December 9, 2022

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Potato Leek Soup – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

This Potato Leek Soup combines buttery golden potatoes with fresh leeks in a hearty, thick, and downright delicious soup.

Try some of our other favorite potato soups like Potato Soup, Broccoli Potato Soup, Sausage Potato Soup, or Ham and Potato Soup.

Overhead image of Potato Leek Soup

A Really Great Potato Leek Soup Recipe! 

While I love a soup packed to the brim with chunky vegetables (talking about you Creamy Vegetable Soup!), it’s nice to have an ultra-smooth soup too, occasionally. One where it lets the hunks of crusty artisan bread do their job best — dipping, sopping, and dredging! And by the way, nothing beats this No-Knead Bread on the side of this soup!

Potato Leek Soup is thick, hearty, and robustly flavored. While there is a strong potato flavor, there is a lovely spicy/fresh flavor that comes from the leeks.

QUICK TIP

What are leeks? They’re a member of the onion family and look like very large green onions. They’ve got a mild flavor and are easy to prepare!

Process shots-- images of the leeks being chopped

What Is Potato Leek Soup?

This soup is based on potatoes, leeks, and broth (usually chicken) with heavy cream. The soup is intended to be simple and rustic, with only a few ingredients. While there are some spices, the main flavors come from the potatoes and leeks.

As far as preparation goes, potatoes are boiled while the leeks are sautéed. Then, everything is combined and blended into a smooth soup. Leek soup is popular in France (also called Soupe Aux Poireaux). A chilled version of this soup is called Vichyssoise.

If you’ve never had this soup, but enjoy potatoes and leeks, you are in for a treat!

Process shots of Potato Leek Soup-- images of the leeks being washed and cooked, then potatoes, bay leaves, and thyme being added

Below is a quick overview for preparing this recipe along with some tips.

How To Make Potato Leek Soup

  • Prepare the potatoes. Most recipes call for the potatoes to be peeled, but if you’re using gold potatoes, I find this step unnecessary. The skin on this particular variety of potato is so delicate, that they blend and incorporate into the soup really nicely. If using a different type of potato with a thicker or waxier skin, then you’ll want to peel it first.
  • Prepare the leeks. Leeks are notoriously dirty and able to hide a lot of dirt! Here’s the best way I’ve found to thoroughly clean them: Before cleaning, chop them for the soup, and then wash the leeks in a strainer. Use your hands to rub dirt away, if needed. Then, pop that strainer in a salad spinner to fully dry the leeks before using. Wet leeks won’t sauté as nicely.
  • Sauté leeks. Here’s where we unlock loads of flavor! Take the time to thoroughly sauté the leeks here–don’t rush it!
  • Simmer. Boil the potatoes until tender in an herb-loaded broth. So much flavor from so few ingredients! Once the potatoes are fork tender, blend the soup until smooth. More on this below.

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Why is vinegar an ingredient in Potato Leek Soup? It brightens the flavor subtly. This is an instance where the ingredients you don’t see can make a big difference. Of course, this is optional. If you prefer, you can leave it out.

VARIATIONS

Variations

  • To make vegan Potato Leek Soup or without cream, replace the cream with coconut milk. The flavor is slightly different and a little sweeter with this substitution. 
  • Make Potato Leek Soup with Bacon. Start by crisping bacon in the pot; remove bacon and set aside. Sauté the leeks in bacon grease.
  • Make Potato Leek Soup with Celery. Add two stalks diced celery in with the leeks, sautéing them at the same time.

Process shots-- images of the soup being cooked and then blended

Should you let the soup cool before blending?

Yes! Remember that heat expands, so if it is too hot or there is too much in the blender, it can explode or spill over.

  • Use your blender’s hot/soup setting. Blender doesn’t have one? Compensate by replacing the blender lid with a folded towel and holding it in place with your hands. This will help reduce steam pressure. 
  • Increase the speed slowly and watch it carefully the entire time it’s blending
  • When blending is finished, remove the lid carefully– it will likely release a burst of steam.
  • Blend in batches. Don’t overfill the blender; you only want it halfway full to blend. (We blend this soup in 2-3 batches.)
  • Don’t want to blend? Use an immersion blenderinstead! While it won’t get as smooth, it still does a great job!

QUICK TIP

To make a Chunky Potato Leek Soup, only blend a portion of the soup!

Overhead images of Potato Leek Soup in the pot and in a bowl being garnished

Potato Leek Soup FAQs

1Is Leek Soup good for you?

Leeks contain allicin which is an ingredient also found in garlic. Allicin is a antimicrobial linked to improved gut health! Additionally, leeks are also a great source of soluble fiber which make them a good prebiotic food. (They feed the good bacteria in the gut.)

2What are the benefits of Potato Leek Soup?

Leeks are high in Vitamin K, Manganese, Copper, Folate, and Iron. They’re also rich in flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties among other health benefits.

