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How To Make Easy Slow Cooker Potato Soup

A few pantry staples are all you need for this creamy, comforting soup.

The Kitchn
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Photos by Joe Lingeman

Potato soup is such a fall classic. Tender pieces of creamy russet potatoes mingle with onions, garlic, and salty pancetta for a bowl of soul-soothing solace. The only possible upgrade to this classic is to make it easier with the help from the slow cooker. And let’s be real — this soup is one hundred times better when it’s made in the slow cooker.

To make the absolute easiest potato soup, this recipe relies on pantry staples to create a bowl of creamy, comforting soup that’s as easy to make as it is to love. Here’s how it’s done.

This Cozy Soup Is All About the Potatoes

First, this is not a chowder; there’s no celery or carrot to get in the way of the potatoes. What we have here is a chunky potato soup flavored with onions, garlic, and cubed pancetta and made creamy with a can of evaporated milk (yup, no cream here!). Thanks to the slow cooker, the warm and comforting soup is waiting for you when you come home.

Key Steps for Chunky Slow Cooker Potato Soup

  • Use a combination of potatoes. Russet potatoes and Yukon gold work together to make a soup that is both creamy and chunky. Using just russets will give you mashed potatoes, more or less.
  • Skip the cream and use canned milk. Nothing against heavy cream, but for a soup that cooks for hours in the slow cooker without separating, evaporated milk is the best milk for the job. You can add it at the beginning of cooking without any fuss.
  • Thicken with flour just before serving. You may find the soup to your liking without any additional thickening or mashing. Once the potatoes are tender, though, you can adjust the texture in two ways: First, you can take a potato masher to the soup and make it a little bit smoother. Second, you can thicken the soup by making a quick slurry with evaporated milk and flour in a small bowl.

Serving and Storing Easy Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Classic potato soup is often served with a generous flurry of grated cheddar cheese and some crisp bacon, but let me offer a personal suggestion: crumbled cheese crackers. You’ll get the salty, cheesy flavor of the cheddar with the crunch of the bacon. Heck, you could even do all three. Once thickened, the soup will hold well in the slow cooker for about an hour-and-a-half. After that, transfer it to the fridge or freezer for long-term storage.

Tester’s Note

There’s nothing better than a creamy, potato soup from the slow cooker, which is why we’ve combed through your comments and retested and rewritten this recipe for greater success. Instead of a using a single potato type — russets — we’ve updated the recipe to call for a combination of russets and Yukon gold potatoes. Russets break down in the broth to lend creaminess, while the Yukon potatoes hold their shape for a chunkier texture. We’ve also increased the amount of broth from 1 quart to 2 quarts. Adjusted cooking times also reflect those changes.

Lastly, since many readers had trouble with the milk curdling during cooking, we’ve moved to adding it at the end as part of a thickening slurry.

How To Make Easy Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Yield: Serves 10 to 12

Prep TIme: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours to 6 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled and diced
  • 2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 ounces pancetta, cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 quarts low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Serving options:

  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Cooked bacon or pancetta pieces
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Cheddar cheese crackers, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the slow cooker on LOW. Before you begin peeling and chopping the vegetables, preheat a 6-quart or larger slow cooker on the LOW setting. This will help jump-start the cooking process.

  2. Pile the vegetables into the slow cooker. Place the potatoes, pancetta, onion, and garlic in the slow cooker.

  3. Add the broth. Pour in the broth. Give the mixture a stir to combine.

  4. Season and cook for 3 to 4 hours on HIGH, or 6 to 8 on LOW. Add the salt, thyme, and pepper and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the potatoes and onions are tender, 3 to 4 hours on the HIGH setting or 6 to 8 hours on the LOW setting.

  5. Thirty minutes before serving, thicken the soup. Before thickening the soup, taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Whisk together the evaporated milk and flour in a small pitcher or measuring cup. Add pour this slurry into the soup and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the soup thickens, about 30 minutes more.

  6. Serving and holding the soup. Serve the soup with the topping options. If not serving immediately, turn your slow cooker to the warm setting for up to 1 1/2 hours. As the soup cools, some separation might occur, but it’s nothing a stir won't remedy.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Meghan Splawn is the Food Editor for Kitchn's Skills content. She co-hosts a weekly podcast about food and family called Didn't I Just Feed You.