Potato Leek Soup

THIS POTATO LEEK SOUP IS MEGA CREAMY (WITHOUT ANY HEAVY CREAM!), COMFORTING, FLAVORFUL AND SO EASY! 

This Potato Leek Soup recipe is SO lusciously rich and velvety, you won’t believe it’s low fat without any cheese or cream!  Most importantly, you won’t believe how deeply satisfying, cozy and comforting it is.  This Potato Leek Soup is made with fragrant leeks simmered with buttery potatoes, chicken broth, aromatics and seasonings, then pureed together to create the ultimate satisfying comfort food.  It’s guaranteed to satisfy your warm creamy soup cravings – without ANY guilt!  This Leek and Potato Soup also reheats beautifully for stress free dinners or lunches throughout the week.

showing how creamy Potato Leek Soup recipe is with an up close photo of a bowl of soup

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POTATO LEEK SOUP RECIPE

Potato Leek Soup has to be one of our all-time favorite soups.  It’s a creamy, comforting hug of velvety goodness bursting with layers of flavor with minimal effort that you will crave.  It truly is one of life’s greatest culinary pleasures – and now you can enjoy it even more because this recipe is made without any cream!  It tastes beautifully decadent and restaurant elegant but is naturally thickened by its own puree which means you can slurp on and on and on…  

More REASONS TO LOVE THIS POTATO LEEK SOUP RECIPE:

  • Quick and easy: This Leek and Potato Soup does require some chopping but then it’s just sauté, dump and simmer!  It can be on your table in less than 45 minutes (15 of those minutes are hands-off simmering), and even quicker depending on your knife skills.
  • Thick and creamy:  It’s a happy day when you can enjoy a soup that’s creamy and healthy.  I have “lightened up versions” of Potato SoupBroccoli Soup and Tomato Soup but they still have cheese and/or half and half.  But this Potato Leek Soup recipe joins my Cauliflower Soup and my Butternut Squash Soup without any cream – just pureed soup to rich and creamy splendor. YAY for guilt free comfort food that will fill you up without weighing you down!
  • Flavorful:  Leeks and potatoes are meant for each other!  Leeks with their mild tangy, onion-like flavor and potatoes with their natural buttery sweetness.  Still, if not made right, Leek and Potato Soup can be bland and boring – so it’s important to build layers of flavor and generously season the soup.  First, we sweat the leeks, carrots, and celery together to intensify the aromatic, sweet, onion flavors.  Next, the veggies and potatoes are cooked with chicken broth and a bevy of seasonings so they actually drink up the flavor and finally everything is pureed together into one bowl of flavorful, creamy YUM.
  • Customizable:  This Potato and Leek Soup is delicious in its simplicity (I honestly just add fresh chives) but you can also create a “Potato Soup Bar” so everyone can customize their soup with options such as chives, green onions, fresh parsley, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, bacon, turkey bacon, broccoli, sour cream, Greek yogurt, chili powder, cayenne pepper, etc.
  • Crowd pleaser:   Everyone LOVES creamy Leek and Potato Soup which is always a dinner-time win! Even your pickiest eater will be clamoring for more!
  • Less Expensive:  Potatoes are very inexpensive so you can make a hearty pot full to feed the entire family at the fraction of the price of dining out.
  • Make Ahead: This Potato Leek Soup recipe can be made days in advance because the leftovers taste even better!  Simply reheat on the stove or in the crockpot when ready to serve. 
showing how to serve Leek and Potato Soup by garnishing with chives, salt and pepper

What is the origin of potato leek soup?

There are countless variations of potato soup, so where does potato LEEK soup come from?  It is generally agreed upon that Potato Leek Soup comes to us from Wales where it is simply called Leek Soup or cawl cennin in Welsh.  It is an inexpensive, nutritious meal utilizing the hearty potato crop in which leeks are sautéed then combined with potatoes, chicken broth and often heavy cream. 

Potato Leek Soup, or potage parmentier, is also a French classic with plenty of heavy cream and some argue that it originated in France.  It is the base of many other French Soups, for example, add watercress for potage au cresson, or serve it chilled for vichyssoise (named for Vichy, France, and the French Vichy regime). 

