Serve this creamy soup full of potatoes and bacon, then loaded with crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, and sour cream and your family will be asking for this easy dinner again and again. This potato soup is ready in under 45 minutes making it perfect for weeknight meals.
I love making potato soup all winter long. It’s guaranteed to warm your bones and fill you up. It uses simple ingredients I normally have on hand and it’s pretty fast to make.
It’s also a great way to use up leftover baked potatoes. I’ll be honest, sometimes I make extra baked potatoes so I can make it. This recipe was first featured in November 2016, it has been updated with expert tips and new photos.
You only need a handful of ingredients easily found in every grocery store.
WHICH POTATOES TO USE
I think the best ones are baking or Russet potatoes. They tend to break down a bit as they are cooking and that makes the soup a bit thicker than just a roux alone.
Try to keep your raw potatoes in 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces. Smaller pieces will reduce the simmering time but don’t cut them too small or there won’t be any potato chunks left.
Skin on or skin off? You choose. When keeping the skin on be sure to scrub the potatoes clean to avoid getting any residual dirt in your dinner.
You can use raw potatoes or leftover baked potatoes. You can even use a combination! When using a combination cook the raw potatoes until tender then add the leftovers and cook just until heated through.
Slip the skin off of the cold baked potatoes and cut or break them up into bite-sized pieces.
HOW TO MAKE LOADED POTATO SOUP
Start by cooking 6 thick slices of bacon that have been diced over medium-high heat in a large soup pot.
Remove the bacon from the pot and set aside.
Add the diced celery and onion to the bacon grease in the pot and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. (Photo 1)
Now make the roux.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup all-purpose flour over the top of the cooked celery, onions, and garlic. (Photo 2)
Stir to combine and cook until the roux is bubbling, continue to cook for 2 minutes. (Photo 3)
Add the chicken broth and stir until there are no lumps. (Photo 4)
Add the potatoes and cook until tender, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
Lower the heat to low and add half & half, heavy cream, or milk and heat just until hot, avoid boiling.
Place soup into serving bowls and cover with toppings as desired. Viola! Dinner is served.
HOW CAN I ADD MORE FLAVOR?
Start your soup with broth or stock and only add as much dairy as is need to make it your desired consistency. Milk, half & half, and cream are all great for adding some extra creaminess but are pretty bland.
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A restaurant owner once told me his secret for flavoring his soup was ham base. You can usually find it at big box stores. The one I see the most is by Goya it’s available at Amazon, ham concentrate.
Add a packet or two if you feel your soup needs a flavor boost. Don’t use too much of this product though, it can make your soup salty as the liquid reduces.
Garlic – fresh garlic can be replaced with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder or 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic. Yes, there is a difference between the two. Granulated garlic has larger pieces and it will take a bit more.
Bacon Fat – You can use oil or butter instead. There will be flavor loss though and the calories from fat will be about the same.
Half & Half – Heavy cream or milk can be used. Just use enough of each to make the soup as thick or thin as you would like it.
DON’T FORGET TO LOAD IT UP
The toppings are the best part and anything you would find in a loaded baked potato is fair game.
My favorites are sour cream, sliced green onions (white and green parts), crispy bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, and a small dollop of sour cream.
Oyster crackers are optional but they add extra crunch and I love them!
- Cut the bacon with scissors before cooking.
- The bacon for the soup and the bacon for the topping can be cooked at the same time. Only leave 4 tablespoons of bacon fat in the pot and discard the rest.
- Leftover baked potatoes can be substituted. Remove the skins from baked potatoes and crumble or cube them. The cook time will be reduced by 10 to 15 minutes.
- If you don’t have enough leftover baked potatoes to make 6 cups, peeled and cubed Russet potatoes can be used to make up the difference. *Cook the cubed potatoes until fork-tender before adding the baked potato pieces.
- Keep peeled and diced raw potatoes in cool water until ready to use to prevent browning. Drain the water before adding to the soup.
- Butter or oil can be used instead of using the bacon fat for making a roux. Add a bouillon cube (ham bouillon adds a great flavor boost in this case) to replace the lost flavors. I would still add the cooked bacon to the soup.
- Sweat the onions and celery until tender before adding the garlic to prevent browning.
- Only cook the garlic for a minute or two before adding the flour to make the roux.
- Allow the roux to cook for 2 to 3 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Using more flour than called for in the recipe will result in a thicker soup.
- Slowly add the chicken broth to the roux and stir until there are no lumps of flour left. If you have big lumps, a whisk can be used to break them up.
- Do not add any dairy products until the end of the cooking time to prevent curdling. Allow the potatoes to completely cook and the soup to thicken before adding the half and half or milk.
- Use a block of cheddar cheese and shred it yourself, it won’t have all the additives packaged shredded cheese does and it will melt better on top of the hot soup.
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Loaded Potato Soup
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon diced
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1/3 cup flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 6 cups cubed potatoes about 2 to 3 pounds depending on how much skin is peeled away
- 2 cups half & half
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon cooked and chopped
- 6 green onions green and white parts sliced thinly
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese about 6 ounces
- 6 tablespoons sour cream
- Cook the bacon [6 thick slices, diced] in a large pan over medium-high heat stirring frequently.
- Remove bacon from the pan, leaving the rendered fat [about 4 tablespoons] in the pan, and drain on paper towels.
- Add the diced celery [1/2 cup] and diced onions [1/2 cup] to the pan and cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes or until they have softened slightly.
- Add the garlic [4 cloves peeled and minced] to the onions and celery and cook for 2 minutes or just until fragrant, avoid browning.
- Sprinkle the flour [1/3 cup] over the celery, onions, and garlic. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth [4 cups], stirring constantly to remove any lumps. A whisk may be used if there are large lumps.
- Add the potatoes [6 cups diced potatoes] and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. If using leftover baked potatoes, simmer just until the potatoes are heated through.
- Reduce the heat to low and add half & half [2 cups] and cooked bacon [6 thick slices] cook just until heated. Avoid boiling the soup after adding dairy products.
- Place the soup into serving bowls and top with cheese [2 tablespoons], green onions [1 tablespoon], cooked chopped bacon [1 tablespoon], and sour cream [1 tablespoon].
- Serve with oyster crackers if desired.
- Cut the bacon with scissors prior to cooking.
- The bacon for the soup and the bacon for the topping can be cooked at the same time. Discard all but 4 tablespoons of bacon grease.
- Leftover baked potatoes can be substituted. The cook time will be reduced by 10 to 15 minutes.
- Any combination of raw and leftover baked potatoes can be used to equal 6 cups. *Cook the cubed potatoes until fork-tender before adding the baked potato pieces.
- Keep peeled and diced raw potatoes in cool water until ready to use, drain the water before adding to the soup.
- Butter or oil can be used instead of using the bacon fat for making a roux.
- Sweat the onions and celery until tender before adding garlic
- Only cook the garlic until fragrant before adding the flour to make the roux.
- Using more flour than called for in the recipe will result in a thicker soup.
- A whisk can be used to break them up.
- Do not add any dairy products until the end of the cooking time to prevent curdling.
- Use a block of cheddar cheese and shred it yourself for the best melting.
- Nutritional data provided includes toppings and are for reference only.