Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup Recipe (2023)

Why It Works

  • Roasted cauliflower adds a creamy texture and a nutty flavor that forms the backbone of the "cheese" element of the soup.
  • Roasted cashews with a bit of palm oil or vegetable shortening along with chipotle chiles and paprika provide color and more flavor.
  • Puréeing part of the potatoes in the blender gives the soup a slightly sticky texture that completes the illusion of melted cheese while remaining dairy-free.

Loaded baked potato soup is one of those dishes that has some contradictions built into it. You want it to be clean-tasting, but still over-the-top with flavor. You want it rich, packed with cheese and dairy, but you don't want it so heavy or gummy that it glues your mouth together. And of course, you want it to have all the hearty, roasted flavor of a good baked potato, but still come in soup form. As a dish that's traditionally packed with cream and butter, making the whole thing vegan is an added challenge.

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: When I say "fully loaded" baked potato soup, I mean loaded. Most so-called loaded soups are nothing more than baked potato purée with a cursory pile of bacon, chives, sour cream, and grated cheese sprinkled on top just before serving. I want that flavor in the soup. Nutty, cheesy tang, a touch of smoke, and plenty of chives or scallions with every bite. That's how I'd want my regular loaded baked potato soup, and that's how I'm gonna make my vegan version.

Fortunately, with some lessons I've learned from both making really good potato-leek soup and from the vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe I developed last year, a lot of that work is already done. It's largely just a question of tweaking and refining.

Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup Recipe (1)

For my first attempt, I tried to go simple: I roasted a few potatoes until completely tender, made a batch of my vegan nacho sauce, thinned it out with a bit of almond milk, ran the potatoes through a ricer, and stirred them into the pot along with some sliced chives, scallions, and crispy vegan mushroom bacon.

The soup was good, but the flavor and texture weren't quite where I wanted them. My nacho-style cheese sauce, with its pickled jalapeños and heavy spicing, is simply too distinctive. I started to think of other ways to get a milder cheesy flavor. I know that many folks like to use puréed cauliflower in vegan versions of macaroni and cheese, which makes sense: It has a sort of nutty, slightly funky aroma that could form as the backbone to a deeper cheesy flavor.

I tried it, but it needed a boost. Roasting the cauliflower did the trick.

I split a whole head of cauliflower in half, tossed it in oil, then roasted it along with my potatoes in a 400°F (200°C) oven for about an hour. The potatoes came out tender and the cauliflower richly caramelized, which further enhanced its flavor, giving it a touch of sweetness.

Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup Recipe (2)

For the rest of the cheese sauce base, I started by sweating leeks, celery, and scallion bottoms (double the alliums to really boost that loaded baked-potato flavor) in vegetable shortening. Using a highly saturated fat like shortening, palm, or coconut oil gives the soup a richer, more creamy texture.

Next I added a touch of paprika and a chipotle chile packed in adobo. When used sparingly, both ingredients add some of that sharpness that good cheese has. Finally, I added some roasted cashews, which also give richness when blended. It's a much better option than the flour-based roux that folks often add to baked potato soup (I find it turns the soup heavy and gummy).

Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup Recipe (3)

(Video) Vegan Loaded Potato Soup! Perfect for Fall 🍲

Once all the ingredients were sautéed, I blended them with the roasted cauliflower along with a small portion of the baked potato, adding almond milk for a thick, soupy texture. When you blend potato, it releases a ton of starch, giving the liquid that sort of sticky, stretchy texture that you get from melted cheese. It's an essential trick in my cheese sauce, and it worked well in this soup as well.

To keep the soup from becoming too heavy, I added the remaining potatoes by pressing them through a ricer, which get them smooth without breaking out excess starch (too much starch can make the soup gummy). For a hint of that smoky bacon flavor, I also added a small dash of liquid smoke. I know some folks get squeamish about the stuff, but so long as you're buying a high quality, additive-free brand like Wright's, you're getting nothing but smoke and water.

Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup Recipe (4)

After thinning out my soup with vegetable stock (water or more almond milk will work fine), seasoning it well with salt and pepper (potatoes LOVE salt), and stirring in some sliced chives and crumbled vegan mushroom bacon, I was sure it was ready to go.

I don't know about you, but for me, baked potatoes, cheese, and broccoli are a trio made in heaven, so I add a few steamed broccoli florets to the bowl. The easiest way to steam a small amount of broccoli? Place the chopped florets on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for about a minute. They steam in their own moisture.

More of that crispy mushroom bacon, some thinly sliced scallions, and we're in business. Soup's on.

