This potato bacon soup is loaded with chopped bacon, cheese, and chunks of potato. It makes a quick and easy dinner that everyone will love.
We’re slowly approaching the end of soup season, but before we pack away our sweaters and say goodbye to the cozy winter evenings, there’s one more soup recipe I want you to try, potato bacon soup.
This soup is total comfort food. It’s rich and cheesy and SO easy to make. And it should be added to your soup rotation immediately.
Why This Soup Works
It’s double thickened: This soup is thickened twice, once with potatoes, by smashing and mixing some of them into the soup and then again by adding a thick and creamy cheese sauce.
Cheese sauce: Speaking of that cheese sauce. This one is quick to make with butter, flour, milk and cheese. When stirred into the soup, it adds a cheesy, creamy richness that is completely irresistible.
It’s loaded with bacon: We’ll use about 12 ounces of bacon in this recipe. That’s enough to ensure that there’s bacon in every single bite.
- Your favorite bacon: Use whatever bacon you prefer here. Regular, thick-cut, and even bacon ends will all work just fine.
- Chicken broth: You can use homemade chicken stock if you have it, but this soup is just as fantastic when made with canned broth.
- Milk: Any percentage milk will work, but the higher fat the milk, the richer your soup will be. If you’d like to substitute a bit of half and half or heavy cream for the milk, you can do that as well.
- Cheddar cheese: If you have the option, grate your own cheese from a block rather than using pre-shredded bagged cheese because the anti-clumping additives added to bagged cheese can prevent it from melting completely smoothly.
How to Make Potato Bacon Soup
1. In a large pot, cook chopped bacon until barely crispy. While super crispy crunchy bacon is delicious, it isn’t great in soup. Cook the bacon until it’s just cooked through and a little crisp around the edges, but still pliable and then use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a plate.
2. Spoon off and discard all but about a tablespoon of the bacon grease (it doesn’t need to be exact) and cook the onions and celery until the onions begin to turn translucent around the edges.
A Note on Bacon Grease: While it’s tempting to leave a ton of bacon grease behind when cooking the onions and celery, don’t leave too much. During testing, when I left a lot of grease in the pan, I found that it left an oily sheen on the top of the soup when it was finished cooking. About a tablespoon was the perfect amount to keep that bacon flavor without making the soup too oily.
3. Add potatoes and chicken broth and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender. Once potatoes are tender, use a potato masher or fork to roughly smash about half the potatoes.
Potato Mashing Tip: If your potato masher is metal and you’re cooking the soup in a pot that shouldn’t be used with metal cooking tools, simple ladle about half the potatoes into a heatproof bowl, smash them in the bowl, and then add them back to your soup.
4. Make the cheese sauce. While your soup simmers, make a roux of butter and flour and then slowly pour in the milk. Cook, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until smooth.
5. Stir the cheese sauce into the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Potato soups tend to really suck up the salt, so you may need to add more than you expect. Add about 3/4 of the bacon back to the pot, reserving the rest for topping.
6. Dish up the soup, top with sour cream, more cheese and green onions if desired, and chopped up bacon, and enjoy!!
Potato Soup Variations
- Ham and Potato Soup: Have leftover ham you’d like to use up? Swap the bacon for ham.
- Sausage Potato Soup: Replace the bacon with chopped smoked sausage.
- Lighter Potato Bacon Soup: If you’d like to lighten up this soup, reduce the bacon to 8 ounces, use skim milk, and omit the cheese from the sauce. Instead sprinkle just a little bit of cheese over the soup when serving.
Can I double/halve this recipe?
Absolutely. This recipe doubles/halves with no preparation changes except the thickening time for the cheese sauce might be a little longer/shorter. To change the recipe yield, hover over the serving size in the recipe card below or click if you’re on mobile, and slide the slider.
What to serve with bacon potato soup?
For a cheesy decadent soup like this, I recommend simple sides like a slice of French bread with butter and a roasted vegetable like:
Can I freeze potato soup?
I prefer not to freeze potato-based soups because cooked potatoes can become a bit mushy after freezing, BUT if you want to freeze it, you can. Just know the texture won’t be as smooth when reheated. Freeze all together or in individual containers for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave.
Check out my post How to Freeze Soup for more soup-freezing tips.
More Soup Recipes
Easy Cheesy Potato Bacon
- 12 ounces uncooked bacon sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
- ½ medium onion diced small
- 2 celery ribs diced small
- 2 large russet potatoes peeled and diced medium (about 4 cups)*
- 4 cups (2 15oz cans) chicken broth
- 5 tablespoons (71g) butter salted or unsalted is fine
- ¼ cup and 1 tablespoon (44g) all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk any percentage
- 6 ounces (about 1 ½ cups) shredded cheddar cheese plus more as desired for topping
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Sour cream optional for topping
- Sliced green onions optional for topping
- Add bacon pieces to a large pot. Turn heat to medium and cook until bacon is cooked through but only slightly crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.
- Spoon off and discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat. Add onions and celery to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often and scraping any browned cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes, until the onions have just begun to turn translucent around the edges.
- Add potatoes and chicken broth to the pot. Bring to a simmer and then cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until potatoes can be easily smashed against the side of the pot with a fork.
- Use a potato masher or spatula to roughly smash about half of the potatoes in the pot.
- In a medium pot, over medium heat, melt butter and then add flour. Cook, whisking continuously, until flour begins to turn lightly golden, about 1 minute.
- Slowly drizzle in milk, whisking constantly as you go to whisk out any lumps. Cook, whisking continuously, until mixture is thickened and bubbly around the edges, about 5 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and slowly whisk in cheese, a handful at a time. Once all your cheese is melted, stir the cheese sauce into the soup. Add pepper. Taste the soup and add salt if needed.
- Add about ¾ of the bacon to the soup (reserve ¼ for topping) and stir everything together.
- Ladle into bowls, top with sour cream, reserved bacon, sliced green onions, and more cheese if desired. Enjoy!
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