Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup
Easy Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Potato Leek soup is a lovely soup for spring. This Instant Pot potato soup is warm, comforting, creamy, and kid-friendly.
It’s funny, every time May rolls around I expect it to feel like summer. I think many of you who don’t live on the California coast would agree. The reality though, is that May and June are some of Santa Barbara’s gloomiest months. We have “May Grey”, “June Gloom”, and even “August Fog-ust”. So while I’d love to move on from soups, when I’m deciding what to make for dinner each morning, a cozy pot of soup often comes to mind.
I love using leeks, and had a big bag of potatoes that needed to be used up before they started sprouting eyes, so this easy potato leek soup came naturally. This is a typical potato leek soup recipe, but I made it easier than ever by cooking it in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. If you don’t have an Instant Pot you can make this the same way in your slow cooker. Potato leek soup is creamy and delicious. It’s inexpensive and required just a few ingredients. You can puree this soup (like in the pictures) or leave it chunky (like in the video). I tested this Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup both ways, and chunky is definitely my preference. There are some tips and tricks you need to know, so let’s check out how to make potato leek soup.
I got all my ingredients at Trader Joe’s this time. They have a package of 2 trimmed leeks. If you get them at the farmers market without packaging, that’s even better. Leeks are alliums, related to onions. They have a mild flavor that’s great in soups. Leeks have flat leaves that are tightly overlapped. Dirt often gets trapped between the leaves so it’s a good idea to wash them well. This recipe uses more potatoes than leeks, but you could certainly use more leeks. Julia Child’s famous potato leek soup recipe used 3 cups of leeks to 3 cups of potatoes.
I like to use both the green and white parts of the leeks, which get sauteed in a little splash of olive oil and minced garlic. I love the saute mode feature on the Instant Pot. Some slow cookers have this function too. Does yours? Mine is an older model and does not. I use gold potatoes for this recipe.
Once the leeks have softened a bit and the garlic is fragrant, add the potatoes, vegetable broth, and herbs. I have used the classic thyme and bay leaf combination here, but you could add a sprig of rosemary if you like. Instant Pot potato soup is so easy.
Set the Instant Pot to manual mode for 5 minutes with the valve set to sealing. Though the cook time is 5 minutes, that’s a bit deceiving as it takes about 15 minutes for the pot to come up to pressure before the cook time begins. If you’re using a slow cooker, set it to low for 8 hours.
Quick release the pressure with your hand covered so it doesn’t get burned. The potatoes should be nice and tender.
Potato leek soup is usually served in restaurants very smooth and pureed. To achieve this, you can use an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a stand blender. A word of warning: like mashed potatoes, potato soup can get gluey (eew) when over-processed and there’s not much you can do to save it once it gets to that point. To avoid this, you can pass the potato chunks through a potato ricer or simply go for a chunky, chowder style soup by using a potato masher to break it up. For the still photos I pureed the soup with an immersion blender, and for the video I use a potato masher. I much preferred the chunky version. To make potato leek soup extra creamy, add milk. I used unsweetened coconut milk here. You can taste the coconut just a little, so use an alternate milk if you’re not a fan of coconut.
Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if desired. To add “cheesy” flavor you can add nutritional yeast and to add the most delicious flavor ever, you can us a drizzle of truffle oil or sprinkle of truffle salt (my secret weapons).
Garnish with reserved sauteed leeks, fresh thyme, and roasted chickpeas. Instant Pot or slow cooker soups make life so easy and delicious!
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 3 trimmed leeks, rinsed and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 7 cups peeled large Yukon gold potato chunks
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 32 oz. vegetable broth, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2/3 cup plain unsweetened milk of choice
- 1/4 cup sliced chives, for garnish
- roasted chickpeas, for garnish (optional)
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode. Add the olive oil and saute the leeks for 2 minutes, until starting to soften. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the sauteed leeks if you'd like to use it for garnish. Add the garlic and saute another minute longer, taking care not to burn it.
- Add the peeled, cut potatoes to the pot along with the thyme, bay leaf, and 3 1/2 cups of vegetable broth. Lock the lid on the pot and set the valve to sealing. Set the pot to manual mode for 5 minutes. When the cooking is done, with your hand covered with a pot holder or towel, quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid away from you. The potatoes should be very tender. If they are not, place the lid back on and let them sit for a few minutes until tender. Turn off the pot and carefully remove the bay leaf and any thyme stems.
- For a thick and chunky soup, use a potato masher to break up the potatoes. For a thinner soup, use an immersion blender to blend, taking care not to splatter the hot soup on yourself. Add the milk, salt, and pepper. Add more vegetable broth as you go to thin to desired consistency. Do NOT over blend the soup or it may get gluey. For this reason I prefer the chunky version.
- Serve this soup warm and garnish with sliced chives, leeks, and roasted chickpeas or croutons. For extra decadence, a little drizzle of olive or truffle oil makes a big difference. If the soup tastes bland, it needs more salt and pepper.
Slow Cooker Instructions: Follow this recipe, but cook on low for 8 hours, until the potatoes are tender. Add cheesy flavor with nutritional yeast. Nutrition information is calculated by a third party site and is approximate. I am not a nutritionist and can't guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition facts, please calculate again.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 411Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 1542mgCarbohydrates: 78gFiber: 8gSugar: 7gProtein: 12g