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Soup's On: Cheddar Cheese Soup With Croutons

Soup's On: Cheddar Cheese Soup With Croutons

Although I know it's not the most healthy dish around, cheddar cheese soup is one of my favorite comfort foods. Creamy melted cheese dotted with crisp, crunchy croutons — could a meal be any more simply delicious? Besides the massive amount of cheese grating, this soup doesn't take a lot of time to make and is best eaten right away. I treated myself to a big bowl for a decadent dinner after a long Monday, but this soup would pair nicely with a green salad or make an excellent first course to a dinner party menu. The flavor of the soup depends on the quality of the cheese, so if you can, splurge on a good sharp cheddar. A glass of wine definitely complements this soup, as does an icy cold beer.

To see how I made it,

Cheddar Cheese Soup
From Cook's Illustrated magazine

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup minced onion
1 carrot, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
2 1/2 cups half and half
3 tablespoons dry Sherry
1 bay leaf
pinch cayenne or chili powder
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
12 ounces (about 3 cups) cheddar cheese, grated*
salt and pepper
Croutons for serving, recipe follows

  1. In a large soup pot over medium high heat, melt the butter until it foams.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring until soft about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the carrot, celery, and garlic and stir to combine. Cook until fragrant, 2 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Carefully whisk in the chicken broth and half and half. Add the bay leaf and salt and pepper.
  6. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the soup from the heat and add the sherry, thyme, cayenne or chili powder. Working in batches, quickly whisk in the cheese, stirring until melted and than adding another handful.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the croutons.

Serves 6.

*I used a Wisconsin orange sharp cheddar cheese and a Irish white cheddar. These cheeses combined beautifully, creating a soup that had a flavorful and divine depth.

From Inger Bareilles

7 slices thick white bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Slice the bread into small cubes, about half-an-inch by half-an-inch.
  3. In a large bowl toss the bread cubes with the butter, oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat all of the bread pieces.
  4. Spread out on a baking sheet covered with foil.
  5. Bake in the oven, checking often for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove and let cool 5 minutes. Serve in a bowl alongside the cheddar cheese soup.
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