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Panera’s Copycat Broccoli and Cheddar Instant Pot Soup

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Panera’s Copycat Broccoli and Cheddar Instant Pot Soup are probably hands down one of my favorite items to order off the menu. This soup is perfect whether you get it in a bread bowl or a regular bowl. You have that creamy and cheesy texture with pieces of broccoli and carrots throughout that make each bite a little piece of heaven.

Broccoli and Cheddar Paneras copy cat

I love all types of Instant Pot Soups; I think it’s my new obsession. Like Panera’s Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana Instant Pot Soup, and regular Loaded Potato Soup in the Instant Pot.

broccoli cheddar soup in instant pot

Easy Panera’s Copycat Broccoli and Cheddar Instant Pot Soup

Panera’s Copycat Broccoli and Cheddar Instant Pot soup are also probably one of the most comforting soups you can make, plus broccoli is great to incorporate into your diet. I will share the amazing benefits of broccoli below, which might excite you to serve this soup with your family.

Ingredients Needed for Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

  • Onion
  • Broccoli florets
  • Match stick carrots or shredded carrots
  • cream cheese
  • sharp cheddar cheese I shred mine at home and do not use pre-shredded cheese
  • Chicken Broth
  • Heavy Cream
  • hot sauce (optional)
instant pot broccoli cheddar soup

Step by Step Directions for Panera’s Copycat Soup

  1. Place chopped onion, carrots, broccoli, nutmeg, and chicken broth in the pressure cooker.
  2. Add 8 oz cream cheese.
  3. Place on Manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
  4. Do a quick release and stir in milk or heavy cream.
  5. Place pot back on saute’s until for about 5 minutes.
  6. Do not bring to boil.
  7. Stir in cheese. (shredding the cheese yourself at home is best)
  8. Add hot sauce after the cheese is melted.
  9. Serve with bread or crackers.

If you would like Directions for Broccoli and Cheddar Soup on the stovetop.

Tips and Tricks for Panera’s Copycat Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

  • Shred the cheddar at home; the pre-shredded cheese does not melt and might clump.
  • The hot sauce is optional but enhances the flavors of the cheese.
  • You may use milk instead of heavy cream.
Panera’s Copycat Broccoli and Cheddar Instant Pot Soup

Frequently Asked Questions for Panera’s Copycat Broccoli and Cheddar Instant Pot Soup

How Long Does It Take To Make Panera’s Copycat Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

This soup takes just about 15 minutes to cook in your Instant Pot, so it is delicious and super fast to whip up! If you go the slow cooker route on this recipe, it cooks for hours, so the Instant Pot again comes in to save the day!

How Many Carbs are in This Soup

My Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup version has around nine carbs per serving. This makes for a light lunch or even dinner option. Now, if you pair it with the bread, of course, you need to factor that in.

Is Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup Vegetarian

To make this recipe vegetarian, just use a vegetable broth to replace the chicken stock. It will adjust the flavor slightly, but it will be a minimal difference.

Can I Substitute Frozen Broccoli for Fresh

You can indeed swap out fresh or frozen in this recipe. I used fresh broccoli but feel free to grab frozen if it is what you have on hand.

How to Store Panera’s Copy Cat Instant Pot soup

You can expect your broccoli cheddar soup to last three days in the refrigerator when properly stored.

Is It Ok To Freeze

You can freeze broccoli cheese soup. Just place it in an airtight container and allow some space to expand as it freezes. The soup will stay good for up to 2 months when properly frozen.

How to Defrost Soup Fast

If you didn’t set your broccoli cheese soup out the night before, don’t stress I have options for you!
Run your bag or container of soup under hot water, sealed up. This will help to defrost the soup faster than sitting in the fridge.
Or you can toss it in the microwave at 50% power for around 2 minutes.

bread dipped in broccoli soup

Toppings For Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Looking to add some toppings for your soup? Here are some tasty ideas you might enjoy.

