Creamy Potato & Leek Soup

A handful of years ago I was at a wedding that served a Cream of Potato & Leek soup as part of the meal. It’s one of the most memorable food items I’ve ever had at a wedding… maybe the most memorable. It was delicious – thick and hearty, creamy, and full of flavor. The leeks imparted a mellow flavor reminiscent of an onion, but not nearly as strong or overpowering, and the taste of potato really shined through. I’ve been dreaming of that soup ever since, and keep making mental notes to look for a recipe so I could try to recreate it. Well, it’s been almost five years, so I’d say that my statute of limitations was almost up, and I finally hunkered down to make a version of cream of potato and leek soup. It’s just as delicious as I remember it, and I love that I can now have it anytime at home, without being reduced to just daydreaming about it!

Of all the potato and leek soup recipes that I found I loved this one most for two reasons:

#1: It is creamy; and
#2: There is not any cream in the recipe.

Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? The creamy texture is achieved by adding a slice of dried out bread (torn into pieces) into the soup and then ultimately pureeing everything together in the blender. The flavors blend beautifully and the bread helps to give it a thickness that otherwise would need heavy doses of cream to achieve. I love how healthy that makes this soup!

The original recipe calls for chicken broth, but as a general rule of thumb, I use vegetable broth for any soup or dish that doesn’t include meat to begin with. This has become a habit since my sister became a vegetarian; I like to make sure that if something doesn’t have meat in it then mere broth won’t keep her from eating it. (The one exception to this rule is French Onion Soup!)

Have you ever eaten something at a function that you just can’t stop thinking about?!

One year ago: Butternut Squash Soup
Two years ago: How to Roast Garlic
Three years ago: Wendy’s Copycat Chili
Four years ago: The Perfect Omelet

Creamy Potato & Leek Soup

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


4 medium leeks, white and light-green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and sliced thin (about 4 cups), dark green parts halved, washed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 small russet potato (about 6 ounces), peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 bay leaf
1 (4-inch) sprig fresh thyme or tarragon
1 large slice white sandwich bread, lightly toasted and torn into 1/2-inch pieces
Ground black pepper


1. Bring dark-green leek pieces, broth, and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; set aside. Discard solids in strainer and rinse out saucepan.

2. Melt butter in now-empty saucepan over medium-low heat. When butter foams, stir in sliced leeks, onion, and salt. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.

3. Increase heat to high, stir in reserved broth, potato, bay leaf, and herb sprig and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add toasted bread and simmer until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes.

4. Remove and discard bay leaf and herb sprig. Transfer half of soup to blender and process until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and repeat with remaining soup. Return soup to saucepan and bring to simmer over medium-low heat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish and serve.

Note #1: If you have an immersion blender, you can use that to puree the soup directly in the pot.

Note #2: Use the lowest setting on your toaster to dry out the bread without overbrowning it.

Note #3: Garnish ideas - garlic croutons, fried leeks, or a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of chives (shown).

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)


52 Responses to “Creamy Potato & Leek Soup”

  1. Choc Chip Uru on October 25, 2011 at 3:18 am

    I’ve just ate dinner and am hungry again 😛
    Thanks to your dishes, I think I might have to start making savory food now 🙂


  2. Michelle on October 25, 2011 at 3:45 am

    I tend to fantasize about sharks fin soup after attending a Chinese or Vietnamese wedding; fantasies are made worse when you don’t have a hope of recreating the dish!

    The leek and potato soup sounds fantastic. And healthy?? I’ve gotta find some leeks and put this on my lunch menu for the chilly days coming up 🙂


  3. Blog is the New Black on October 25, 2011 at 5:22 am

    This looks wonderful! I love soups, esp at this time of year. I’m on a soup kick.


  4. Carrie@ Bakeaholic Mama on October 25, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Looks delish! This is one of my favorite soups, I recently did a cauliflower and leek soup in attemt to be a bit healthier…. but what I really want is potato!


