for opening ceremonies. Most of us would dress in more or less “period appropriate” garb, and stroll around eating oversized pickles and turkey legs, perusing trinkets, and watching performances. We stayed until the drum circle was done, and got on the road to arrive back at college at 2am. Those were the days. I can’t remember ever having this cheese soup, but maybe I will attempt to make it.

  2. Ooh, Laurie! I think I had this a while ago – you made it for a gathering we both attended. It was sooooo good! Thanks for the reminder! Gotta make it later this week for sure.

  3. Did you grow up in Superior? I grew up in Duluth! Just a hop, skip and jump away! I have been really enjoying your blog, as of late. I am a nurse and teach healthy living classes to families’ in our area….my teaching is based on the Weston A. Price foundation research. Your blog helps me come up with ideas to teach, and I thank you for that! Keep it up!



    1. I grew up around 2 hours south of Superior, but got my undergraduate degree at UW Superior. It’s a shame that WAPF research was ignored for so long. Reading Nourishing Traditions changed my life – and it’s still changing. 🙂

  4. I want u to know that….. I love love love ur site….i am in Oklahoma & love to make machine just tired one question.. what did u cook ur bowls in to get that bread shape? We have a daughter in the Air Force & i am ALWAYS shipping her canned foods & mom’s homemade goodies .. she would LOVE these bowls 🙂 thanks so much

    1. Terri – my mom’s arms were always strong, even as she got older, because she made bread by hand so many years, so that’s a good side effect of kneading by hand. 🙂

      No fancy anything for making the bowls – I just bake them right on a sheet pan. To form the balls, simply pinch or roll the dough like an over sized bun. (Sounds like another thing I need to add to the video list once I figure out how to use the new video camera I picked up on clearance.)

      To make a long French bread loaf, roll the dough flat into a rectangle shape, and then roll up like a jelly roll. Allow to rise until double, cut three slashes across the top. Brush with saltwater glaze, bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes, until nicely browned.

  5. Hi,

    I don’t own a bread machine so I make all my bread by hand. I was wondering if I had to mix the yeast, sugar and water and let it bubble before mixing in the flour (like most bread recipe) or do you just mix everything together and knead. Thank you!


    1. Depending on the type of yeast you use, proofing (mixing the yeast, sugar and water and letting it bubble) can be helpful. With Saf-Instant yeast or other quick rise yeasts, it’s not required. With standard granular yeast or yeast cakes, it is recommended. Whichever yeast you use, proofing certainly wouldn’t hurt.

  6. How many bowls does the recipe make? Would love to make this for dinner! Looks delicious, perfect for these cold evenings! 🙂

  7. I need to try this one. So easy to follow.

    Will like your FB page.

    Shared by Attainable Sustainable in Facebook.

  8. looks absolutely scrumpdillyicious! Will be a delicious soup for when it gets to -40 like it did the other day, brrrrrr!!

    Thank you so much, love your site, so many wonderful ideas and recipes. Keep up the great work!

    1. Are you talking about making the recipe dairy free, or do you just not have milk in the house?

      You could substitute powdered milk with enough water to reconstitute, if you have that on hand and are not trying to avoid dairy. Half cream and half broth would probably work, or evaporated milk.

      Plain nut or seed milks might work, but your texture will be different. If you’re trying to make the recipe dairy free, I’d try a plain nut or seed milk with about a quarter cup of nutritional yeast and a block of finely shredded non-dairy cheddar cheese.

      1. Thanks, I am allergic to whey (the cheddar cheese is okay) I’ll try the nut milk and see what happen and how it tastes.

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