Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Looking for a special soup to serve over the Thanksgiving holiday? Consider this creamy sweet potato soup seasoned with nutmeg and maple syrup. We found this recipe in an old issue of Bon Appetit and made it this weekend. I kept going back for seconds (thirds, fourths, fifths). The nutmeg and maple syrup give the soup hints of pumpkin pie and glazed yams, as if someone slipped some of each into the blender when the soup was being puréed. The cool and crisp celery tops balance the creamy sweet soup perfectly.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 small celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium leek, sliced (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
  • 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option and gluten-free stock for gluten-free version)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • The leafy tops of the celery stalks, chopped

Method

1 Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add chopped celery stalks and leek, sauté about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.

2 Add sweet potatoes, chicken stock, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

3 Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot.

4 Add half and half and maple syrup and stir over medium-low heat to heat through. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool soup slightly. Cover and refrigerate soup and celery leaves separately. Bring soup to simmer before continuing.) Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with celery leaves.

sweet-potato-soup.jpg

Recipe adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine.

33 Comments

  1. lydia

    Perfect — I’ve been trying to get more sweet potatoes into our diet without the overly sweet preparations that are so typical at holiday time. We’ll give this soup a try.

  2. jonathan

    What? You didn’t go back for sixths, Elise?

    Looks great, but I’m confused…

    Where’s the marshmallows? :-)

    What can I say? I yam what I yam.

    Joking aside, I’m with Lydia. Looks like a great alternative to traditional holiday sweet potato prep. And since the oven will be full on T-Day…

  3. Abby

    What a beautiful soup – it really says fall! I made a low-fat version of the same a few weeks ago. It was a new soup ingredient for me, but we responded to it well.

  4. Leisureguy

    The soup reminded me of this recipe you might enjoy:

    Bourbon Sweet Potatoes

    4 1/2 lbs mixed varieties of sweet potatoes
    1/2 tsp salt
    3/4 cup butter, softened
    1/3 cup bourbon
    2 Tbs butter
    1/2 cup (or more) walnuts, coarsely chopped

    Bake potatoes in jackets in a hot oven for 1 hour or until soft. Scoop out the meat and beat it with the soft butter, bourbon, and salt. Don’t overdo the bourbon—I did once and it tasted too strong. Put the mix in a shallow, greased baking dish. Dot with butter and walnuts. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes.

    Note from Elise: That sounds wonderful, thank you!

  5. sasha

    Elise, I love your recipes. Thanks so much for sharing. can you think of a substitute for the half-and-half that wouldn’t compromise the flavor?

    Note from Elise: Hi Sasha, this is a creamy soup, so half and half (half cream half milk) is an essential ingredient. You can make sweet potato soup without cream, just add more stock, it won’t be as rich or smooth.

  6. Leisureguy

    BTW: the yam is a tropical vegetable with a tough, hairy skin, white flesh, and when cooked is bland and has little food value.

    When the sweet potato came onto the market, grocers didn’t want customers to confuse them with the white-fleshed potatoes (what my grandmother called “Irish potatoes”), so they adopted the term “yam.” But all those things at your grocer—sweet potatoes and yams—are varieties of sweet potatoes.

    Note from Elise: Indeed, this comes up with every sweet potato/yam recipe. But as long as the grocers continue to label sweet potatoes as yams, then we’ll continue using that label as well.

  7. Erica

    Elise,

    I actually was looking for a pumpkin soup recipe last night to use up my leftover puree. I am on the East Coast, so this recipe wasn’t up while I was looking.

    I did however, make the spicy pumpkin soup recipe on your site (with three times as much coriander & more garlic). I had it for lunch today & it was perfect!

  8. SaraQ

    Although one might not get exactly the same creaminess, to create a non-dairy version, in place of the half and half I use soy milk. This works fairly well. Looking forward to trying the recipe.

  9. jess

    I forgot to bring a list when I was shopping for these ingredients & I got heavy cream instead of half & half. Can I actually use 3/4 c of the cream & 3/4 c milk?

    Yes, we do it all the time. ~Elise

  10. F. Day, Carmichael CA

    I never heard of “sweet potato” soup in my life until I dreamed about it last night. Out of curiosity I checked the website and lo and behold I found these recipes. I’ll have to try it — I love yams!.

  11. Deb

    Sasha, I know I’m months late for your request for a substitute for half and half, but I just today found and made this recipe! I didn’t have half and half so I used a 12 fluid ounce can of evaporated milk. It was rich, smooth, and delicious!

  12. Grandma joanie

    I had sweet potato soup last evening and the restaurant had some carrots & chicken in it.
    Still needed some flavoring, maybe I could use yours and add the chicken?

    Why not try it and see? ~Elise

  13. April

    I just made this, but substituted the half and half with silken tofu (tossed it in the blender with the soup). Turned out creamy and fantastic (and lots less calories)! Also, don’t bother peeling the potatoes.