  5. Katrina on October 25, 2011 at 7:00 am

    This is my all time favorite soup! Thanks!


  6. Jennifer@Peanut Butter and Peppers on October 25, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Funny you shared this recipe, I just bought a huge bag of potatoes, I promised him potato soup this week! Your soup looks delish!!!


  7. Lori on October 25, 2011 at 7:26 am

    thanks for posting. I just bought leeks and potatoes but didn’t have a recipe. Now I have!


  8. Liz @ Easy Meals Examiner on October 25, 2011 at 8:47 am

    This is really different with the bread in it, never heard of that! Must try, thank you 🙂


  9. Anna on October 25, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Oh yummmmmmm. Potato and Leek soup (in any form) is an absolute favorite of mine! Now I wish it would snow (don’t kill me – it’s my favorite excuse for making potato soup)!


  10. Holly on October 25, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I’m making this tonight! By my calculations, it’s just 173 calories/serving (I’ll be using chicken stock, because that’s what I have at home). Thanks for a great, calorie-conscious recipe choice!


  11. bridget {bake at 350} on October 25, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Oh, I wish I could have this for lunch today!!! Sounds so yummy!


  12. Miriam @ Overtime Cook on October 25, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I love soup! I’ve seen recipes for potato leek soup, but have never tried it. I’m bookmarking this recipe- it sounds delicious!


  13. Rob Garris on October 25, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I love this soup, can’t wait to try your recipe! 🙂


  14. amanda @ fake ginger on October 25, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I love the bread trick! I would’ve never thought of that. The soup looks delicious. I need to remember to grab some leeks next time I’m at the store.


  15. Heather on October 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Would it be all right to use wheat bread? We don’t have white at home because no one eats it, and using just one large slice doesn’t seem to make sense to buy an entire loaf. Looks amazing though, I’m definitely going to be trying this soon!


    • Michelle on October 25th, 2011 at 11:33 pm

      Hi Heather, I certainly don’t see why not! Go for it!


      • Heather on October 26th, 2011 at 8:15 am

        Thanks Michelle! We usually have the 40-Calorie Wheat bread at home, and it’s lighter than normal wheat bread – do you think that might change the consistency? I’m going to be making it tonight I went out and bought everything else last night!


        • Michelle on October 26th, 2011 at 10:48 am

          Hi Heather, I would use two slices of that light bread – I used one slice of regular, thick-sliced sandwich bread. Enjoy dinner tonight!


          • Heather on October 28th, 2011 at 11:54 am

            I ended up making it last night instead – but it was amazing!! Getting ready to have some for lunch 🙂


  16. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) on October 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    There is something so comforting and warm about this combo of flavors. I can almost taste it through the computer screen. Nice texture and toppings!


  17. natalie (the sweets life) on October 25, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Just last year I discovered my love for leeks–I can’t wait to try this!


  18. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride on October 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Ohhhh, yum. I just love a good potato soup recipe.


  19. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on October 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I’m totally on a soup kick and love this recipe! YUM! Can’t wait to try it…


  20. Marilyn on October 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Yes! I love creamy soups and am truly tickled when I find recipes without cream. Thanks!


  21. Biana @ on October 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I love Potato Leek Soup and recently posted about it on my blog as well. It’s wonderful, has just a few ingredients, and is creamy without the cream. What’s not to like?


  22. Rachel @ Bakerita on October 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    This is my favorite kind of soup!
    My mom makes my favorite version, and although I’ve never tried to recreate it, I really want to!
    She doesn’t use cream either, but hers tends to be runny so I’m curious about the bread trick! Can’t wait to try it.


  23. Jen on October 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I feel the same exact way about a tiramisu that I had at a rehearsal dinner like 14 years ago! I have dreams of that dessert!!


  24. angela on October 26, 2011 at 12:30 am

    So happy to see there is no cream, but it looks so creamy and satisfying.