Of course, Irish Potato Leek Soup is a classic and Scotland has their own version called Tattie and Leek; in Romania, it’s known as Ciorbă de praz.  So, it seems the humble potato has transformed into a worldwide Leek and Potato Soup phenomenon – for good reason. But, no matter the origin, serve it up with some crusty bread and you will be grateful that someone, somewhere, invented Leek and Potato Soup.

Potato Leek Soup Recipe Ingredients

  • Leeks:  if you aren’t familiar with cooking with leeks, don’t be intimidated!  They are accessible at every grocery store and easy to work with – I’ve also included step-by step instructions below.  Leeks are in the onion family and boast a mild, subtly sweet, tangy flavor.  To me, they look like giant green onions, but instead of cooking with the top of the onions, you discard the top dark green stalk and use just the white and light green parts below.
showing how to make potato leek soup by spreading leeks  on a cutting board
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes:  emerge tender, creamy, naturally buttery and melt-in-your-mouth – please DO NOT substitute with Russets.
  • Carrots and celery:  are part of the flavor base of all great soups (called mirepoix when combined with onions) and add a complex level of flavor that is absolute essential when using so few ingredients.  Please don’t skip them or you will be missing out on layers of flavor!
  • Butter: I love the added flavor but you can substitute with olive oil for a vegan soup.
  • Olive oil: you can substitute with your preferred cooking oil if you wish.
  • Chicken broth: I prefer chicken broth over vegetable broth because it has more flavor.
  • Salt and pepper: Potato Leek Soup requires a significant amount of salt and pepper to awaken the rest of the flavors.  If you feel like the soup is missing something at the end of cooking, it probably just needs more salt or pepper – so adjust to taste.
  • Herbs: dried parsley, dried thyme, dried oregano and dried rosemary add subtle earthy, herby flavor.
  • Chicken bouillon: adds a salty flavor and is crucial in my opinion.  If you want to skip it, you will need to add more salt to taste.  2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder is two cubes chicken bouillon.  You may also use better than bouillon.
  • Lemon Juice: just a splash is added at the very end for touch of bright acidity.  It will not make your Leek and Potato Soup taste lemony – it just awakens the rest of the flavors.
two hand holding a bowl of creamy Potato Leek Soup recipe

Can I use Russet Pobtatoes?

Technically you can use Russet potatoes, but that doesn’t mean you should.  The end result will be inferior in both flavor and texture to using Yukon golds potatoes.  Yukon gold potatoes boast superior flavor and smoother texture.  They also hold up better if you don’t want to puree your entire soup (I always leave some buttery potato chunks), as opposed to Russet which can disintegrate and become mealy.

HOW MANY POTATOES IS TWO POUNDS?

For this Potato and Leek Soup recipe, you will need two pounds Yukon gold potatoes.  This is about four medium size potatoes.  Potatoes vary in size, so I suggest weighing them on the produce scale just to be safe.  You can use more or less potatoes, but it will affect the ratio to other ingredients.

CAN I MAKE VEGAN POTATO LEEK SOUP?

Absolutely!  Simply substitute the butter with oil, omit the chicken bouillon and replace the chicken broth with vegetable stock.  You will want to add additional salt to taste due to the absence of the salty bouillon.

IS POTATO LEEK SOUP GLUTEN FREE?

Yes!  This Leek and Potato Soup doesn’t use any flour or other thickeners to thicken the soup. The rest of the ingredients are just seasonings, veggies and broth!

HOW TO PREP LEEKS

Prepping leeks for Potato Leek Soup is very simple.  First, you’ll want to chop off the top dark green stalks and keep only the white and light green bottom portion.  Next, it is important to clean the leeks because they grow underground and can be hiding lots of sand and dirt in between their layers.  Slicing the leeks a few times lengthwise exposes the layers and allows us to thoroughly clean them before chopping.  Here’s how:

Cut off top and bottom of leeks.  Slice the roots off of the leaks (which allows them to separate) then chop off the top dark green stalks.  You will keep the bottom white and light green parts of the leeks. The top dark green stalks are tougher and can bitter tasting.  You can discard the dark green portion or refrigerate or freeze for making stock.

