Unearth the enticing secrets of a bowl brimming with warmth and flavor – our star of the show, Loaded Potato Soup Recipe. With its roots deep in home-style cooking, this culinary delight offers an irresistible symphony of textures and tastes.
Each spoonful is a rich blend of velvety potatoes, crispy bacon, and melted cheese harmonized with chives’ fresh, piquant notes. Unquestionably, it’s an ode to comfort food at its finest.
Indulge in this heartwarming dish, the perfect answer to a chilly evening or a nostalgic craving. Revel in the joy that each satisfying mouthful brings, and let this tantalizing recipe reveal why it stands unrivaled.
Make no mistake – this isn’t just another soup; it’s an experience. In this journey through flavors and traditions, we uncover how the humble potato, treated with love and expertise, transforms into an extraordinary bowl of Loaded Potato Soup.
The recipe awaits you; are you ready to explore?
What Is Loaded Potato Soup?
Loaded Potato Soup is a hearty dish that embodies comfort food at its finest. It’s traditionally made with chunky potatoes, melded together in a creamy base, often thickened with flour or a roux.
The ‘loaded’ part comes from the toppings that echo a fully dressed baked potato: generous sprinklings of crispy bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, and fresh green onions or chives.
This rich, indulgent soup provides a warming, satisfying meal that’s perfect for chilly days or whenever you crave a taste of home.
History Of Loaded Potato Soup
The exact origin of Loaded Potato Soup is somewhat nebulous, as potatoes and soup have been kitchen mainstays for centuries. Potatoes, native to South America, were introduced to Europe in the 16th century and quickly became a dietary staple due to their versatility and nutritional value.
Soup, a dish as old as cooking itself, has always been a canvas for innovation. The concept of ‘loaded’ potato soup likely originates from the American tradition of loaded baked potatoes, which gained popularity in the 20th century.
The idea to blend these comforting elements into a rich, hearty soup seems a natural culinary evolution.
Interesting Facts About Loaded Potato Soup
- Versatility: Loaded Potato Soup is incredibly versatile. You can modify it to suit vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diets, and you can add other ingredients like leeks, corn, or different types of cheese to switch up the flavors.
- International Variations: While the loaded version is popular in the United States, variations of potato soup can be found worldwide. Germany has Kartoffelsuppe, a simple potato soup, and Ireland, a traditional potato and leek soup.
- Nutrition: Potatoes, the main ingredient, are packed with essential nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Though the soup is often considered indulgent, it does have some health benefits.
- Origins of the Loaded Concept: The idea of ‘loading’ food started with baked potatoes. Steakhouses in the 19th century would serve a simple baked potato as a side, and over time, diners started adding more ingredients like cheese, bacon, and chives, leading to the concept of a ‘loaded’ potato.
- Food Trends: In recent years, loaded potato soup has been creatively reimagined in different forms like casseroles, dips, and even pizza flavors, demonstrating its influence in the culinary world.
What Makes Loaded Potato Soup Special?
Loaded Potato Soup is special due to its embodiment of pure comfort food. It combines simple, readily available ingredients to create a heartwarming, indulgent, and homey dish.
What sets it apart is the ‘loaded’ element, borrowed from the concept of loaded baked potatoes. The generous addition of toppings like crispy bacon, shredded cheese, and fresh chives adds layers of texture and flavor, turning an ordinary soup into a mouthwatering, savory experience.
This combination of comfort, familiarity, and a bit of culinary indulgence makes Loaded Potato Soup a beloved choice for many.
|Potatoes (peeled and cubed)||8|
|All-purpose flour||1/2 cup|
|Onion (chopped)||1/4 cup|
|Sour cream||1 (8 ounce) container|
|Cheddar cheese (shredded)||1/2 cup|
- Potatoes: Choose starchy potatoes like Russets for your soup. They break down nicely and contribute to a creamy texture.
- Bacon: Opt for thick-cut bacon. It’s less likely to become overly crispy when cooked and provides a more substantial bite.
