Potato Leek Soup (Instant Pot)

4.88 from 41 votes
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This potato leek soup is made with wholesome ingredients and has been adapted for the Instant Pot, which cooks the potatoes and leeks quicker than other methods.

For more cozy meals made in a pressure cooker, try my Instant Pot chicken noodle, Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana, and Instant Pot Carrot Soup.

Bowl of potato leek soup with a swirl of dairy cream.

While traditionally prepared on the stovetop, this version of leek soup has been ingeniously adapted for the Instant Pot. The pressure cooker function transforms the potatoes to perfect tenderness in 30 minutes or less, significantly reducing cooking time.

Often overlooked, leeks possess a unique blend of subtle onion and garlic flavors, bringing depth and sophistication to any recipe. In this soup, they are not just an ingredient but the centerpiece, complemented by the hearty texture of potatoes.

“My kids said they were full. Full! My kids are never full! LOL! They loved it so much. I think they each had almost 3 cups. Just a nice, simple, easy, and quick meal for a cold night.”—Stacy H.

Recipe ingredients

  • Leeks: I use the white and lighter green parts of the leek for this soup. Slice them into about 1/8″ thick. The dark green part of the leaves is more fibrous and not as flavorful. Make sure to clean the leeks with cold water, as they can trap a lot of dirt.
  • Potatoes: Diced russet potatoes are selected because they have a high level of starch. When cooked, especially under pressure, they absorb the cooking liquid and become mealy in texture. This is the consistency you want when pureeing the ingredients to make a smooth soup.
  • Fat: Olive oil and butter are used to saute the chopped leeks.
  • Liquid: Unsalted vegetable broth or stock adds dimension to the soup.
  • Dairy: Whole milk and heavy cream add richness.
  • Seasoning: Salt and black pepper enhances the neutral flavor of the potatoes and leeks.
  • Herbs: Bay leaves, thyme, and chopped chives add an herbaceous note.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Cook the leeks

Spoon mixing leeks cooking inside an Instant Pot.

Step 1: My 6-quart Instant Pot has a saute function setting, so you do not have to use a separate pan to cook the leeks. This makes it a one-pot recipe and yields more subtle sweet notes that infuse into the soup base.

The goal is to soften the leeks in olive oil and butter but not overly brown them to preserve the savory aromatics. Briefly saute the chopped garlic with the cooked leeks.

Pressure cook the soup

Step 2: The sauteed leeks and potatoes are cooked in the pressure cooker with vegetable broth, garlic, bay leaf, and fresh thyme. Use the high-pressure cooking function. Once the Instant Pot comes up to pressure, it takes 7 minutes for the soup to cook.

Step 3: Allow the system to naturally release the pressure for 15 minutes. At this time, the vegetables will tenderize, and the soup flavors will meld together.

Puree the soup

Immersion hand blender pureeing potatoes and leeks in a pot.

Step 4: Once the pressure has been released from the unit, I find using a handheld immersion blender is the easiest way to puree the ingredients. This process cuts out having to move the hot soup to another container.

A countertop kitchen blender or food processor can also be used. If using, work in batches to puree the soup until just creamy, making sure not to over-process the mixture. The natural starches in the potatoes will swell and provide thickness, but they can get gluey in texture when overly mixed.

Add the dairy

Step 5: The soup is finished with whole milk and cream to add a rich texture. At this time, I also add black pepper for a mild spicy kick. Whisk the dairy and seasoning together in the soup pot, or briefly puree if using a blender. Give the soup a taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Garnish and serve

Top shot of potato leek soup in a white bowl with a cream swirl

Step 6: Garnish the creamy potato leek soup with chopped chives and freshly cracked pepper. A drizzle of cream adds a gourmet touch.

Flavor variations

This potato leek soup recipe is a great base to customize! Try these tasty options:

  • Alliums: Add diced yellow onions, caramelized onions, or roasted garlic.
  • Potatoes: Use different types of potatoes, like Yukon gold potatoes, if you prefer a buttery flavor and heartier texture.
  • Liquid: Instead of vegetable broth, the soup can be flavored with chicken stock or broth for a poultry taste.
  • Herbs: Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of dried thyme instead of fresh. Herbs de Provence is blended to include lavender, savory, rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano. Add fresh tarragon, dill, or sliced basil for garnish.

Serving suggestions

Frequently asked questions

Can the potato leek soup be served cold?

Yes! My first encounter with potato leek soup was when I made a French vichyssoise, or cold potato soup, in the first few weeks of culinary school. You can enjoy this soup cold for a different eating experience if you have leftovers.

Can I make the soup on the stovetop?

Use a large pot or Dutch oven to make the potato leek soup on the stovetop. Saute the leeks over medium heat until softened. Cover and simmer the leek and potatoes over medium-low heat. Once the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, proceed with pureeing the vegetables, then finish with the milk and cream.

Bowl of potato leek soup with a swirl of dairy and garnish on top.

Recipe Science

When to add milk to hot liquids

The timing is crucial when adding delicate dairy products like milk to a hot liquid. If the cooking liquid is boiling, the hot temperatures can cause the milk protein to curdle, creating a cottage cheese-like texture. To prevent this from happening, the milk should be added at the end of cooking to finish the dish. Adding in a high-fat cream also helps to stabilize the milk, in addition to providing richness.