Slice leeks.  Slice the remaining stalks in half lengthwise, then in half again to create 4 pieces per leek.

showing how to make potato leek soup by chopping bottoms off of leeks and separate dark green tops and white bottoms

Wash leeks.  Add sliced leeks to a bowl of cold water and stir them around to separate them from each other and to dislodge any dirt.  Just swirling them around should loosen them, but you’ll want to pull apart any layers that may be stuck together to remove any hidden dirt.  Scoop them out with a fine mesh sieve, and be amazed at how much dirt has sunk to the bottom of your bowl!

showing how to make potato leek soup by washing leeks in a bowl of water

Chop leeks.  Chop the leeks thinly cross-wise. Now you’re all ready to use your leeks!

showing how to make potato leek soup by slicing leeks thinly

How to Make Potato Leek Soup from scratch:

Sweat leeks and vegetables:  First, we build flavor by sweating the aromatics.  Sweating is a process in which vegetables soften and sweeten instead of turning golden and nutty. This will enhance the natural sweetness of the leeks. 

Melt the butter in the olive oil over medium-low heat in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Add the leeks, carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. If the leeks or onions are turning brown, then lower the heat.  Once they’re translucent, add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

Simmer the soup:  Add the potatoes, broth, chicken bouillon and all remaining seasonings.  Cover pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are soft.  It is better for your potatoes to be on the softer side than the firmer side so they puree easily and become mega creamy.

Purée the soup:   Working in batches if necessary, remove desired amount of soup to a high-powered blender, don’t fill blender more than ⅓ way full or it can overflow and explode. For a smooth soup, puree all of the soup; for a chunkier soup, don’t puree all of the soup.  Blend until very smooth, being careful to let smoke escape the blender or it will explode. You can do this by leaving the blender cap open and covering with a paper towel or loose dishtowel. You may also use an immersion blender but I don’t find the soup gets as smooth.

showing how to make potato leek soup by adding soup to the blender to puree

Add soup to pot.  Pour pureed soup back into pot and whisk in lemon juice. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

showing how to make potato leek soup by adding pureed soup back to pot

HOW TO MAKE POTATO LEEK SOUP THICK AND CREAMY

This Potato Leek Soup shouldn’t require any thickening. Just blend the soup in your blender or use an immersion blender and the softened potatoes will create a lusciously, thick and creamy soup.  If you puree less of your soup, you may be left with a slightly thinner soup, but this is what I always do and never have to thicken it.  Still, if you would a thicker soup, cornstarch works beautifully:

  • Remove about ⅓ cup pureed soup and whisk in 1 tablespoon cornstarch with a fork until smooth then whisk it back into the soup. 
  • Simmer until thickened to desired consistency.   
  • If you would like an even thicker soup, repeat.

HOW DO YOU THIN leek and potato soup?

This Leek and Potato Soup is on the luxuriously thick side but it easy to thin to desired consistency by stirring in additional chicken broth. 

What toppings for POTATO leek SOUP recipe?

This Leek and Potato Soup is SO good all on its own or it provides the perfect base to add toppings and add-ins to mix up the flavor profile.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • chives
  • green onions
  • fresh parsley, rosemary and/or thyme
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • blue cheese
  • bacon
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • crackers
  • croutons
  • chili powder or cayenne

TIPS AND TRICKS for the best leek and potato soup

  • Use correct potatoes. Use Yukon gold potatoes and NOT Russets for their superior flavor and texture. Your soup will not be as creamy if you use Russets.
  • Chop potatoes uniformly.  Chop the potatoes uniform ally so they cook in the same amount of time.
  • Shortcut food processor.  You can use your food processor for the celery, carrots and even the leeks. 
  • Don’t brown leeks.  The key to bringing out the sweet flavor of the leeks is to sweat them without browning – if the leeks are turning brown, then lower the heat.  
  • Cook until potatoes are very tender. It is better for your potatoes to be on the softer side than the firmer side so they puree easily and become mega creamy.
  • Use your blender.  You can use an immersion blender, but I find a high-powered blender results in a smoother soup.
  • Let steam escape.   The hot steam continuously released from the soup can cause your blender to explode if it doesn’t have a release so take care you either leave the blender cap off and cover the opening with a paper towel or lift a corner of the blender and cover with a paper towel.
  • Choose consistency.  The consistency of the Leek and Potato Soup is completely up to you!  I like to leave part of the soup whole so I get bites of tender potatoes swaddled in the velvety broth.
  • Salt as needed.  Potatoes need a lot of salt so if your finished soup feels like it’s missing something, it is probably salt.
showing how creamy Potato Leek Soup recipe is by scooping up a big spoonful in the soup pot with a ladle

WHAT MAIN DISHES GO WELL WITH POTATO LEEK SOUP?

