This Potato Soup Recipe is rich and creamy (without using any heavy cream), easy to make, and always served loaded with all your favorite toppings such as cheese, bacon, green onions, and sour cream.
The Best Potato Soup You Will Ever Make
Some dinners are so simple and delicious and loved by everyone that for a split second you find yourself thinking, wow, life is so easy right…
The moment is fleeting, of course.
Especially with children in the house, shaking things around, as they try to learn how to be respectable adults.
But, the moment was there, and it felt so good, right!? Well, this creamy potato soup is one of those dinnertime recipes created to make your life easier (yes, I’m talking to you moms and dads of the world). It’s,
- loved by all ages
- can easily be made vegetarian and gluten-free
- toppings for everyone (giving independent little kiddos a sense of control when really they have none, hehehe)
Ok, but seriously, even if you only kinda like loaded baked potatoes or twice-baked potatoes, I’m thinking you’re really going to love this soup.
If not, add extra bacon. That always helps 🙂
Best Potatoes for Soup
Unlike mashed potatoes and baked potatoes, who love to be made with the oh-so-popular, and thick-skinned russet potato, potato soup prefers a more all-purpose potato. This good-for-everything type of potato isn’t exactly super starchy (like the russet) but isn’t super waxy either (like red bliss or new potatoes).
What are these in-between, all-purpose potatoes?
Yukon gold potatoes.
Fortunately, Yukon gold potatoes are incredibly popular and easy to find.
If you find yourself with a mish-mash of different potatoes, or perhaps the grocery store is sold out of Yukon golds, feel free to use a mix of different types of potatoes.
This is perfect for anyone that is incredibly indecisive (me!). I used mostly Yukon golds but felt compelled to add a couple of red potatoes and russet potatoes.
READ MORE: Waxy vs. Starchy Potatoes: Which One to Use?
How to make potato soup
To make this potato soup, simply:
1. Cook the bacon:
If you have a favorite way of cooking bacon, feel free to use that method. This is how I cook bacon when being made into bacon bits for soups and salads.
Add the chopped bacon to a large skillet and set over medium-high heat. Once the bacon is hot and sizzling, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover with a lid. Cook low and slow. Once the bacon pieces are golden and release their grease, remove the lid and allow them to cook until the desired doneness is reached.
Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and reserve bacon grease. Set aside.
2. Cook vegetables:
Add one tablespoon reserved bacon grease (or olive oil, if preferred) to a large stockpot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring often, until softening. Total time varies, but it will likely take approximately 10-15 minutes.
Mix in the minced garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Add the potatoes and cauliflower:
Mix in the cauliflower and diced potatoes. Add the chicken broth, chicken stock, or vegetable broth. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to low and allow vegetables to simmer until very soft.
4. Create the roux:
In a separate, smaller saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, slowly add the flour, whisking continuously until fully incorporated. Still whisking, slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until fully combined and starting to thicken and bubble.
Remove from heat.
5. Combine and blend:
Stir in the prepared roux, mixing well to combine with the soft and mushy veggies and potatoes.
Transfer soup to a large high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy, or, use an immersion blender to puree vegetables until desired consistency is reached.
Stir in the half and half and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Toppings for Potato Soup
- Cheese – any and all cheese tastes amazing with potato soup, but cheddar cheese is an especially popular option among all age groups. Other options include Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, parmesan, or feta.
- Sour cream – sour cream is an absolute must with potato soup just as it is on baked potatoes. Not a fan of sour cream? Try plain Greek yogurt instead.
- Green onions (or chives) – a sprinkle of freshly chopped green onions or chives add a phenomenal burst of fresh flavor.
- Tabasco sauce – In addition to green onions and shredded cheese, I always add a few drops of Tabasco sauce. I know not everyone will understand this addition, but, oh my! The best. The concentrated vinegar and spicy chili is the perfect contrast to the creamy soup base.
Tips, Tricks + Variations
Make it vegetarian.
First, skip the bacon. In its place, you’ll probably need to add a bit more salt, so adjust accordingly. Also, use a vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.
Make it gluten-free.
- Omit the flour and mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a bit of cold milk before whisking it into the soup.
- Leave out the flour and cornstarch altogether. It will still be very creamy, even without the roux.
- Or, substitute the flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour.
Healthier potato soup.
- Skip the roux and half-and-half.
- Use turkey bacon (or no bacon at all).
- Add extra cauliflower in place of some of the potatoes.
- Add low-sodium broth and unsalted butter.
Creamy or chunky?
- For the smoothest soup, peel your potatoes.
- Feel free to blend your soup so that it is completely smooth and creamy, or set aside a bowl of mashed up potatoes so that they are not blended with the rest of the soup.
- You may use a regular blender or immersion blender.
- Remember not to add the cooked bacon back to your soup until after it’s been blended or just before serving.
How to Thicken Potato Soup?
