This classic potato leek soup is made with wholesome ingredients for a smooth and creamy appetizer. This soup recipe has been adapted for the Instant Pot which cooks the potatoes and leeks under pressure for a quick meal.
A hot bowl of potato leek soup is a comforting meal made with leeks, an underutilized ingredient that can add a lot of depth and flavor to any dish. This recipe showcases its delicate onion and garlic qualities and makes it the star! The potatoes provide body to the soup, adding in the perfect balance of aromatic flavors with creamy spoonfuls of wholesome vegetables.
Typically made on the stove top, this leek soup version has been adapted for the Instant Pot. Using the pressure cooker function tenderizes the potatoes efficiently to cut down on the cook time to 30 minutes or less.
The Instant Pot is one of my favorite tools to use. It has a saute function built right into the multicooker, so you do not have to use a separate pan to cook the leeks. This makes it a one-pot recipe plus delivers more subtle sweet notes that gets transferred into the soup base. The goal is to soften the leeks but not overly brown them to preserve the savory aromatics.
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, falling apart instantly when pierced with a fork. This is the consistency you want when pureeing the ingredients to make a smooth super. That is why russet potatoes are also great for light and fluffy mashed potatoes!
The cleaned leeks and potatoes cook in vegetable broth, garlic, bay leaf and fresh thyme in the pressure cooking function of the Instant Pot. Once the cooker comes to pressure, it takes just 7 minutes for the soup to cook.
Once the pressure has been released from the unit, using a handheld immersion blender is the easiest way to puree the soup. This process cuts out having to move the hot soup to another container.
A blender or food processor can also be used, working 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 to the soup, but when overly mixed can get gluey in texture.
The soup is finished with whole milk and cream to add a nice texture. Garnished with chopped chives, freshly cracked pepper and a drizzle of cream makes for a gourmet homemade soup.
My first encounter with potato leek soup is when I made a French vichyssoise in the first few weeks of culinary school. The cold potato soup is very similar to a British style version. If you have leftovers, you can even enjoy this soup cold for a different eating experience. Either way, it’s an impressively elegant and straightforward meal that will wow at the dinner table.
More soup recipes
When to add milk to hot liquids
When adding delicate dairy products like milk to a hot liquid, the timing is crucial. 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.
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Potato Leek Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts, ⅛-inch slices
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 cups russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch 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
- Select the "Saute" function on the Instant Pot. Allow pot to heat, it will indicate "Hot" on the display when ready.
- Add olive oil and butter to the pot, once hot add the leeks. Saute until softened, stirring frequently and not allowing to brown, 8 minutes.
- Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add potatoes, vegetable broth, salt, bay leaf and thyme. Stir to combine.
- Make sure that the release valve is in the "Sealing" position.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn and lock.
- Press the "Manual" button on the Instant Pot, set to "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.
- Once cook time is complete, turn off 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 "Venting" position. The initial release will spray some moisture around the pot so be careful.
- Remove the lid, opening the top away from you as steam will be released from the pot.
- Remove and discard 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 in milk, heavy cream and black pepper, whisk to combine.
- Taste the soup and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Serve garnished with a drizzle of cream and chives.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE & VEGAN: Substitute butter with olive oil, dairy milk, and cream with nut milk of your choice.
- MAKE IT WHOLE30: Substitute butter with Ghee or clarified butter, kosher salt with sea salt, dairy milk and cream for almond, cashew or coconut milk.
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