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Imagine all the delicious flavors of a loaded baked potato together in one amazing bowl of good-for-you soup. This recipe is a bit on the magic side, being creamy without the addition of milk or cream. It’s all due to the combination of boldly flavored real-food ingredients, a simple technique, and (what we think is) one of the very best uses for leeks!
This recipe was originally published on January 17, 2019; Updated on May 20, 2021.
A Recipe for Potato Leek Soup You’ll Want to Make Again and Again
Just 10 whole-food ingredients come together to make this delicious and comforting potato leek soup that is just right for cold winter nights, cool spring evenings, rainy summer days, and chill-in-the-air autumn weekends. There’s no single time of the year that you need to wait for to make a nourishing soup. We say make it whenever the craving hits!
Ingredients To Make Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Bacon
What do you need to make this potato leek soup recipe? It all comes together with a sweep through the produce aisle plus some bacon and broth – that’s it!
- Red or Yukon gold potatoes – use either kind or a mix of both potatoes
- Bacon – we like the no-sugar bacon from Applegate or the bacon from ButcherBox
- Fresh leek – see below for how to select a leek
- Yellow onion – or use a white onion
- Dried thyme – can use fresh thyme or substitute dried oregano or dried marjoram
- Dried parsley – can use fresh flat-leaf parsley or substitute dried cilantro, dried basil, or dried chives
- Chicken or vegetable broth – use low-sodium broth or make your own with our recipe for Homemade Bone Broth or Instant Pot Bone Broth
How To Make Potato Leek Bacon Soup
You don’t need any additional oil, butter, or cream to make this creamy easy potato soup recipe.
Start by sautéing the diced bacon in a pot, then remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Next, sauté the leek, celery, onion, and garlic in the bacon drippings. Once the onion has softened, add the broth, potatoes, and seasonings. Cook the potato leek soup for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are quite tender and easily pierced with a fork.
Next, ladle about half or three-quarters of the soup into the container of a blender. This step is what makes the soup creamy and thick. Blend the soup until it is mostly blended with some small chunks of potato remaining.
Return the blended portion of soup back to the pot and stir it all together. You’re nearly done. All that’s left to do to finish this easy potato soup recipe is add the bacon back in. Ladle it into bowls and garnish with some of the bacon and fresh herbs and enjoy your delicious bowl of potato lek soup with bacon.
Why Leeks Are Good For You
We think that leeks don’t get the attention they deserve. We know that leeks can be a little intimidating. But when you start to think of a leek as a tender, mild, flavorful (and giant) green onion, then you’ll start to see all the possibilities for using this wonderful, approachable vegetable. While the top dark green leaves of a leek are hard and flat, it’s the bottom light green and white parts that chefs and in-the-know home cooks love to incorporate into recipes of all kinds. Leeks are a classic flavor pairing with ham, chicken, seafood, cream, garlic, parsley, and thyme – yes, a lot of the flavors you get in this very soup!
Leeks are part of a family of vegetables called alliums, along with all types of onions and garlic. This family of vegetables is particularly high in anti-inflammatory compounds that can lower your risk of inflammation-related conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, joint pain, and digestive ailments. Leeks are also an excellent food source of prebiotic fiber, the type of fiber that promotes good gut health and helps you absorb other nutrients to their fullest.
What is a Leek, and How to Pick One Out
A leek is a green vegetable of the allium family that has an edible bulb that grows underground. Leeks taste a lot like an onion, though they are very mild and even a little sweet. Cut the bottom roots and the top hard and dark leaves off of the leek and then slice the remaining stalk and bulb into half-moon slices. It can be helpful to swish the chopped leeks in a bowl of water to remove any dirt that may have gotten stuck in the layers.
Buy a leek with the roots and dark green stems still intact, which will help it stay fresher for longer. Select a leek that has a firm (not flimsy) dark leaves and has a clean and white slender bulb.
How Our Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Bacon Fits Into Your Diet
Our potato leek bacon soup is made with all whole-food ingredients and fits well into many diets and allergies. Since we use the blender technique to achieve a thick and creamy soup, rather than loading it full of milk and heavy cream, this soup is dairy-free. Our recipe for easy potato soup Whole30 friendly, paleo approved, as well as gluten free and nut free.
You won’t find any added sugar or even any added butter, making the recipe for potato leek soup dairy free and Whole30 compliant. Even though the soup is thick and creamy, it won’t leave you feeling heavy and weighed down. But it will leave you craving another bowl.
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Let’s Get Cookin’
Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Bacon
The complementing flavors of creamy potatoes, leeks, celery, bacon, spices, and broth combine for an irresistible bowl of whole-food goodness that is delicious, nutritious, and budget-friendly, too!
- Author: The Real Food Dietitians
- Prep Time: 15 min.
- Cook Time: 30 min.
- Total Time: 45 min.
- Yield: 6 cups (4 servings) 1x
- 4–5 strips slices bacon, chopped
- 1 large leek, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only; about 2–3 cups)
- 2 celery ribs, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves)
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh parsley)
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 lbs. red or Yukon gold potatoes (or a mix), cut into 1/4–1/2-inch cubes with skin still on
- 3 – 3 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
- Optional: Chopped parsley and/or chives, fresh cracked black pepper or red pepper flakes
- Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When pot is hot, add the chopped bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain; set aside.
- To the same pot with the bacon drippings, add the sliced leek, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes or until the onions start to soften. Add garlic, stir and cook another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add remaining ingredients to the pot (except for the bacon, 1/2 cup of the broth, and any garnishes). Set aside the ½ cup broth for later. Bring ingredients in pot just to a boil then lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer and cover with a lid.
- Cook for 20-22 minutes or until potatoes are very tender. Remove from heat and ladle half to three-quarters of the soup to the container of the blender. Secure the blender lid in place and blend until soup is creamy with some chunks remaining. Or, if you want it really creamy, then blend it even further to your desired consistency. Alternatively, you can also use an immersion blender to blend the soup right in the pot to your desired consistency/chunkiness.
- Carefully remove blender lid and stir the blended soup back into the pot. Add the reserved ½ cup broth, if needed, to thin the soup to desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt if needed. Stir in bacon and garnish with optional toppings.
Instant Pot Directions:
- Select ‘saute’ function. When pot is hot, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.
- To the Instant Pot still on ‘sauce’ function, add the leeks, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes or until the onions start to soften. Add garlic, stir and cook another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot (except for the bacon, 1/2 cup of the broth, and any garnishes). Set aside the ½ cup broth for later.
- Lock lid in place and set vent valve to ‘sealing’ position. Cook for 13 minutes at high pressure. When cooking time is up, allow 5 minutes of natural release before flipping vent valve to ‘venting’ position to release any residual pressure.
- Remove lid from Instant Pot, transfer half of the soup to the container of the blender. Secure blender lid in place and blend until soup is creamy with some chunks remaining or if you want it really creamy, then continue to blend to your liking. Alternatively, you can also use an immersion blender to blend the soup right in the Instant Pot to your desired consistency/chunkiness.
- Carefully remove blender lid and pour blended soup back into the pot. Stir in additional ½ cup broth, if needed, to thin soup to desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt if needed. Stir in bacon and garnish with optional toppings.
- Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
- Calories: 261
- Sugar: 6 g
- Sodium: 588 mg
- Fat: 5 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 45 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 12 g
- Cholesterol: 6
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About Jessica Beacom
Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.