Whether you’re making a classic loaded potato soup or a chunky vegetable soup, the type of potatoes you choose for your recipe will matter. Don’t just pick any spud from the produce section and think it will suffice. Depending on the particular type of soup or stew you’re making, as well as your desired texture, certain potatoes will be better than others.
When to Use Baking Potatoes
Baking potatoes include Russets, Idaho potatoes, and King Edward potatoes. They’re often used for baking, obviously, but also for french fries, because after cooking, these potatoes’ interiors break down into a soft and fluffy cloud of potato-y goodness. These potatoes contain a lot of starch and not a lot of moisture.
However, baking potatoes aren’t always suitable for soups. Because the interior breaks down so easily and uniformly, they’re not going to give you a chunky or very textured soup. If you want a soup that’s very smooth and creamy, go with a baking potato, but otherwise look for another option.
If you do use a baking potato in your soup, do note that they can really suck up the moisture, so you may need to add more broth or your other cooking liquid of choice, to balance things out.
When to Use All-Purpose Potatoes
As the name suggests, these potatoes are the workhorses of spuds. You can use them just about anywhere, because they’re not as starchy as a baking potato, but they’re still soft and creamy. Think white potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, or Kennebec potatoes. Use these potatoes for a potato soup with a little bit of a chunky texture, or in any soup where you want to add creaminess without the potato entirely breaking down.
When to Use Boiling Potatoes
Boiling potatoes are also sometimes called waxy potatoes, and they include fingerling, new, and red potatoes.
Boiling potatoes are often boiled but also roasted or used in gratins. They hold up well, have little starch, and are waxier. They’ll hold their shape under even boiling conditions, so are a great pick for a soup or stew that’s filled with chunky texture. You would use a boiling potato in a beef stew, for example, in a vegetable soup, or an immunity-boosting lentil, potato, and greens soup.
What About Sweet Potatoes?
If you’d rather use sweet potatoes in your soup or stew, you can use them in both thicker and thinner soups. Diced and boiled, sweet potatoes become tender and can be eaten in chunky soups. However, you can also use an immersion blender to puree roasted or otherwise cooked sweet potatoes for use in a smoother, creamier soup, like this spicy sweet potato soup.
Lightened-Up Potato Soup
- 1 saucepan
- 1 stock pot
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 rib celery diced
- 6 Russet potatoes peeled and diced
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 cups soy milk
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- fresh chives chopped, for garnish (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add onion and celery and sauté for about 5 minutes, until they're tender and begin to turn translucent.
- While onions and celery are cooking, place potatoes, carrots, and vegetable stock into a separate stock pot and bring to a boil. Cook about 10 minutes, until they're tender (test with a fork).
- With the heat set to low, whisk flour into the saucepan with the onions and celery until it begins to form a paste (add an extra splash of olive oil, if needed). Gradually drizzle in the soy milk, stirring continually until it becomes uniform and thick. Add potato, carrot, and vegetable stock mixture. Stir in parsley and garnish with fresh chives. Serve immediately.
- You’re welcome to substitute butter for the olive oil and regular milk for the soy milk; this is intended to be a lighter, more heart-healthy version.
- The Russet potatoes will help thicken the soup and break apart to form a creamy soup with small chunks of potato. You can use any kind of potato, but if you use boiling potatoes, you’ll need to use an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor to achieve a smooth, creamy consistency.
- If you’re less concerned about calories, top with some bacon bits and/or shredded cheddar for a boost of comforting flavor