The Best Potatoes for Soup and Tips for Making Potato Soup at Home

Learn which potatoes are best for soup, plus get tips on how to create the most delicious pot of homemade potato soup.

A warm, creamy bowl of potato soup is one of the best comfort foods (especially when there's a chill in the air). But with so many different types of potatoes in the produce section, it's hard to know which spuds to grab. If your potato soup recipe doesn't specify which variety to use, it's important to know which potatoes are best for soup. Depending on whether the soup is creamy, or the potatoes are left in chunks in a broth base, will determine if you should buy russets, Yukon golds, or red potatoes. Read on for descriptions of the potato types and the soup recipes for which they're best suited. We'll also give you our Test Kitchen's step-by-step tips on how to make a potato soup that's always delicious, rich, and creamy.

white russet gold red potatoes sliced cut
Kritsada Panichgul

Best Potatoes for Soup

Here are the most common varieties of potatoes that will work best for every type of soup recipe.

Round white potatoes (top left): These round, white spuds are low in starch and are often called waxy potatoes. They hold their shape better after cooking. This makes them one of the best potatoes for soup when you want chunks of potato with skins still on.

Russet potatoes (top center): Russets are high in starch and have a light, mealy texture. They are best for baked potatoes, French fries, and mashed potatoes. These are also the best choice for baked potato soup.

Purple potatoes (top right): Purple potatoes are medium in starch with qualities similar to yellow potatoes. For their best appearance, use them cubed in soups rather than mashed as a thickener (though we love the hue in this purple potato soup). Their purple color gives them an antioxidant boost that white potatoes lack.

Yellow or Yukon Gold potatoes (bottom left): These are medium in starch, all-purpose potatoes. They contain more moisture than high-starch potatoes (like russets), so they don't fall apart as easily. These are a good choice for soups that require part of the potato to be mashed for thickening and the rest to be left in chunks.

New red potatoes (bottom center): These have similar qualities as round white potatoes, and can be used in many of the same ways. New red potatoes are best when you want a bit of color from the skin.

Fingerling potatoes (bottom right): Fingerlings are best when their unique shape and size is highlighted in a soup. Leave the skin on and halve any large ones. Use them in broth-based soups or stews.

overhead view of homemade potato soup

BHG/Ana Cadena

How to Make Potato Soup

If you're a fan of creamy potato soup, follow these steps to make a delicious homemade pot of soup at home.

cut and cooked potatoes in water for boiling

BHG/Ana Cadena

Step 1: Cook Potatoes

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven (Walmart), combine potatoes and onion in enough water to cover and allow them to move freely when boiling. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. (Make sure you use a large enough pan so the water doesn't boil out from under the lid.) The Potatoes are done when a fork or the tip of a sharp knife can be easily inserted and removed. Drain them in a colander.

cooked potatoes blended in food processor

BHG/Ana Cadena

Step 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 (Target) until smooth. This acts as a thickener for the soup. (You can skip this step and use an immersion blender (Walmart) to puree the soup in Step 4.)

adding cream to cooked and blender potatoes for potato soup

BHG/Ana Cadena

Step 3: Make the Cream Base

Melt butter in a 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.

overhead view of creamy potato soup in small bowls

BHG/Ana Cadena

Step 4: Finish the Potato Soup

Add the pureed potato mixture, remaining broth, and 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 the soup until heated and adjust the seasonings. If a thinner soup is desired, stir in a little more milk or half-and-half.

Test Kitchen Tip: To make potato soup without peeling or cubing the potatoes, skip step 1 above, and go with baking the potatoes instead of boiling them. If using baked potatoes, sauté the onion in melted butter in step 3, then continue making the creamy base as directed.

Now that you know the best potatoes for soup, grab your favorites and try one of these delicious comforting potato soup recipes.

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