  • Hard Crusty Bread
  • Croutons
  • crackers
  • Serve in a bread bowl
  • Sprinkle on more freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • Add a splash of hot sauce
  • Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning or Season Salt

Health Benefits of Broccoli 🥦🥦

Broccoli is one awesome food to incorporate into your diet and has many health benefits. It is packed full of a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, but it has fiber and is low in calories!

If you didn’t know, cooked broccoli (1 cup) has the same amount of vitamin C you would find in an orange. This is great to serve up in the winter months when flu and colds are lurking, and you want to ensure each family member gets the most vitamin C possible to help boost your immunity.

I hope you all enjoy this scrumptious copycat recipe. I know our family loves it! 

instant pot broccoli cheddar soup

Update on the recipe: If you add 8oz of cream cheese, you will not need a thickener 🙂 Also, ensure you stir in the hot sauce after all cheese is melted.

Panera’s Copycat Broccoli and Cheddar Instant Pot Soup

Panera's Copycat Broccoli and Cheddar Instant Pot Soup

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes

Creamy and Delicious warms up your soul. This is actually better than Panera's soup and done right at home. 


  • 1 pound fresh broccoli chopped
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese (Shredded)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk or heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 tbs hot sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 8 0z Cream Cheese


  1. Place chopped onion, carrots, broccoli, nutmeg, and chicken broth in the Pot.
  2. Add 8 oz cream cheese.
  3. Place on Manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
  4. Do a quick release and stir in milk or heavy cream.
  5. Place pot back on saute until for about 5 minutes.
  6. Do not bring to boil.
  7. Stir in cheese. (shredding the cheese yourself at home is best)
  8. Add hot sauce after cheese is melted.
  9. Serve with bread or crackers.


Stir in a dash of hot sauce after cheese is melted to enhance the flavor. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 626mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g

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    1. Hi
      Im new and I’m so confused
      #4 place pot back on saute until comes to a low boil about 5 minutes
      I did put lid on, left on vent but how do I sauté for 5 minutes? It didn’t allow me to set time for 5 or do I time myself ?
      Help what am I doing wrong

      1. After all the pressure is released you can open it and leave the lid off (use something long to manually release the steam or you will be burned). Hit cancel to stop the Keep Warm function and then keeping the lid off press Saute button. Keep lid off during the saute function.

      2. What I understand from other recipes is that you don’t put the lid on while using the sauté mode. You use it like you would a pot on the stove.

      3. Hi Sary,

        You don’t have to put the lid back on. You just press CANCEL then select SAUTE then wait for it to have a low boil. I just timed myself then turned it off.

  1. This recipe is perfection! I made it for myself for lunch today, and the only thing I didn’t have on-hand was Frank’s Hot Sauce. I ended up using Cholula, and it was still SO good. I actually had some again after dinner as my “dessert”. Ha!

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. I made this recipe using milk because it’s less fattening and the recipe calls for milk or cream. The soup tasted delicious but the cheese was clumpy and it separated. Ended up not creamy at all. Do you have a solution to this because I loved the flavour of the soup?

    1. I would spinkle in cheese slowly, 1/4 cup and a rime and stir so it will melt and incorporate with the hot liquid a little more easily.

    2. Freshly shred your own cheese instead of using pre-shredded bagged cheese which contains cellulose powder. The cellulose powder inhibits the cheese from breaking down. Also, use low heat to melt the cheese, as high temperature may cause lumps in the cheese sauce.

      1. I just made it and the consistency was perfect until I added hot sauce. I think the vinegar in the hot sauce curdled the milk? Maybe add it very last once it’s all mixed very well and cooled off?

    3. Shred cheese and leave on counter while the rest of soup is cooking to bring the cheese to room temperature.
      When you take off the lid, stir up the cream cheese block first as it will be soft and not incorporated yet.
      Then after cream cheese is all the way melted into the soup, slowly add in the shredded cheese with one had while stirring with the other. If you do this right away after you manual release, the soup is still hot enough so you don’t have to use the sauté function.
      Then after all the cheese is added and fully melted you can add the milk or cream. (Adding it afterwards ensures you are cooling off the soup before adding in the cheese. )
      I used 1 8oz block mild cheddar and 1/2 of an 8oz block of Colby shredded for my soup. Turned out great.

