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Every Panera Soup—Ranked by Nutrition

Dietitians looked at the Panera soup menu and ranked every bowl based on their nutrition to find the healthiest and unhealthiest.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Panera's menu is full of cozy classics like thick sandwiches, filling salads, and—of course—hearty soups. Served solo or in bread bowls, the chain's soups have a reputation as a fan favorite. (No wonder they've even made their way onto grocery shelves in microwaveable form!)

Ranging from brothy chicken noodles to cheesy broccoli-cheddar, Panera's seven nationally available soup options span the gamut from low-calorie to fully loaded. If you've ever wondered whether these menu choices are actually good for you, we've got the lowdown.

With registered dietitian input, we're ranking them in order from healthiest to unhealthiest. You might be surprised at where each of your favorites falls on the list!

The Healthiest Panera Soup: Turkey Chili

Panera Bread Turkey Chili
Panera Bread
Nutrition per bowl: 200 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 460 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (9 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 14 g protein

Panera's Turkey Chili isn't just a spicy, hit-the-spot meal on a chilly evening—it's also quite healthy. "At under 300 calories, this wholesome option packs an impressive amount of dietary fiber and protein, making it a delicious and health-conscious choice for mindful eaters," says Atlanta-based registered dietitian Jessie Hulsey, RD, LD. And since this soup has the lowest sodium of all Panera's soup choices, it's the one to pick if you're watching your salt intake.

 The 8 Healthiest Orders at Panera, According to a Dietitian

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Panera Bread
Panera Bread
Nutrition per bowl: 180 calories, 10 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 920 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 6 g protein

"The Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup delivers a classic combination that's a perfect choice for a light yet satisfying meal," says Bonnie Newlin, MS, RD, CLT, The Lipedema RD. Though it's rather high in sodium, this soup offers plenty of fiber at 4 grams per cup, plus a decent bump of protein.

Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

Panera Bread Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup
Panera Bread
Nutrition per bowl: 60 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 860 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 6 g protein

At first glance, the Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup is a fairly good choice for its extremely low calorie count and real vegetables like carrots and celery. But this one doesn't make the very top of our list because it contains no fiber and high sodium. Plus, it's too low in calories to be a filling meal.

 I Tried 6 Canned Chicken Noodle Soups & the Best Was Loaded with Meat & Veggies

Vegetarian Autumn Squash Soup

Panera Bread Vegetarian Autumn Squash Soup
Courtesy of Panera Bread
Nutrition per bowl: 210 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 800 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (3 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 5 g protein

This bright yellow, pumpkin seed-topped seasonal soup is a middle-of-the-pack choice at Panera. "For a vegetarian option, the Vegetarian Autumn Squash Soup boasts protein and fiber, while satisfying your taste buds with its warm, autumnal flavors," says Newlin. Though it's higher in calories and saturated fat than some other soups, it has less sodium than several of Panera's soups.

Bistro French Onion

Panera Bread Bistro French Onion
Panera Bread
Nutrition per bowl: 190 calories, 7 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 1,290 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (2 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 7 g protein

Panera's take on a French classic falls near the bottom of our list for one primary disadvantage: its sodium content (drat that sodium again!). "I do not recommend ordering the Bistro French Onion Soup. Soups in general tend to be high in sodium, but this one is higher compared to Panera's other soup offerings," says Lindsay Ducharme, RD, CSR, LDN, renal nutrition specialist at Vital Kidney Nutrition.

 I Tried 6 Salads At Panera Bread & The Best Was Crisp & Tangy

Creamy Tomato Soup

Panera Bread Creamy Tomato Soup
Panera Bread
Nutrition per bowl: 240 calories, 15 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 760 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (1 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 4 g protein

No one can argue that a steaming bowl of creamy tomato soup isn't the perfect accompaniment to grilled cheese (a sandwich Panera does particularly well). But when you order this iconic menu item, you won't be getting the greatest nutrition.

The Creamy Tomato Soup provides 8 grams of saturated fat—62% of the American Heart Association's daily recommendation. And since just 1 gram of fiber and 4 grams of protein are all this soup has to offer, it's not a very balanced choice.

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The Unhealthiest Panera Soup: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Panera Bread
Nutrition per bowl: 240 calories, 16 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 1,060 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g fiber,  6 g sugar), 8 g protein

Broccoli is rarely a bad idea, since this veggie contains fiber, vitamins, and compounds that can lower your risk of cancer. But things head in a surprisingly poor nutritional direction with the Broccoli Cheddar Soup at Panera.

Besides its 11 grams of saturated fat, this soup is suffused with sodium. In a 1-cup serving, expect 46% of the daily recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams. "Diets high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure," says Michelle Rauch, MS, RDN. "Hypertension is a major risk factor associated with heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease."

Sarah Garone, NDTR, NDTR, CNC
Sarah Garone, NDTR, is a registered nutrition and dietetic technician, and a health, nutrition, and food writer. Read more about Sarah
Sources referenced in this article
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