This lightened up version of Old-Fashioned Potato Soup is one creamy, delicious bowl of comfort food that won’t leave you feeling guilty. Made from scratch and flavored with yellow onions sautéed in butter, this easy potato soup recipe only takes 30 minutes start to finish.
Most potato soup recipes call for using whole milk or heavy cream which contribute to more calories. This lighter version only uses one cup of milk, yet it’s still flavorful and creamy without a ton of calories. That’s a big win!
Old-Fashioned Potato Soup
If you’re like me, you probably have fond memories of your grandma’s potato soup. Laden with plenty of butter and cream, potato soup was equally comforting and filling on cold, snowy days. We’d crumble a handful of saltine crackers on top and practically lick the bowl clean to get every last drop!
Consuming all those calories to head out to play in the snow was just fine, but now not so much. The problem is I don’t burn calories at the same rate as I did back then!
I still love creamy potato soup, though, and indulge in the richer version only occasionally (like Baked Potato Soup). Instead, I opt for today’s low-calorie potato soup. Believe me, it really is possible to make a delicious, thick soup with less cream!
To compare, my Old-Fashioned Potato Soup lightened up version is just 192 calories per bowl compared to Baked Potato Soup with 335 calories per serving.
Lighten it up!
Grandma’s recipe included a whole stick of butter and a mixture of whole milk and cream. Yes, it was delicious, but it was rich and heavy in calories, too. Here’s how I trim calories and make my potato soup recipe a little healthier:
- Use a mixture of butter and extra-virgin olive oil for the fat (just two tablespoons each).
- Peel and cut the potatoes and let them soak in cool water to remove some of the starch. This helps eliminate a few carbs.
- Drain and rinse the potatoes, then cook them in low-sodium chicken broth to add flavor.
- Only use 1 cup of 2% milk.
Make it from scratch!
Let’s get out the soup pot! I like to prep potatoes ahead of time and let them soak in water in the refrigerator until I’m ready to put this soup together. Sometimes, I’ll even peel and dice potatoes the day before.
The potatoes will not turn brown as long as they are completely covered with water and refrigerated. When ready to cook, drain off the starchy water and give them a quick rinse.
- Start by melting butter and olive oil over medium heat in either a soup pot or a large Dutch oven.
- Cook diced yellow onions until tender and then stir in chopped garlic and fresh thyme leave and cook another minute or so until the mixture is fragrant. This starts building a base of delicious flavor for the soup.
- Pour in the chicken broth and add the potatoes and bring it all to a boil, cooking for about 10 minutes. You want to cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender so that they will mash up easily.
- Reduce the heat to a low simmer and use a potato masher or an immersion blender to cream up the potatoes, leaving some small chunks.
- Whisk a tablespoon of cornstarch into the cup of 2% milk and pour it into the simmering soup. Cook for another few minutes until the soup becomes thick and creamy.
- At this point, season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, garnish with more fresh thyme leaves and freshly cracked black pepper.
What kind of potatoes are best to use in soup?
Yukon Gold are the potatoes I prefer for this recipe because of their waxy, creamy texture. Idaho potatoes are also a good choice for plain potato soup with their neutral potato flavor and fluffy texture.
What’s the best way to thicken this soup?
Traditional potato soup recipes use whole milk, enriched evaporated milk, or heavy cream to thicken the soup. This lightened up version is thickened by whisking a tablespoon of cornstarch into a cup of milk, then adding it to the simmering pot of soup. Continue cooking another five minutes or until the soup is thick and creamy.
More Winter Soup Recipes!
- Creamy Chicken Florentine Soup
- Pork Meatball and Wild Rice Soup
- Skinny Taco Soup
- Easy-Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup
- 30-Minute Beefy Vegetable Soup
This soup is delicious served with a piece of crusty bread for soaking up all the yummy potato broth. You can also serve Old-Fashioned Potato Soup topped with a dollop of lite sour cream, bacon crumbles, and shredded cheddar cheese for a lighter version of baked potato soup.
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- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2-1/2 lbs. peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes, about 5 cups
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or soup pot until the butter is foamy.
- Add diced onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender and translucent. Stir in the chopped garlic and fresh thyme leaves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the chicken broth and diced potatoes to the pot. After the mixture begins to boil, cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Turn down the heat and use a potato masher to coarsely mash the potatoes, leaving some bigger chunks.
- Whisk 1 tablespoon cornstarch into the cup of milk with a fork, then add it to the pot of soup. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until the soup is thickened and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve with more fresh thyme, if desired.
- Yukon Gold are the potatoes I prefer for this recipe because they have a creamy texture when they are cooked. However, this recipe will also work with other varieties of potatoes.
- Serve this potato soup topped with a dollop of lite sour cream, bacon crumbles and cheese for a lighter version of baked potato soup.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 192Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 754mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 5g
Sheila Thigpen, author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. Living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters and two fine sons-in-law, are active in their church, love to travel, and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. Follow Sheila on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!