    4. @Linda, When I make this, I add the cream cheese/ shredded cheese and heavy cream at the end. It doesn’t cause it to separate. I hope this helps.

  3. So just got done making this today. I realized after it was too late that I didn’t follow the directions and instead added all ingredients in at the same time (but I used a bit of extra broccoli and an extra 4 oz of cheese)… so, I went with it and hoped for the best. Even still, I think it turned out really great… only thing I added afterward was a little more hot sauce. Curious how it’ll turn out next time I make it when I actually follow the directions properly!

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    1. The same way – the insta pot is nothing but a regular pressure cooker. I use my much less expensive ones that were higher rated and just use the soup/stew button or if you don’t have one – just pressure cooker for 10 minutes.

      1. Yes, I fond the same. Insta Pot brand is or the Be All End All of pressure cookers- I purposely shopped around for other options. but all in all it’s a pressure cooker.

  5. I made this recipe for a friend with a slight reduction of the chicken broth and about four extra ounces of cheese. She and her husband absolutely loved it! They have now asked me how to make it. But, I only know how to do it with the instant pot and they don’t have one. Would you have any idea how to make this recipe regularly?

    1. Just use any pressure cooker – they are the same thing. You can also just do this in a large pot on the stovetop. Easy

  6. I made this tonight and it was a big failure. My cheese separated and the rest was watery. Maybe I used the wrong kind of cheese. I see a lot of people had luck with this so I guess I just did something wrong.

    1. Did you shred your own cheese? Definitely get a block and shred your own instead of using pre shredded. It makes a big difference.

        1. I just made it and the same thing happened to me, too. I grated my own cheese. Such a bummer! I can’t figure out how to fix it.

          1. I used mild cheddar (grated it myself) and think that’s the key. Sharp cheese doesn’t melt as easily. I added half of it, stirred it in until it melted completely, then added the rest and stirred again.

    2. It separated for me every time when I brought it back to a boil. Once the pressure cooking is done, just throw in the rest of the ingredients and use the “keep warm” function until it’s all melted.

  7. Would this freeze well? I love the Panera soup but I am the only one who eats it so if I made a whole pot I need to freeze.

  8. 15 minutes is WAY too long!! I cooked it for 8 minutes with QPR and even at half time the broccoli is much. So disappointed! Plus the rating system here is rigged. You click on stars and it defaults to 5 and won’t let me change it

  9. Would you be able to use frozen broccoli instead and to compensate for the extra liquid that will come from the broccoli reduce the amount of broth?

    1. I used frozen and it turned out just fine! I didn’t change anything else, I just put the broccoli in frozen straight from the bag!

      1. Thank you so much for posting the tip. I was reading through the comments to see if anyone had tried frozen broccoli! I look forward to trying this soon!

  10. I add smoked diced ham to it and it’s my son’s favorite meal! I agree with a little less broth and more cheese. I’ve used the pre shredded tillamook brand successfully.

  11. Tasted good but the cheese curdled when I added it. I added it very slowly and it was freshly grated. Not creamy or thick at all. I added seasoning. But overall decent taste. Just the appearance is a bit disappointing, especially considering that with how expensive cheese and broccoli are here, this is a pretty expensive soup for me to make. I’ll probably use this recipe as a guide in the future and change a few things to hopefully get the cheese and seasoning to my preference.

    1. I made a roux with 2 T of butter, 2 T flour and added just 1 cup of milk and the cheese, then added that to the cooked broccoli-broth mixture and got a creamy texture!

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  14. Made this tonight and halved the recipe with no problem. The only thing I did different was thicken it with a little cornstarch. at the end. Really good flavor! My cheese melted just fine, it was Kraft that I grated myself. (I thought it wasn’t melting and was stirring furiously, then I realized it was the carrots I was trying to melt – ha ha) I chopped the broccoli in my food processor and went a little overboard to it was more like a puree. Next time I will chop it into small pieces instead. Will definitely make again, my daughter loves this soup from Panera. This will be so great on cold winter days!