This easy Potato Leek Soup can be a meal all in itself, or a side to a main protein or sandwich.  It goes well with:

WHAT SIDE DISHES GO WITH POTATO LEEK SOUP?

I love serving Potato Leek Soup with a big chunk of bread and green salad.  It also goes well with:

showing how to season Leek and Potato Soup recipe by adding freshly cracked salt and pepper and a splash of lemon juice

CAN I PREP LEEK and POTATO SOUP AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes!  You can prep all of the ingredients a day ahead of time so dinner can come together in a flash! Here’s how:

  • Veggies:  chop the leeks, carrots, celery and garlic and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Potatoes: peel and chop the potatoes; submerge in water, cover and refrigerate to prevent them from browning due to oxidation.  This works like a charm!
  • Seasonings:  you can measure out all of the seasonings and store them in a plastic aright bag.

HOW TO STORE POTATO LEEK SOUP?

Transfer Potato Leek Soup to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.  It will thicken upon standing, so you may want to whisk in a splash of milk before reheating.  

CAN I MAKE POTATO LEEK SOUP RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes!  The flavors of this Potato Leek Soup recipe only get better the next day so it is great to make ahead and also makes great leftovers. 

HOW DO I REHEAT LEEK AND POTATO SOUP?

  • Crockpot: Transfer soup to a slow cooker and heat on low for 1-2 hours or until heated through.
  • Stove: Transfer soup to a Dutch oven or soup pot and warm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
  • Microwave: For smaller batches or individual servings, transfer soup to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel.  Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then continue to microwave for 30-second intervals, if needed.

Can I make it in the crockpot?

A large part of the flavor in this Leek and Potato Soup comes from sweating the leeks, so I recommend making Potato Soup on the stove. If you would like a crockpot potato soup, you can check out this fabulous potato soup recipe instead.

CAN I FREEZE LEEK POTATO SOUP?

No, I do NOT recommend freezing Potato Leek Soup.  Potatoes don’t freeze and can become a mealy, grainy texture.

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Potato Leek Soup

This Potato Leek Soup recipe is SO lusciously rich and velvety, you won’t believe it’s low fat without any cheese or cream! Most importantly, you won’t believe how deeply satisfying, cozy and comforting it is. This Potato Leek Soup is made with fragrant leeks simmered with buttery potatoes, chicken broth, aromatics and seasonings, then pureed together to create the ultimate satisfying comfort food. It’s guaranteed to satisfy your warm creamy soup cravings – without ANY guilt! This Leek and Potato Soup also reheats beautifully for stress free dinners or lunches throughout the week.
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large leeks
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes peeled, chopped (about 1/4-½ inch)
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1-2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried thyme, dried oregano, rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  • Slice the roots off of the leaks then chop off the top dark green stalks; discard. Slice the remaining white/light green stalks in half lengthwise, then in half again (see photos in post). Add sliced leeks to a bowl of cold water and stir them around to separate them from each other and to dislodge any dirt. Scoop them out with a fine mesh sieve, dry, thinly slice and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in the olive oil over medium-low heat in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Add the leeks, carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes (we are sweating the vegetables, the leeks should not brown). Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
  • Add the potatoes, broth, chicken bouillon and all remaining seasonings. Cover pot, leaving just a crack open, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Discard bay leaves.
  • Working in batches, remove desired amount of soup to a high-powered blender, don’t fill blender more than ⅓ way full or it can overflow and explode. For a smooth soup, puree all of the soup; for a chunkier soup, don’t puree all of the soup. Blend until very smooth, being careful to let smoke escape the blender or it will explode. You can do this by leaving the blender cap open and covering with a paper towel or loose dishtowel. You may also use an immersion blender but I don’t find the soup gets as smooth.
  • Pour pureed soup back into pot and stir in lemon juice. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

