"Everybody" Potato-Leek Soup

A comforting, soul-warming soup everyone can love, whether left chunky and served as a chowder or turned into a silky purée.

An overhead view of "everybody" potato-leek soup, garnished with celery leaves, potato chip crumbles, and snipped chives.
Photo: Victor Protasio
Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
8 servings

As Emily Nunn writes in her accompanying essay, this soup recipe is "adjustable in ways that guarantee everyone will eat it, and love it, in any condition they’re in." Indeed, you can serve this soup many different ways: with a dollop of crème fraîche and smoked salmon, topped with roasted broccoli florets and shredded cheddar cheese, or simply plain, as it has a mellow, delicious flavor on its own. (The crushed potato chip garnish, however, feels essential.) Left as a chunky-style soup, it eats like a chowder, while the puréed version has a silky and light texture that's still rich enough to be served chilled, if desired. Nunn also recommends embellishing the unpuréed version of this soup by adding fresh corn and chopped jalapeños toward the end of cooking and garnishing bowls with chopped cilantro in place of the celery leaves and chive.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 4 large leeks (about 8 cups), white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, halves cut into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons

  • 4 large celery stalks (about 2 cups), chopped, plus small, tender leaves for garnish

  • 6 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 9 cups), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 7 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon jarred chicken stock base (such as Better Than Bouillon)

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • Dash of freshly grated nutmeg

  • Finely chopped fresh chives and crushed potato chips, for garnish


  1. Melt butter with olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium. Add leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add celery; cook, stirring often, until tender and deeply saturated in color, about 8 minutes. Add potatoes; stir to coat potatoes in butter and oil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring often, until potatoes are coated in a shiny, milky starch, about 5 minutes. Stir in 7 cups water and chicken stock base; bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just tender and vegetables are softened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a ladle, remove 2 cups of cooking stock (liquid only), and reserve in a small bowl. Let remaining soup stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

  2. Stir milk, cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg into soup. Stir in reserved stock, a little at a time, to reach desired consistency. (If desired, use a potato masher to mash some of the soup. To serve pureed, pour soup and reserved 2 cups stock, in two batches, into a blender. Process until smooth, about 20 seconds per batch.) Divide soup evenly among 8 bowls, and garnish with celery leaves, chives, and crushed potato chips.

Make ahead

Let soup cool completely, and store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days.

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