- Cheese: Grate your own cheese from a block rather than using pre-shredded cheese. It melts better and contributes to a smoother soup.
- Onions and Garlic: Don’t rush cooking for onions and garlic. Letting them gently sweat helps develop a deep, sweet flavor.
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour to thicken the soup. You can use cornstarch or gluten-free flour blend for a gluten-free version.
Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?
- Vegetarian/Vegan Version: You can skip the bacon for a vegetarian version, and for a vegan adaptation, use plant-based milk and cheese. Consider adding smoked paprika or liquid smoke for a bacon-like flavor without the meat.
- Additional Vegetables: Leeks, celery, or corn can be added to the base for more flavor and nutrition.
- Protein Boost: If you want to increase the protein, consider adding cooked chicken, turkey, or even tofu.
- Spice It Up: Add a diced jalapeno pepper or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.
- Cheese Varieties: Experiment with different types of cheese. A smoked gouda or sharp Cheddar can provide a new depth of flavor.
- Seafood Variation: For a maritime twist, add cooked clams, shrimp, or chunks of white fish.
- Microwave cubed potatoes until soft, 7-10 minutes.
- In a large pot, melt butter, whisk in flour, gradually add milk, and simmer.
- Add cooked potatoes and onion to the pot and continue cooking.
- Stir in sour cream and Cheddar until melted.
- Season with salt and pepper, and serve hot.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
- Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup: Add some finely chopped broccoli to the soup during the last few minutes of cooking and let it soften in the hot soup. The broccoli adds a nice crunch and pairs well with the cheese.
- Clam Chowder Style Potato Soup: Add canned or fresh clams to give it a seafood twist reminiscent of clam chowder.
- Spicy Southwest Potato Soup: Add some black beans, corn, and diced green chilies to the soup for a Southwest flair.
- Meat: Add cooked, shredded chicken or turkey to make the soup more substantial.
- Vegetables: Add diced bell peppers, corn, or peas for extra veggies and color.
- Beans: Add cannellini beans or chickpeas for added protein and fiber.
- Croutons: Top with garlic or cheese croutons for a delightful crunch.
- Cheese: Try different types of cheese, like blue cheese, smoked gouda, or feta, for a unique flavor twist.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or cilantro can add a fresh flavor and a splash of color.
- Spicy: If you like a little heat, top your soup with sliced jalapenos, hot sauce, or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
Scaling The Recipe
To scale a recipe for loaded potato soup up or down, you’ll need to adjust the quantities of ingredients proportionally. Let’s say we have a basic recipe for loaded potato soup that serves 4 people.
If you want to scale it up to serve 8 people, you’ll double the ingredients quantities. For example, if the original recipe calls for 4 medium potatoes, you’ll need 8 medium potatoes for the scaled-up version.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Chives or Green Onions: These herbs’ bright, fresh flavor contrasts with the rich, creamy soup. They also add a pop of color.
- Bacon: Crumbled cooked bacon brings a smoky, salty crunch that works well with the creamy soup.
- Cheese: A sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream on top makes the soup even more indulgent.
- Black Pepper: A freshly ground black pepper dash looks beautiful and adds a slight heat to the soup.
- Croutons: Homemade or store-bought croutons add a delightful crunch to the soup. Choose a flavor that compliments the soup, such as garlic or cheese.
- Paprika: A light dusting of smoked paprika can provide a beautiful color and a hint of smoky flavor.
- Fresh herbs: Parsley or dill can provide a fresh, bright contrast to the soup’s richness.
Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
For a slow cooker, you’d first sauté your onions, garlic, and bacon (if using) in a skillet. Then, you’d add those, along with diced potatoes, seasonings, and broth, to the slow cooker.
Cook on low for about 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. After this, you can blend some of the soup to create a creamy texture, add your dairy ingredients, and let it cook for another 15-30 minutes.
