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Slow Cooker Creamy Potato Bacon Soup

Hey friends! I’m so thrilled to be sharing one of my absolute favorite cold weather recipes with you all today – a wonderfully indulgent, soul-warming potato bacon soup that’s sure to become your new favorite cozy weekend meal.
There’s just something about a steaming bowl of creamy, potato-y goodness loaded with crispy chunks of smoky bacon that feels like a big ol’ hug from the inside out on a frosty winter day. It’s the type of stick-to-your-ribs, ultra-satisfying comfort food that was just made for languid Saturdays or Sundays spent at home watching snowflakes drift lazily outside your window.

This recipe has been in heavy dinner rotation at my house for years now, and has never failed to lift our spirits and warm us from head to toe on the chilliest of days. It comes together with humble ingredients you likely already have on hand, doesn’t require any special culinary skills, and spends hours simmering away in the slow cooker so you can focus on holiday baking, crafting, reading by the fire, or whatever else your heart desires while your house fills with the coziest aromas.

I’m getting hungry just thinking about the way the velvety potato puree combines with the rich creaminess of the broth, punctuated by salty, crispy bursts of bacon in each spoonful. It’s the type of soup that begs to be served piping hot, ideally with a freshly baked loaf of crusty bread or rolls to dip into that liquid gold. And don’t even get me started on how good it is with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese on top!

If a laid-back weekend filled with comfort food and hibernating at home sounds right up your alley, then settle in, get cozy, and let’s dive into how to make this heavenly potato bacon soup! I can’t wait to hear what you all think.

Let’s dive right in and talk about why you need to try this soup!

What kind of potatoes work best for getting a creamy texture?
Russet potatoes are the best choice for potato soup. Their starchy, fluffy texture breaks down and thickens the broth as it cooks, creating a rich, creamy base without needing a traditional roux. Yukon gold or red potatoes would also work but may result in a slightly thinner soup.

Can I prepare the soup in advance or freeze for later?
Yes! The soup can be made 1-2 days in advance then refrigerated until ready to reheat and serve. It also freezes very well for up to 3 months. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring to airtight containers or freezer bags. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Is there a quick substitute for chopping all the vegetables?
Absolutely! You can save lots of time prepping by using frozen diced hash brown potatoes and frozen diced onions and celery. Just use the same measured amounts called for in the recipe. The only chopping required would be the garlic.

How can I adjust the consistency or thickness?
The soup thickens up as it cools. To thin it out, stir in additional broth, milk, or cream when reheating until you reach the desired consistency. For an even thicker, heartier soup, try mashing some of the cooked potatoes against the side of the pot before blending.

What are some creative ways to use up leftovers?
Leftover soup makes a great base for loaded baked potatoes – just top baked russets with scoops of the soup and your favorite toppings. You can also use it in lieu of plain mashed potatoes with a roast chicken or meatloaf dinner. And it transforms into a yummy potato soup dip when served warm with crusty bread or crackers for dipping.

Okay, let’s get cooking! Here’s the simple step-by-step for how to make this creamy, dreamy potato bacon soup:

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and diced (about 5 medium potatoes)
  • 1 lb bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Extra garnishes: shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon, green onions, fresh chives

Instructions:

  1. Add the chopped bacon to a large skillet and cook over medium heat until crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease.
  2. Add the diced onions to the hot bacon grease and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute more until fragrant.
  3. Transfer the cooked bacon, onions, and garlic to a 6-qt slow cooker. Add the potatoes, broth, cream, thyme, salt, and pepper. Give everything a good stir.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours, until the potatoes are very tender.
  5. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until mostly smooth and creamy. Or, you can transfer batches to a regular blender.
  6. Taste and add any additional salt and pepper if needed. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with your desired garnishes.

Cooking Tips:

  • Leftover soup thickens up in the fridge. Add a splash of milk or cream when reheating to thin it out.
  • Cook the bacon until very crispy so it maintains texture even after hours in the slow cooker.
  • Let the soup cool slightly before blending so you don’t burn yourself.
  • For a shortcut, use frozen diced hash browns instead of chopping fresh potatoes.
  • For extra richness, stir in a cup or two of grated cheddar right after blending.
  • Garnish with crumbled cooked bacon for the perfect salty, crunchy topping.

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