Round white potatoes (top left): Round white are low starch and are often called waxy potatoes. They hold their shape better than other potatoes after cooking, making them ideal for soups when you want skin-on chunks of potato.
Russet potatoes (top center): Russets are high-starch potatoes with a light, mealy texture. They are best for baked potatoes, French fries, and mashed potatoes. These are the best choice for a baked potato soup.
Purple potatoes (top right): Purple potaotes are a medium-starch potatoes with qualities similar to yellow potatoes. For best appearance, use them cubed in soups rather than mashed as a thickener. Their purple color gives them an antioxidant boost that white potatoes lack.
Yellow or Yukon Gold potatoes (bottom left): These are medium-starch all-purpose potatoes. They contain more moisture than high-starch potaotes (like russets), so they don't fall apart as easily. These are a good choice for soups that use some of the potatoes mashed for thickening and leave the rest in chunks.
New Red potatoes (bottom center): These potatoes have similar qualitites and uses as round white potatoes. Use them when you want a bit of color from the skin.
Fingerling potatoes (bottom right): Fingerling potatoes are best when their unique shape and size is highlighted in soup. Leave the skin on and halve any large potatoes. Use them in broth-base soups.
1. Cook potatoes In a large saucepan or pot combine potatoes and onion in enough water to cover the potatoes and allow them to move freely when boiling. Bring to boiling over high heat; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until potatoes are tender. (Make sure you use a big enough pan so water doesn't boil out from under the lid while simmering.) Potatoes are done when a fork or tip of a sharp knife can be easily inserted and removed. Drain in a colander.
2. Blend potatoes Reserve a cupful of cooked potatoes to give the soup texture. Puree the remaining potatoes with broth in a blender or food processor until smooth. This acts as a thickener for the soup. (You can omit pureeing in this step and use an immersion blender to puree the soup in Step 4.)
3. Making the cream base Melt butter in the same saucepan. Stir in flour and seasonings. Whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until the base is slightly thickened and bubbly. Continue cooking and stirring for another minute to develop a rich, creamy flavor.
4. Finishing the soup Add the pureed potato mixture, remaining broth, and the reserved potato chunks. (This is where you can puree the soup in the pan with an immersion blender before adding the reserved chunks of potato.) Cook soup until heated and adjust seasonings. If a thinner soup is desired, stir in a little more milk or half-and-half.
Get our Cream of Potato Soup recipe
Skip Step 1, above, by baking the potatoes instead of boiling them. Learn how to bake potatoes in the video below. If using baked potatoes, saute the onion in melted butter in Step 3, above, then continue making the creamy base as directed.