  14. April

    I forgot to mention that I left out the butter, and used high heat safflower oil to saute the veggies. Even though I substituted with oil and tofu, it was still very creamy and delicious.

  15. wader

    This recipe came up on Google for “sweet potato soup” and looked very pleasant. I’m a novice at soups (i.e., chicken soup from my weekly roasts is the most exploration I’ve attempted), but this turned out to be much easier than it appeared at first blush and went nicely with our Thanksgiving meal – not too sweet, and remained flavourful despite all the cream. Well balanced and an excellent accompaniment for our dinner.

    I actually don’t enjoy sweet potatoes, having bought them for this holiday with my spouse in mind. When she unexpectedly declined to have any in the more traditional style, this turned out to be a dish we both could enjoy.

  16. Donna Lou Shickel

    I can’t wait to try this out. My husband and I are empty nesters here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and he grew these incredible “heirloom” sweet potatoes, having gotten the starts from a co-worker. We wanted to try a soup with them, and found your recipe that looks perfect. I used to subscribe to Bon Appetite BK (Before Kids) and know this will be the best!

  17. Heidi

    Well, sweet potatoes are actually not even in the potato family – they’re Convolvulaceae ipomoea batatas. “Batata” was what the locals had called it, and it sounded so much like potato that is was called the sweet potato. It is a misnomer to call them a potato at all.

    The ornamental version is a great decorative shade.

  18. jddoubleu

    OMG! I made this a vegan soup and it was amazing and so simple. Leave out the celery tops. Chopped cilantro might be good but why mess with something so perfect, right?

  19. sidney

    Can I make this, and freeze it? It’s so yummy, I want to make it in bulk and save some for later.

    I assume so, though haven’t tried it. If you do, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  20. Sarah

    Loved this soup! Made it today and my husband and I had two large bowls each for dinner. Since my husband is lactose intolerant, I substituted soy milk for half and half. I’ve never thought to put celery tops on soup, but it was a lovely cooling and freshening balance to the soups’ sweet potato heaviness.
    Thanks!!!

  21. Tessa Cross

    Elise,

    I’m not the greatest of cooks but I needed to find a starter for a progressive dinner (a different course at a different place in our case on boats in a marina in Crete) we are having next week.
    I tested this soup out today and it is fabulous. With the wholemeal walnut bread I have managed to perfect I think it is going to be a show stopper.

    Thank you so much

  22. Rachel

    Elise, Thank you so much for the delicious recipe! This is my second Thanksgiving using your recipe and I’m sure it will be just as delicious this year as the last!

    I also will be substituting soy milk because we keep kosher so it can be eaten with the turkey.

    And you’re right, the maple syrup really is the key!

  23. beth

    Tried sweet potato soup but added great nothern beans and omited the cream and the cinnamon and nutmeg. Added some white potato, was delicious, quick and simple.

  24. Stephen

    Thank you for this recipe. I made it for this past Thanksgiving and it was great. Made it again for Christmas dinner, this time without the onions and garlic, and it was a big hit with the younger kids at the table.

  25. Elisheva

    I just made this recipe on a whim after googling “sweet potato soup” and my husband, sister-in-law and mother-in-law loved it.

  26. Jim Bertolino

    First – add Worsteshire sauce -two tablespoons or to taste. Next, I browned onions in both oil and second time in butter as noted in the recipe – most important is that the onions be browned and not just softened -as I found out – what a difference in flavor. Finally, stick to two tablespoons of maple syrup – three is too many. I am making this for the super bowl party this year and expect to win a spot on the cracked spoon plaque.

  27. Jen

    This was wonderful. I subbed extra onions for the leek and evaporated milk (12 oz.) for the half and half. Yum! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  28. Caroline

    I see that a lot of people are looking to substitute the half and half with something non-dairy. I am lactose intolerant and I find that coconut milk is the closest to half and half and has less caloriest too. Its also a great sub for milk when I make my ice cream

  29. Kate Nicholls

    This was delicious! I also wanted to try a substitute for the cream. I added a teaspoon of corn starch to whole milk and blended this in instead of the half and half. It did not curdle and came out creamy and smooth.

  30. Helen

    I am from Australia and am wondering, what is half and half? used in the sweet potato soup. I have just dug up a 1.3kg sweet potato so cam keen to make some soup with it. Thanks for the recipe

    “Half and half” is half cream and half milk. ~Elise

  31. Miriam

    Made this last week (with soy milk rather than half-and-half) – it was absolutely delicious. But I’ve come to expect no less from Simply Recipes, the source of so many of my best dishes….

  32. Caffreys7

    I was disappointed with this recipe. It was too sweet for me and my husband. We will try a different sweet potato soup recipe next time.

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