Simple Old-Fashioned Potato Soup

This Simple Old-Fashioned Potato Soup recipe is the kind of potato soup I grew up with, and it’s still my very favorite potato soup today. It’s made with just 4 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and takes very little time to prepare. When I’m looking for quick comfort food for a chilly day, this is one of my go-to recipes. I like to serve it with freshly-baked beer bread or cornbread. (And if you love hearty soups, also check out my recipe for Kielbasa and 15 Bean Soup!)

Bowl of Simple Old Fashioned Potato Soup

Back when I was a kid my dad would often make this easy potato soup for lunch or dinner on a cold day. My mom was the main cook in our house, but my dad was a good cook, too. He mainly stuck to a few specialties like this potato soup recipe (which I am pretty sure was passed down from my grandma). And back in those days, this was the typical potato soup. It was simple fare, and not the super-thick soup with lots of bacon, sour cream, and cheese like is common today. (Not that there is anything wrong with that kind of soup – I never did meet a potato soup I didn’t like!)

This being an old-fashioned soup, it’s a bit of a thinner potato soup. It’s thickened only by the milk and starch of the potatoes (making this a naturally gluten-free potato soup). But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s bland or boring – it’s actually loaded with flavor. If you’re like me and you love the flavors of butter, onions, and potatoes, you’ll likely love this soup. Of course, you can always add in some shredded cheese or crumbled bacon for even more flavor, but the basic recipe with a generous sprinkle of ground black pepper is the way I prefer to eat this potato soup.

Pot of Simple Old-Fashioned Potato Soup

Ingredients for Simple, Old-Fashioned Potato Soup

Potatoes – You’ll need to use potatoes that have a good amount of starch for this recipe in order to properly thicken the soup. Regular russet potatoes or other-baking types of potatoes work best. You can also use gold potatoes, but avoid red potatoes because they don’t have enough starch.

Onions – I like to use yellow or sweet yellow onions (like Vidalia) for the best flavor.

Butter – Just good old butter is my preference. If you want to make a vegan or plant-based potato soup, substitute vegetable oil for butter or use your favorite plant butter.

Milk – While whole milk is my milk of choice for this recipe, you could add some cream or half-and-half if you want it extra creamy. You can also use low-fat milk, but it will result in a thinner and less creamy soup. Also, the risk of curdling is higher with lower-fat milk, so you will need to be mindful to simmer the soup gently on low heat to prevent this. If you want vegan or plant-based soup, use your favorite non-dairy milk.

Spoonful of Simple, Old-Fashioned Potato Soup

Tips for making my Simple, Old-Fashioned Potato Soup Recipe:

  1. For the best flavor, add a few pinches of salt to the water you boil the potatoes in. Also, add just enough water to cover the potatoes when boiling them. When draining the potatoes, reserve the cooking water. You can use it later to thin the soup if necessary.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, cook the onions in the butter until they are soft and golden around the edges. This will sweeten the onions and really bring out the onion flavor. Do this over medium heat and keep an eye on the temperature to avoid burning the butter.
  3. When heating the milk, be sure to do it very gently, just until it bubbles around the edges. Don’t boil it or you risk curdling the milk.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. If you don’t like a lot of salt, start with a bit less than the recipe calls for. I recommend using a generous amount of ground black pepper.

As always, if you try this recipe, I hope you love it! Please let me know in the comments below.

My Homemade Roots

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Simple Old-Fashioned Potato Soup Recipe

This Simple, Old-Fashioned Potato Soup is made with only 4 main ingredients but is still delicious and perfectly comforting (and naturally gluten-free). Serve it up piping hot for lunch or supper on a chilly day.

  • Author: My Homemade Roots
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Additional Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x


  • 3 ½ pounds potatoes, diced
  • Water with a few pinches of salt added (for boiling potatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 cups whole milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt (use more or less to taste)
  • Ground black pepper to taste


  1. Add potatoes to a pot and add enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Stir in a few pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Boil gently until potatoes are fork-tender, but not falling apart, about 10-15 minutes; drain and set them aside, reserving a cup or so of the cooking water.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, heat butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add onions to the butter and cook until soft and golden brown around the edges.
  3. Add drained potatoes to the pot with cooked onions. Add milk, salt, and pepper. Gently bring to a simmer. Don't allow the milk to boil – you want it to have small bubbles around the edge of the pot.
  4. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash up about half of the potatoes while leaving the rest chunky. If the soup needs to be made thinner, add a little bit of the reserved cooking liquid until you get the desired consistency.
  5. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serve while hot.

