Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Creamy sweet potato soup with sweet potatoes, cooked in stock with onions, celery, and leeks, puréed and seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, sliced (see How to Clean Leeks)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (1 teaspoon)
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 2 large) orange-flesh sweet potatoes (a.k.a. yams), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
  • 4 cups chicken stock (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method

1 Melt the butter in a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the celery and leeks and sauté for 5 more minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

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2 Add the sweet potatoes, chicken stock, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer uncovered until the sweet potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.

creamy-sweet-potato-soup-method-2 creamy-sweet-potato-soup-method-4

3 Remove cinnamon stick. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup or work in batches and purée the soup in a standing blender.

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4 Add the cream and milk to the soup, and heat on medium until the soup is heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with more black pepper and swirl some water-thinned sour cream or plain yogurt over the soup to serve.

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Comments

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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!

  • laziza

    Loved this soup! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • sasha

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

    Hi Sasha, You can make the sweet potato soup without cream and milk, just add more stock, it just won’t be as rich or as creamy smooth. ~Elise

  • SaraQ

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

  • April

    I just made this, but substituted the cream and milk 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.

  • 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 the cream and milk.
    Thanks!!!

  • Jen

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

  • Caroline

    I see that a lot of people are looking to substitute the cream and milk 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

  • 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. It did not curdle and came out creamy and smooth.

  • Carol

    FYI: Soy is NOT healthy! Try using coconut milk, almond milk or any nut milk instead of the soy as a sub. for the milk and/or cream. (coconut cream works, too)
    Also: I just had a recipe for sweet potato soup, and they used 5 spice powder as the only seasoning: it was AMAZING! Didn’t use stock, only cream as the base, and it was so good!

  • susan sullivan

    excellent soup.. I added 2 tsp cayenne, just to give it some kick…