  15. You can’t just use straight cheddar cheese. You have to melt it in a roux mixture. Take equal amount of flour and butter and melt together. Then pour in the milk or cream and cook on low-mend heat until thickened and smooth. Then pour this into the broth veggie mixture.

  16. I made some adjustments to this…used 2 cups of veggie broth and blended the mixture a bit after it was done. I also made a roux with 2tbs butter/2tbsp flour on the stovetop, then added the milk and cheese to make a cheese sauce. I added this to the broccoli mixture and topped off with salt/pepper and tobacco (that’s what I had on hand). Delicious and perfect consistency for me. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Definitely will make again.

  17. This is such a deliciously good recipe! I’m glad I halved it for my mini, otherwise I’d’ve eaten the whole pot. YUM!

  18. Next time I’d add flour or something to thicken it, more cheese, and I’d double the whole recipe lol. But that’s just me. It was still very good as is! Everything was cooked perfectly in 15 mins which is amazing because usually when I make this on the stovetop it takes an hour!

    Made 5 small bowls

  19. This was fantastic. I added 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tsp. Fresh parsley & thyme, some dried oregano and sauted it in the instant pot with the onion and grated carrot prior to adding the remaining veggies. I also added 4 cups of low sodium chicken stock, but cut back on the dairy to 1 cup milk with 2 Tbsp. wisked in flour at the end with some fresh ground nutmeg. Cut back to 1.5 cups of cheese and used my immersion blender to smooth it out a little bit.

  20. ATTENTION EVERYONE!!!!! Yes this soup is TO DIE for! But very very runny… I like my soup on the thicker side. I’d only use 2 cups of chicken brother and 1 cup of heavy cream. I also used 2 cups of cheese. I’ll make this soup again but with a few minor adjustments

  21. This soup is so good and so easy, just chop, dump and cook. While the soup was coming back to a boil I blitzed it smooth with my immersion blender, then stirred in freshly-grated mild cheddar (it melts so beautifully!) and only 2 teaspoons of Sriracha (Mom can’t handle any heat at all, but I think I could have used a bit more and been fine).

    It came out smooth, silky and very luxurious. Everyone loved it, so I knew it was a keeper, but I didn’t realize it was THE keeper (no need to look further, this is the one) until tonight when my husband hoovered up all of the leftovers, every drop. He seldom goes for leftover soup, so I knew I had a winner on my hands. Thanks!

  22. Omg just make this and it was amazing! First thing i have made in my Instant Pot. I changed a round a few thing to make it thick and less fattening. I only used two cups of chicken broth, because i wanted it thick. Then i used 1% milk, but mixed in 2tbs per cup of corn starch. And used cheese made with 2% milk. Oh and i used frozen broccoli because I’m lazy lol. It came out soooo good!

  23. This recipe is not only delicious, but so easy! The only modification I made was I actually sautéed my onions in the Instapot first. Definitely will make this again.

      1. I’m going to try velvetta and a can of cream of celery soup. Pioneer woman’s recipe in a slow cooker. Hopefully it works in a instant pot as well.

  24. I want to thank you. I have been trying to figure out an easy/lazy way to be able to make soup like this. This recipe was so simple. My only complaint was that it was a little bit watery, but I did what someone suggested which was to put in more cheese.

    This was excellent

  25. I just made this but I made a cheese sauce on the stove while the soup was in the pot, per other reviews. I added two stalks of celery. I needed to add a couple teaspoons of salt and a bit more hot sauce….but then it was perfection! My kids are so quiet. You know its good food when the kids are quietly

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  28. Thanks for this recipe. I’ve made it multiple times. A tip I can share is to let the soup cool just a bit before adding the milk or cream, and then stir it in a little at a time. Add the cheese a little at a time too. I didn’t do those things the first time I made the soup and it curdled. Still tasted good, but it wasn’t pretty!