Keywords: soup, potato soup recipe, simple potato soup, gluten-free potato soup

Did you make this recipe? Leave a review below!


  • Bobbi
    August 13, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    This is perfect! Thank you for this! I was raised on this same soup but didn’t have the recipe! I would love to share this with my kids this fall!

    • Melissa
      August 16, 2022 at 4:54 pm

      I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Shelly
    September 6, 2022 at 9:56 pm

    The best one ever. I am not a fan of the thicker soups with added ingredients. Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Melissa
      October 3, 2022 at 5:36 pm

      You’re welcome! I am not a huge fan of thick potato soups either. I hope you enjoy!

  • Elizabeth
    October 9, 2022 at 11:58 pm

    Trying the potato soup tonight hope it goes well thank you for the recipe

  • Denise
    October 23, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    Where’s the recipe? I see the ingredients but no instructions or amounts

  • Vickie Lanier
    November 2, 2022 at 2:12 am

    My momma always used milk and cornmeal to thicken her potato soup which is what of course I have brought to my table. Delicious

    • Melissa
      November 4, 2022 at 6:11 am

      I often use cornmeal to thicken my chili. I’ll have to try it in potato soup. Thanks for sharing!

    • Wendy
      November 29, 2022 at 10:53 pm

      This is exactly how my mom made this soup when we came home from school for lunch…she also made homemade croutons to go with it. Thank you so much for this recipe, I’ll make it tomorrow!!

  • Glenda Whitcomb
    November 2, 2022 at 4:45 am

    My dad made this recipe a lot when I was growing up. The only difference was he added celery seed. Oh how I miss those Saturdays.

    • Melissa
      November 4, 2022 at 6:10 am

      Celery seed sounds like a great addition to the soup! And my dad was also the potato soup maker in our house. Love the old memories. ❤️

  • DC
    November 29, 2022 at 7:31 am

    I will have to try this recipe!, I kike its simplicity. I was going yo rder the items using Amazon couldn’t find your link tho. PS which butter do you prefer? I’ve been using Kerry gold unsalted–

    • Melissa
      November 30, 2022 at 5:09 pm

      I love Kerrygold butter, too. As far as store-bought butter goes, I like both Kerrygold and Land o’ Lakes. Other than that, I sometimes pick up a roll of Amish butter. And sorry about the missing Amazon links. I’m in the process of changing my ads and things are a little bit in disarray for the moment. You can visit my Amazon store here: My Homemade Roots Amazon Store . I’ll be adding some new items that I recommend there this week.

  • Wendy
    November 29, 2022 at 10:53 pm

    This is exactly how my mom made this soup when we came home from school for lunch…she also made homemade croutons to go with it. Thank you so much for this recipe, I’ll make it tomorrow!!

    • Melissa
      November 30, 2022 at 5:00 pm

      I hope you love the recipe! And the homemade croutons sound delicious – I’ll have to try that!

  • Virginia
    November 30, 2022 at 1:16 am

    I am lactose intolerant. Have you ever tried it with lactose free milk?

    • Melissa
      November 30, 2022 at 4:59 pm

      Unfortunately, I have not. I think it would probably work fine, though. I’ve heard good things about Fairlife milk if you don’t already have a favorite lactose-free milk. You could even try plant-based milk. I like to use full-fat creamy oat milk in my coffee which I think would work in this recipe. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

      • Mimii
        November 30, 2022 at 7:16 pm

        I’m assuming you don’t peel the potatoes. Making this tonight!

        • Melissa
          December 5, 2022 at 4:31 pm

          You can peel or not peel the potatoes. Whatever you prefer.

  • Lisa
    December 1, 2022 at 12:38 am

    This is basically how I make my potato soup, but I use canned evaporated milk in mine. It is so good!

    • Melissa
      December 5, 2022 at 4:30 pm

      The evaporated milk sounds good!


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