Rich and velvety, my cauliflower cheese soup is an extra cozy soup to prepare to take the chill off and warm the belly. Simmered with potatoes that are blended into the soup to create that thick, creamy texture, each bowlful of this cauliflower cheese soup is brimming with cauliflower florets and the irresistibly savory flavor of sharp cheddar cheese!
When Cauliflower and Cheese Get Together To Make a Soup
Thick, velvety soups in the middle of the cold winter are such a fantastic treat...
I've always been a big fan of cauliflower soup, especially the one that my mom used to make, which was a bit more on the brothy side, with lots of garlic, cubes of potato and chunks of cauliflower—to this day, I make a similar version and just adore it.
But when my hubby and I were craving a slightly more decadent soup, one that was thick, creamy and cheesy, I decided to take the opportunity to turn my usual cauliflower soup into a cauliflower cheese soup—so delicious and cozy!
Prepared using a combo of russet potatoes and cauliflower florets (instead of milk and flour) to create that thick, velvety base texture, this soup boasts lots of cauliflower florets plus an abundant addition of grated, sharp cheddar cheese whisked in at the end for rich, pungent, cheesy flavor.
A bowlful of this cauliflower cheese soup makes for an ultra cozy meal when a little extra love and nurture is what's needed, and is an irresistible addition to our soup repertoire!
My Recipe for Cauliflower Cheese Soup
Whenever I prepare a thick, velvety soup with some creaminess to it, I will typically use a little trick to keep things a bit lighter while requiring slightly less dairy...
Now, of course there's definitely dairy in this cauliflower cheese soup, but I like to keep it to the actually cheddar cheese that is added in, as well as a finishing little addition of half and half and a kiss of sour cream.
How I “cheat” things a bit, and avoid using milk and/or cream and flour to create that thick, creamy base texture, is that I opt for russet potatoes and a portion of the cauliflower florets to be simmered with some spices and aromatics in chicken stock or broth, and then blend that until smooth, thick and creamy.
This little trick keeps this soup gluten-free (as there's no flour added in), and keeps the calories a little lower.
Once I've blended things up, I add the remaining cauliflower florets in, and allow the soup to simmer for a little while longer just until the florets are tender.
Here's a glance at my cauliflower cheese soup recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I saute my aromatic ingredients with some spices/seasonings, then add in my cubed potatoes and a portion of my cauliflower florets, along with my chicken stock or broth. I allow things to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Next, I work in batches to blend the soup until completely smooth, thick, and velvety.
- Then, I add in my remaining cauliflower florets along with a touch of half and half mixed with sour cream.
- I allow the soup to simmer over medium heat for about 18 to 20 minutes, just until the cauliflower florets are tender.
- Then, off heat, I whisk in my grated cheddar cheese until completely melted in.
- To finish, I give a tiny squeeze of lemon to offset the richness (this is optional), then ladle the cauliflower cheese soup into bowls and sprinkle over some chives, if desired, and perhaps even some extra cheese.
Cauliflower Cheese Soup
by Ingrid Beer
This cauliflower cheese soup is delectably velvety, brimming with cauliflower florets and lots of sharp cheddar cheese in every spoonful!
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 452 calories per serving
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon paprika (not hot)
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 4 large russet potatoes (about 2 ½ pounds), peeled and diced into medium-small pieces
- 2 pounds (roughly) cauliflower florets (about 30 to 32 ounces), cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 ½ cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 cup half and half
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 cups grated, sharp cheddar cheese (I used yellow cheddar), plus extra as garnish
- Small squeeze of lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
- Minced chives, for garnish
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat, and add in the butter and olive oil. Once melted together, add in the onion, and allow it to saute and soften for about 5 minutes or so. Add in the pressed garlic, along with the granulated onion, Italian seasoning, paprika, white pepper, and a generous sprinkle of the salt, and stir until aromatic.
- Next, add in the diced russet potatoes and ⅓ of the cauliflower floret pieces, and stir those into the aromatic ingredients for a couple of moments. Pour in the chicken stock or broth, give things a stir once more, and bring the soup up to the boil.
- Reduce the heat so that the soup can gently simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Once tender, work in batches to blend the soup until completely smooth and velvety (you can even use a hand immersion blender if you prefer).
- Once blended, add the remaining cauliflower floret pieces into the soup, and whisk together the half and half with the sour cream, then stir that in as well. Place the soup back onto the stove over a medium-high heat and bring it back up to a simmer, and cook for about 18 to 20 minutes more, stirring frequently to prevent the soup from scorching, until the cauliflower is tender.
- To finish the soup, gently whisk in the grated cheese (off heat) until completely melted into the soup, and smooth. Check to see if additional salt is needed, then add the small squeeze of lemon for balance, if desired.
- To serve, ladle the cauliflower cheese soup into bowls and top with chives and extra cheese, if desired.
Tips & Tidbits for my Cauliflower Cheese Soup recipe:
- Russet potatoes, for velvety texture: Russet potatoes are terrific when used in a soup like this that will be blended, and needs some creamy texture. They have a bit more starch in them than waxy potatoes, but you can substitute waxy red potatoes if that's all you have on hand. Take care to peel and cut the potatoes into medium-small dice for quicker cooking.
- Cauliflower florets, for convenience: I love to get the bags of pre-packaged cauliflower florets for this soup, and just cut the florets down to more bite-size pieces as needed. You'll need 2 pounds worth (about 32 ounces), and 3, 10-ounce bags do the trick as they typically end up being pretty darn close to 32 ounces.
- Half and half or milk for a touch of creamy flavor: Once the soup has finished cooking, I like to add in 1 cup of half and half for creamy flavor, along with a hint of sour cream. You can substitute milk here, if you prefer.
- Yellow or white cheddar cheese, but make it sharp: I tend to like the light yellow-orange color of the soup when I use yellow cheddar cheese, but feel free to use white cheddar if you'd like. Just make sure it's “sharp” cheddar for more pungent flavor.
- If your leftover soup is a bit too thick: Keep in mind that any leftovers of this soup will substantially thicken in the fridge as they get cold, and this is completely normal due to the starches in the potatoes and the fat in the cheese. Just know that as you reheat the soup, it will loosen back up to a really nice, creamy texture once again. (You can always add a splash of chicken broth or stock, if you'd like it thinner.)
Hungry for more delicious and cozy soups? Check out this Loaded Baked Potato Soup, this Cream of Mushroom Soup, this Asparagus Soup, this Potato Leek Soup, this White Bean Soup, or this Vegetable Soup!