Classic Potato Leek Soup – A Couple Cooks

This potato leek soup recipe is classic and lusciously creamy! Cozy up to a bowl of this simple fall favorite.

Potato Leek Soup

Here’s a creamy soup recipe that stands above the rest: Potato Leek Soup! There’s just something about cupping your hands around a steaming bowl or mug that comforts the soul, isn’t there? This classic combines the sophisticated sweet essence of leeks with humble potatoes and rich cream for a truly luxurious dish. Here’s our spin on the classic recipe: silky smooth, and warming. It’s the ideal winter or fall soup for a gathering or a simple weeknight.

Ingredients in potato leek soup

Potato leek soup is a classic soup of European origin made with potatoes, leeks, broth, seasonings, and heavy cream. There are traditional versions of this dish in Welsh, Romanian and French cooking. Another variation is vichyssoise or potage Parmentier, made with similar ingredients but served cold.

This spin on the recipe is made the classic American way: we’ve added a few other ingredients to flavor the body of the soup like garlic and leeks. While we love embracing healthy recipes on this website, the heavy cream really does pull this soup together! It’s a small quantity per serving and the milkfat helps to add a luxurious richness. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Salted butter
  • Leeks
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Russet potatoes
  • Broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • Fresh thyme
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Heavy cream
Potato Leek Soup recipe

How to cut and clean leeks

Leeks are a vegetable that’s part of the onion (allium) family. They look like a large green onion, with a white stalk that fades to light green with darker green leaves. Leeks are typically much dirtier than green onions: sand and dirt can get stuck between the layers of the white portion. For that reason, it’s very important to cut and clean leeks before working with them. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cut off the root and greens: Using a large chef’s knife, slice off the root end of the leek. Slice off the tough dark green top and discard.
  2. Slice in half: Slice the leek in half lengthwise.
  3. Thinly slice into half-moons: Place both halves cut side down. Then use a circular motion to cut the leek into thin half-moons.
  4. Clean the leek slices: Leeks generally have quite a bit of sand and dirt between the layers. Place the leek slices into a bowl of water and the dirt will settle to the bottom. Use your hands to shake loose any visible dirt.
  5. Dry: Scoop the leeks out of the bowl with your hands, allowing any dirt and sediment to stay on the bottom of the bowl. Pat the leeks dry with a towel, and you’re good to go!

How to use leek greens

What’s the best way to use use leek greens? Some people say you can use them for vegetable broth, but others say that leek greens have the potential to add bitterness to recipes. Our recommendation? We discard them and add them to our compost pile: they’re great for compost! If you’re wondering how to get started composting, here’s our Composting 101 tutorial.

Tips for this potato leek soup recipe

Once you’ve cleaned and chopped the leeks for this recipe, the rest of the soup is a breeze! Here are a few more notes on making this cozy recipe:

  • Use thyme sprigs and bay leaf, or a bouquet garni. Whole herbs add flavor to the soup, which you’ll remove after simmering. If you like, you can use a bouquet garni, which ties the herbs in cheesecloth and kitchen string. This makes them easier to remove from the pot after simmering.
  • Use a standard blender, not an immersion blender. Typically we like the slick method of placing a stick blender right into a pot of soup and blending away. But with this soup, it doesn’t get it nearly creamy enough. We recommend carefully transferring to a blender (careful! the soup is hot).
  • Don’t lighten up on the cream. Stirring in heavy cream at the end gives just the right rich body to this soup. Don’t be tempted to use milk: it works, but it’s not nearly as satisfying.
Potato Leek Soup

Ways to serve potato leek soup

How to serve this potato leek soup once you’ve got a steaming pot? This pureed soup is not quite a meal on its own, since it doesn’t have a source of protein. But add a few more elements to make it a meal! Here are a few ideas:

More leek recipes

Love working with leeks? Here are a few more leek recipes and tips:

This potato leek soup recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan and dairy-free, use a vegan cream substitute or cashew cream.


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This potato leek soup recipe is classic and lusciously creamy! Cozy up to a bowl of this fall simple favorite.

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter (or olive oil)
  • 2 large or 4 small leeks (4 cups thinly sliced), white and light green parts
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and small diced (5 cups diced)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or make a bouquet garni)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Chives, for garnish

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes until the leeks are very tender but not browned. 
  2. Add the chopped potato, vegetable broth, water, fresh thyme, bay leaf, and salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Remove the thyme and bay leaf.
  3. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the cream and blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. 

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Soup
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Potato leek soup

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