The Only Potato Leek Soup You Need To Eat

Google “potato leek soup” and you’ll get 911,000 results in 0.48 seconds. But I know a secret Google doesn’t know.

This recipe right here. It’s the only one you need.

So. Delicious. Especially after it sits for 3 or even 4 days. That’s right, it’s even better on day three than two, and certainly better than the day you make it, so plan ahead.

Why is this particular recipe so good? In a word, lots of love from the allium family — onions, leeks and scallions — but the kryptonite is white pepper.

I know, I know, lots of my chef pals can’t stand white pepper. But I am here to tell you that in this recipe, my favorite spice — black pepper — can’t hold a candle to the power of white pepper.

A couple other things make this soup terrific: it’s not vegetarian — not that there is anything wrong with vegetarian soups, it’s just that the chicken stock in this recipe adds a certain oomph. The garnish is crucial: applewood smoked ham (and Gruyere and  more allium in the form of green scallions.) Lots and lots of ham and cheese. But hey, I added some steamed broccoli to up the green ante. That counts, right?

I suppose if you were serving this as a soup course instead of a meal, you should dial back the garnishes, lest your guests fill up before your main event. But if you want a hearty one-bowl meal during the week that only requires re-heating and some garnish prep — here’s your pal.

Go ahead, make it. It’s pretty simple save some prep work … just don’t eat it until three days later. Taste it after you make it for seasoning, but then be patient and see what happens in three days.

It’s a miracle.


Potato Leek Soup

My favorite potato leek soup — ever. Thick, deeply onion-flavored and topped with smoky ham. Making the soup is easy, save a little knife work. But the reason this is the best potato soup is because of white pepper, lots of onions, leeks and scallions. Also, the garnishes — especially the applewood smoked ham — are crucial. And the last thing you need is patience. Wait 2 or 3 or even 4 days before you dive in. It gets remarkable better with time.

  • Author: Gwen Ashley Walters
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Soups


  • 1 medium yellow onion (not sweet), peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 leeks, white and light green part only
  • 1 pound (about 2 medium-large) russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


  • 2 ounces Gruyere cheese, sliced thin
  • 4 ounces applewood smoked ham, chopped
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli florets (optional)


  1. Sauté the onion and celery in the olive oil over medium heat in a soup pot (I use a 3-quart, deep saucepan so that when I puree it with a stick (immersion) blender, it doesn’t splatter everywhere.)
  2. Cut the leeks in half and run under water to remove any dirt while the onions and celery are cooking. Pat dry and slice into 1/4-inch half moons.
  3. Stir the leeks into the softened onions and celery and cook until the leeks start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the potatoes, chicken stock and bay leaf. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring just to a strong simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat off and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes before blending. Remove the bay leaf and use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree until completely smooth (work in batches if using a regular blender and return to the saucepan before continuing).
  6. Stir in the cream and season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  7. Let cool before transferring to container(s) to store in the fridge for a couple days.
  8. Gently reheat over medium-low heat, stirring often to prevent sticking. Taste and add more salt and white pepper if desired.
  9. Ladle into warmed bowls and garnish with Gruyere, smoked ham and scallions — and broccoli if using — and serve.

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1 reply
  1. Michelle Tremblay
    Michelle Tremblay says:

    I just finished making this, the whole neighborhood smells delish. I ground fresh white pepper corns,, but I admit I used half and half, cuz that’s what i had. I will do as you suggest and let it mesch in the fridge two days. But I did cheat and its fabulous. I used an immersion blender. Was wondering if a splash of fine sherry at serving would be good?


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