You can use the sauté function in an Instant Pot to cook your onions, garlic, and bacon. Then, add your diced potatoes, seasonings, and broth. Secure the lid, set the valve to ‘Sealing,’ and pressure cook on high for about 10 minutes.
After a natural release for 10 minutes, you can do a quick release for any remaining pressure. Blend some of the soup if you want it creamier, stir in your dairy ingredients, and then let it sit for a few minutes to warm through.
Can I Use Store Broth Or Should I Make My Own?
While homemade broth can undoubtedly add a depth of flavor to your Loaded Potato Soup, it is by no means a requirement. The store-bought broth is perfectly fine to use and significantly reduces prep time.
When selecting a store-bought broth, choose a high-quality one to ensure the best flavor. Look for low-sodium broths, so you have better control over the salt level in your soup. A good vegetable broth will work well if you’re making a vegetarian version of the soup.
If you do have the time and resources to make your own broth, it can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use it. A homemade chicken or vegetable broth can really elevate the soup and give it a more personalized touch.
Can I Use Different Types Of Fish/Meat/Pasta/Vegetables?
- Fish/Seafood: White fish like cod or haddock, cooked and flaked into pieces, would work well. Shrimp or clams could also be added for a seafood twist. However, be mindful of the cooking times, as overcooked seafood can become challenging.
- Meat: Besides the traditional bacon, you could use ham, cooked and shredded chicken, turkey, or even chorizo for a spicy twist. Vegetarians might opt for tofu or tempeh.
- Pasta: While not traditional in Loaded Potato Soup, you could add small pasta shapes if you’d like a heartier soup. Orzo, small shells, or ditalini would work well. Keep in mind that pasta will absorb some of the broth, so you may need to add more.
- Vegetables: You can certainly add extra vegetables. Leeks would complement the flavor profile beautifully. Other good choices include carrots, celery, corn, peas, finely chopped spinach, or kale.
Success Tips-Tips And Tricks For The Recipe
- Potatoes: Opt for starchy varieties like Russets for a creamier texture.
- Bacon: Cook until just crispy, not overly done.
- Cheese: Freshly grated melts better than pre-packaged shredded.
- Seasoning: Don’t skimp on salt; potatoes need it!
- Blending: Puree a portion of the soup for creaminess, leaving some chunks for texture.
- Heat: Serve piping hot and garnish just before serving for maximum freshness and flavor impact.
- Potatoes: Make sure to cut your potatoes into uniform pieces to ensure even cooking.
- Bacon: If using, cook the bacon first, then use the rendered fat to sauté your onions and garlic for added flavor.
- Cheese: If you’re using cheese, grating it yourself results in a smoother melt than pre-shredded cheese.
- Garnishes: Prepare your garnishes ahead of time so they’re ready to go when the soup is done.
Cooking Time Tips
- Simmering: Let the soup simmer gently on the stove rather than boiling rapidly. This will help the flavors meld together better and prevent the dairy from curdling.
- Tenderness: Make sure the potatoes are fully cooked before blending the soup. They should be easily pierced with a fork.
- Final Touches: Once you’ve added the dairy (cream, milk, or cheese), you only need to cook the soup a little longer to heat these ingredients through.
- Reheating: If leftovers are reheated slowly on the stovetop over low heat to prevent the soup from separating. Stir occasionally for even heating.
- Slow Cooker/Instant Pot: If using these appliances, adjust the cooking time accordingly. A slow cooker will need several hours on low, while an Instant Pot will cook the soup in a fraction of the time.
A typical Loaded Potato Soup can contain approximately 300-400 calories per 1-cup serving. This includes about 15-20g of fat (due to the cheese, bacon, and cream), 30-35 g of carbohydrates from the potatoes, and around 10-15 g of protein. The soup also provides dietary fiber from the potatoes and beneficial vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin C and potassium. Always refer to your specific recipe or ingredients for precise nutritional information.
What Are Total Calories In The Recipe?