TIPS AND TRICKS 

  • Use correct potatoes. Use Yukon gold potatoes and NOT Russets for their superior flavor and texture. Your soup will not be as creamy if you use Russets.
  • Chop potatoes uniformly.  Chop the potatoes uniform ally so they cook in the same amount of time.
  • Shortcut food processor.  You can use your food processor for the celery, carrots and even the leeks. 
  • Multi-task.  I sweat the leeks, carrots and celery while I'm peeling and chopping my potatoes.  This saves 10 minutes of prep time!  Just make sure you still stir your veggies occasionally.
  • Don’t brown leeks.  The key to bringing out the sweet flavor of the leeks is to sweat them without browning - if the leeks are turning brown, then lower the heat.  
  • Cook until potatoes are very tender. It is better for your potatoes to be on the softer side than the firmer side so they puree easily and become mega creamy.
  • Use your blender.  You can use an immersion blender, but I find a high-powered blender results in a smoother soup.
  • Let steam escape.   The hot steam continuously released from the soup can cause your blender to explode if it doesn’t have a release so take care you either leave the blender cap off and cover the opening with a paper towel or lift a corner of the blender and cover with a paper towel.
  • Choose consistency.  The consistency of the Leek and Potato Soup is completely up to you!  I like to leave part of the soup whole so I get bites of tender potatoes swaddled in the velvety broth.
  • Salt as needed.  Potatoes need a lot of salt so if your finished soup feels like it’s missing something, it is probably salt.

PREP AHEAD

Yes!  You can prep all of the ingredients a day ahead of time so dinner can come together in a flash! Here’s how:
  • Veggies:  chop the leeks, carrots, celery and garlic and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Potatoes: peel and chop the potatoes; submerge in water, cover and refrigerate to prevent them from browning due to oxidation.  This works like a charm!
  • Seasonings:  you can measure out all of the seasonings and store them in a plastic aright bag.

STORAGE

Transfer Potato Leek Soup to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.  It will thicken upon standing, so you may want to whisk in a splash of milk before reheating.  

MAKE AHEAD

The flavors of this Potato Leek Soup recipe only get better the next day so it is great to make ahead and also makes great leftovers. 

HOW TO I REHEAT

  • Crockpot: Transfer soup to a slow cooker and heat on low for 1-2 hours or until heated through.
  • Stove: Transfer soup to a Dutch oven or soup pot and warm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
  • Microwave: For smaller batches or individual servings, transfer soup to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel.  Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then continue to microwave for 30-second intervals, if needed.

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16 Comments

  1. Suzanne King says

    Made this for lunch today. Absolutely delicious!! Thanks Jen for such a yummy recipe, will definitely be making this again. Asked my man what rating he would give out of five and he said 6! So ****** from us!

    • Jen says

      Thank you for the top notch 6 rating Suzanne! I’m so pleased you both loved it!

  2. Debby says

    Amazing flavor! Thanks for taking the time to explain how to clean leeks. Sharing this soup with family. My daughter-in-law had leeks in her CSA box this past week and asked if I’d make her some soup. I went directly to your site-you never disappoint. Your recipes are always detailed, which I appreciate. Thanks

    • Jen says

      Thanks for your kind comment Debby! I’m so happy you liked the soup and I’m honored to be a trusted resource!

  3. Amelia says

    Oh my goodness!! Totally delicious! Can’t wait to try without butter and with veggie broth for my vegan brother. Thank you for such a great recipe 🙂

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Amelia, I’m so happy you loved it!

  4. Michele Reagor says

    This soup was so tasty! The lemon juice put it over the top. So creamy. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for your awesome review Michele, I’m so pleased you loved it so much!

  5. Margo says

    Thanks so much, I did use small red potatoes because I was out of the regular… Taste is great especially when it is cold outside!

    • Jen says

      I’m so pleased it was a winner, thanks Margo!

  6. Wendy says

    Fantastic recipe! Great informative instructions! Thank you

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Wendy, I’m so pleased you loved it!

  7. Joni says

    I’m going to add some green and golden lentils to get my daily dose in.

  8. Kate says

    Delicious! I received a gigantic leek from my farm share, and while looking up what to do with it, came across this recipe. Thank you for the specifics as to how to clean and how to sweat the leek. Added some red and green peppers bc I had them on hand. I blended half the soup and left half chunky. If I get more leeks, would definitely make again!

    • Jen says

      Welcome to my site Kate! I’m so pleased you found the information helpful and the soup delicious. I hope you have fun exploring and finding new recipes to try!

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