SoupGluten-FreeCold SoupPotatoes

A lighter version of the traditional vichyssoise chilled potato leek soup, with leeks and Yukon Gold potatoes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Summer has officially arrived, and with it, the dry summer heat for which Sacramento is so well known. Chilled soups were invented for hot days like these. Vichyssoise, a chilled creamy potato and leek soup, was introduced to Americans by French chef Louis Diat at the Ritz-Carlton in New York in the summer of 1917, to help keep patrons cool.

Chilled soups used to be a lot more popular than they are these days, especially before WWII and modern air conditioning.

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The original Vichyssoise is a cream bomb, calling for a quart of broth, 2 cups of milk, and 3 cups of cream, for eight servings. Yikes. That’s almost a half cup of cream per serving!

Our version is decidedly lighter, though still quite creamy because we use Yukon gold potatoes, which are naturally creamy potatoes (they make great mashed potatoes too).

The soup is really easy to make, doesn’t use a lot of ingredients, and lasts for days.

The trick is serving temperature. It’s great hot, though it is designed to be a chilled soup. I found the best serving temperature is just below room temp. Too cold and and the flavor from the butter, potatoes, and salt just disappears.

Vichyssoise Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes about 10 cups, serves 6 to 8


  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4-5 cups sliced leeks, cleaned (see How to Clean Leeks), white and pale green parts only (from about 4 large leeks)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped or sliced
  • 2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups water (vegetarian option), or chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt (more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish


1 Heat butter until it begins to brown: In a large (6-quart) pot, heat the butter on medium high heat until it melts and foams up. Continue to heat until the foam subsides a little and the butter just begins to brown.

2 Sauté leeks and onions: Immediately toss in the sliced leeks and onions. Stir to coat with the butter. Cook for several minutes, reducing the heat to medium if necessary, until the leeks and onions are translucent and wilted.

3 Add potatoes, water or stock, salt, bring to simmer: Add the chopped potatoes, salt, and water or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are completely cooked through. Remove from heat.

4 Purée until smooth: Purée using an immersion blender or working in batches, blend in a blender. (Careful! With hot liquids only fill the blender 1/3 of the way full, and hold the blender top on with your hand while blending.) Purée until completely smooth.

If you want an even smoother soup, you can take the extra step of pressing the purée through a sieve with a rubber spatula.

5 Cool and stir in sour cream and whipped cream: Allow to cool a bit before stirring in the sour cream and whipped cream. Allow to cool completely and chill in the refrigerator. The soup should be served just below room temperature (maybe 65°F or 18°C). If it is too cold, it won't taste as good.

Add more salt to taste. Serve garnished with chopped fresh chives.

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Vichysquash, cold crookneck and buttermilk soup - from The Runaway Spoon

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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30 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Arlyne Singer

    I’m a caregiver and my patient asked if I can cook her vichyssoise soup…i found your recipe cause it sounds the best among I’ve read…
    I followed everything what’s in this recipe and it turned out to be unbelievably patient eats it every dinner for 3 weeks …and stopped for 2 weeks and now I’m cooking it again..
    This is my first time to cook it and I thank you so much for sharing this recipe for me and my patient friends and family to enjoy…
    I will never change anything about this recipe…a million thanks to you Elise and I will try some of recipes when I’m not busy…


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  2. Christiane

    a) This simple potage is a very old French peasant soup made to use up old leeks and potatoes in the farmhouses across rural France where it was called Potage Pamentier (translated it simply means soup made with potatoes) and used stock from the Pot au Feu that was always bubbling on the farmhouse stove, and milk rather than cream.

    b) It was popularised in France when the Royal chefs of Louis XV renamed it Vichysiose because ‘potage’ was considered too common and vulgar a peasant food to be served to the king. When those chefs became jobless after the revolution and the aristocracy had either been guillotined or fled the country, they began opening their own bistrots and restaurants, serving dishes such as this to the commoners.

    c) It is definitely not an American invention, whatever Julia Childs claimed, since King Louis XV died in 1774, and Lois XV1 was guillotined in 1793, when America was only just beginning!

    d) Vichyssoise is still served today in French bistrots and restaurants in Paris, and all over the country. I should know because, until recently, I lived there, and as recently as 3 weeks ago I was enjoying a big bowl of Vichysoise with my French family, in a popular bistro in Montmartre, Paris, where it was simply on menu as ”Le potage du jour, orsoup of the day .

    Lastly, there are nearly identical recipes for leek and potato soups in countless old/peasant recipe books, from every European country.

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  3. GMan

    Delicious!!! Directions are straightforward and easy to follow. Ran it through a fine sieve and the results were a silky, velvety, delicious soup. It is better the next day, giving the flavors time to meld.


  4. kirstin

    How is this a lighter recipe? Can veg version use veg broth? I add watercress to mine. Tastes about the same but +nutrition and +bright green.


  5. Kimberly

    It was sooo very easy to make. Followed directions exactly & added condensed chicken stock (1 packet) & also used some home made chicken stock. Don’t add salt until stock is blended well as the condensed stock has a lot of salt. It was delicious!


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