CHEESY POTATO SOUP
As I write this, the low-temperature in Wisconsin today is a frigid -12º fahrenheit. I don’t know about you, but this kind of weather calls for a warm, cozy, comfort food recipe. Enter: cheesy potato soup. This soup recipe is a big bowl of cozy and is one of those winter comfort food meals that just makes you smile.
This cheesy potato soup recipe is a vegetarian, allowing it to be enjoyed by a wider audience. While this soup is great as-is, adding a variety of your favorite toppings takes this soup to the next level. For those who do eat meat, I highly recommend adding crumbled, crispy bacon on top of this soup. Really any topping you would put on a loaded baked potato can work here too!
I will also be the first to admit this is not a health food recipe. But, treating yourself to some cheesy, buttery goodness every once in a while is good for the soul. Especially when it’s cold and dark and snowy during the winter.
TELL ME ABOUT: CHEESY POTATO SOUP
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate; while this recipe uses simple ingredients prepped in a straightforward manner, there are a few steps you need to pay close attention to. Keep an eye on the flour as you whisk it into the butter. You really want to keep it moving (continue to whisk) until the liquid enters the pot. Allowing it to sit too long can result in a clumpy, burned mess...if this happens, I recommend starting again as this is the base of your soup’s success.
Flavor: Creamy, rich cheddar cheese is the leading flavor, and is accented by hearty potatoes. When topped with savory bacon and fragrant green onions, this soup goes to a whole new level. Like I said, a big bowl of cozy.
Texture: Move over bisque. This soup is as hearty as it gets. A thick and creamy base with big chunks of potato...comfort food at its best.
Time: Including prep and cook time, plan for 30-45 minutes to make your cheesy potato soup. The prep time can vary depending on how fast you chop!
KEY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE CHEESY POTATO SOUP
Potatoes: Idaho potatoes or russet potatoes are the best variety for this soup recipe. The depth of flavor and ability to hold their shape throughout the cooking process make them ideal for cheesy potato soup.
Milk: You’ll put nearly five cups of milk in this cheesy potato soup, so make sure you are using a high quality product. I also recommend using whole milk as it has a much creamier texture than skim or 1%. Yes, there is a little more fat in whole milk, but that is part of what makes this soup so rich, delicious, and comforting.
Cheese: Two tips on selecting the perfect cheddar cheese for this recipe. First, a sharp cheddar cheese will have a stronger flavor than a mild cheddar cheese. So if you want the cheese to be more of a leading flavor in your soup (instead of a supporting flavor), select a sharp cheddar for your soup recipe. Second, if you have time to shred your own cheese, do so. Store-bought shredded cheese is coated in an additive called cellulose to keep it from clumping before it gets to your house. It’s harmless, but freshly shredded cheese will actually melt better in a soup. Shredding your own cheese for this recipe will add a few minutes to cooking, though, so go ahead and use a store-bought shredded cheese if you want to save some time.
Toppings: the soup is good by itself, but it’s great with the right fixings. Crispy bacon, oyster crackers, chives, even MORE cheese (you know I’m always here to support your cheese endeavors).
OVERVIEW: HOW TO MAKE CHEESY POTATO SOUP
Wash and chop your veggies: prep your veggies per notes on ingredient list
Make your roux: Did you know that the official name of the concoction you’re making with your butter and flour at the start of this recipe is called a roux, which acts as a thickener for your soup? Fun fact! Anyway, to do this, melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
Add in your liquids: Whisk in milk and broth, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes.
Add your potatoes and green onions: Add potatoes and green onions, stir to mix-in. Bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, 15-20 minutes.
Add in the rest of your dairy and spices: Stir in cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. If soup is too thick for your liking, add milk or broth until desired consistency is reached.
Garnish and enjoy: serve your soup topped with your favorite things (like bacon, green onions, sour cream, more cheese...etc) and enjoy!
Store leftovers: store remaining soup in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR MAKING GREAT CHEESY POTATO SOUP
Help! My cheesy potato soup is too thin, what do I do? You may have added a bit too much broth or milk. To thicken the soup, keep it on a low simmer until it’s at your desired thickness. Do NOT boil the soup for an extended period of time or you’ll risk curdling the milk.
My soup is too thick, how do I fix this? If your cheesy potato soup is too thick for your liking, add milk or broth until desired consistency is reached. I recommend adding your additional liquid in small quantities, stirring, and testing before adding in more liquid. This will help you to avoid accidentally making the soup too thin.
Is it possible to add too much bacon to this cheese potato soup? My husband insists the answer is a resounding ‘no’. But seriously, if you eat bacon, adding crumbles on top of this soup takes it to a whole other playing field. The crispy, salty goodness accents this soup very nicely.