Loaded Potato Soup is thick, creamy, and gluten-free, plus it’s loaded with delicious add-ins like bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and chives!
Comfort food lovers, rejoice – we made it to soup season! I celebrated by making three different soups in the span of four days this week, including this decadent, silky smooth potato soup loaded with allll the fixin’s. The other is a crock pot soup that’s going to send you straight back to church potluck night as an 11 year old after choir practice, which is a very good thing. (Potluck night, not choir practice, of course.) My Methodist-born husband claims his church threw the best potlucks on Wednesday nights, but I’ve got news for him – us Lutherans have it in the bag!
One thing I miss from my pre-gluten-free days (besides church potluck night – RIP crock pot BBQ weenies) is heading to Panera for a quick and easy lunch. Now made even quicker and easier because you can order online then pick your food up from a shelf in the front of the restaurant without having to wait in line. WHAT?! The other day Ben was in line during a moment when everyone in town seemed to be craving soup, a sandwich, or salad (translation: it was busy,) when he saw a sign above the cash register from behind 15+ people that read, “Order online! Pick up here!” He logged in from his iPhone, ordered, and his food was plunked down on the pick up shelf before he even made it to the register.
HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE TECHNOLOGY?! (Until you don’t? I swear to God I’m about to go Office Space on my printer which will not connect to my computer no matter what I do. I’ve resorted to making my Mom print important documents out for me which I sign then PHOTOGRAPH WITH MY IPHONE before emailing back to the original sender to sign and return. Presumably not via their iPhone. Such a professional.)
Ben, Lincoln, and I were at Panera the other day so the boys could eat lunch when Ben started telling me about his lunch location rotations. Tuesdays and Thursdays are Panera days because that’s when they have acceptable soups (hearty, non-wimpy ones, in case you were wondering.) Mondays and Wednesdays are local deli days where the lunch ladies love him so much they sneak him cookies. Couldn’t make this stuff up. Anyway, if my husband – who typically feels no more than “meh” about soup is starting to eat it for the season, then it’s high time I get a recipe for one up on the blog!
Couldn’t be happier that Loaded Potato Soup is up first!
Full disclosure, this recipe isn’t actually new to IGE! My Mom made it during a Sunday family lunch way back in 2010 and it’s essentially been lost in the archives ever since. High time for this baby to resurface and shine! (Been watching too much Below Deck. Bravo just gets me.)
Anyway, I stumbled upon the recipe about a week ago and knew I wanted to make it again as the temperatures have been steadily dropping this week. Screen doors are open, Studio Pants are glued to my hips, and thick duvets are back on the bed. Perfect time for a hearty bowl of soup!
Loaded Potato Soup definitely fits the bill. A creamy (no cream!) soup base is thickened with mashed potatoes then flavored with lots of bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and sour cream, ladled into bowls and then sprinkled with more freshly grated cheese, bacon, and tons of chopped chives or green onions. This soup is a like a thick blanket on a cool night. The ultimate in comfort.
Bonus: the leftovers get even better as they sit so you can extend the cozy and enjoy a big bowl of Loaded Potato Soup for lunch all week long!
Start by peeling then chopping 4 medium-sized russet potatoes then add the chunks to a big pot of cold water and season with 1 Tablespoon salt. This recipe makes a ton of soup so we want to start seasoning it from the bottom up!
Bring the potatoes to a boil then cook until they’re very tender (but not mushy,) then drain well, add to a big bowl, and mash to your desired consistency. More chunks = a chunkier soup. Less chunks = a less chunky soup! Set the potatoes aside for a bit.
Time saving tips: Cook then mash the potatoes one or two days ahead of time, or use 5 cups leftover mashed potatoes instead. This recipe would be perfect to make after Thanksgiving!
Next add 1/2lb chopped bacon to a large soup pot over medium-heat. I used the same pot I cooked the potatoes in – just gave it a quick rinse then put it back onto the burner and let the heat sizzle off all the water before adding the bacon. Cook the bacon until it’s brown and crisp, then scoop it onto a paper towel lined plate to drain, reserving the bacon fat in the pot.
