This 4-Ingredient Potato Soup is one of those easy, cozy soup recipes you’ll want to file away for quick recall when comfort food cravings hit.
Situation: You want a cozy bowl of soup but your eyes glaze over after reading the 5th entry on any given ingredient list. You want fast, easy, delicious soup. Clearly, you’re looking for this 4-Ingredient Potato Soup recipe. It delivers on all of the above, because the ingredients are easy to source and each ingredient was selected to maximize flavor.
When you’re working with only 4 ingredients, they need to count. I’ve seen many 4-Ingredient Potato Soup recipes that use water - why!? Water is a fantastic beverage but brings nothing to the flavor party. The best liquid for the job is pretty much anything other than water; I recommend using a flavorful broth. You’ll also want to choose an ingredient that adds umami and complexity, as well as one that adds body to create a well-crafted 4-Ingredient Soup.
This 4-Ingredient Potato Soup recipe calls for - you already KNOW - four ingredients!
I like to use Russet potatoes, but you can also use Yukon Gold. Russet potatoes have a drier, less waxy consistency than other varieties, perfect for soaking up flavor and dissolving into soup.
Chicken or beef broth
Either store purchased or homemade broth work; note that I’m calling for the use of broth, which is seasoned, whereas stock is not (see below for the differences between broth and stock). I prefer to use homemade chicken or beef broth if I have time to make it. Try this easy Instant Pot Beef Bone Broth.
Cream cheese adds body and has a mellow sweetness and tang that make it perfect for this soup. I recommend using full-fat cream cheese, but you can use lower fat versions to lighten things up.
Worcestershire sauce has so much complexity going on that it’s a perfect way to inject flavor without upping the ingredient list. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce contains Distilled White Vinegar, Molasses, Sugar, Water Salt, Onions, Anchovies, Garlic, Cloves, Tamarind Extract, Natural Flavorings, Chili Pepper Extract. Umami central in a bottle, all those awesome flavors in one convenient ingredient.
See recipe card for quantities.
What is the difference between broth and stock?
Broth is created by simmering meat, vegetables, and/or aromatics. The result is a thin, flavorful liquid that doesn’t gel when chilled, as a stock can. But it’s seasoned (unlike stock), which makes it a good choice for 4-Ingredient Potato Soup.
Stock, on the other hand, is primarily made with animal bones and may contain vegetables and/or aromatics. When cooked long enough, it gels when cooled due to the breakdown of collagen from the bones. Stock is not seasoned, so it’s not as flavorful as broth.
If you want to learn more about the differences between the two, check out The Kitchn’s What’s the Difference Between Stock and Broth?
Instructions - Making Potato Soup
Let the cream cheese come to room temperature.
Add chicken or beef broth to a large pot. Peel and cube potatoes, then add to the pot.
Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, take two ladles of broth from the pot and add to a heat-safe bowl or smaller pot. Let cool a minute, then add the room temperature cream cheese. Whisk to melt into broth.
After 15 minutes the potatoes should be mashable. Mash with a potato masher.
Add melted cream cheese mixture and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes. I like to keep whisking and mashing as it finishes cooking.
Taste, and add more Worchestershire sauce or broth, to taste.
I don’t mind the small chunks of potato that result from only using a potato masher, but if you want a smoother soup, hit it with an immersion blender or blend in batches. Just be careful you don’t overdo it or you’ll wind up with pastelike soup.
Hint: Let the cream cheese warm up as much as possible and DO completely melt it before adding it to the potato soup. If you add the cream cheese when it is cold you risk it curdling, resulting in a soup with cream cheese chunks.
With only four ingredients there aren’t a whole lot of substitutions I’d recommend making to this soup, but you can certainly switch up the umami component.
Instead of Worcestershire, the closest substitutes in flavor are (use amounts equivalent to the Worcestershire sauce called for in this recipe):
- Balsamic vinegar
- Soy sauce or coconut aminos
- Fish sauce
If you’re looking for a different sort of umami, try:
Check out Serious Eats’ 15 Umami-Packed Ingredients to Upgrade Your Pantry for more umami inspiration.
This 4-Ingredient Potato soup recipe can be made to accommodate those with dietary restrictions or preferences.
Replace the chicken or beef broth with vegetable broth. You’ll also want to use a Worcestershire sauce that doesn’t contain anchovies (the brand I use, Lea & Perrins, contains anchovies). Here is a list of anchovy-free Worchestershire sauces.
Building off of the aforementioned variations for vegetarians, to make a vegan 4-Ingredient Potato Soup you’ll also want to swap the cream cheese out for a plant-based one. Note: I have not tested this recipe with plant-based cream cheese.
Let whatever you’re craving taste and texture-wise be your guide! My favorite garnishes are bacon and shredded cheese, but you might also try:
- Crushed crackers or chips
- Oyster crackers
- Fresh herbs like basil, oregano, or parsley
- Shredded cheeses like pepper jack, gouda, cheddar, etc.
- Bacon bits
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh or pickled jalapeno slices
Store the creamy 4-Ingredient Potato Soup in a lidded container in the fridge for up to five days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheat in your microwave in a microwave-safe bowl, covered, using whatever fancy reheat buttons microwaves come with these days, until heated through. I don’t use my microwave often so sorry I’m not much help here.
Reheat in a pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, covered, until heated through. Stir occasionally as it heats.
Cream the soup as little as possible if you want it super smooth or it will go gluey on you. No one wants to be reminded of eating paste in Kindergarten.
4-Ingredient Potato Soup
- 3 pounds Russet potatoes (or approximately 6 medium-sized ones)
- 1 8 ounce package cream cheese
- 6-8 cups chicken or beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Let the cream cheese come to room temperature.
- Add chicken or beef broth to a large pot. Peel and cube potatoes, then add to the pot.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, take two ladles of broth from the pot and add to a heat-safe bowl or smaller pot. Let cool a minute, then add the room temperature cream cheese. Whisk to melt into broth.
- After 15 minutes the potatoes should be mashable. Mash with a potato masher.
- Add melted cream cheese mixture and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.
- Continue cooking for another 10 minutes. I like to keep whisking and mashing as it finishes cooking.
- Taste, and add more Worcestershire sauce or broth, to taste.
- I don’t mind the small chunks of potato that result from only using a potato masher, but if you want a smoother soup, hit it with an immersion blender or blend in batches. Just be careful you don’t overdo it or you’ll wind up with pastelike soup.