February 2015

Recipe Facts

(Video) Fully loaded vegan baked potato soup



Active: 30 mins

Total: 90 mins

Serves: 8 servings

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  • 1 head cauliflower, split in half

  • 2 large (or 3 medium) russet potatoes, about 1 1/4 pounds total

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable orcanola oil

    (Video) cozy vegan soups [loaded baked potato & vodka tortellini]

  • 3 tablespoons coconut or palm oil or vegetable shortening

  • 1 large leek, chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped

  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce

  • 1 cup roasted cashews

  • 1 quart almond or cashew milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke(optional)

  • Up to 2 cupsHearty Vegetable Stockor water

  • 1 bunch minced fresh chives

  • 1 recipe chopped Crispy Vegan Mushroom "Bacon", for serving

  • 1 cup steamed broccoliflorets, for serving

  • Vegan sour cream, for serving (if desired)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

    (Video) Easy and Creamy Vegan Potato Soup (One Pot Recipe!)


  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss cauliflower and potatoes in vegetable or canola oil and transfer to a parchment or foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Use a wooden skewer to poke 6 holes in each potato. Roast cauliflower and potatoes until potatoes show no resistance when a wooden skewer is pressed through them, about 1 hour.

    Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup Recipe (5)

  2. Meanwhile, heat shortening, coconut, or palm oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Add leek, celery, scallion whites, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft but not browned, about 10 minutes, lowering heat as necessary to prevent browning. Add paprika and chipotle pepper along with adobo sauce and stir to combine. Stir in cashews and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside until cauliflower and potatoes are cooked.

    Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup Recipe (6)

  3. When potatoes and cauliflower are cooked, transfer cashew mixture to the jar of a blender. Add cauliflower, discarding any green leaves and the central fibrous stem. Add almond milk and liquid smoke (if using). Peel half of one potato and add to blender. Blend, starting at lowest speed and increasing to high until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large pot through a fine-mesh strainer.

    Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup Recipe (7)

  4. Split remaining potatoes in half and press through a ricer or food mill directly into the pot of soup. Whisk by hand or with a hand mixer until potato is thoroughly incorporated and soup is smooth. Thin to desired consistency with Hearty Vegetable Stock or water, then season to taste with salt and pepper. For smoother soup, blend with a hand blender, but do not over-blend or it will become gluey. Soup can also be made smoother by pressing through a fine mesh-strainer with the bottom of a ladle.

    Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup Recipe (8)

  5. Stir in chives and half of mushroom bacon, reheat until simmering, and serve immediately, topping with vegan bacon, broccoli florets, scallion greens, vegan sour cream, and drizzling with olive oil.

    Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup Recipe (9)


Special Equipment

Blender and potato ricer (or food mill)


How do you thicken loaded baked potato soup? ›

Combine cornstarch and a little bit of water—or the chicken stock from the soup—in a small bowl. With the soup simmering over medium-low heat, whisk in the slurry. The soup should start to thicken almost immediately.

Why isn't my potato soup creamy? ›

Adding cream to your potato soup will give it a richer flavor and a silkier mouthfeel. If you don't have any cream on hand, you can add milk or dairy alternative, although your soup will be less creamy as you go down in milk percentage. This means that whole milk will make for a creamier soup than two percent milk.

What is loaded potato soup made of? ›

  1. 1 package (12 oz) bacon.
  2. 1 1/2 cups chopped onion.
  3. 6 cups Progresso™ chicken broth (from two 32-oz cartons)
  4. 2 lb baking potatoes, peeled, cubed.
  5. 2/3 cup butter.
  6. 3/4 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour.
  7. 4 cups milk.
  8. 1 teaspoon salt.

What can I substitute for heavy cream in potato soup? ›

The 10 Best Substitutes for Heavy Cream
  • Milk and butter. Combining milk and butter is an easy, foolproof substitution for heavy cream that'll work for most recipes. ...
  • Soy milk and olive oil. ...
  • Milk and cornstarch. ...
  • Half-and-half and butter. ...
  • Silken tofu and soy milk. ...
  • Greek yogurt and milk. ...
  • Evaporated milk. ...
  • Cottage cheese and milk.
Nov 16, 2017

Why is my potato soup gummy? ›

It is important that the potatoes not be too finely chopped before cooking. If they are, too much starch will be released into the broth and a gummy texture will result. An unpleasant consistency can also result from the pureeing of the cooked soup.

Does sour cream thicken soup? ›

Dairy Products

Heavy cream, sour cream, or yogurt are all excellent for thickening soups and sauces, but you have to be careful about boiling them or they may break and curdle.

How can I make potato soup taste better? ›

Sometimes all a soup needs is a little extra salt or pepper, but usually it needs more. Try adding minced garlic or fresh basil, parsley, or rosemary to your soup—whatever's available. Acid is also a great idea. To make canned soup more gourmet, squeeze in some lemon juice or top it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

What makes soup thick and creamy? ›

The main ingredients that make a soup or stew thick and creamy are flour and butter. The flour is stirred into the melted butter to create a roux, which is then cooked until it's a light golden brown. This mixture is then added to the soup or stew, which will help to thicken it up.

Can you overcook potato soup? ›

Undercook the soup and the flavors won't meld; overcook it and you'll have a mixture of broken-down bits with little flavor or bite. Consequently, our real breakthrough with this soup came in the province of technique and timing. We knew that potatoes and leeks would need different simmering times.

What potato holds up best in soup? ›

Russets or all-purpose baking potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture. In soups, they will soak up the liquid and lose their shape. This makes them the ideal choice for making creamy soups or thickening a runny soup. Try using Russet potatoes to create the perfect Loaded Potato Soup.

Should you peel potatoes for potato soup? ›

All potatoes can be used for potato soup. Russet potatoes will need to be peeled first, but white or red potatoes can be cooked with their skins for a more rustic potato soup. I prefer the red or white for this recipe because I don't have to bother peeling them!

How do you make potato soup not bland? ›

Some ingredients I like to include in potato soup:
  1. Cooked, chopped bacon.
  2. Corn.
  3. Shredded cheddar (or similarly medium strong cheese)
  4. Cabbage or broccoli.
Jan 17, 2013

How can I thicken soup without cream or milk? ›

Add Flour Or Cornstarch

You can thicken soup by adding flour, cornstarch, or another starchy substitute. For the best results, never add flour or cornstarch directly to your soup. If you do, it will clump up on top. Instead, ladle a small amount of broth into a separate bowl and let it cool.

Can I use almond milk instead of heavy cream? ›

Similarly, a nondairy milk (such as soy or almond) and a neutral oil (like vegetable or canola) can replicate heavy cream in certain recipes—namely, sauces and soups, but also some baked goods.

How can I thicken soup without flour or cream? ›

A handful of uncooked rice. That's all folks, just a handful of white rice. Any kind will do: jasmine, basmati, short grain, long grain. When added to a brothy (or watery, even) soup, and left to simmer for 20-30 minutes, the rice breaks down, releasing its starch and thickening the liquid that it's cooking in.

Can you fix gluey potato soup? ›

It turns out, then, that contrary to internet opinion, it is possible to redeem your potato leek soup if somehow it becomes gluey. Ladle some into a freezer bag, freeze it flat, thaw it, and pour off the water.

How do you keep potatoes from getting mushy in potato soup? ›

If you cook potatoes in water, it's likely they will become mushy after a while. To fix this and keep your potatoes intact, pour a little bit of vinegar (white, wine or cider) in cooking water. It works like magic!

Why is my potato soup so bland? ›

Not Adding Acid. If a soup is tasting bland in the bowl, consider adding acid rather than salt. A squeeze of lemon or lime, or a dash of yogurt or sour cream can add brightness to the bowl.

What is the best ingredient to thicken soup? ›

Add flour or cornflour

Put a tablespoon of either into a small bowl and stir in 2-3 tbsp of the soup until you have a smooth mixture. Stir this back into the soup and bring it to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes to allow the starch granules to burst to thicken, and to cook out any flour flavour.

How many eggs to thicken soup? ›

(about 1 egg yolk to thicken 1-2 cups of liquid you want to thicken) Grab a ladle of the your sauce and slowly dribble it into the egg yolk, while whisking. Add this mixture slowly back into your pot or pan to finish thickening the sauce, stirring while you pour.

When should you add cream to soup? ›

Depends on the soup and how much cream. If you're adding a generous amount, then add it before heating and heat it with the soup (if you want to add a lot, I'd do some milk and some cream to avoid it getting too rich). If you just want a little, add a swirl at the end.

What gives soup the best flavor? ›

"Ground paprika, turmeric, nutmeg, ground ginger, and other powdered spices add a touch of color and spiciness to broths," she says. As a general rule, use fresh herbs at or near the end of cooking and dried herbs and spices early on. This helps you get the flavors you're looking for in the right balance.

What makes soup more flavorful? ›

It's all about layering powerful flavor-enhancers that you probably already have on hand—bacon, tomato paste, herbs, peppercorns, a Parmesan rind, and, of course, kosher salt.

Why do you add flour to the potato soup? ›

To thicken your potato soup using flour, whisk together one tablespoon of flour with two to three tablespoons of the soup in a separate bowl. Mix them well to remove any lumps, creating a thick and smooth slurry, and incorporate into the soup.

