Hot potato, cold potato: Our best soup recipes for all seasons

Mackensy Lunsford
Southern Kitchen
Chilled Vidalia Onion and Potato Soup

For the days between — when summer is almost over, but it's not yet fall — soup is pretty much the perfect meal. For warmer weather, serve a cold soup like the Vichyssoise recipe below with a fresh salad of late summer vegetables.

For the first chilly nights, we also have some hot recipes including a pumpkin-gnocchi soup that's nicely suited for both a weeknight dinner or a special occasion. 

One thing you'll notice in each of these recipes is a common ingredient: potatoes. 

"Potatoes not only add texture, nutrition, and sustenance to soups, but they also provide a way to thicken soups without adding flour, starches, or gums," said RJ Harvey, culinary director of Potatoes USA.

Most soup, chowder or stew recipes are best made with a less starchy potato such as red potatoes, which tend to hold their shape and texture. Russets, which break down during cooking, are best for pureed soups.

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For the best results, add potatoes about midway through your cooking time. In a hurry? Dice the potatoes a little smaller. And make sure to mind the starch.

"Always make sure your soup or chowder is a little thinner in consistency than where you want the dish to end up before you add the potatoes, as the starch that is in the potatoes will naturally thicken the dish," he said.

Cold soups like the Vichyssoise below are best made a little on the thinner side as the soup becomes more viscous when chilled. 

Potato Vichyssoise

This French soup belongs among the best of the cold classics. It's both refreshing and hearty, light and filling. 

Used with permission from Potatoes USA.


3/4 pounds petite potatoes, quartered

2 large leeks, white only, finely sliced

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1/4 cup white wine (optional)

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Fresh chives or green onions, for garnish


In a large saucepan add the petite potatoes, leeks and butter and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Stir often to prevent browning.

Slowly add broth and wine (if using) and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are cooked through.

Using a blender, food processor or an immersion blender, whir just until smooth. Do not overmix.

Cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Garnish bowls with chives.

Pumpkin-potato soup with gnocchi

This is a perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. While of course you can make your own gnocchi (recipe for that not included), it makes much more sense to buy it.

Used with permission from Potatoes USA.


3 cups prepared mashed potatoes

3 cups of pumpkin puree

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups half and half

2 tablespoons sea salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 package (16 ounces) potato gnocchi, cooked and drained

6 ounces pancetta (bacon or prosciutto can be subbed), diced and crisped up in a pan.

As needed sage leaves (fried in olive oil for 20-30 seconds)


In a large pot over medium heat, combine the ingredients for the soup. Whisk them together until the soup is creamy and slightly thickened. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. It should reduce by about a quarter in volume and coat the back of a soup nicely.

Adjust seasoning as needed. Remove from the heat and keep warm until ready to serve.

To prepare the gnocchi, bring a pot of water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the gnocchi and cook for 5-6 minutes or until they float. Carefully remove gnocchi and place on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking and drying out.

To serve, portion out 8 ounces of soup into a bowl (a hollowed pumpkin can also be used as a serving bowl). Arrange roughly six gnocchi in each bowl, then top with some crispy pancetta and sage.

Instant pot loaded baked potato soup

Serve this soup with an array of toppings, such as scallions, bacon and cheese.

This baked potato soup is ready in less than 30 minutes. It relies on the natural starch of potatoes, a bit of sour cream and a touch of flour to lend a comforting richness. 

Used with permission from Potatoes USA.


2 ounces bacon, chopped

¾ cup yellow onions, chopped

3 cups chicken stock

2 pounds red potatoes, skin on, scrubbed, diced 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon Kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

½ cup sour cream

1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese


Add the chopped bacon to the multicooker and turn on the sauté button. Once the bacon is rendered and the fat melted, remove the bacon and add the onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes until soft.

Add the chicken stock, potatoes, salt and pepper to the pot and stir well. Place the lid on the multicooker and turn the vent valve to “sealing.” Cook over manual high pressure for 10 minutes, then quickly release the pressure.

Meanwhile, stir together the sour cream and flour in a small bowl to create a slurry. Set aside.

Once the steam has completely released and the pin has dropped on the lid, open the lid and stir in the slurry. Turn the pot to sauté and cook the soup for 4-5 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the ¾ cup of cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Serve garnished with reserved chopped bacon, green onions, and more cheese.

Instant Pot green chile stew

This recipe was developed for an Instant Pot,but we've also provided instructions for the stovetop. 


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup yellow onions, diced 1/4 inch

½ cup red bell pepper, diced 1/4 inch

1 cup frozen or fresh yellow corn kernels

2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped

¾ cup can diced roasted green chilies

1-1/2 pounds white potatoes, diced 1 inch thick

5 cups chicken stock

¼ cup all purpose flour

1 cups half and half

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon Kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


Turn the multicooker to sauté, add the olive oil and sauté the onions and peppers for 2-3 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off sauté mode.

Add the green chilies, corn, potatoes and chicken stock. Place the lid on the multicooker and set to manual, high pressure. Adjust the timer for 6 minutes. When the time goes off, allow for a natural release of steam for 3 minutes before manually releasing the rest of the steam. Carefully remove the lid.

Stir the flour into the half and half to make a slurry and stir into the soup. Add the ground cumin, then adjust the seasoning with the salt and pepper. Turn the multicooker back to sauté and stir for 3-5 minutes until the soup is thick and creamy.

To prepare on the stovetop

Place a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add the green chilies, corn, potatoes and chicken stock, turn the heat to high and allow the soup to come to a boil then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer. Simmer the soup for 35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Stir the half and half together with the flour to make a slurry then stir it into the soup. Add the cumin and adjust the seasoning with the salt and pepper. Continue to cook the soup for 3-5 minutes or until the soup is thick and creamy.

Serve the soup and enjoy immediately or cool down and refrigerate. The soup is even better the following day.

Mackensy Lunsford is the food and culture storyteller for USA TODAY Network's South region and the editor of Southern Kitchen.

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