Lightened Up Loaded Potato Soup

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a baked potato. I’m skeptical that these people exist. A tender potato loaded with all of your favorite toppings is hard to argue with. This hearty bowl of soup can tame even the most ravenous of appetites and is as easy as it is delicious. It’s substancial enough to be served as a main course, but would pair beautifully with a bowl of lightly dressed, fresh peppery greens, such as rocket.

This loaded potato soup is sneaky. It’s creamy, it’s dreamy, and it tastes so very indulgent. What’s in there? Cheese? Cream? Butter? No, no and no. It’s sneaky in a good way. Let’s get stealthy with some vegetables; let’s get busy with some buttermilk; let’s make some magic.

Everyone needs a recipe like this in their repitoire. The effort is minimal, and the results are rewarding. There is no recipe more forgiving than a pureed potato soup. Overcooked the potatoes? Great. Less blending. Carrots past their prime? No one will know. See where I’m going with this? Easy peasy. You can even throw everything into the crock pot, turn it on and blend it up when you get home. Well, except the buttermilk. You’ll want to leave that til the end. I don’t know what would happen if you cooked buttermilk for 8 hours, but I can’t imagine it would be good.

See that beautiful orange color? It doesn’t come from cheese, it comes from carrots. You would never know the cheese was missing if I didn’t tell you. The soup is tangy, rich, and packed full of flavor from the smoky bacon and paprika. Garnish with some good cheese if you’re feeling frisky. Ultra sharp, smoked cheddar? Yes, please.

Recipe yields 6 servings // about 1.5 cups a bowl


  • 6 slices smoked center cut bacon (diced)
      • I prefer center cut because it’s lower in fat, and has more of those wonderful meaty bits we associate with good bacon. It costs a bit more, but it’s completely worth it in my opinion.
  • 1/2 brown onion (diced)
  • 4 stalks celery (diced)
  • 5 medium carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (fine mince)
  • 2 pounds small yukon gold potatoes (scrubbed and quartered)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups 2% buttermilk
  • Sour cream and chives for garnish


  • Heat a large, heavy bottomed soup pot (I used my 6 quart dutch oven) to medium heat.
  • Add sliced bacon, cook until crispy, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper lined plate
  • Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of rendered fat from pot and return to heat
  • Add chopped celery, carrots and onion. Saute until onions begin to turn translucent.
  • Add garlic and cook 1 minute more
  • Return 3/4 of the bacon to the pot with vegetables, reserving a bit for garnish.
  • Add remaining ingredients (excluding buttermilk and garnish) and bring to a boil
      • Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to release those delicious brown bits. Always a wooden or silicon utensil on enamel ware!
  • Reduce heat to a simmer, cover pot and cook until potatoes are very tender (about 20-30 minutes. Time here will depend on your cookware)
      • Potatoes should break apart when you push them against the side of your pot with your cooking utensil.
  • Blend potato mixture with an immersion blender until smooth or in batches in a food processor or blender.
  • Stir in buttermilk, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with chopped chives and sour cream

I had some serious fun at the flea market last weekend. So many cute props to be had! Those little blue and white plates, and vintage silver spoon were among my favorites. The spoon has a date on the back of 1833! I love older pieces like this for their history. I can only imagine what their previous owners were like before I snapped them up for my food photos.

I hard a hard time writing an into for this one, so I asked Ovi what he thought of it. He said: “its a bacon-y potato explosion in your mouth.” Then there were some expletives.  I’m pretty sure this means he liked it. Take notes people, this soup is man-approved.

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22 thoughts on “Lightened Up Loaded Potato Soup

  1. Julie, I love how you’ve styled your photos in this post! They’re very well done. Your soup recipe sounds wonderful, especially the addition of buttermilk. I love using my immersion blender too…so much easier to clean up than the food processor.

    • Thanks so much! I’m getting more comfortable with the photos. Figuring out what works as I go, but I’m happy with this one. I love my immersion blender! It makes my life so much easier.

  2. I adore baked potatoes, Julie. :D. This soup looks incredible and the presentation is perfect. It would be lovely served in an Old English tea room 😀

    • Oh baked potatoes! They’re the bees knees. You can put pretty much anything on them, even more potato (wooohoo for twice baked.) Thanks for keeping the dream alive that potato haters do not exist.

      I loved the image of the English tea room. I felt much fancier eating my leftover soup =)

  3. Love the lighter version that your recipe produces. Your photos are wonderful as we all have mentioned. They give us a lot of inspiration.

    • Thank you so much! I’m working on improving my styling skills, and having way too much fun doing it. The soup was very thick! This photo was taken the morning after I made it (leftovers for breakfast!), and I found it was thicker the second day after re-heating.

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  6. This looks delicious and I’m going to have to try it. I will be trying it with organic, uncured turkey bacon, though, as I am staying away from the nitrites and nitrates, and it is also very lean. I’ll let you know how it turned out. I have had success in other recipes with this substitution, so I can’t see why it won’t work here. Thanks for this good looking recipe. Beautiful pictures too!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post! Turkey bacon should work out fine, you may just need to help it along in the browning stage with some oil. I haven’t included oil here, assuming the bacon fat would carry that duty. I hope you enjoy it!

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