Creamy Celery Soup

While much of the country digs out from several feet of snow, here in Sacramento the weather is finally beginning to act like winter. Thank you rain! Time to curl up under a cozy blanket and enjoy a warm bowl of soup. This week’s pick? A classic creamy celery soup.

Like cabbage, celery is an oft neglected vegetable, prized for its place in a mirepoix, but rarely the star of the show. Which is silly when you think about it, given how good celery is in soups. (Can you imagine chicken soup without it?) Celery soup, with a supporting cast of some onion, leeks, and a little cream, is utterly delicious, and a great way to warm up on a chilly day.Celery Soup on Simply Recipes

Creamy Celery Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 5.

Taste the raw celery you plan to use in this soup. The celery should be fresh and good on its own, not old or bitter. If you have a particularly tough or bitter bunch of celery, please don't use it in this soup, find another use for it.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided into 2 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 5 cups of chopped celery, and 1 1/2 cups of diced celery  (from one large bunch of celery or two small bunches)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh chopped chives or parsley for garnish

Method

celery-soup-1 celery-soup-2

1 Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a thick-bottomed 4 to 5 quart pot on medium heat. Add the diced onion, the leaks, and 5 cups of the chopped celery. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.

celery-soup-3 celery-soup-4

2 Add the chicken stock and bay leaves to the pot. Taste for salt and add salt. (If you are using unsalted butter and unsalted stock, you will need to add more salt than you expect, if not, maybe just a little salt will be needed.) Increase heat to bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.

celery-soup-5 celery-soup-6

3 While the soup is simmering, prepare the extra celery that will be added later to the soup. In a separate small sauté pan, melt 1 Tbsp of butter on medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups diced celery to the butter. Ladle 1/2 cup of the simmering stock from the soup pot into the sauté pan. Simmer on low for 5 or 6 minutes to soften the celery. Set aside.

celery-soup-7 celery-soup-8

4 Remove the soup pot from heat, let cool slightly. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender, filling the blender no more than a third full at a time (keep your hand on the lid so the hot liquid doesn't explode). Return the puréed soup to the pot. Stir in the cream and the braised diced celery.

Taste for salt and add more if needed. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and chopped chives or parsley to serve.

Links:

Chunky Celery Soup from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks

Celery Soup on Simply Recipes

28 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    This looks heavenly! I look forward to making some this week. And no, I can’t imagine chicken soup without celery. I’m curious, however, how come you’re not suggesting an immersion blender for this. I’m always looking for recipes to use my SmartStick on, but I find that you often recommend a blender instead. What are your thoughts regarding blender vs immersion blender? The SmartStick is just so much more fun to use!

    • Elise

      Celery is rather fibrous, even when cooked, so it might be a bit difficult to get to the smooth purée you want with an immersion blender. If it works for you, great!

      • Courtney

        I ripped the ‘strings’ out of my celery before chopping and used an immersion blender to puree. More prep time on the front end (5-10 minutes for 5 cups worth), but worth it if you want to avoid the regular blender.

        For those of you who are fond of measuring ingredients by weight, I found that a cup of chopped celery weighs about 125 grams (a shade under 4.5 oz).

        Thanks for another great recipe, Elise!

        • Paul M.

          My perspective exactly, Courtney. I find the outer stringy part is where the bitter, fibrous elements are that can be conveniently discarded with a vegetable peeler. You’ll be surprised how much sweeter the soup can be if the outer convex layers of the stalks are peeled off.

  2. Courtney

    Perfect timing! I have an unusually large glut of celery from my last two CSA deliveries right now, and it’s freezing. Definitely making this sooner rather than later.

  3. Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)

    I often buy way too much celery, intending to use it for vegetarian spaghetti bolognese and I convince myself I will find a use for the remainder. This never happens and I’m sorry to say I’ve binned my fair share of celery over the years. I have a feeling this soup can help me with my problem, it looks wonderful!

