Nearly 40% Of People Say This Is The Best Soup At Panera

If you love bread, more bread, and then some more, you just might be the ideal customer for Panera Bread, the carb-lovin' soup, salad, and sandwich chain with more than 2,100 locations across the United States (via Panera Bread). Panera got its start in St. Louis, Missouri in 1987 baking breads with sourdough starter shipped in from San Francisco, and the chain still uses the name St. Louis Bread company at some of its stores, via its official website.

At the time of its founding, a new bread trend was sweeping the Bay Area of California, where sourdough has been king since the mid-1800s Gold Rush, when miners from all over the country flocked to the area to try to make their fortunes — bringing their homemade starters with them (via By the 1980s, sourdough bread boules were pulling double duty all across town with the rise of the trend of serving clam chowder inside a bread bowl (via Foodicles).

One of Panera's classic menu items are its bread bowls, a variation on the Bay Area custom that features the chain's hearty soups served inside a sourdough loaf. Of course, those soups are also available in a cup or bowl, and we here at Tasting Table were curious which type of Panera soup is most popular among our readers. We asked 515 U.S. survey respondents that very question, and one soup featuring a hit of rich dairy was the clear winner.

Panera's broccoli cheddar soup landed at the top of the poll

If you've ever sunk a spoon into a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup, then you know how hearty and comforting this classic can be. According to Delish, the chunky soup of veggies simmered in cheese sauce has long been a favorite at Panera Bread, as evidenced by the internet's many copycat recipes. Unsurprisingly, a full 39% of survey respondents named this soup as their favorite option at the chain, which is best known for its breakfast and lunch options.

Many people love a good corn chowder, and Panera's Mexican Street Corn Chowder snagged second place in the poll, with more than 17% of respondents naming the roasted poblano-spiked, tortilla strip-topped soup as their favorite. More than 15% of respondents favor the chain's classic Creamy Tomato Soup, with Thai Chicken and Bistro French Onion soups rounding out the poll with about 14% of the votes each.