The total calorie content can vary widely depending on the ingredients used, such as the type and quantity of meat, dairy, and vegetables involved and the portion size.
On average, a serving of Loaded Potato Soup (about 1 cup) can contain between 300-400 calories.
Dietary Restrictions For The Recipe
- Vegetarian/Vegan: Traditional Loaded Potato Soup contains bacon, which isn’t suitable for vegetarians or vegans. For a vegetarian version, you could omit the bacon. You’d also need to replace the dairy products with plant-based alternatives, like almond milk and vegan cheese, for a vegan version.
- Gluten-Free: Most versions of this soup are naturally gluten-free, but some may include flour as a thickener. You could use cornstarch or a gluten-free flour blend to make it gluten-free.
- Dairy-Free/Lactose Intolerance: The soup usually contains dairy products such as milk, cream, and cheese. Those with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance can replace these with lactose-free or non-dairy alternatives.
- Low-Fat/Low-Calorie Diets: Loaded Potato Soup is often high in calories and fat due to ingredients like bacon, cheese, and cream. For a lighter version, you could use turkey bacon or omit the bacon altogether, use low-fat dairy products, and increase the proportion of vegetables.
- Low-Sodium Diets: This soup can be high in sodium, mainly if using store-bought broth and adding bacon and cheese. To reduce the sodium, use a low-sodium broth, limit added salt, and be mindful of the sodium content in your bacon and cheese.
Health Benefits Of The Recipe
- Potatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin C and potassium. They are also rich in fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health.
- Onions and Garlic: Both are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. They also add a significant amount of flavor, which can reduce the need for excess salt.
- Bacon: While not particularly lean, bacon does contribute protein to the dish, which is essential for tissue repair and growth.
- Dairy: Milk or cream and cheese add calcium and Vitamin D, both of which are important for bone health.
How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sodium?
- Broth: Opt for a low-sodium or no-salt-added broth. This is one of the easiest ways to reduce the sodium level.
- Bacon: Choose lower-sodium bacon, or reduce the amount used. You could even substitute the bacon with low-sodium meat or omit it altogether.
- Cheese: Some cheeses are high in sodium. Look for low-sodium varieties or use less cheese in the recipe.
- Seasoning: Avoid adding extra salt until the end of the cooking process. The other ingredients provide enough flavor. If more seasoning is needed, consider using herbs, spices, or sodium-free seasonings to enhance the taste without adding sodium.
- Vegetables: Incorporate more vegetables, such as onions, garlic, and celery. They’ll naturally improve the flavor of the soup without contributing significant sodium.
How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sugar ?
- Broth: Choose a broth without added sugars. Check the ingredient list to be sure.
- Bacon: Some bacon, especially if it’s cured or smoked, can contain added sugars. Look for a sugar-free option, or you can skip it altogether.
- Dairy: Some dairy products can contain lactose, a type of sugar. This is typically small and only a concern for most people if you follow a very low-carb or ketogenic diet.
- Vegetables: Onions do contain some natural sugars, but the amount per serving in a soup like this would be minimal. If you’re concerned, reduce the amount of onions used.
How To Serve The Soup At Its Best ?
- Temperature: Ensure the soup is served piping hot. Not only does this enhance the flavors, but it also helps the toppings (like cheese) melt nicely into the soup.
- Bowl Selection: Choose a deep bowl to keep the soup warm for longer. Pre-warming the bowl in the oven or filling it with hot water (then emptying it) before serving can also help maintain the soup’s temperature.
- Garnish: Just before serving, garnish the soup with your toppings, like crispy bacon bits, shredded cheese, and freshly chopped chives or green onions. This looks appetizing and gives your guests the joy of the mixed textures from the toppings.
- Accompaniments: Consider serving the soup with a slice of crusty bread, a bread roll, or a side salad. This helps to create a complete, satisfying meal.
