Creamy and chock-full of your favorite baked potato flavors, Instant Pot Loaded Potato Soup is pressure cooker easy, and a hearty soup for those chilly winter evenings. Stove top directions included.
One of my favorite uses of the Instant Pot is cooking up baked potatoes. Not only is there significant time savings — including pressurization and depressurization, we’re talking about 35 minutes, compared to 90 minutes in the oven — but the insides of the potatoes become so tender and fluffy, I can’t imagine using the oven again. Ditto with sweet potatoes.
So, it was natural to turn to the Instant Pot for Loaded Potato Soup. Not because the soup normally takes 90 minutes — it doesn’t! — but because I just love the Instant Pot’s track record with producing lovely potato recipes.
And, of course we stuff this soup full of our favorite baked potato toppings: bacon (use turkey bacon for a little less fat), creamy dairy, and savory onions, because while potato soup is awesome, loaded potato soup is even better.
Whether stove top or pressure cooker, there’s still a bit of sauteing to do, but no worries, even the Instant Pot handles that neatly … including sizzling up the bacon, which, because of the high walls of the inner pot, keeps the spatter to a minimum. (I love my wide, low-walled soup pots, but bacon does make a mess of the stove, lol.)
The ladle above shows an up-close view of the texture of the soup: creamy but with small chunks of potatoes and vegetables. I use one of those squiggly potato mashers, but if you’re a velvety-smooth kind of potato soup person, have at it with your immersion blender. Or leave the potatoes in big chunks. It’s all good.
A word about cheese: cheesy potato soup is a thing of beauty, however, it’s a personal preference of mine that cheese only goes into a soup when it’s in bechamel form (bechamel = roux + dairy + cheese). I’m just not a huge fan of stringy soup. So, for this recipe, I reserve cheese as a topping. But of course, you can absolutely stir your favorite cheese right into the soup and feel good about it.
This is definitely not health soup, lol. But you’ve been good all month long and deserve a rich and creamy, flavor-loaded treat, right? 😀
You can make this on the stove top if you don’t have a pressure cooker: Follow the instructions through step 5. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are fork-smash tender. Reduce heat to low, continue with step 8, and you’re golden.
Instant Pot Loaded Potato Soup
- 1/2 pound bacon slices, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- white wine, optional
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and sliced into large chunks
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- lemon juice
- kosher salt
- sour cream, for garnish
- snipped chives or sliced scallions, for garnish
- grated cheeses* (cheddar, raclette, fontina are great choices)
- Set the Instant Pot unit to Saute (medium). When the unit reads Hot, add the bacon to the inner pot. Cook the bacon until crispy (about 10 minutes). Scoop out the bacon pieces onto a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
- Add the leeks, onion, and celery to the pot and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the unit.
- Deglaze the inner pot with either a splash of wine or chicken broth. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies, and mix well.
- Add the potatoes, leveling them out in the pot. Cover with the chicken broth.
- Afix the lid and turn the valve to Sealing. Set manual pressure (high) to 3 minutes.
- When finished cooking, let natural release for 3 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure. Open the lid, taking care to watch the drips.
- Use a potato masher to mash the potato chunks to your desired consistency (I prefer it similar to applesauce - smooth, but with little chunks).
- Add the cream cheese, and use a large whisk to mix it into the soup (a whisk will help quickly break down the cubes).
- Tip in the heavy cream, along with a big pinch of salt. Use the whisk to stir the cream into the soup.
- Taste, and add a splash of lemon juice (for brightness), and adjust the salt (you'll likely need a pinch or three).
- Serve, with the bacon pieces, sour cream, chives, and cheese for toppings.
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