3Can I leave the skin on the potatoes in this soup?

Most recipes will direct you to peel the potatoes first, but I found this to be an unnecessary step if you’re using Yukon Gold potatoes. These potatoes have a very thin and delicate skin that isn’t detectable in the finished soup.

4Why is my Potato Leek Soup bitter?

This can happen if the soup is over-cooked or old herbs are used. If herbs are cooked too long or at too high of a temperature, they can take on a bitter taste.

5Should I soak the potatoes for this soup?

No! We are relying on the starch of the potatoes to nicely thicken the soup. Soaking will rinse away much of the starch.

6What is the secret to making good soup?

  • Blend thoroughly. For an ultra-smooth soup, the better the blending, and the better the texture.
  • Season as you go. Taste occasionally and add salt and pepper until the flavors sing.
  • Use a flavorful chicken stock for maximum flavor. (We love Swanson’s® chicken stock.)
  • Take time to thoroughly sauté the leeks.
  • Don’t forget the toppings — croutons or bread for dipping make a huge difference in the flavor and texture of the soup!

7Why is my potato soup gritty?

This can happen if floury potatoes are used instead of waxy potatoes. The potato variety can make or break the soup! This is why we recommend Yukon Gold potatoes in this recipe.

Another culprit could be overcooking the potatoes or cooking the soup at too high of a temperature after the cream is added.

8Why is my Potato Leek Soup gummy?

Gummy soup can happen if the potatoes are over-cooked and then blended too thoroughly with the broth.

Up-close overhead image of the soup in a bowl

STORAGE

Storage

This particular recipe for Potato Leek Soup stores nicely in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days. Reheat the leftovers by adding to a pot and slowly increasing the heat while stirring frequently. Don’t boil the soup or reheat it at a high temperature; this can cause the ingredients to separate or even curdle. Add a splash more cream or chicken stock as needed to thin.

Can You Freeze Potato Leek Soup?

If you’re planning on freezing this soup, I recommend freezing it before adding in the cream. When dairy is added in, the soup is more prone to becoming grainy and separating when thawed.

What Goes Well With Potato Leek Soup?

Potato Leek Soup

This Potato Leek Soup combines buttery golden potatoes with fresh leeks in a hearty, thick, and downright delicious soup.

Potato Leek Soup

This Potato Leek Soup combines buttery golden potatoes with fresh leeks in a hearty, thick, and downright delicious soup.

Instructions

  • PREP LEEKS: Trim the ends, remove outer leaves, and cut leeks in half in the middle to get 4 pieces. Cut each piece in half down the middle to get 8 pieces. Thinly slice then measure and add to a strainer. Wash and gently scrub under cold water (leeks are notoriously very dirty!) then thoroughly dry before starting (I like to pop ’em in a salad spinner).

  • LEEKS AND GARLIC: Set a large soup pot over medium heat. Drizzle in oil and add butter. Once butter is mostly melted, add in the prepared leeks, minced garlic, and salt/pepper to taste (I add 1 tsp salt & 3/4 tsp pepper). Cook, stirring regularly, until leeks are soft, wilted, and golden, about 10-12 minutes. Reduce heat if leeks are browning. Meanwhile, prep the potatoes– see Note 1.

  • SIMMER: Add the potatoes, vinegar (if using), chicken stock, bay leaves, and fresh thyme to the pot. Bring to a boil (uncovered) and once boiling, cover pot with a lid and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 15-18 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Turn off heat and let slightly cool, about 10 minutes. Pull out the thyme and bay leaves; discard.

  • BLEND: Either use an immersion blender to blend the soup, or transfer in batches to a high-powered blender (don’t fill the blender above 1/2 way full or it will explode! See Note 2.) Blend until very smooth (I typically blend each batch for 2 minutes) then return to soup pot. Pour in heavy cream and stir to warm through over low heat.

  • ENJOY: Taste, adjust seasonings adding more salt & pepper if needed. Trouble-shooting: Soup too thin? Simmer until it thickens. Too thick? Add a splash more stock. Ladle into bowls, drizzle cream on top (optional) and garnish with chives. Add croutons or top or serve with some warmed crusty bread for dipping!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Potatoes: If you’re using gold potatoes, no need to peel. The skin on this particular variety of potatoes is so delicate, that they blend and incorporate into the soup really nicely. If using a different type of potato with a thicker or waxier skin, then you’ll want to peel it first.
Note 2: Blending: Remember that heat expands, so if it is too hot or there is too much in the blender, it can explode or spill over. Don’t overfill the blender; you only want it halfway full to blend. (We blend this soup in 2-3 batches.) Use your blender’s hot/soup setting. Blender doesn’t have one? Compensate by replacing the blender lid with a folded towel and holding it in place with your hands. This will help reduce steam pressure. Increase the speed slowly and watch it carefully the entire time it’s blending.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 320mg | Potassium: 777mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 942IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.