Slow-Cooker Cheddar Soup

The key to this cheesy soup? A pretzel bread bowl.

Slow-Cooker Cheddar Soup
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely
Active Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
Slow Cook Time:
3 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 5 mins

Hold the broccoli: Our Slow-Cooker Cheddar Soup can stand all on its own. Thanks to your slow cooker, this indulgent dinner is almost entirely hands-off.

Meet the pot of liquid gold that is bound to carry you through this fall. This cheddar soup is the perfect entrée for a Halloween-themed dinner; to really go all-out, serve it in a (heat-proof) witch's cauldron. We love to portion this bubbly orange soup into bread bowls. Pretzel burger buns sliced and scooped to turn into bread bowls are the ideal, nostalgic accompaniment for this whimsical soup. Toasting the bread bowls before serving not only adds a warm, crunchy element to this dish, but it also helps the bread maintain its structural integrity. The toasted buns are less likely to turn soggy or collapse once the hot soup is added.

Feel free to get creative with this soup. Instead of just Cheddar, you could use a mix of any soft cheeses you have on hand, such as gruyere or Monterey jack. You can also top the soup with leftover meats—think smoked sausage, taco meat, or ham. Pro tip: Extra soup makes a great base for macaroni and cheese.


  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 2 cups chopped sweet onion (from 1 large onion)

  • ½ cup chopped carrot (from 1 large carrot)

  • ½ cup chopped celery (from 1 large stalk)

  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper (from 1 small pepper)

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 12 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)

  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese

  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk, divided

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • 8 soft pretzel burger buns (such as Pretzilla) or small round bakery bread loaves, warmed

  • Crumbled cooked bacon and sliced scallions


  1. Place stock, onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, butter, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH until vegetables are tender, about 3 hours.

  2. Whisk Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and 1 cup of the milk into mixture in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH until cheese is melted and smooth, whisking occasionally, about 30 minutes.

  3. Whisk together cornstarch and remaining ¼ cup milk in a small bowl until smooth. Whisk into soup in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

  4. Slice ½ inch from the top of each pretzel bun using a serrated knife. Scoop out centers of bun bottoms, leaving a ¼-inch-thick shell. Ladle soup evenly into bun bottoms; garnish with bacon and scallions. Serve alongside bun tops.

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