What could be healthier than soup when it comes to enjoying all the nutrients that a warm bowl has to offer? For a taste of total decadence, how about making a healthy baked potato soup recipe that will fill you up with flavor packed in just like a loaded baked potato! It's easy and fun with plenty of tips and tricks to modify this recipe how you like.
What Tools Do You Need To Make This Healthy Baked Potato Soup
Making soup is a little bit more than just grabbing your favorite soup pot. For this, you want to have an assortment of utensils and accessories to make this recipe run smoothly. Here's what we recommend before you start.
- Sharp cutting knives: Cutting potatoes is going to be your biggest task, so you'll certainly want a chef knife to make this task more efficient. The rest of your veggies and bacon will work just fine using a paring knife or utility knife.
- A large cutting board: Potatoes are very dense, so you'll want a wooden cutting board to absorb the shock as you slice through each of your spuds. This also makes cutting smaller ingredients ideal since green onions, celery, carrots, and onions can all be diced appropriately after you've cut your potatoes.
- Cooking apron: The essential kitchen smock that helps keep your clothes clean if there are splatters or spills. Plus it gives you a nice sense of importance whenever you cook in your kitchen.
- A large stockpot: Making soup is an art, so your stockpot should be able to hold at least 8 quarts as a minimum. It won't hurt if your stockpot is larger.
- Cooking utensils and accessories: A potato peeler is needed to remove your potato skins. You also want a skillet or frying pan for your bacon. Then there are various cups for ingredients, measuring spoons, and a spatula for cooking your bacon. You can also benefit from a food processor or blender, and obviously a potato masher or ricer.
Best Potatoes For Baked Potato Soup
Russet and golden potatoes are your best choice, while red potatoes and Yukon gold are very bad picks. The starch in red and Yukon gold potatoes have low starch content, so they don't mash so easily in your soup. However, Yukon gold's are typically very waxy yet creamy when making finely mashed potato by itself. This is the reason it doesn't mix so well in soup and tends to keep its shape even after being cooked.
For this reason, Russet and golden potatoes have higher starch content and mix very well in soups after they are cooked. If you've ever made an ordinary baked potato, you'll notice how it crumbles so easily when it's sliced and forced open. Since these potatoes are also lower in moisture content, they soak up the flavor as they cook and will mash down using a simple potato ricer or masher.
How To Make A Dairy-free Baked Potato Soup
In recent years, there are more and more people who are finding they are intolerant to dairy. Not only that, some diet lifestyles don't include dairy as these are an animal byproduct. Luckily, many substitutes still give you a similar flavor without using dairy at all. Instead of using regular milk in your baked potato soup, you can use non-dairy substitutes that work quite well.
These can include almond milk, coconut milk, coconut cream, and Ghee. When using any coconut milk product, you want to go for the full-fat version rather than a low-fat product. If you decide to make your own creamy base, you can use unsweetened soy milk and raw cashews that are mixed in a food blender so you get a fine and thick cream base.
5 cups Russet or Golden potatoes (about 5 medium-large) peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)
1 large white onion (1 cups)
cup celery (diced)
1 cup carrot (diced)
5 cloves of garlic (mashed in a garlic press)
5 cups vegetable broth (or chicken stock)
2 cups regular milk or half-n-half (or non-dairy substitute)
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
teaspoon black pepper
6 slices of bacon (cooked and crumbled into bits)
Finely chopped green onions
Bacon bits (more)
Shredded cheddar cheese (or non-dairy cheddar cheese
The preparation time for this recipe is just 15 minutes with a total cook time of 30 minutes. After 45 minutes, you can then enjoy your baked potato soup that serves up to 6-8 people.
- Begin with peeling your potatoes and removing the skin. Wash off any potato dirt on your hands and the potatoes and place them near your cutting board. You now slice them into small cubes no bigger than playing dice. Scrape off the cutting board into a large bowl each time you finish cubing a potato. Follow this up by dicing your carrots, celery, and onions.
- You now add the oil to your stockpot and heat this using medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add your onion followed by celery, and finally the carrots. Let these start to cook in the oil, stirring often to get an even coating of oil on all these ingredients. Let them soften for 5 or 6 minutes and then add your crushed garlic. Stir this for an additional minute.
- At this point, you add your broth and then the milk and continue to stir so the temperature has a chance to heat these two. Now you can add your cubed potatoes, thyme, and pepper, and give this a good stir so everything is mixing properly. Reduce the heat to simmer. Add the salt at the very end when your soup is finished if needed.