How do you thicken vegan soup? ›

A popular ingredient in both gluten-free and vegan baking, xanthan gum can also be used to thicken vegan sauces, stews, and soups. To thicken a gravy or sauce with xanthan gum, start by making a slurry with a small amount of xanthan gum and water. Slowly add the slurry to your dish and then mix well.

Does adding milk to soup make it creamy? ›

Whether you use a few tablespoons or a few cups, cream gives soup a silky mouthfeel and rich flavor. You can definitely add milk or other dairy as well, though it will taste gradually less creamy as you go down in percent.

What is the best non dairy milk for cream soups? ›

Coconut milk is a popular substitute for heavy cream in many soups, stews, and curries. Its consistency is similar to that of heavy cream or milk and can be added to recipes in a similar fashion.

Does soup taste better the longer you cook it? ›

Just know the longer you cook it, the more flavor that will come out of the food and into the soup. Think of marinara sauce. Though it's not a soup, it's the same concept. Allowing it to cook for awhile marries all the flavors together.

What order do you put vegetables in soup? ›

What vegetables go first in a soup? The aromatics of onions, carrots, and celery get sauteed first followed by the garlic, making them first in the soup. Once the broth goes in, so too do the tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, and bay leaves. Then you add your frozen veggies.

How long does it take for a potato to absorb salt in soup? ›

Soak Up the Salt with Potatoes

Let them simmer for about 30 minutes to soak up the excess salt. When you're finished, just remember to remove the potatoes from your soup.

Should I soak my potatoes before making soup? ›

Soak potatoes in water before using: make sure you do not skip this step. Soaking the potato pieces in cold water will remove extra starches from the potatoes which can cause an unpleasant consistency in the soup if not removed.

Can you prep potatoes ahead of time for soup? ›

You can prepare the spuds up to 24 hours before you need to cook with them. Then, on the evening you're planning to serve them, you can make creamy potatoes at the drop of the hat. Start by scrubbing potatoes under cool running water to remove dirt; dice, slice, or chop as directed in recipe.

Should you use potato water in soup? ›

You can thicken a broth, soup, or stew by using potato water rather than plain water, again avoiding using flour if you are eliminating gluten. Some people even like to turn potato water into a broth by adding celery salt, black pepper, and a little bouillon. Don't toss the potato water–look for ways to put it to use.

Why won't my potatoes soften in soup? ›

A potato's cell walls contain pectin, and these pectin chains remain stable when they come into contact with acids. This means that potatoes will remain hard if they are in a dish that has a lot of acid (for example, a dish you've added wine to). Salt is needed to dissolve these pectin chains.

How many potatoes is 2 pounds? ›

Number of Potatoes in a Pound

To get a pound of russet potatoes you'll need: 1 large potato, 2 medium potatoes, or 3 small potatoes. If your recipe calls for 2 lbs. of potatoes, simply multiply the above amounts by 2, if it call for 3 pounds, multiply by 3, and so on.

What happens if you don't peel potatoes for soup? ›

You don't have to peel your potatoes but some of the skin will fall off while the soup cooks. You'll have flakes of potato skin throughout the soup as a result.

Why does my soup have no flavor? ›

If your broth tastes thin and bland, you may want to cook and let it evaporate for longer. That helps concentrate its flavors and gives you a better-tasting soup broth. Be sure to remove the lid to let the steam escape.

Why does my potato soup taste sour? ›

A lot of types of bacteria (and sometimes other microbes) produce waste products that can taste "sour." And soup/stock is a good growth medium for microbes, which is why most food safety organizations recommend only keeping soup for 3-4 days in the fridge.

What to add to soup to make it less bitter? ›

Fats and sweetness can help smooth the bitter corners of a dish, just like they make coffee taste less bitter. So add a spoonful of sugar, cream or butter to tame that bitterness.

How do you thicken dairy free soup? ›

Add Cornstarch

Mix a little cornstarch into cool broth or water, then stir it into the soup pot. It will take a few minutes of simmering to see the soup develop the desired thickness, but it the outcome will be amazing!

Is it better to thicken soup with flour or cornstarch? ›

It's important to note that cornstarch has twice the thickening power of flour. If you need to substitute cornstarch in a gravy recipe that calls for ¼ cup (four tablespoons) flour, you would only need to use two tablespoons cornstarch.

What makes soup creamy? ›

Creamy soup contains dairy products to make a thick, velvety texture. Cream soups often have heavy cream, half and half, cheese, or butter. You can also use coconut milk or other milk alternatives to make creamy vegan soups. Puréed potato, cauliflower, chickpeas, and lentils will also yield a creamy texture.