  29. Has anyone ever tried to put the broccoli, carrots and onions in a blender or food processor before pressure cooking? I think I would want the soup more smooth.

  30. I made this and it was AH-MAZ-ING!!! I actually had never personally had Panera’s version but a co-worker of mine has. It’s her favorite soup! So I used her as my taste tester/comparison guru. She said it tasted exactly like Panera’s (actually she said it was a little better even) and begged for the recipe. Thank you so much for all the amazing recipes you give us!

  31. I’ve made this recipe twice, and the same thing has happened…. came out watery and the cheese clumps. I shredded my own cheese and added it into the pot slowly. Same result.

    Tastes ok though, the cheese just makes it chewy and not very pleasing to look at.

  32. I made this tonight – used a little more broth and doubled the cheese. I used pre-shredded cheese and it melted with no problem. I added a little cornstarch to thicken and had crusty french bread with it- absolutely delicious!! Also added some pepper.
    Leftovers for the week too!

  33. Amazing! So easy and delicious. My son hasn’t been feeling well and I made this soup. He ate 2 bowls. Definitely a keeper.

  34. I’m confused by the directions in the broccoli cheddar soup . Do the 15 minutes on high pressure , then add the cream cheese ? When does the quick release come in? Thank you .

  35. When exact do you add in the cream cheese? Before you pressure cook it for 15 minutes or after you quick release and add it with the heavy cream?

  36. I’m confused about when to put in the cream cheese. That step is awkwardly placed in the written instructions and not in the video

  37. I’m confused about step 3. you can’t add something before quick releasing????? other than that the soup was SO good. It just was pretty thin. any ideas?

  38. I made this last week and the family loved it my only question is do you put the cream cheese in before or after the pressure cooking

    1. I put my cream cheese in before pressure cooking. I also added the milk. Totally by accident but it worked out. I only pressure cooked it for about 8 minutes on high. Then I release the pressure and sauteed for about 3 to 4 minutes until it began to Bubble. While it was sauteeing I grabbed my immersion blender and blended until smooth enough for my liking. I added the cheese which was shredded mixture of Velveeta shreds and kraft mild cheddar. Came out perfect.

  39. Wow, amazing, I made it but increased the broccoli to 700 g instead of 454 and followed the recipe. I did add 2t cornstarch mixed with water and added it near the end. Holly Guacamole it was impressive. WOW!!!! Had leftovers at the office today and everyone wants to have some. LOL. Note it’s thicker the second day.
    PS I skipped the hot sauce, didn’t like the taste.

  40. I used the cream cheese and whole milk. I also changed a few things… 2 cup of stock and I slightly sautéed the onion, celery and the carrot in a mix of butter and tsp. of bacon grease. before pressure cooking. I also used 8 oz of mild and 4 oz of sharp cheddar. I slowly added the cheese making sure prior batch was melted. This was a pretty thick soup. I used the recommended 15 mins to cook under pressure and I really wish I only did 10 mins. My family really enjoyed this. I will definitely make this again with just minor changes to my preference.

  41. I made this today and it came out great! I did alter a few things: i used 2&1\2 cups of chicken broth instead of 3, made and roux for the cheese before adding it in, included ground mustard, garlic powder, a dash of cayenne,and lots of pepper, then thickened it up with some corn starch. Yum!

  42. Made this tonight in 30 min with cleanup! Made it just as instructed with the exception of adding some salt and pepper. It turned out amazing. I just used store bought shredded cheddar cheese and it encorporated beautifully. Per the instructions you are not supposed to bring to a boil and I wonder if that’s why some were having issues. The only thing I thought was a little strange was my cream cheese had not melted all the way after the 15 min of pressure cooking. I used a wisk while on sauté as I added the shredded cheese and that also helped the cream cheese breakdown. I thought this was delicious. I am in love with my instant pot!

