Best Creamy Potato Soup
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This creamy potato soup recipe is simply the best! There’s nothing better on a cold day than a comforting bowl of potato soup loaded with all of your favorite toppings.
When I set out to make the best homemade potato soup recipe, I had high expectations. I wanted to create an easy potato soup made with simple ingredients that are easy to find. I wanted a creamy yet lighter potato soup that you could make with or without bacon.
It took a few tries, but I’m excited to report that this is the perfect cozy, comforting, yet healthier potato soup recipe. It’s easy enough to make on a weeknight.
Or, you can make it ahead on the weekend and serve it for lunches or dinners throughout the week. This soup reheats well and will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. I haven’t yet tried freezing this soup (mainly because there wasn’t any leftover to freeze!) but I think it would freeze and defrost well.
What makes this the best potato soup?
- It has the comforting creaminess that you crave in a hearty potato soup, yet it’s made with no cream.
- The flavorful broth base and chunks of soft, creamy potato are irresistible. Add some cheese and bacon and this is a one pot dinner that your family will request again and again!
- This potato soup recipe is easy to adapt to be gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian or vegan. See my notes below on potato soup variations.
Creamy Potato Soup Ingredients
When you make homemade soup, you control the ingredients and know exactly what goes into your meal. This creamy potato soup is made from wholesome, real ingredients:
- Butter: Many potato soup recipes start with bacon and then call for sauteeing the aromatics in bacon grease. While you can begin this recipe with bacon, I prefer to use butter because we don’t eat bacon very often. I also wanted you to be able to make this soup vegetarian, if you choose. You can replace the butter with olive oil but I prefer the richness that butter provides.
- Onion, Carrots and Garlic: These are the aromatics, and they add depth of flavor and healthy vegetables to your soup.
- Flour: When combined with butter or another fat, flour makes a roux which acts as a thickener for the soup.
- Seasonings: These include Italian seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper. This soup is amazing with a pinch of cayenne pepper, but I usually leave the cayenne out when I’m making this for kids.
- Milk and Broth: A combination of milk and broth for the liquid in potato soup creates a creamy soup. I recommend whole milk, but low fat or skim will also work. We aren’t using heavy cream in this recipe because the potato soup is creamy enough without it. This soup is healthier and lighter without cream.
- Gold Potatoes: The key to this creamy potato soup is to use Yukon Gold or another variety of gold potato. Here’s why:
What kind of potatoes are best for potato soup?
The best creamy potato soup is made with gold potatoes. Gold potatoes are waxy, buttery and low in starch content. They have a creamy, moist texture. This is exactly what you want to give your soup a creamy, smooth texture. I tested this potato soup recipe with russet potatoes and the texture was not nearly as good as it is when it’s made with gold potatoes.
It is not necessary to peel gold potatoes for soup. The potato skins of gold potatoes are thin and tender and will be soft after cooking. If you use russet potatoes, I recommend peeling them. You can also make potato soup with red potatoes, which you can peel or not based on your preference.
Cut your potatoes into small, uniformly sized pieces for faster cooking. I recommend a 1/2-inch dice. This is a good bite-size, too, since I like to only partially puree the soup, leaving some chunks of potatoes.
How to Make Potato Soup
This potato soup is a one pot meal. It takes about 45 minutes total to make. Much of that time is inactive time while the soup simmers on the stove top.
- Saute onion and carrots in melted butter.
- Stir in the garlic, flour and seasonings.
- Pour in the milk. Add the potatoes and stir in the broth.
- Simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Puree the soup, partially or completely based on your preference.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve warm loaded with all of the toppings!
You can easily adapt this recipe to meet your dietary needs. Here are my recommendations:
Potato Soup Variations:
- Make gluten-free potato soup: Omit the flour. Potatoes are a natural thickener so your soup should be thick enough without it after you partially puree the cooked soup.
- Make vegetarian potato soup: Use vegetable broth rather than chicken broth. Keep the toppings vegetarian (i.e., no bacon).
- Make vegan potato soup: Replace the butter with olive oil. Use vegetable broth rather than chicken broth, and replace the milk with broth. Keep the toppings vegan (i.e., no bacon, cheese or sour cream).
- Make dairy-free potato soup: Replace the butter with olive oil. Replace the milk with broth. Serve with dairy-free toppings.
Every time I make this recipe, we can’t stop raving about it. Read my tips for making the perfect potato soup and then let me know how you like it in the comments below.
Tips for Making Potato Soup
- Use gold potatoes for the best creamy texture. Or, try using half Yukon gold and half sweet potatoes for a different flavor.
- Add a bit of cayenne pepper if you like spice.
- If you like a completely smooth, creamy potato soup you can fully puree it. I like this soup best when it’s partially pureed so that there are a few bite-size chunks of potato and a thick, creamy broth. Use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup or transfer half of it to a counter top blender. Alternatively, you can use a potato masher to mash some of the soft, cooked potatoes if you don’t have a blender.
- Potato soup is best when loaded with toppings. If you’re looking for a “baked potato soup” that just means that you add classic baked potato toppings to your soup. I recommend shredded cheddar cheese, cooked bacon crumbles, sliced green onions and plain Greek yogurt or sour cream. See my tips for how to cook bacon in the oven.
- If you’re looking for a slow cooker potato soup, I recommend this slow cooker potato leek soup. We also love this Instant Pot potato soup.
What to serve with potato soup
- My easy homemade croutons are one of our favorite soup toppings.
- Try our favorite cornbread recipe.
- Add a simple kale avocado salad to round out the meal.
Best Creamy Potato Soup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 large carrots (chopped into ¼-inch pieces)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for spicy soup)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup milk (whole preferred)
- 2 pounds Yukon gold or other gold potatoes (cut into ½-inch pieces (peeled or unpeeled is fine))
- 2 14.5 ounce cans low sodium chicken or vegetable broth (3 ½ cups total)
- optional toppings: homemade garlic herb croutons (cooked crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt)
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, flour, Italian seasoning, paprika, cayenne (if using), salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Stir in the milk.
- Add the potatoes and broth. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 15-20 minutes.
- Partially puree the soup. This can be done with an immersion blender or by transferring half of the soup to a countertop blender.
- Serve warm with toppings as desired.
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