What is a vegan replacement for heavy cream? ›

What Do Vegans Use Instead of Heavy Cream? Fortunately, nearly any plant-based milk can be made into a heavy cream substitute. Nut milks, including hemp milk, oat milk, coconut milk, and soy milk can all be used as the base for a heavy cream substitute with the addition of the right fats.

What is the creamiest non-dairy milk? ›

Oat Milk. Oat milk is perhaps the creamiest of all the plant milks. Its thick creamy texture means it's one of the closest plant-based milks to resemble dairy milk. Oat milk is quickly becoming a favorite non-dairy alternative to milk with popular brands like Oatly disrupting the traditional milk industry.

Is there a dairy-free heavy cream? ›

Vegan soy heavy cream is a dairy-free version of heavy cream that uses soy milk and silken tofu to create a delicious, creamy, plant-based substitute. To make one cup of vegan soy heavy cream, you will need to combine 1 cup of silken tofu and soy milk (usually about 1/4 cup) to thin.

How do you thicken potato soup? ›

A slurry can thicken a soup toward the end of the cooking process. Combine cornstarch and a little bit of water—or the chicken stock from the soup—in a small bowl. With the soup simmering over medium-low heat, whisk in the slurry. The soup should start to thicken almost immediately.

Does almond flour thicken soup? ›

You already know how much we love almond meal around here, and the other nut meals/flours can work as sauce thickeners. Unlike traditional flours, these don't really clump when added directly to a sauce, but they can add flavors you might not expect or really want in your sauce, so be careful.

What is an alternative soup thickener? ›

Alternative Starches

If you'd like a roux but want to experiment with something other than wheat flour, give tapioca starch, rice flour, or almond flour a whirl. Mix these with an oil to make a roux and add it when your dish is almost done cooking.

Why is my potato soup thin? ›

One Potato, Two Potato

The headliner in potato soup is already a naturally thick vegetable. If you find your potato soup is too thin, simply add more potatoes in the form of boiled, mashed potatoes or some instant mashed potato flakes.

Why is my potato soup so thin? ›

The main reason your potato is not thickening is that it needs a heavier dairy product. Potato soup is cooked in a milk and chicken broth soup but heavy cream may need to be added. If your recipe calls for whole milk, mix in heavy cream instead or do half milk and have heavy cream.

How do I make soup thicker? ›

Add flour or cornflour

Put a tablespoon of either into a small bowl and stir in 2-3 tbsp of the soup until you have a smooth mixture. Stir this back into the soup and bring it to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes to allow the starch granules to burst to thicken, and to cook out any flour flavour.

How to make potato soup thicker with flour? ›

To thicken your potato soup using flour, whisk together one tablespoon of flour with two to three tablespoons of the soup in a separate bowl. Mix them well to remove any lumps, creating a thick and smooth slurry, and incorporate into the soup.

Does cream cheese thicken soup? ›

To avoid this risk, stick to higher-fat content products, such as cream or crème fraîche. It might be tempting to add sour cream or softened cream cheese to help thicken the soup, but cream cheese does not always work.

How to make soup creamier? ›

Ways to Make Soups Creamier
  1. Add Cream: Let's get the obvious one out of the way. ...
  2. Puree a Few Cups: Blend just a cup or two of your soup with a stick blender or in a food processor — not the whole batch, though. ...
  3. Add Stale Bread: A few slices of bread also help make a soup creamy.
Aug 27, 2022

What can I add to soup to make it taste better? ›

You can extract a clean, strong broth from a combination of water and several pantry ingredients. It's all about layering powerful flavor-enhancers that you probably already have on hand—bacon, tomato paste, herbs, peppercorns, a Parmesan rind, and, of course, kosher salt.

Can you use mashed potatoes to thicken potato soup? ›

Yes. Incredibly effective? You bet. This trick works because the instant mashed potatoes are naturally starchy and therefore are similar in form to other commonly used thickeners, such as cornstarch, only without the clumps.

What happens when you add flour to soup? ›

Add Flour Or Cornstarch

You can thicken soup by adding flour, cornstarch, or another starchy substitute. For the best results, never add flour or cornstarch directly to your soup. If you do, it will clump up on top. Instead, ladle a small amount of broth into a separate bowl and let it cool.

Will whipping cream thicken potato soup? ›

Pour in a little cream to add thickness and a silky texture.

Adding cream to your soup will help thicken it, and it will give the potato soup a creamy, silky texture. In addition, the cream adds a rich flavor that goes perfectly with potato soup.


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