There are several ways to thicken potato soup:
- Add a roux. A roux is made by mixing together equal parts flour and fat (in this case butter) over medium-low heat until it’s blonde in color. A good roux is essential in recipes such as gumbo or shrimp etouffée. To keep this option gluten-free, use gluten-free all-purpose flour. If you prefer not to add any kind of flour at all, try one of the below.
- Make a cornstarch slurry. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with approximately 2-4 tablespoons of cold milk. Add it to the main soup. Repeat as needed but remember that cornstarch is sneaky so give it some time to thicken.
- Add cheese, sour cream, or yogurt. This will help thicken the soup and also add loads of extra flavor!
What to Serve with Potato Soup
This creamy potato soup is hearty and comforting but also filled with healthy and delicious vegetables. A meal within itself, potato soup is one of those recipes that doesn’t need anything else, except for a few toppings, of course!
That said, here are a few side dishes that would be happy to be served alongside a big pot of potato soup:
- Tabbouleh (Tabouli Salad Recipe)
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Easy Spinach Salad Recipe
- Roasted Asparagus Recipe
- Beets (3 Methods)
Can you Freeze Potato Soup?
I have read (and heard) mixed things about freezing and reheating potato soup. The general consensus is that it’s an absolute no if there are any potato chunks as thawing and reheating leaves them with a strange, mushy consistency (and not in a good way). Then I’ve heard that sweet potato soups are safe to freeze as long as they are completely blended, while white potato soups (like this one) are not.
Unfortunately, I have not tried freezing potato soup myself – have you? So I can’t tell you with complete certainty that it will result in anything wonderful.
For best results, however, follow these tips:
- Allow the soup to cool in the refrigerator completely before transferring to freezer-friendly containers.
- Double-bag in freezer-friendly zip-lock bags. Remove most of the air, leaving just a small amount of space to allow the liquid to expand as it freezes.
- To reheat, allow the soup to thaw in the fridge overnight, then transfer to a pot and cook until heated through.
Fortunately, this potato soup is delicious leftover and reheated for up to 3-4 days.
More Potato Recipes,
If you try making this Potato Soup Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Creamy Potato Soup Recipe
- 6 slices bacon - chopped
- 2 large yellow onions - diced
- 4 large carrots - diced
- 4 stalks celery - diced
- 6 cloves garlic - minced
- salt and black pepper - to season
- 1 large head cauliflower - chopped into small florets
- 6 cups potatoes - peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 6 cups vegetable broth - plus more as needed (may also use chicken broth or chicken stock)
- ⅓ cup butter
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk - (2% or whole milk)
- ½ cup half-and-half - or additional milk
- For serving - shredded sharp cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, chives, bacon bits, sour cream, Tabasco sauce
- Cook bacon: Add the chopped bacon to a large skillet and set over medium-high heat. Once the bacon is hot and sizzling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook low and slow, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon pieces are golden and release their grease, remove the lid and allow them to cook until the desired doneness is reached. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside. Reserve bacon grease.
- Cook vegetables: Add one tablespoon reserved bacon grease (or olive oil if you're cooking this recipe without bacon) to a large stockpot set over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add the carrots and celery and continue to cook, stirring often, for an additional 6-8 minutes, or until vegetables have softened. Mix in the minced garlic and approximately 1 teaspoon salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the potatoes and cauliflower: Add the cauliflower and diced potatoes to the pot. Mix well to combine and add the veggie broth (or water). Cover with a lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and allow the vegetables to simmer until very soft.
- Create the roux: Melt the butter in a separate, smaller saucepan, over medium heat. Once melted, slowly add the flour, whisking continuously until fully incorporated. Still whisking, slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until fully combined and starting to thicken and bubble. Remove from heat.
- Combine soup and roux: Once the potatoes and vegetables are completely softened, stir in the prepared roux, mixing well to combine.
- Blend: Transfer soup to a large high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy, or, use a sturdy hand-held immersion blender to puree vegetables until desired consistency is reached. Stir in the half and half.
- Season and serve: Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Serve garnished with cooked bacon bits, green onions, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Enjoy!
- I used a combination of waxy potatoes (like red potatoes) and starchy potatoes (Yukon gold potatoes and russet potatoes). Feel free to do the same or pick your favorite.
- Peeling the potatoes is not a requirement, however, russet potatoes tend to have thicker skins, so in order to achieve an extra creamy soup, I recommend at least peeling that variety.
- Can I make this recipe gluten-free? Yes. Simply use gluten-free all-purpose flour to make the roux.
- What is a roux? A roux is made from fat (usually butter) and flour. It is used to thicken things like stews and soups. In this case, the roux adds an extra layer of creaminess which helped eliminate the need for whipping cream. Feel free to skip the roux for a lighter soup.
- I love bacon in this recipe, but don’t worry, the bacon is optional. If you prefer to keep this recipe vegetarian, simply leave it out. Should you choose to add bacon, I recommend thicker-cut bacon, but any bacon will work.
- The cauliflower is optional. I simply have a habit of adding extra vegetables whenever possible - especially if I know no one will taste them!
- The soup itself is delicious, but the toppings are essential. My favorites include green onions, bacon bits, and tabasco sauce.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)