This is truly one of the best soups out there. And the best part? This loaded baked potato soup is super easy to make (and SO delicious!).
Easily one of my family’s favorite soups EVER, this loaded baked potato soup is crazy good.
And guess what? It’s crazy easy, too. Whenever we have baked potatoes for dinner, I always bake a few extra just for this soup.
We must have a special place in our hearts for creamy, cheesy, potato soups because between this baked potato soup and this Instant Pot cheesy potato soup, my kids could be happy dinner non-complaining campers forever.
Simple to make
The soup starts with a simple roux: equal parts butter and flour.
This thickens the soup and adds a wonderful level of flavor.
The key is to cook the roux until it changes into a very lovely brown color and smells kind of nutty and caramelly.
A burning smell means you’ve taken it too far.
The milk (and remaining flour) is added gradually.
Fully whisk each addition of milk into the soup before adding more. This will ensure the soup thickens without any lumps.
Let’s talk about baked potatoes
The reason this soup isn’t just your ordinary creamy, potato soup is because the potatoes are baked prior to adding them to the soup.
Baked potatoes have a softer, creamier texture than throwing raw potatoes into a soup and letting them cook.
I usually use russet potatoes for this loaded baked potato soup. A time or two, I’ve used red potatoes (and cook them in the Instant Pot). I don’t peel them before adding them to the soup since the skins are thin. And it’s delightful.
Oven cooking: poke holes in the potato with a fork; bake at 375 degrees for about an hour until tender.
Instant Pot cooking: poke holes in the potato with a fork; add 1 cup of water and a trivet/basket to the pressure cooker; add the potatoes and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes; naturally release the pressure (or quick release after 10 minutes of natural release).
My potatoes look a little sketch – kind of wrinkly and forgotten. But don’t judge them too harshly! These baked potatoes have been hanging out in my fridge for several days.
And even though the flesh of the potatoes is a little darker and kind of spotty in places, they still work (and taste!) great!
Lesson learned: leftover baked potatoes work like a dream in this recipe.
Baked and chilled potatoes are going to be much firmer than potatoes that have just been baked and are still warm.
Either way, once you add the potatoes to the soup, get in there with a potato masher and break the potatoes into smaller pieces.
You don’t have to go crazy and mash them to baby food consistency – just break them up a bit. The more you mash them, the thicker the soup will be.
Add the cheese to the warm soup and stir until it is melted completely.
Stir in the green onions and sour cream. I suppose you could leave the green onions out and serve them as optional toppings only, but I love the flavor and color they add.
Thick and creamy
This loaded baked potato soup can stay warm (in a pot on the stove or in a slow cooker) for hours. It thickens up even more the longer it sits…and if it cools a bit.
The simple flavors combine into an amazingly delicious and comforting soup.
It is one of my favorite meals to take in to friends and neighbors during cooler months of the year, and it is always a hit!
Funny story: after posting this recipe, I was at my friend Deb’s house. Her mom was in town and had made a huge pot of soup for our large crowd.
I couldn’t believe how yummy the soup was! Ooohing and aahing over it (I’m sure you know where I’m going with this), before I left, I nicely asked Deb’s mom for the recipe. I mean, it was so good. She politely told me it was actually my recipe…but that she makes a few changes to make it even better!
I couldn’t help agreeing! Also, I really truly believe everything just always tastes better when someone else makes it. 🙂
If you haven’t made this one before, I would strongly advise you not to delay. You can pop some potatoes in your oven or Instant Pot and have this ready in no time.
And I think you are going to be very, very happy you made the choice to do so.
It also goes without saying that throwing on a healthy amount of bacon and extra cheese on top is a very tasty idea.
Final note: the leftovers are amazing.
- 4 to 5 medium russet baking potatoes (see note)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) all-purpose flour, divided
- 6 cups milk (I use 2%)
- 2 teaspoons salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 to 4 green onions, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup light sour cream
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Chopped green onions
- Cooked, crumbled bacon
- For the baked potatoes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pierce the potatoes all over with the tines of a fork. Place the potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes, until tender. Potatoes can also be "baked" in the Instant Pot: add 1 cup water and trivet/basket, add potatoes, secure lid, cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, naturally release the pressure.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven/Instant Pot and let them sit for about 20 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle (the potatoes can be baked several days in advance and refrigerated).
- Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the insides of the potatoes. If the potatoes have been chilled, dice the flesh of the potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces.
- For the soup, in a 4-quart or larger pot, melt the butter over medium heat. When melted, add 1/4 cup of the flour and whisk to combine. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes.
- In a liquid measuring cup (or blender), whisk together the milk and remaining 1/4 cup flour. Gradually whisk the mixture into the pot in several additions. Whisk to combine each addition of milk fully before adding more. Cook until the soup is bubbling and slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in the potato chunks and salt and pepper. Use a potato masher to break up the chunks of potatoes into smaller pieces.
- Whisk in the cheddar cheese and stir over medium-low heat until completely melted. Stir in the green onions and sour cream.
- Serve with additional toppings. The soup will thicken more as it cools.
Potatoes: you'll need about 6 cups of cooked, diced potatoes for the recipe. That's right around 4-5 medium uncooked russet potatoes (about 33-36 ounces).
Chicken: this soup is really delicious with cooked, diced chicken stirred in after the cheese has melted.
Recipe source: adapted from Annie’s Eats
Recipe originally posted Nov. 2011; updated Feb. 2020 with new pictures, recipe notes, etc.