This Red Potato Soup with Cream Cheese is easily the most popular soup recipe for my family and is always a hit with friends! Eat it as-is, or add bacon or sausage and you've got a warm & hearty completely delicious meal in a bowl!
Originally posted February 2012, updated September 2023.
This recipe has been a staple for our family since 2012 and there's no chance of it going out of our meal rotation any time soon.
It's also so good that I have friends and family who rely on it for their regular meal rotations... the verdict is in and this soup is a winner!
- Potato Soup with Cream Cheese
- Why You'll Love this Potato Soup Recipe with Cream Cheese
- Ingredient substitutions
- Shop here
- How to Make Potato Soup with Cream Cheese
- Recipe Pro Tips
- How to Thicken Potato Soup
- Recipe Mix-ins
- Serving suggestions
- Storage directions
- Dietary adaptations
- Recipe FAQs
- Tools needed to make this recipe
- More Soup Recipes
Potato Soup with Cream Cheese
This potato soup with cream cheese came about when I accidentally overbought potatoes several years ago and my hubby suggested that I make potato soup to use up a lot of them.
But I didn't have all the ingredients to make my usual recipe, so I started scouring the internet for a new recipe.
I searched online and ended up fusing 2 or 3 different recipes. And multiplying to feed our big family.
With the kids' help (Christian peeled and cubed all the potatoes for me - he's a great kid!), I made this soup by combining a few ideas, and wow!
It might have been the best potato soup we've ever had! It was superb! If you're looking for a potato soup recipe with cream cheese - this.is.it.
Why You'll Love this Potato Soup Recipe with Cream Cheese
Save Money. First, it's a frugal recipe. You can easily feed a crowd without breaking the bank. All of the ingredients are pantry staples and there's nothing fancy involved.
Feed a Crowd. As I've already mentioned, you can feed a crowd. I've doubled and tripled this creamy potato soup recipe for winter parties and all of my guests loved it. It's such a crowd-pleaser!
Easy. And lastly, it's easy. There are no complicated techniques to make this red potato soup. And yet, it's so delicious, you'll want to make it again and again.
These ingredients are pantry staples! Nothing fancy or hard to find here but the flavors come together for an amazing soup! So grab everything and get it all together then you'll be ready to make this soup!
Red Potatoes - peeled and diced
Heavy Whipping Cream - this gives a richness and creaminess to the soup that you don't want to miss! Using milk or half & half instead will lead to your soup not being as thick as it should be.
Onion - I use yellow sweet onions, but a white onion would work just as well.
Seasoned Salt - Lawry's is our preferred brand but you can season it to your taste.
White Pepper and Red Pepper - I really love both of these peppers and the extra zing they add, but you could omit them if you like
Cream Cheese - full fat, don't skimp on the cream cheese 😊. Sometimes this is called Philadelphia Cream Cheese Potato Soup - that's how important the cream cheese is! Be sure it's at room temperature and cut into small pieces when you add it to the soup (or see the tip below for preventing curdling).
Salt & Pepper
Crumbled Bacon - Optional, but not really! If you want to make life easier, buy premade bacon crumbles and save this step!
Cheddar Cheese - Again optional... but please add cheese!
Chicken Base: if you don't have (or don't use) chicken base, you could use chicken broth instead! You'll need 10 cups of it.
Potatoes: I have made this soup with russet potatoes (regular brown potatoes) and gold potatoes and it turns out great. Just make a note that when using russet potatoes, the soup will be smoother because russet potatoes break down and are mushier than red or gold potatoes.
Lower fat: If you want the soup to be lower in fat (and a little less rich), you could use low-fat cream cheese and half & half instead of heavy whipping cream. These options may change the texture and consistency of the soup, so please keep that in mind.
How to Make Potato Soup with Cream Cheese
- First, peel and dice the potatoes and dice the onion.
- Pour the water into a very large soup pot.
- Whisk in the chicken base.
- Add potatoes, onions, and spices to broth and mix up really well.
- Boil for about 20 minutes.
- When potatoes are fork tender, use a stick blender to slightly blend up the mixture. OR if you don't have a stick blender, take out one cup of soup, mash it up with a fork or potato masher, and stir it back into the pot. You can make it as creamy or lumpy as you like.
- Melt the cream cheese in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (in 15 second intervals).
- Add the cream cheese and heavy cream to the mix and stir until melted and creamy.
- Turn heat down to very low and simmer 20-30 minutes more until thickened.
- Stir the soup frequently to prevent it from sticking or scorching! See suggestions for toppings and add-ins below.