Potato Leek Soup

A classic potato leek soup made with simple ingredients for a smooth and creamy appetizer made in an Instant Pot.
4.88 from 41 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings 5 servings
Course Soup
Cuisine English

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts, ⅛" slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1" cubes
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable broth, or stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

Instructions 

  • Saute the Leeks – Select the "Saute" function on the Instant Pot. Allow the pot to heat, and it will indicate "Hot" on the display when ready. Add olive oil and butter. Once hot, add the leeks. Saute until softened, stirring frequently and not allowing it to brown, 8 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Pressure Cook the Soup – Add the potatoes, vegetable broth, salt, bay leaf, and thyme and stir to combine. Make sure that the release valve is in the "Sealing" position. Place the lid on the Pot, then turn and lock.
    Press the "Manual" button and then set it to the "High Pressure" setting. Set the timer to 7 minutes using the "+" or "-" buttons. It will take about 10 minutes for the pot to heat and build up pressure. You will see steam release from the lid, and then the time will start on the display and count down.
  • Natural Release the Pressure – Once cook time is complete, turn off the Instant Pot by pressing the "Keep Warm/Cancel" button. Allow it to naturally release the pressure for 15 minutes.
    If pressure still remains, use an oven mitt or towel to slowly and carefully twist the steam release handle on the lid to the "Venting" position. The initial release will spray moisture around the pot, so be careful.
  • Puree the Soup – Remove the lid by opening the top away from you, as steam will be released from the pot. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Use a hand immersion blender to puree the soup until just smooth, or transfer to a blender and puree.
  • Add the Dairy – Whisk in the milk, heavy cream, and black pepper. Season to taste.
  • To Serve – Serve garnished with a drizzle of cream and chives.

Notes

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Make it Dairy-Free and Vegan: Substitute butter with olive oil. Use plant-based milk like cashew or almond. Coconut milk or coconut cream for heavy cream.
  • Make it Whole30: Substitute butter with Ghee or clarified butter. Use sea salt. Swap milk and cream for almond, cashew, or coconut milk.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 5 servings
Calories 216kcal (11%)Carbohydrates 29g (10%)Protein 4g (8%)Fat 10g (15%)Saturated Fat 5g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 24mg (8%)Sodium 354mg (15%)Potassium 522mg (15%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 4g (4%)Vitamin A 2300IU (46%)Vitamin C 35.5mg (43%)Calcium 80mg (8%)Iron 2.2mg (12%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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22 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Tracy says

    Very nice recipe, and all family members loved it. I tried using sweet potatoes the first time and russet potatoes the second time. Both combinations were winners. Definitely a keeper!

  2. MARCIA NASEEM says

    Hi Jessica,
    It was my first time making this soup and I’m happy you have an instant pot recipe. I’ll try on the stove, but then I think-why? ?This is an amazing recipe and it is very versatile. It’s like you told a commenter, that you can add seasoning per your taste. For me I grew up with garlic powder and onion powder so I added that. Because I’m married to a Pakistani gentleman, I’ve been making and eating their cuisine almost 30 years-therefore I love spicy food. So I added some Cajun spice to it. It isn’t very spicy, but I wanted that spice to add an extra layer of flavor. As your recipe is, it is perfect and thank you for posting it. I also want to thank you for telling/showing us how to clean leeks. It’s actually how I found your recipe.?

  3. Jeanie says

    I made this yesterday and it was wonderful. I had leeks from another recipe to use and this recipe popped up. I didn’t have quite the amount of leeks the recipe called for but peeled more potato than I needed. It didn’t matter, probably made it a little creamier. I threw in some bacon bits and shredded cheese. An easy, comforting and filling soup. Thanks.

  4. Gail says

    What a great soup recipe and clear instructions. I substituted yams for the potatoes and it gives a really sweet taste to it. Wonderful on this rainy day in the west coast. Thanks.

  5. AliciaHEKREM says

    The soup tasted “pedestrian” …I followed the recipe exactly as I’m new to elecric cooking. It tasted bland to me.

    I have made it before on a stove and it was great but I dont have an oven/stove anymore?

  6. Lois says

    Everything you shared was so helpful, and I thought the soup was delicious. My husband said he might have preferred a thicker soup. I don’t know what one could do in the future to make it thicker without throwing all the seasoning off, for they were perfect. Do you have any suggestions? Your instructions about cleaning the leeks were just great, and this was my first experience using an Instant Pot. Thanks!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would try 3 cups of vegetable broth, and then add more in until you get the consistency you want are blending.

  7. Stacy H says

    My kids said they were full. Full! My kids are never full! LoL They loved it so much, I think they each had almost 3 cups… Even I tapped out after my second bowl! Just a nice, simple, easy, and quick meal for a cold night. We served with herb and cheddar biscuits (grain-free), Red Bartlett pears, and topped the soup with cheddar and parsley.
    Thanks a bunch for the recipe!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow, that is the ultimate mom win Stacy! Your meal sounds fantastic, I’ll have to give that combo a try. Cheers!

  8. Clint Chapel says

    Although some people are new to their instant pot, some of us don’t need to know every single nuans of their device. Don’t get me wrong, the soup was good. Perhaps you can add an * and a note for the new people, so that the seasoned people can just skip that part.

    • Lori says

      Who knew all that dirt was hiding inside leeks! Thanks for the thorough wash instructions. I don’t have an instant pot so I followed the recipe but just used a pan for the sautéing and scraped it all into my slow cooker.

      • Jessica Gavin says

        Thrilled to hear that you were able to adapt the potato leek soup to the slow cooker! How long did you cook it?