- Once you see that the liquid is lightly bubbling with a steady flow to the top of your stockpot, cover the pot with a lid and allow this to cook for 30 to 32 minutes. This is so you get the right level of cooked potato for your soup. You'll know potatoes are done when you poke one with a fork and it slides right through with no resistance.
- When the potatoes are cooked turn off the heat. Take a slotted spoon and remove half of your potatoes and veggies. This should go into a blender or food processor so you get a pure paste. Add a little bit of soup liquid so it flows better when you pour it back into your stockpot. If you prefer a little bit of chunkiness in your soup, use a potato masher or ricer that has large holes. This mashes the remaining potatoes & veggies so there are chunky bits.
- In a frying pan or skillet, heat this to medium-high heat and cook your chopped bacon pieces until they become crispy. Remove them from your pan with a spatula and place these bits onto a paper towel. This reduces the oil content in the bacon and makes them even crispier.
- Using a soup ladle, place some of your baked potato soup into a bowl and sprinkle with bacon bits and optional toppings like cheese and diced green onions.
How To Store Baked Potato Soup
After you've enjoyed your baked potato soup, you want to save some for later. It's all too easy to think that you can place your stockpot into the fridge with the lid placed on it. This is not a good idea since this isn't the proper way to store soup that has any amount of dairy products. It needs to be placed into a plastic Tupperware that has a sealing lid. This also gives you more choice to place smaller servings into individual containers for eating later.
The amount of time that you can store baked potato soup in your fridge is 3 to 4 days. The main reason is because of the milk that's used. It can spoil if it hasn't been placed into the fridge before it becomes room temperature. It's always better to transfer the soup while it's still warm and then let it cool inside your fridge. As long as you put a tight lid on your container, the soup will stay fresh for 3 days but not more than 5 days.
You may also choose to freeze this soup by putting this into a freezer-safe Ziplock bag. These bags are thicker and will hold liquid better than regular Ziplock bags. Plastic Tupperware is also fine as long as you have room but allow the soup to cool in the fridge before transferring it to your freezer. Release any air from a Ziplock bag and leave a bit of room at the top of a plastic container (to allow for expansion) as it freezes.
This recipe can last up to 3 months in the freezer and possibly up to 6 months if the seal hasn't broken. It's always better to seal smaller amounts rather than larger servings so it will be easy to pull out individual portions when you like rather than defrosting more than you need. Frozen baked potato soup needs to thaw until it's liquid again before reheating, so let it thaw in the fridge to reduce the chances of spoiling.
Tips For Making Baked Potato Soup
Among the most important tips that you should know about baked potato soup, all start with your ingredients. You want to use fresh ingredients including potatoes that are healthy and not soft in any spots. Russet potatoes are usually a dry variety of potatoes but when they go soft, that means they are going bad. Another sign is the smell of your potato after you start cutting it up.
If you smell a strong earthy and nutty smell, this is perfectly fine. Anything that has an off-putting odor such as musty or moldy smells, throw it away immediately. Also check for dark spots, green spots, and mushy spots. These will all need to be cut away from a healthy potato, while the rest can still be salvaged. Look for the telltale signs of little holes that might have an unwanted guest living inside your potato. These will need to be tossed out as well.
Milk and dairy products should also be fresh so you don't have problems that might occur such as curdling when the soup is cooking. Most people don't know that salt will cause milk to curdle in your soup despite cooking it. This is why you always add salt in the end when you are finishing your soup, and only in terms of adding a bit of saltiness to the mix. Or better yet, only add salt when serving and keep salt out of your soup completely!
Alternatively, you can heat your milk or half-n-half to a low simmer before adding it to your soup. This will help your milk to retain its ability to be stable for the next few days if you want to put it into the fridge. As soon as you taste that your milk is starting to feel sour, your baked potato soup has spoiled. It should be flushed down the toilet at this point and is no longer edible enough to take a chance of getting sick.
Suggestions For Serving
Baked potato soup is best served nice and hot in a bowl that's enough for all of your guests. One bowl is typically enough for most people, but perhaps some will enjoy a second bowl. Serve this soup with additional ingredients that your guests may enjoy. This can include extra bacon bits, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and diced chives. Some people also like cooked corn kernels, cubed avocado pieces, and roasted bell peppers.
It's going to be a must to have at least a variety of crunchy or soft bread variants that go with eating this hearty soup. It can be served as an entrée or as the main meal, so there's no wrong way to serve this comfort food. You might even have extra ingredients like larger bits of pan-roasted ham cubes, or sausage that's been heated up on the skillet. Whatever flavors you enjoy the most go great with your healthy baked potato soup recipe.