Spicy Broccoli & Cheddar Soup With Bacon

 My kids LOVE soup. I send them to school with soup more than I send them to school with sandwiches. I am always looking for new ways to tweak old standards … like Cheesy Broccoli Soup. There is nothing wrong with Broccoli & Cheese soup … broccoli, cheese – done. But I was craving something a little bit more interesting. And then it hit me – bacon!

My dad starts almost every single soup he makes by chopping up a few slices of bacon and getting them nice & crispy before he starts to add in his essential soup ingredients. Most of the time, he removes the bacon and uses it as a garnish on the top of the soup, but keeps the bacon grease in the pan to fry up the onions, garlic, celery, or whatever else he needs for his recipe.

This time, I chopped up about 5 slices of bacon, cooked it, ate at least the equivalent of one slice for myself, and then added in my onion and garlic before adding the veggie broth and broccoli. It added only a few minutes onto the production time for my soup but it really gave it a different flavor. Give this twist on Broccoli & Cheese soup a try…

Broccoli and Tillamook Garlic Chili Pepper Cheddar




5 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
1 head of broccoli, chopped(all of it)
1/3 cup whole milk or half & half
8 oz cheddar cheese, grated


1. Fry up the chopped bacon over medium heat until it is nice and crispy.

2. Add the onions and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic. Cook for another minute or two.

3. Add the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir. Add the vegetable broth and chopped broccoli. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium so that the soup simmers for about 15 minutes.

4. When the broccoli is soft, remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup. I leave very few pieces of broccoli.

5. Add in the whole milk or half & half and the grated cheddar cheese. Return to heat slightly and stir well.

6. SERVE!! Enjoy!

Notes about cheese … I usually use cheddar in my broccoli and cheese soup but you can experiment with different flavors! For this recipe, I wanted it to have a bit of a kick, so I used 4 ounces of Tillamook Garlic and Chili Pepper Cheddar and 4 ounces of Extra Sharp Cheddar from Cabot. Great combo! I am always on the lookout for new cheeses … does your favorite market have a basket of assorted cheeses like the one below?

Can’t Commit? LOVE This Basket of Cheese at Whole Foods!  

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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

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