Potato Leek Soup

5 stars based on 14 votes


It rained, sleeted and snowed all day last Saturday, and I loved it every minute of it. The kids stayed in their pajamas and watched movies all day, my husband made a roaring fire (and filled our house with smoke, but that’s another story) and I made a big pot of Potato Leek Soup. What better way to spend a blustery October day?

Potato Leek Soup, or Potage Parmentier, is a French classic. It’s one of the first dishes I learned to make in culinary school, right after a proper omelet, because it’s an essential base soup in French cuisine. Add watercress for Watercress Soup, serve it chilled for Vichyssoise, or top it with bacon, fried leeks, fresh herbs or diced vegetables. There are endless variations — just use your imagination to make it your own. 


It’s simple to make, but first you have to deal with the leeks. They’re notoriously sandy and dirty, and very good at hiding it, so be sure to wash them well. Start by cutting off and discarding the root ends and thick dark green parts.


Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse each half under cold water, pulling apart the layers to remove any grit that’s tucked inside.


To make the soup, melt the butter in a large soup pot, then add the chopped leeks and garlic and cook until soft and wilted. They’ll start off looking like this.


And end up looking like this.


Next, add the potatoes, stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.


Purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender (or in a regular blender) until smooth.


Finally, add the heavy cream. You can reduce the amount if you’d like but I wouldn’t leave it out completely. Cream makes the soup wonderfully silky, rich and smooth. Just add it little by little until the soup tastes good to you.


Bring to a simmer, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with fresh thyme, chives or anything you like.


Potato Leek Soup

Servings: 6


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 leeks, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 7 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth (best quality such as Swanson)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Chives, finely chopped (optional)


  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until soft and wilted, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so as not to brown.
  2. Add the potatoes, stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft.
  3. Fish out the thyme sprig and bay leaves, then purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée the soup in batches; see note.) Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If soup is too thin, simmer until thickened. If it's too thick, add water or stock to thin it out. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.
  4. Note: If using a standard blender to purée the soup: be sure not to fill the jar more than halfway; leave the hole in the lid open and cover loosely with a dishtowel to allow the heat to escape; and pour blended soup into a clean pot.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    This recipe is amazing!! It cannot be easier. And the flavor is really spot on.

    - Luis on March 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This soup is a great one for people who live alone and don’t want to make too much. It has a great flavor and it sits well in the fridge for a few days.

    Once I followed the recipe and it was delicious and gone that meal.

    Once I only had certain items available and I was leaving town soon so I didn’t want to go grocery shopping before I left. While different it still turned out great. I ate the whole thing myself for 5 days and never tired of it. I had chopped frozen leek from Trader Joes’s which was under the amount of leek needed so I added a couple chopped sweet onions and sauteed together. I only had red potatoes and put them in skins and all. I didn’t have any heavy whipping cream – I wish I did as it is delicious, but I added some milk and it made for a lighter soup. Jenn’s recipes are amazing and already perfected and I feel bad stretching this one as much as I did, but it turned out really great.

    - Christina on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wow! This soup is super easy to make and tastes amazing! Cut no corners. Less then hour from start to finish. Will make this again and again!

    - Lisl on March 5, 2015 Reply
  • Hi, tried and liked it! Question: leeks come in various sizes especially in different regions. For 4 leeks in the recipes, roughly how many cups when chopped please? Thank you.

    - Irene on March 3, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Irene, One leek is approx. 2 cups. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on March 5, 2015 Reply
  • I don’t eat dairy , can I use almond milk , as I can’t use the cream ?

    - Nicci on February 21, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Nicci, Yes but I would taste it first before adding it; you may find that you’re happy with it as is.

      - Jenn on February 21, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this soup a few weeks back but didn’t have thyme so used a madras curry powder, it was wonderful, my youngest grandson just kept eating it!!! I am making again and wondered if I could add mushrooms, if yes then how would I do it.


    - Lin on February 19, 2015 Reply
    • Glad you all enjoyed it, Lin. You can sauté the mushrooms and add them at the very end.

      - Jenn on February 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Loved this soup! Love the original and wanted to see if there was a way to get the smoky bacon taste without adding the bacon itself. A touch of smoked paprika to the bowl when served was heavenly.

    Coldest day of the winter was no match for this yummy comfort food.

    - Jen on February 15, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This soup is absolutely wonderful. I give it a five stars for sure…worth the try! Yummy!