  25. CelebrEATySarah on October 26, 2011 at 8:10 am

    yummy…gotta make some soon!


  26. Tiffany {A Clove of Garlic} on October 26, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I do the same thing with soup broth. I feel like if it almost vegetarian, why not make it so?

    This looks so incredibly delicious. You will see it on my menu SOON!


  27. CouponClippingCook on October 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Does this ever look good. I’ve never cooked with leeks before so this is a perfect first recipe to try. The flavors sound really good together.


  28. Mercedes (Satisfy My Sweet Tooth) on October 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I love leek and potato soup and your version looks absolutely perfect and amazing! I can’t wait to make this!


  29. Trisha on November 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Can you use french or ciabbata bread and just cut of the crust?


    • Michelle on November 2nd, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Yes, I think that would work!


  30. Karen on November 3, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I made this recipe last weekend and absolutely loved it! It was creamy without the cream (and the accompanying calories and fat). If you haven’t tried this recipe, please do! You’ll love it. Another great recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker!


  31. Trish on November 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I made this last week. A bit labor intensive, but it came out pretty good. I do feel like it needs a little bit more flavor but I’m not sure what exactly!


  32. Melinda on November 13, 2011 at 10:06 am

    I’ve tried this recipe twice now and my boyfriend and I just think it’s DIVINE. Do you think you could substitute bread into any soup recipe for heavy cream? We live in Turkey and it doesn’t seem to be available but I enjoy making soup.

    FYI, I posted about your recipe on my blog:


    • Michelle on November 15th, 2011 at 10:29 am

      Hi Melinda, It’s a good question, I don’t see why not!


  33. Lacy on December 2, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I have to say, I doubted this recipe. Only one, small potato?!? But, we forged ahead and am so glad we did. It’s really delicious! We used whole wheat bread and it turned out just fine. My Mom couldn’t get over that it didn’t have any cream in it. I ended up baking an additional potato separately and adding some chunks from that after the soup was blended just to stretch it a bit (and I like chunks of potato in soup) and that worked very well. But it certainly doen’t need it, very potato-y on it’s own. Thanks for such a great recipe!


  34. Kerry on January 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    I made this tonight. I didn’t have white bread so I used the Panko breadcrumbs. I used about 1/2 cup. It was perfect on the first rain of the season. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.


  35. Anna on March 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Tried your recipe and the soup turned out great! It was very tasty and filling. Highly recommend and would make again.


  36. jmc on November 2, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Do you know how to scale up this recipe ? Is it just a matter of times-ing everything by 7? I’m cooking for about 25 for a homeless shelter and this could be first course.


    • Michelle on November 2nd, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      I’ve never scaled it that large, but yes, I would just increase everything seven-fold if that’s how much you need to make. Definitely let me know how it goes!


      • jmc on November 3rd, 2012 at 11:36 am

        It tastes lovely – just right for a cold night in London.


  37. Joy on December 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I’ve made this twice now, and will make it a third time for Christmas. Since I never have white bread around, I substituted with 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs. It worked perfectly!


  38. Brian on November 16, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Great recipe! Easy and delicious. I had some leftover pieces of grilled pork loin that I chopped in small chunks and added to the finished soup. It made it a little more hearty and filling.


  39. Linda on January 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    This was delicious! I had some leftover mashed potatoes & used a scoop of that in lieu of the bread & it worked out great. I’m sad this only makes 4 servings! I guess I’ll have to make it again soon : )


  40. Andreea on February 11, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I love you and your recipes


  41. nisi on March 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Wowswers….just made it today. My 5 year old and dad in law both gobbled it up. Very very tasty


  42. Milagros on January 25, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Awww I just prepared the soup! It’s delicious 🙂 The only thing I changed was the bread for milk! Thanks for the recipe!


  43. Robin Schubert on March 15, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    This soup was DELICIOUS!!! I used a large potato and omitted the bread. I also used the chicken broth. It was perfect! Thank you for such a great recipe!


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