This vegetarian potato soup is meat-free but it has an ultra-creamy texture and rich flavors, thanks to two types of onions and Yukon gold potatoes.
There are few things more comforting than a bowl of homemade potato soup. I know a lot of potato soup is made with bacon or some kind of ham, so I wanted to share a vegetarian-friendly option that uses all the same classic ingredients, just without meat!
This vegetarian potato soup uses half and half and shredded white cheddar to create a rich and creamy bowl of comfort! If you're looking for a dairy-free option, check out my vegan potato soup.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Simple but flavorful: We're using really simple ingredients (potatoes, half and half, butter...) but this potato soup has a "secret" ingredient that makes it a little extra special. Hint: I also use it in my gouda mac and cheese.
- Rich, thick texture: A simple roux combined with half and half creates a delightfully thick cream sauce as the base of this soup. Use an immersion blender to create a potato soup that is as smooth or chunky as you like.
- No peeling required: I use Yukon gold potatoes because they have a buttery texture and their skin is thin enough that it doesn't need to be peeled! Less prep for us.
- Yukon gold potatoes: I love the rich, buttery texture of Yukon golds, but this soup also works with russet potatoes. If using russets I recommend peeling them first.
- Green onions and sweet yellow onions: Using two types of onions creates a subtly sweet base. The green parts of the green onions also double as a potato soup topping. Sweet onion can be swapped for white onion, as needed.
- Old Bay seasoning: This is a blend of seasonings most often used on seafood, but I use it in all kinds of dishes to add a pop of flavor. If you don't have Old Bay, an equal amount of seasoned salt (such as Lawry's) will do.
- Half and half: This adds creaminess to the potato soup. An equal amount of whole milk or 2% milk works as a swap but will be slightly less rich.
- Vegetable broth: I use Better than Bouillon dissolved in hot water for a flavorful vegetable broth, but any type of broth works here.
- White cheddar: The sharpness of Vermont white cheddar adds a little extra "something". For a milder, more traditional flavor, use regular sharp cheddar. I recommend using a block of cheese and grating it yourself, as the cheese melts into the soup more reliably this way.
- Butter: Choose unsalted butter, or use salted butter and adjust the added salt to taste. An equal amount of olive oil works for a lighter option.
Before you begin: Dice the potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Don't worry too much about the pieces all being the same size.
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add the diced yellow onion, the white parts of the green onion, and salt. Sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the yellow onion is softened and golden.
- Stir in the garlic. Sauté until golden, another 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the pot. Toast it for a minute or two to remove the raw flour flavor, stirring frequently.
- Add in the vegetable broth, potatoes, and Old Bay seasoning. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the potato soup from the heat. Stir in 1 cup of half and half. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until mostly pureed, with some small pieces of potato remaining for texture. Stir in the shredded white cheddar until melted.
Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and the green parts of the green onions. Enjoy!
Tips for the best potato soup
- Don't worry too much about dicing the potato into uniform pieces. As long as they are relatively similar in size, the potato soup will cook just fine.
- Make sure to clean potatoes well, especially because we're leaving the skins on. Use a scrub brush to remove any dirt under cool, running water.
- I like to leave some pieces of potato intact while immersion blending, but you can puree the soup completely in a blender for a smoother texture. See the FAQ section below for tips.
- The potatoes are ready when fork tender. This means that a fork easily slides into a piece of potato without much pressure.
- Salt well: Potatoes and salt go hand in hand, so don't skimp on the salt in this recipe. I use ¾ teaspoon as a starting point and adjust to taste after cooking.
- Try different cheeses: Gouda is great in potato soup, or you can keep it classic with regular sharp cheddar instead of white cheddar. Feel free to get creative!
- If you miss bacon in potato soup, let me recommend this tempeh bacon crumbled on top. I tested this combination myself, and it's a great way to add smokiness and a touch of protein to the soup.
Yes, you can blend the soup instead of immersion blending it. The soup needs to be blended in batches. Transfer about half of the soup to a blender at a time, careful not to overfill it. While blending, make sure to pause and vent the lid occasionally as the pressure from the hot soup can build up and cause the lid to fly off.
This is one of the few recipes on my website I don't recommend making dairy free, because the white cheddar and half and half play an integral role in the flavor of the soup. Of course, it technically can be made vegan with dairy-free swaps, but the end result will be different.
If needed, I recommend thinning the soup after blending it and stirring in the cheese. For a richer soup, add ¼ cup at a time of half-and-half. If the soup is already rich enough, add ¼ cup water or broth at a time to thin it.
- A note about texture: Potato soup thickens up a lot as it cools, so it may look really thick after refrigerating. It should thin a bit as it reheats, but if not, simply add a splash of half and half, water, or broth.
- Storage: Keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3 to 4 days. Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Reheating: Individual servings reheat well in the microwave. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbling and warmed through.
- Freezing: If frozen, the potato soup separates and the texture is greatly affected, so I don't recommend freezing this recipe. However, it's safe to eat and the flavor is the same. You can just throw the thawed soup in a blender or immersion blend it to return it to near its original texture.
More soup recipes
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Vegetarian Potato Soup
- 2 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes see note #1
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion
- 1 bunch green onions
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 5 ½ cups vegetable broth see note #2
- ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning see note #3
- 1 cup half and half
- 4 ounces Vermont white cheddar shredded; see note #4
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Clean the potatoes well. Slice into 1-inch cubes. It's okay if the pieces aren't entirely uniform. Set aside.
- Finely dice the sweet yellow onion. Slice the green onion, keeping the green parts and white parts separate.
- Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter. Once melted, add the diced yellow onion, the white parts of the green onion, and the salt. Saute for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the yellow onion is softened and golden.
- Stir in the garlic. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, or until aromatic. Sprinkle in the flour. Toast for 1 to 2 minutes to remove the raw flour flavor, stirring frequently.
- Whisk in ½ cup of the vegetable broth, stirring to form a thick paste with the flour. Slowly whisk in the remaining vegetable broth. Add the cubed potatoes and Old Bay seasoning.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the half and half. Use an immersion blender to blend until mostly smooth, or carefully blend the soup in batches in a blender. Make sure to vent the blender frequently to keep steam from building up.
- Stir in the shredded white cheddar until it is melted. Serve garnished with the green parts of the green onions and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- Potatoes: Yukon gold potatoes are buttery and have a very thin skin, so they don't need to be peeled. However, you can peel the potatoes if you prefer. This recipe also works with Russet potatoes, but I recommend peeling those before cubing.
- Broth: I use Better than Bouillon vegetable base dissolved in hot water, but any type of vegetable broth works here.
- Old Bay seasoning: This is an all-purpose seasoning that's most commonly used with seafood. If it's not available where you live, an equal amount of seasoning salt (such as Lawry's) works. Or just omit it and adjust seasonings to taste at the end.
- Cheese: I like the sharpness of white cheddar, but any regular cheddar works as well. I use a box grater to grate a block of cheddar, but pre-shredded cheese also works.