Potato Leek Soup

This is the perfect soup for a cool winter evening. Serve alongside a grilled cheese sandwich or a crisp, green salad.

Potato Leek Soup

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
6 to 8

Among the simplest soups you can make, Potato Leek Soup is quite the classic dish. It's made with potatoes, leeks, celery, broth, and a handful of herbs and spices. You could end it there, blend it up, and have a rich and comforting dinner.

But to make our Potato Leek Soup extra thick and creamy, we're adding buttermilk, a favorite Southern ingredient. This tart dairy product adds body, bolstering the potatoes' rich texture, and a bit of tang. It's not at all traditional (some potato leek soups may use heavy cream), but we think it's the perfect nod to a bit of Southern cooking in this soup.

What You'll Need To Make Potato Leek Soup

Not only is this a classic soup, it's among the easiest you can make. The ingredient list is fairly tight: Potatoes, leeks, celery, and chicken stock make up the body of this recipe. Garlic, spices, and buttermilk add the flavor.

The optional celery leaves or parsley aren't necessary, but they certainly make this soup elegant enough for a dinner party or holiday table.

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, which adds a nice tang to the soup, substitute it with half-and-half or whole milk.

ingredients for potato leek soup

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

How To Make Potato Leek Soup

One of the best things about this kind of soup is that you can make it while you're getting other things done around the kitchen. Yes, you'll need to stir and monitor the celery and leeks as they cook down and brown. But after that, you'll add the stock and let the potatoes boil and boil some more until they're tender and fall-apart at the slightest fork prod.

stirring celery and leeks

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Then you'll come back to finish off the soup. Add the buttermilk, and blend until the soup is creamy. We like an immersion blender for this task because it doesn't require transferring piping hot soup into a blender, but you can absolutely use a blender if you don't have a stick blender.

blended soup

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

What Kind of Potatoes Do You Use in Potato Leek Soup?

For the creamiest potato leek soup, it’s important to use russet potatoes. They have a starchy quality, unlike other potatoes, which result in a light and smooth final soup.

Other Classic Soups

If you're on the hunt for filling, comforting soups, consider these favorites:


  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, rinsed thoroughly and chopped

  • 3 medium celery ribs, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

  • 3 large (about 2 pounds) russet potatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

  • Chopped celery leaves or parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-low heat.

    melted butter in dutch oven

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Add leeks and celery; cook, stirring often, until very soft but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

    leeks and celery in dutch oven

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Stir in the garlic and marjoram and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

    seasoned leeks and celery

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  2. Add the potatoes and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes fall apart, about 15 minutes.

    boiling potatoes, leeks, celery

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    Turn off the heat and stir in the buttermilk.

    buttermilk in potato soup mixture

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

  3. Let the soup cool slightly. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until just smooth (be careful not to over-blend). Or, working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and blend on medium speed until just smooth.

    immersion blender in dutch oven blending soup

    Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

    For a finer texture, strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean pot. Reheat over low heat, whisking frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with chopped celery leaves or parsley. 

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