A huge hit with my family! This light version of chicken potato soup, made without heavy cream, is a great way to warm up on a chilly day.
Chicken potato soup is being added to my family’s list of favorite chilly weather soup recipes. It’s creamy (but light!) and filling, easy to make and tastes like comfort in a bowl. In other words, it checks all the boxes.
This chicken soup recipe uses the same “lightening up” trick as I used in my reader favorite Light Turkey (or Chicken) Corn Chowder, a Thanksgiving leftovers hit! Instead of using cream or cream cheese to thicken the soup, I whisk together flour and nonfat milk, then simmer it with the vegetables and chicken broth. It produces the most velvety-smooth texture.
Creamy without the cream!
Ingredients for chicken potato soup recipe:
These are the main components of this recipe (affiliate links included):
- Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cut each breast into to ¾-inch pieces. Chicken thighs can also be used.
- Potato: The recipe calls for ¾ pound of russet potatoes. That equals about one large or a couple of small potatoes. Yukon gold potatoes are a good substitute.
- Mirepoix: Use standard mirepoix ingredients – onion, carrots and celery – as the base of the soup. If desired, add some diced red bell pepper.
- Garlic: Peel and mince the cloves.
- Seasoning: Dried thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, bay leaves, kosher salt and pepper. The recipe calls for ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, which gives the soup a bite. If you’re sensitive to any spice, decrease the amount of leave it out altogether.
- Broth: I used regular chicken broth. Use a low-sodium broth if sodium is a concern.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is mixed with the milk to form a slurry for thickening the soup.
- Milk: Use nonfat (skim) milk. I promise you don’t need a higher fat content to achieve a creamy soup!
- Cheese: Use sharp or extra sharp Cheddar cheese for the most flavor. Pepper Jack, smoked Cheddar or smoked Gouda would be good substitutes.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
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How to make chicken and potato soup:
Since there isn’t any cream in this chicken potato chowder, the creaminess comes from thickening the soup with a slurry of milk and flour. You’ll be amazed at the results! But, first things first.
Start by cutting the chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Cook the pieces in a large saucepan, using a bit of olive oil spray to stop the chicken from cooking. A nonstick pot or cast-Dutch oven (this is the one in the photos) are best to reduce the amount of oil needed. Take care not to overcook the chicken. You still want it to be tender and juicy! Transfer the cooked chicken to a bowl and set aside.
Next, sauté the mirepoix (onion, celery and carrots) in a bit of olive oil until the onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic, diced potato and seasonings. Simmer the vegetables in chicken broth over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Time to make the slurry! While the soup is simmering, put the flour in a bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in the skim milk. It’s more difficult to achieve a smooth consistency if the milk is poured in all at once. Whisk well!
Pour the milk mixture into the soup and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the soup has thickened. To avoid scalding the milk, do not allow the mixture to boil. A good steady simmer is all you need. Make sure to give the soup a good stir every couple of minutes, gently scraping the spoon or spatula along the bottom of the saucepan to make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom.
Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the cheese, Once the cheese is melted, add the cooked chicken and green onion. Done!
Make-Ahead and Storage
STORE IT: When stored properly in an airtight container, the soup stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
REHEAT IT: If reheating the entire recipe, transfer it to a saucepan. Use medium-low to medium heat to reheat the soup, stirring occasionally.
If reheating an individual servings, ladle the soup into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for a minute or two, stirring every 20 seconds.
FREEZING? In general, soups with milk don’t freeze well. When defrosted and reheated, the milk has a grainy quality. Additionally, the texture of cooked potatoes really suffers when frozen.
What to serve with creamy chicken potato soup:
This recipe already has its fair share of carbs, so I tend to opt for salad side dishes rather than bread. But if bread is what you’re craving, who am I to stop you?!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes, boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be used in place of chicken breast. Please note that the nutritional calculation will change slightly with this swap.
If using russet potatoes, I recommend peeling the potatoes. However, thinner skinned potatoes, such as fingerling potatoes, don't need to be peeled.
Using pre-cooked chicken, rotisserie, poached or Instant Pot shredded chicken, cuts down the cook time. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces, but do not add it until the end (see instructions in the recipe card below for when to add the cooked chicken).
To thicken the soup, you can puree a portion of it or add additional flour/milk slurry. To make it thinner, simply add more chicken broth.
Light Chicken Potato Soup
- Olive oil spray
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into ¾-inch pieces
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt divided
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 carrots peeled & cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 celery stalk cut into ½-inch dice
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¾ pound russet potato peeled & cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups nonfat milk
- ¾ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- Heat a large nonstick or ceramic saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat with olive oil spray.
- Add the chicken, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Pour out any remaining liquid.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the olive oil to the saucepan.
- Add the onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, potato, thyme and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Pour in the chicken broth and add the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat so that the broth is simmering. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves.
- Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in the milk. Whisk well so that the mixture is completely combined.
- Stir the milk mixture into the soup. Return to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese. Once the cheese is melted, stir in the chicken, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and most of the green onions.
- Serve, garnishing each bowl with the remaining green onion.
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