This soup will thicken up significantly overnight if you have leftovers. I like to thin it back out with a little milk when warming it.
Recipe Pro Tips
- If you prefer a creamier soup, use a stick blender or immersion blender to mix it up and break down the soup so it's not so chunky.
- After you add in the cream cheese, be sure to stir the soup frequently so the cream cheese doesn't sink and stick to the bottom. Also, cook on very low heat so it doesn't scorch.
- If you're concerned about the cream cheese curdling, melt it separately in a small bowl in the microwave, then stir it into the soup.
- If you want to serve this later, move it into a slow cooker on low to keep it warm and prevent sticking! Do not simmer for a long time on the cooktop.
- If it's too thick, add milk or cream and stir until you get a consistency you like.
- If you need a make-ahead meal, fix the soup and after cooking, move it into a slow cooker on low or "keep warm" for later in the day.
- Time saver: Use pre-cooked bacon crumbles instead of cooking the bacon and crumbling yourself.
How to Thicken Potato Soup
If your soup is not as thick as you'd like, here are 5 ways to thicken potato soup:
- Cook it longer. If the soup is too runny, allow it to simmer a little longer and it'll thicken naturally.
- Use a stick blender. You can also use a stick blender or immersion blender at the end of cooking to break up more of the potatoes for a creamier and thicker soup. Alternately, you can scoop out another cup of soup and mash it up with a fork or potato masher, then add it back to the pot. (We did this in step 4, but you can do more for thicker soup.)
- Use flour. Take out 2-3 tablespoons of soup and put it in a separate small bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of flour and mix thoroughly. Add this mixture back to the pot of soup and mix it in. Heat for a few more minutes. This will affect the soup being gluten-free.
- Use corn starch. Whisk 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into ¼ cup of water. Once the starch is dissolved, add the slurry to your pot of soup and stir thoroughly. Simmer the soup until it's a consistency you like.
- Use instant mashed potatoes. Add in ¼ cup of instant potato flakes and the soup will thicken up quickly. Use more if needed but wait a few minutes because it's easy to overdo this hack!
This Cream Cheese Potato Soup is so delicious, you can eat it as-is without any add-ins or toppings and you will not be disappointed. However, if you're a little extra (as I am), you may want to kick it up a notch.
Here are the things we've tried:
- Cheese: We always have shredded cheddar with this soup. Always.
- Bacon and Cheese: Our favorite way to serve this soup is topped with bacon pieces and shredded cheddar cheese. Top with sour cream and you have Baked Potato Soup!
- Breakfast Sausage & Cheese: If you want a heartier soup, crumble and fry a pound of breakfast sausage. Then drain it and stir it in while the soup is simmering. Top with shredded cheese at the end! You will be blown away at how delicious it is.
- Ham: Once we cubed chopped ham to our soup - also amazing! (with cheese, of course)!
- Crackers: I am a big fan of crackers with soup and plain old saltines are my favorite with potato soup. I crumble a handful (maybe 5) into the soup and stir just before eating!
- Miscellaneous: Other toppings I've seen for this soup are green onions and sour cream.
- Typically soups are considered "winter" fare but we enjoy this recipe year round. I also serve it at parties when I need to feed a crowd and sometimes make it to take to a family in need (grieving, new baby, etc.)
- We always serve this soup with shredded cheddar and crackers even if we skip all the other mix-ins listed above!
- Refrigerating: This soup will last in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
- Freezing: You can freeze potato soup but the texture will change after it's thawed. Freeze in a freezer-safe container, then thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating on the stovetop. You may need to add more cream if it's too thick.
- Reheating: rewarm in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (depending on your microwave power) or on the stovetop. If reheating on the stovetop, add milk to thin the soup, then heat on low, stirring frequently until it's steaming.
Gluten-free Potato Soup - if you verify that your chicken stock is gluten-free (some are, some are not), this recipe should be completely gluten-free.
Melt it first in a separate bowl in the microwave before stirring it into the soup.
The high-fat content in heavy cream will thicken the soup and add a rich creamy texture at the end. Also, see the tips above!
You can freeze potato soup but the texture will change after it's thawed. Freeze in a freezer-safe container, then thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating on the stovetop.
No, you do not have to peel potatoes before adding them to the soup. However, sometimes the skins will come off the potatoes and you will have bits of potato skin throughout the soup for a more rustic soup. If this won't bother you - it's not a problem at all!
Tools needed to make this recipe
- Potato Peeler
- Cutting Board
- Large Soup Pot - I am a diehard Cuisinart fan!
- Large Spoon
- Stick blender (optional)
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