- Serving Utensils: Use a ladle for serving the soup to avoid spills. A soup spoon is also the best utensil for your guests to use.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Recipe
- Crusty Bread or Bread Rolls: The crunch of crusty bread contrasts beautifully with the soup’s creaminess, and it’s perfect for soaking up every last drop.
- Side Salad: A fresh, crisp salad can balance the soup’s richness. Consider a simple green salad with vinaigrette or a tangy coleslaw.
- Roasted Vegetables: Lightly seasoned and roasted veggies like Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or carrots can add a nice variety of texture and flavor.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich: For a truly indulgent meal, serve the soup with a grilled cheese sandwich for dipping.
- Baked Goods: A savory scone or muffin could complement the soup nicely.
How Long Can I Store The Soup?
Loaded Potato Soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Be sure to store it in airtight containers to maintain the best quality.
You can freeze the soup if you want to store it for longer. Freezing is best without additional toppings like cheese and bacon, as their texture can change upon freezing and reheating.
Once the soup is completely cooled, transfer it to freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, leaving some space for expansion, and it should keep well for about 2-3 months.
Can I Make Soup In Advance?
Absolutely! Loaded Potato Soup is a great dish to make in advance. It can even taste better the next day, as the flavors have more time to meld together.
You can prepare the soup entirely, let it cool, and then store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Before serving, reheat the soup on the stove over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. Then, you can add your toppings and serve.
If you want to make it even further in advance, the soup can be frozen for 2-3 months. It’s best to freeze the soup without the toppings and then add them after reheating for the best texture.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Freeze It: As previously mentioned, you can freeze the soup for later use. This works great if you have a lot of leftovers or if you like to meal prep.
- Lunch/Dinner: The soup makes a fantastic lunch or dinner the next day. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- New Dish: You could also repurpose the soup into a new dish. For instance, you could use it as a sauce over cooked chicken or vegetables or even use it as a base for a casserole.
- Loaded Baked Potatoes: Consider reducing the soup on the stove until it’s thicker, then use it as a topping for loaded baked potatoes. Add some additional cheese and broil the potatoes until the cheese is bubbly and brown.
- Large Pot/Dutch Oven: This is necessary for cooking the soup. A Dutch oven is great for maintaining even heat.
- Sharp Knife and Cutting Board: These are needed for chopping vegetables and any meat.
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula: To stir the soup as it cooks.
- Ladle: For serving the soup.
- Immersion Blender/Food Processor/Stand Blender: If you prefer a creamy soup, you’ll need one of these to blend part or all of the soup.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: These are needed to measure your ingredients accurately.
- Slow Cooker/Instant Pot: If you prefer to cook your soup this way, you’ll need one of these appliances.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Make Loaded Potato Soup Vegetarian Or Vegan?
Absolutely! For a vegetarian version, simply omit the bacon. For a vegan adaptation, in addition to omitting the bacon, you can substitute the dairy products with plant-based alternatives such as almond milk and vegan cheese.
I Don’t Have A Blender Or Food Processor. Can I Still Make This Soup?
Yes, you can still make the soup. Without blending, your soup will have a chunkier texture with pieces of potato, which many people find enjoyable.
The Soup Turned Out Too Thin. How Can I Thicken It?
If your soup is too thin, you can make a roux in a separate pan by melting some butter, adding an equal amount of flour, and cooking it for a few minutes. Gradually whisk in some of the soup until it’s smooth, then stir this mixture back into the main pot of soup.
Can I Use Sweet Potatoes Instead Of Regular Potatoes In This Recipe?
You can use sweet potatoes, but they will significantly change the flavor profile of the soup, making it sweeter. If you enjoy the flavor of sweet potatoes, it could be a delicious variation.
I’m On A Low-Carb Diet. Is There Any Way To Adjust This Recipe To Fit My Dietary Needs?
The primary source of carbohydrates in this soup is the potatoes. You could substitute some or all of the potatoes with a lower-carb vegetable like cauliflower, but keep in mind that this will alter the taste and texture of the soup.
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