Cheese Soup

Total Time:
1 hr 5 min
20 min
45 min

about 1 1/2 quarts (about 4 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 ounces small diced onion (approximately 1 cup)
  • 5 ounces small diced carrot (approximately 1 cup)
  • 5 ounces small diced celery (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt for sweating vegetables, plus more if needed at end of cooking
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart chicken broth, heated to a simmer
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 10 ounces Fontina, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon Marsala wine
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Melt butter in large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and salt. Sweat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Sift the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.

Gradually add the chicken stock and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Remove bay leaf. Turn off the heat, add the heavy cream, and then puree with an immersion blender or in a conventional blender*. Gradually add the cheese, 1 small handful at a time, and stir until melted before adding next handful. Stir in the Marsala, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and white pepper. Taste and add additional salt if desired. If soup is not hot enough, return to a low heat until warmed through.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

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    62 Reviews
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    Really liked this soup. Did as called for first time. Next time, used leeks instead of celery, then added a little blue cheese. Added sliced jalapenos and tiny balls of cooked sausage to the finished product. Got raves!!
    My late grandmother used to make Cheese Soup. The recipe was misplaced after her passing and we've been trying to replicate it ever since. We've gotten very close but this gets me just that much closer. This is VERY close to what her's tasted like. I don't think she used any Marsala wine or hot sauce in hers, and she probably used a cheaper cheese (partly cheddar, but otherwise this is very close to it. I think the Worcestershire was what we were missing. Thank you!
    I have a recipe that I normally use...vegtable cheese chowder, its made with a combination of sharp cheddar and velveta. I like mine a lot...but am always trying new things, found this one thought i would give it a whirl (love Alton Its different that mine, but very good, I will continue to use both recipes. The only thing I did differently in this one was use the sharp cheddar/velvetta combo. YUMMY
    Delicious soup, but I could probably have gone without the Marsala, Worcestershire and hot sauce. They give a nice flavor, but without them, it would have tasted more homey, natural. I'll try it without these ingredients next time and see how it turns out.
    I was going from memory, so forgot the flour. My wife was very skeptical...but fast converted! It was amazing! And so filling. We put some shaved gouda and fresh cooked bacon bits on top and had some sourdough grilled bacon n cheese sandwiches with it. Mmmmm...
    I love this recipe, I've used both fontina/swiss and sharp cheddar/wisconsin white cheddar. Each one is delicious and easy!
    My entire family loved this recipe. The soup was easy to make and made a full meal with a salad and some garlic toast. Even our oldest son, who is a fussy eater, ate this soup with relish. It worked equally well with cheddar cheese.
    I am not a big soup fan but this was really good soup. Three of us polished it off in one sitting. I suspect it is really high calorie though!
    im a fullhearted cheese fan, and i could stop eating this infact we had it for lunch and i made it again for dinner! its a very easy recipe i made it and 12 its good with like choped nuts on top ( just happened my dad had made some of those bar nuts from the best thing i ever ate tasty on top)
    Made it exactly as the recipe states, using Danish Fontina. Everyone loved this recipe. I added some cooked elbow noodles to make a Mac and Cheese soup. Might try adding some cooked broccoli next time as well.

    Thanks Alton for another great recipe!
    The recipe itself is fine, and I'm sure with another cheese it would be fantastic. I love cheese, so I was not concerned with the fact that I've never had fontina. Apparently, there is Italian fontina and Dutch fontina. Ignorant to the difference, I purchased the Italian fontina. Horrible! Truly a stinky, strong, overpowering cheese. I've read that the Dutch fontina is a mild cheese, and might have been perfect. So, just know about your cheeses. I fully intend to try this recipe again, but with a gruyere or emmentaller. Happy cooking!
    My fam of 5 absolutely enjoyed this...even my smallest one. I omitted the hot sauce since I have little ones but was still SO good. Thanks Alton...YUMMY
    This soup really is perfect - easy to make, and tastes delicious.
    I will make it over and over again.
    WOW, what a wonderful cheese soup with depth, and lots of flavor. My daughter who is 9 has made this twice ( w/ parental help) and it is fantastic, easy and the best restaurant quality soup ever. Try this one! the flavor is wonderful.
    Great flavor, and tasted even better leftover! I used sharp cheddar instead of fontina (you know, the whole budget thing), and it turned out great!
    i tweaked the recipe slightly and added broccoli. i thought it was amazing!
    I used this recipe as a base, and I added Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds and it was amazing but I guessed on the amount of cheese (rind) to use.

    Buy why is it that this Cheese recipe does not show an amount of cheese to use? ..odd...
    I'm not a big soup fan unless it's really thick like chili. But I made this recipe for my wife one day and she just loved it. It had a great fresh flavor and had the flexibility to ad your own vegetables if desired. Of course I added two handfuls of crackers to my bowl so I could eat it with a fork, but the flavor was awesome.
    Of course, recipes are generally only as good as what goes into them, but with some you can use substitutes or "fudge" more easily than others with a good (or even great) result. I don't think the stock I used was "the best", but it was the only one available. I also used sharp cheddar instead of the more expensive one called for, and a mellow red instead of the marsala. Use the right/good stuff and I'm sure it's phenomenal, but it's not fabulous otherwise. Look for another recipe if that's what you're intending. I did add a cup and a half (or so) of broccoli, and felt that mixed in well and got the veggie in under my daughter's "radar". Definitely good, and the method is solid, but more spices would perhaps have made up for the rather pedestrian ingredients I used. Better cooks than I would probably have gotten a better result. Still, I love Alton, and he's my "go to" for recipes I'm interested in...
    Probably the best soup I've ever had. If you ACTUALLY follow the recipe you won't be disappointed.
    I cheated and used vegetable broth instead of sauting the fresh vegetables. It still turned out great. My guests loved it! Very quick and easy.
    I didn't have any leftovers! I used sharp cheddar, but otherwise followed the recipe completely. It was wonderful! I will definitely make this again.
    Very yummy, but mine came out with fibers from the celery littering every sip. It was annoying and got kind of yucky. For the flavor, I would make it again, even serve it to company, but will strain it before adding the cheese.
    Good Stuff
    A beautiful, rich soup with great flavor. I like Fontina and loved this soup. Brought it to a "Souper" event and it was a big hit. It's not an "easy" recipe but is well worth the effort. Liquid velvet.
    I have tried many cheese soup recipes and was less than satisfied with the results. This one is easy, wonderfully creamy, reheats beautifully, and is very versatile. I love the straight Fontina version, but it's also terrific with a little Gouda substituting for part of the Fontina. Can't wait to try it with Emmenthaler too! Way to go AB!
    this was terrific - the soup has a little bit of a spicy kick which was a pleasant surprise to our guests who loved it
    My fiance thought that this soup wouldn't be her style. Immagine my surprise when she went back for seconds, and I went back for thirds.
    This has become a family favorite. Everyone was very impress with this soup! When I make it I have to double the recipe so we all can have seconds!!
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