    - Sylvie Major on February 8, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Try adding 4-5 cloves of minced roasted garlic to the soup for extra flavor.

    - Craig on January 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made this tonight and it was absolutely divine! Thank you so much!

    - Erin Fesperman on January 28, 2015 Reply
  • This is my third time, although a little time consuming I love making it!!!! I also add bacon to the pot then in the bowl with the onions I add bacon crumbs and a teaspoon on shredded cheese.
    To make it healthier and have something a little different I add broccoli on the next day.

    - Bonita Sanchez on January 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for my lunch and it was wonderful! I had to sub russet potatoes – I’m sure Yukon Gold’s are creamier, but I had no complaint about the russets. Also used my own homemade chicken broth. I added a splash of white balsamic for an “acid” and thought that really upped all of the flavors. Also topped with some bacon crumbles.

    On top of being delicious, it is easy!

    - Liz on January 11, 2015 Reply
  • Can I use red skinned potatoes? Or will it change the consistency/flavor?

    - Lana on January 7, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Lana, I think it would be ok.

      - Jenn on January 8, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Not sure if the top green leafy part of the leek can be eaten. Should I discard them or cook them?
    Also, do you think cauliflower go well with potato? If yes, how many grams of cauliflower should I add to this recipe? Thanks in advance for your help.

    - helen on December 30, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Helen, You want to use the white and light green parts only; discard the the dark green tops. Cauliflower is a good substitute for potatoes. I would not add it in addition to the potatoes or the balance of flavors will be off, but you can substitute some of the potatoes with cauliflower.

      - Jenn on December 31, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made potato leek soup tonight and it was just fabulous. What a great base it would make as well. We talked about varying it by adding ham, or corn and chicken or bacon bits with some potato chunks. I am so happy I found your site. Tomorrow I’m trying your Caesar dressing.

    - Culleoka on December 26, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just wanted to let you know how much we love this soup. I serve it with homemade croutons. My kids get so excited when they see the ingredients in the fridge because they know what’s for supper. Thank you for a great recipe.

    - Laura Gay on December 19, 2014 Reply
  • Hi,

    What happens if I don’t have thyme? Is it ok if I leave that out? Thx!

    - Sammy on December 16, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Sammy, Might just be a little bland. You can add other herbs if you have them.

      - Jenn on December 16, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The soup is perfect on a cold rainy day. It’s thick and hearty. I wouldn’t change the recipe in anyway!

    - Cool tree on December 14, 2014 Reply
  • I have one very large leek…how can I make potato leek soup using only one leek?

    - Linda on November 29, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Linda, I think it would work if you cut the recipe in half. Otherwise you might have to add an onion or some shallots so the soup doesn’t turn out bland.

      - Jenn on November 29, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I first tried this soup as an appetizer at my rehearsal dinner and loved it. This recipe was easy to follow and turned out delicious! We will make this one again. So far I’ve made the hummus and this soup, up next for Thanksgiving is the French Apple Cake!

    - Julie Fluegel on November 24, 2014 Reply
  • Can you prepare this soup ahead of time and freeze it?

    - Kerri bilyeu on November 16, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Kerri, Yes, it’s fine to make the soup ahead of time and freeze. It may separate a bit when you defrost it but should come together again when you reheat it. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on November 16, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this soup for my family and it was delicious! My husband is from Paris so I am often hesitant to make French recipes (unless they come from his mother!) because they are not authentic enough for him. However, he gave this soup 5 stars and we enjoyed leftovers for a few days. I love your recipes and I have shared your website with friends!

    - Patrice on August 30, 2014 Reply
  • I’ll be glaԀ to be a visitant of those unadulterated site!
    , thanks for that reɑson гare іnformation!

  • This is excellent, and adaptable to have-in-the-garden accents. I originally made this on our first crisp day while our parsley was still lovely — it was substituted for the chives. Simple, delicious, and great for leftovers.

    - Jean on November 14, 2013 Reply
  • My sons favorite. Although at the end i add back some diced potatoes to make it a little more substantial for him. Perfection!

    - kelly almasy on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • My daughter, who is a vegetarian, loves this soup. I first learned to make this soup from “The vegetarian 5 ingredient gourmet” by Nava Atlas. My daughter requests this soup all the time, I just delighted to try different way to enhance this soup and it turned that she love love it so….much. Thank you so much for your guidance..