  4. holunderlily

    This looks so delicious! I’ll definitely try it. If you love celery, try frying slices of celery root in a bread crumb/egg coat like a schnitzel, it’s great!! You’ll never want a real schnitzel again ;-)

  5. Sandy S

    MMMM! … This sounds just right! Especially with the leeks that you have included. And, what a pretty presentation!
    I need this recipe as I love celery but have never made cream of celery soup from scratch. I am so encouraged that I can ‘Just do it!’ with your pictures and instructions. Celery is sort of my ‘go to’ item when I’m dealing with a nagging appetite or need something quick. I use it to hold tuna salad, egg salad, and various soft cheeses to say nothing of peanut butter. Very satisfying without weighing me down. If the celery has gotten big and tough, I sometimes slice it very fine and add it to tuna salad or a cooked recipe.

  6. Nancy

    I confess that whenever I try to puree soup in a blender, it definitely leaks all over the counter. However, I’m quite sure you meant “leeks,” not “leaks.”

  7. Arcey

    It’s nice to add a knob of celery root to the mix. You can chunk it for the puree, and then add small dice for garnish or as part of the soup for texture. I would use a stick/wand blender on this, and then strain it if it’s fibrous (which it probably will be). Haven’t made cream of celery for awhile, so thanks for the reminder! It’s very good and very comforting.

  8. Chris S.

    This recipe doesn’t just look good; it IS good! My husband followed it exactly when making cream of celery soup for me this evening as a gift. It’s fabulous — light, yet extremely flavorful. I’m presently savoring the first two cups’ worth in my bowl and will definitely be tempted to have more.

    Incidentally, my husband DID use a stick blender, and yes, I’m sure there were bits that escaped treatment, but, because of the separate celery added toward the end that’s not blended anyway, any escapees weren’t noticeable at all. I, too, typically get soup all over the counter whenever pureeing using a regular blender. Consequently, I’ve switched 100% to a stick blender, even for my famous cream of asparagus soup. Good food is not incompatible with adapting one’s methods to new times! :)

    Thanks, Elise — magical, as always.

    • Chris S.

      P.S. My husband, who recently rejoined Weight Watchers, has just admitted that he left out the cream and instead added an entire can of evaporated skim milk. Might be worth trying, folks — it certainly fooled me! :)

  9. Oui, Chef

    You’re right, celery gets such a bad rap as a veg, but is such a key component of so many foods we love. This soup looks absolutely perfect, thanks for sharing it with us all.

  10. Heather S.

    I made this recipe last night for dinner and everyone really loved this soup!
    Delicious, delicious, delicious! It is creamy (I used my Vitamix- worked perfectly) and flavorful but mild and not overpowering. Since my kids have a cold- this was a great staying-in, winter dinner. I will be making this again and sharing this recipe. The only change I made was using Olive Oil instead of butter. I also used homemade chicken stock which added to the flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Ayan

    What you mean cream? There is 1/3-1/4 cup cream, but I don’t know what kind of cream. It is my first time visiting this site. I was googling some chicken breast recipes and I thank Allah for finding this website. I found all kinds of chicken breast recipes and I want thank you for that. Thanks again

  12. Sarah

    I know I tend to be in the minority about cooked celery, but I love love love it! My nana has a nice baked celery recipe, so of course I am drawn to this soup and will be giving it a try very soon!

  13. Sheila

    This is a WINNER! I was looking for a celery soup that didn’t use starchy thickeners like potatoes or flour. The flavor is delicious and the contrast between the silky puree and bits of braised celery is just lovely.

  14. Rhea

    Hi Elise,
    It is nice to come across your beautiful and informative site. Just recently started following a low carb diet and I’m quite particular about the counts of carb I have to take per meal.
    You have the number of servings on each recipe but I don’t see the Nutrition Facts. Is there anyway I could I find out how many carbs there is per serving in each recipe.
    There are quite a bit of recipes that I would love to try. I would really
    appreciate it if you are able to help me out.

    Thank you for sharing your family recipes to the public.

    Thank you in advance.
    Rhea

    • Elise

      Hi Rhea, thank you for your kind words about the site! Regarding nutritional information, I simply do not have the time nor the expertise to provide it. You may be able to find some online resources to help you analyze the recipes if you need that information.

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong