Weather denial comes to a screeching halt in February: winter is definitely here! And some days all I want to do is curl up in a chair with a nice warm bowl of soup. This cheesy potato soup is perfect for that!
Thick and creamy, this soup is vegetarian if made with vegetable broth. But you could also use chicken broth and garnish with a little bacon for those family members who just can't relate to the meatless concept. 🤣
Origins and ingredients
I developed this recipe years ago, and started with something a little different: Broccoli Cheese and Potato Soup. I love that soup, but I wanted a “just potato” version. So I used the Broccoli soup as my starting point and fine-tuned it over the years.
One thing you might notice is that I use red potatoes. (Yukon Gold potatoes are another good choice). I do this for a couple reasons, not the least of which is time. Who wants to stand and peel potatoes? Not me!
The thin-skins of red potatoes will work just fine in this soup, and once you get to the blending/mashing part they will barely be noticeable. Besides, potato skins are good for you!
According to this source, “Potatoes are a rich source of fiber, iron, vitamin C and vitamin B-6, but to get the most nutrients you’ll need to eat the whole potato.” Which is what we are doing with this soup. 😀
I tend to make this on the stovetop, but am also including directions to make Instant Pot cheesy potato soup. It's pretty easy either way.
How to make Cheesy Potato Soup - stovetop method
Like many soups, this starts with a mirepoix [pronounced: MEER-pwah) (onions, celery and carrot), which is sautéed in oil for about 5 minutes.
Add some garlic, then flour, salt and pepper. Then, add in the potatoes and liquids (vegetable or chicken broth and milk) and heat to boiling.
Lower heat, cover and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Uncover and season with a little chili powder, salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese. Let this cook uncovered for about 5 minutes, then add shredded cheddar cheese, give it a stir and turn off the heat.
Do a little mashing to get the right texture
At this point, everything is cooked but it looks like chunks of potato in broth. All that is needed is to blend some or all of the soup mixture. You can use a stand blender, or an immersion blender.
Even though I have both, I typically use an old-fashioned potato masher.
I like my potato soup to have some texture, rather than being perfectly smooth. Using the manual masher helps control that for me. Just mash until it looks about right. 😄
Note: if using a blender, please be extremely careful. You will want to transfer about a third to half the hot mixture to the blender, cover and blend. Then transfer back to the pot. Repeat as needed to get your desired thickness or texture.
When it's meatless Monday, I use vegetable broth and no other additions.
But this is also delicious with diced ham or bacon added for those who just can’t handle the lack of meat. 😀
Cheesy Potato Soup
- 2 lbs. Red Potatoes-cut into bite sized pieces or Yukon Gold
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 TB olive oil
- 2 TB flour
- 3 cups broth chicken or vegetable
- 1 c skim milk
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper or to taste
- 2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 TB shredded Parmesan cheese
- In a large soup pot, heat olive oil. Add chopped onion, celery and carrot and sauté on low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. (For Instant Pot, do this step on the Saute function)
- Add flour, salt and pepper to the pot and stir until smooth.
- Add broth, milk and potatoes and set heat to high until it comes to a boil, then cover and cook on low until potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes. (For Instant Pot, close cover and set cook cycle for 8 minutes. Allow pressure to release for at least 20 minutes before manual release)
- Add chili powder and Parmesan cheese, and stir well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Cook uncovered about 5 more minutes. (For Instant Pot, no additional cooking is required if the potatoes are soft)
- Add cheddar cheese, stir well and remove from heat.
- Using an immersion blender or potato masher, quickly blend or mash part of the soup. This will thicken the soup to a nice consistency.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Cheesy Potato Soup - electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot) method
My favorite feature of the Instant Pot is the saute function. For this recipe, I use this function to cook the veggies and garlic, then turn it off before adding the flour.
Then add in the potatoes and liquid. Set the Instant Pot to cook for 8 minutes on high. Use the "soup" setting and adjust the time, or the manual setting works as well.
Once the cooking cycle is done, allow the Instant Pot to vent naturally for at least 20 minutes before releasing manually.
Then proceed to add the rest of the ingredients. Check the potatoes to ensure they are soft enough. If not, use the saute function to heat the liquid and provide a little more cooking time to those potatoes.
As described above, use a potato masher or similar to mash some of the potatoes until the soup is at your desired consistency.
What to have with your potato soup
Need some liquid comfort? Try a medicine ball tea!