    - Doreen on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • I live in southern California where it’s a rare occasion if it rains. However; when it does I make this! I actually made this dish this past Thursday and I served it with turkey/pesto panini’s. Kids LOVED. The only thing I changed is the salt and pepper amount. Kids like or more hearty!

    - Ashley N on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I participate in a food coop – bountifulbaskets.org – and I just happened to get potatoes and leeks this week. I made this soup with your cornbread, and it was fantastic. I like chunky soups, so I didn’t puree it; and it tasted absolutely wonderful. Thank you for all of your fabulous recipes, Jenn. I brag about you all the time — how you’ve turned me into such an amazing cook/baker. Couldn’t have done it without you!! :)

    - Wendy L. on February 22, 2013 Reply
    • Thank you, Wendy! So nice to hear!

      - Jenn on February 24, 2013 Reply
  • Do pre-cooking the leeks give the soup more flavor than just cooking them with the potatoes?

    - keith on February 10, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Keith, I always cook my onions or leeks in butter before adding the other ingredients. It helps them mellow out and develop nice flavor.

      - Jenn on February 10, 2013 Reply
  • I was looking to jazz up the way I make potato leek soup and I stumbled onto your bolg and onto this soup. It was fantastic! Great recipe!

    - Marcella on December 12, 2012 Reply
  • Great soup, made it over the THanksgiving holiday. My sister is lactose intolerant so I left out the heavy cream at the end, everybody loved it. Thanks so much

    - Theresa on November 25, 2012 Reply
  • Making this tonight!! Found you on Pinterest :) Thanks for the recipe!!!!

    - The Redneck Princess on October 23, 2012 Reply
  • I love potato leek soup, I’m in heaven!!!!
    I just add a bit of crispy bacon and some shredded cheese to top it off. So good.

    - Liz on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • This recipe is perfection. It is sooo reliable and so good. I started adding a dash of truffle oil to it and it took to to the next level – amazing! Highly recommend! We eat this as a main with a crusty bread and love it!

    - CareyS on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Hello. I followed this recipe exactly and it is sooooo good – light, yet hearty and satisfying. We sprinkled Parmesan/Romano cheese on top to add a little subtle salty, tangy taste. My husband and daughter had 3 bowls each. Now I have to try some of your desserts. Thanks for inspiring me to get excited about cooking!!! =)

    - Heidi on April 5, 2012 Reply
  • I can’t believe I haven’t made this yet, but I have to say that leek is my favorite vegetable! And leek soup is one of the best!

    - Claudia on March 5, 2012 Reply
  • When there are so many recipes out there for a particular dish, I love finding one that stands out as simple and delicious. This will now be my go-to for this soup (and is the primary reason why I’m now looking for a great immersion blender for my kitchen!).

    - Cynthia on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • This is now my default recipe for potato soup. My husband said I should make this at least every few weeks. We all love it.

    - Donna on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This traditional soup is one of my all time favorites. I had always used the recipe in my joy of cooking, but since I love your recipes so much, I decided to try this one out. I think the thyme really gave it what it needed.

    - Rachel on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I love soups and can’t wait to try this one :o)

    - Lorraine on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I had added this to my soup list when you first posted this. Today was the perfect chilly, rainy day for soup. Made this and it is as awesome as it looks in those pictures! Love all the vegetarian recipes that you post :).

    - Sri on January 17, 2012 Reply
  • Well, I made this soup tonight (with chicken broth) and my husband loved it! He added bacon bits and a little more black pepper and ate it as a meal. Thank you so much!!

    - Kim on December 26, 2011 Reply
  • Either one is fine, Kim :)

    - Jennifer on December 22, 2011 Reply
  • You listed chicken stock in the recipe, but the picture shown is chicken broth. Which should it be or doesn’t it make a difference?

    - Kim on December 22, 2011 Reply
  • Just an update. I made this soup when my daughter came home for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit. Best potato soup I ever made. She took the remainder home with her. This one is a keeper!

    - Ellen on November 28, 2011 Reply
  • My daughter is home for Thanksgiving and has requested Potato Leek soup to take back to VA. I’m going to make this on Saturday so she can have it for dinner on Sunday when she gets back to VA. I enjoy your blog very much. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

    - Ellen on November 24, 2011 Reply
  • I adore this soup. I first learned to make it by watching Juila Child. I’d forgotten about it through the summer. Thanks for the reminder!

    - Linda in KS on November 3, 2011 Reply
  • This looks heavenly! I love potato soup :)

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on November 3, 2011 Reply

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