Now, as I mentioned, this soup is a stick to yar ribs kind of soup. The type that’s going to warm you from the inside out and keep you satisfied for hours. That said, I left all the bacon fat in the pot – MUWAHAHAHA! Ahem. If you’re not feeling as frisky as me though, scoop a few Tablespoons out. Just leave about 1/4 cup fat in there.
Next melt 1/4 cup butter in the pot then add 1 small chopped onion, season with salt and pepper, and saute until the onions are very tender, 7-9 minutes. Ugh, I tell you what, if there is a better smell than onions cooking in butter and bacon, please clue me in. Actually don’t. Let me continue to live in blissful oniony ignorance!
Once the onions are tender, sprinkle in 6 Tablespoons gluten-free or all-purpose flour (the soup will not be GF if using AP flour,) then cook while whisking for a minute or two. I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Sweet Rice Flour, which isn’t actually sweet, for thickening soups and sauces. Next add glugs from 6 cups milk into the flour and onions, while whisking constantly to avoid lumps until a smooth sauce has been formed, then pour all the milk in.
Note: I used unsweetened almond milk, because that’s what we always have in the fridge, but if you’re using cow’s milk I’d use 2% or above!
Season the soup with salt and pepper then turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a simmer while stirring constantly. Turn the heat back down to medium then simmer while stirring until slightly thickened.
Final steps! Add half the mashed potatoes then whisk furiously to combine before whisking in the remaining half. Next whisk in 6oz freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese until smooth, followed by 8oz sour cream.
Add the cooked bacon back into the soup, along with salt and pepper to taste, then let the soup sit off the heat for 10 minutes to thicken. When it’s time to serve, scoop the soup into bowls then top with extra shredded cheese, bacon, and chopped chives or green onions, for that fully loaded effect!
Loaded Potato Soup
Loaded Potato Soup is thick, creamy, and gluten-free, plus it's loaded with delicious add-ins like bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and chives!
- 4 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled then chopped
- 1/2lb bacon, chopped (plus extra cooked bacon for topping)
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 6 Tablespoons gluten-free or all-purpose flour (soup will not be GF if using AP flour)
- 6 cups milk (I used almond milk - use 2% or higher if using cow’s milk)
- 8oz freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup sour cream
- chopped chives or green onions for topping
- Add potatoes to a large pot of cold water then season with 1 Tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil then cook until potatoes are very tender. Drain well then add to a large bowl and mash to your desired consistency (more chunky will mean a chunkier soup.) Can be done ahead of time. Alternatively you could use 5 cups leftover mashed potatoes.
- Add bacon to a soup pot over medium heat, cook until crisp, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving bacon fat in the pot (you could remove a few Tablespoons but leave at least 1/4 cup bacon fat in pot.) Melt butter in bacon fat then add onions, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until very tender, 7-9 minutes. Sprinkle in flour then whisk until smooth and cook for 1-2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Slowly add milk a splash at a time while whisking constantly to avoid lumps until a smooth sauce has formed, then add the rest of the milk.
- Season generously with salt and pepper then turn heat up to medium-high and bring soup to a simmer while stirring constantly. Turn heat back down to medium then cook while stirring constantly until soup has slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes.
- Add half the mashed potatoes then whisk until smooth, and then whisk in remaining mashed potatoes. Add 3/4 of the cheese then whisk until smooth, and then add sour cream and whisk until smooth. Stir in cooked bacon.
- Taste then add salt and pepper, and then remove soup from heat to sit and thicken for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls then serve with the reserved cheese, chives or green onions, and extra bacon.
- I like Bob's Red Mill Sweet White Rice Flour for thickening soups and sauces.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
My Mom originally served these in bread bowls, and if you could find soft pretzel bowls I think your mind would melt right alongside the cheese you sprinkle on top, but if you’re gluten-free like me, serve each steaming bowl with GF crostini or crackers for a little dipping action. However you eat it – enjoy!