  43. we cut up the cream cheese, and added it after we added broth. then placed pot on Manual high pressure for 15 min. The cream cheese remained lumpy, like it didnt melt. what did i do wrong. loved the soup, ended up putting a little corn starch to thicken.

  44. Made this tonight. Didn’t bother with the shredded carrots. Came out perfect… it was absolutely delicious! Super filling! I added Louisiana hot sauce at the end and it was the perfect addition. Will definitely be making this again in the near future.

  45. I had no problems with the cheese curdling. It’s got to be the hot sauce. We don’t even keep that in the house so I didn’t use it. I have made many dishes in the IP where you add cheese at the end then saute and bring to a boil and it’s never curdled. I always use Kraft or Sargento pre shredded cheese in the bag I never shred it myself so I don’t think that’s the problem. It’s gotta be the hot sauce.

    IMO it didn’t need the cream cheese. I’ve made this many times on the stove top and didn’t need it and it didn’t really add anything to the dish except more calories and more expense. You can achieve the same with some cornstarch if it isn’t thick enough. Also next time I would steam the broccoli by itself first then add it at the end. I did this in 8 mins and it was still mush as I stirred it. Tasted good but I like to actually have broccoli that I can see and feel.

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  47. This was really good! I ended up leaving out the nutmeg, and adding a bit more salt. Definitely a keeper! Thanks.

  48. I made this this morning, but am a little confused about the anount of cream cheese. Is it two separate 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese? That’s what I did. I also did a few pulses with my immersion blender to make it more like Panera’s soup. It’s almost as thick as the Panera soup I had last week. Now waiting for lunch to taste it

  49. Do you have any instructions for a slow cooker version? This is the only thing I use my instant pot for anymore lol. I was wanting to sell it but need a way to make this still!

  50. Made this but only used 2 cups of chicken broth and added in extra cheese. It was delicious, will definitely make again!

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  52. I’ve been making cream of broccoli soup for many years but this is by far the easiest and absolutely sooo delicious, Love it,Thank you for this recipe.

  53. I needed more flavor so I added a couple of tablespoons of Chicken Better than Bouillon. To thicken I added instant potato flakes.

  54. I made this today and it did not disappoint! It was a little watery but I will use the suggestions of making a roux to thicken it up next time. The taste is on point, no need to mess with that part!

  55. My dear wife loves this soup at Panera. So, got the ingredients together and made a batch. It was very good. Like many others, the soup was less thick than at Panera’s.

    Although my spousal test panel liked it, she pronounced it didn’t taste like Panera’s. (I’m not a Panera aficionado.) She couldn’t exactly name the missing X factor. (I added Tabasco to mine, which punched it up.) I’m wondering whether Panera uses Velveeta or similar for the cheese. It would make sense for a commercial establishment to do so. I suspect it would also thicken the soup. Next time up, I will try that, with cornstarch standing by if needed.

    (Anyone got a bread bowl recipe?)

  56. Didn’t have nutmeg so I just added a little pepper. I used 1c of Sargento sharp cheddar cheese pre shredded and it melted without clumping. I added 1/2jar of Tostitos medium salsa con queso with jalapenos. That gave it a really nice flavor. I did use 2 full cups of milk which did make it really runny but I have a loaf of dried out French bread. Worked great for dipping.

  57. The original recipe I printed from you said cook on manual for 15 minutes. now it says 4 minutes. Can you say why the change? thanks. Sandi

  58. Great recipe! I followed one of the reviewer’s suggestion to stir in the shredded bar of cheddar first before stirring in the milk. It worked like a charm! So easy and delicious! Thanks for sharing this! It’s definitely a keeper!

  59. I have made this a ton in the past with chicken broth going to try it today with vegetable broth (daughter is a vegetatian). Has anyone tried this and how did it tastes?

  60. I love this recipe, have made it many times. I like to use my immersion blender after the instant pot is done, it gets rid of all the cream cheese chunks. Then, while it’s still really hot I add more chopped broccoli, put the top back on the instant pot and let it sit for a few minutes. So good!

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