This simple potato soup recipe is made with evaporated milk instead of cream to make it lush and creamy, and extra delicious.
Just like my Broccoli Cheddar Soup and favorite Clam Chowder, I love a soup that’s rich, chunky, and ultra-comforting. That’s why I can’t get enough of this creamy potato soup recipe. But, surprise—there’s no cream in this recipe. Sometimes, soups thickened with milk or cream are too thin or too gluey or can turn into a broken broth with the butter separating and sitting on top. That’s why I took a lesson from my Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese and cooked the potatoes in evaporated milk with chicken broth instead of milk or cream. I then mixed a bit of cornstarch into the broth before blending half of the soup to create velvety creaminess with chunky potato bites. This potato soup mirrors the flavors of a loaded baked potato with crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and a sprinkling of fresh chives, and you are going to love it.
What is This Potato Soup Recipe Made Of
This potato soup is served “loaded” style, so it tastes just like the best loaded baked potato, only in soup form. It really is the best potato soup recipe, with so much flavor.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Bacon (I like applewood smoked bacon), reserving some of the bacon grease
- Yukon gold potatoes (for the best creamy texture without too much starch that could make the soup gluey)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chicken broth
- Evaporated milk
- Cheddar cheese, for serving
- Sour cream, for serving
- Chives, for serving (green onions would also be yummy)
Tip: If you want to add a bit of heat to your soup, add ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, or add some hot sauce.
How to Make This Potato Soup Recipe
This simple potato soup recipe is made easy on the stovetop. The trick is cooking the potatoes in evaporated milk to release their natural starch, adding a bit of cornstarch, and blending half of the soup so it gets thick and creamy. Here’s how to make it:
- Cook the bacon. Cook the bacon until crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain and reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease. I cook it in a non-stick skillet for a less pronounced bacon taste, but you can cook it in the soup pot if desired.
- Sauté the onion, garlic, and potatoes. Add the reserved bacon grease to a Dutch oven or large stock pot to melt with the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes, until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and potatoes, season with the black pepper, and sauté for another minute.
- Add the brothy goodness. Add the chicken stock and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil then reduce to a rolling simmer to reduce. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender.
How to Thicken Potato Soup Without Cream
- Use evaporated milk instead of whole milk or cream. Because much of the water content has been removed from evaporated milk, the broth cooks down creamier with the natural thickening power of the potato starches. Evaporated milk also ensures the fats in the broth won’t separate.
- Add cornstarch to the broth to thicken the soup. Adding cornstarch or flour directly to the broth could result in a soup with floury clumps. To ensure it blends in smoothly, spoon a few tablespoons of the broth into a small bowl and whisk the cornstarch (or flour if using) in to create a slurry. Once smooth, add it back to the soup to simmer and thicken. Season with the rest of the salt to taste.
- Blend half of the soup for more thickening power. Ladle half of the soup into a blender and process for about 30 seconds until smooth. Return the blended portion of soup to the pot and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
- Top and serve, loaded-style. When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls, and top with crumbles of cooked bacon then top with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and chopped chives or green onion.
Do You Use Flour or Cornstarch to Thicken Potato Soup
In this potato soup recipe, I use cornstarch as a thickener because it has twice the thickening power so you can use less and avoid a floury flavor. However, both cornstarch and flour will work as thickeners. If using flour, add two tablespoons of flour to create the slurry.
The Creamy Difference Between Evaporated Milk and Regular Milk
Evaporated milk has been heated until 60% of its water content has evaporated away making it thicker and creamier than regular milk and perfect for thickening soups or sauces. While it is homogenized, sterilized, and shelf-stable, evaporated milk shouldn’t be confused with its sweetened cousin, condensed milk. Evaporated milk doesn’t taste sweet and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.
What Potatoes Are Best for Soups
I prefer Yukon gold potatoes when making potato soup. They contain more moisture and less starch than russet potatoes, resulting in a creamier soup. Plus, Yukon gold potatoes hold their shape, rather than dissolving into mush or disappearing into the soup like russets tend to.
What to Serve with Potato Soup
- Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons
- Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese
- Arugula Salad with Apple and Parmesan
- Kale Salad with Parmesan and Pine Nuts
- Green Salad with Pears, Gorgonzola, and Candied Pecans
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Potato Soup Recipe
- 6 slices bacon , (about 10 ounces), divided and 1 tablespoon bacon grease reserved
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion , finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves , pressed or finely chopped
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes , peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt , divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- shredded cheddar cheese , for serving
- sour cream , for serving
- chives , finely chopped, for serving
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Cook in batches if needed. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve then strain 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.
- Melt the butter with the reserved bacon grease in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the onion with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened. Add the potatoes and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chicken stock and evaporated milk, then bring to a boil and reduce to a rolling simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender and the soup has reduced, for about 10 minutes.
- Spoon a few tablespoons of the broth into a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch a bit at a time to create a slurry. Once smooth, add the slurry back to the soup to simmer and thicken. Season with the rest of the salt to taste.
- Ladle half of the soup with potatoes into a blender and process for about 30 seconds until smooth. Return the blended portion of soup to the pot and cook on medium for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the soup thickens. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, and top with crumbles of the cooked bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and chives.
More Creamy Soups You’ll Love
- Tomato Basil Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Creamy Mushroom Soup
- Creamy Bean Soup with Sausage
- Potato Soup with Corn and Jalapeño
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