Appalachia Appalachian Food

A Good Day for Tater Soup

Potatoe soup
The chilly temps that have moved into western NC made me start wanting a big pot of soup. The cold also made me decide to re-share a potato soup recipe with you. I first shared this recipe back in 2011. I’m still making it and my bunch is still enjoying it-the girls even like it now!

I’ve had potato soup thickened with flour, made with onions, made with left over mash potatoes, and made with cream cheese. For the most part I’ve liked every variation of potato soup I’ve ever had.

The recipe I use is simple and tasty. I believe I found it in a Country Living magazine, but I’m not positive where it came from.

Depending on the amount of soup you need you can increase or decrease the ingredients in this recipe very easily. It’s mostly a fool-proof recipe, which is the kind I like.

The quantities I’m sharing today feeds us 4 with a little left over.

Old timey potato soup

  • First dice up 3 large potatoes and cook them in salted water till tender
  • Drain potatoes and add them back to pot
  • Salt and pepper to taste

the best ever potato soup

  • Add 1/2 cup sourcream and 1/2 stick of butter to the cooked potatoes
  • Take a potato masher-or other utensil and mash the potatoes to your desired consistency; I like chunks left in mine but know other folks prefer theirs smooth

Old fashioned potato soup

  • Once you have the potatoes like you want them and the butter has melted, add one cup of milk and heat through

Potato soup like grandmother made
You can fry up bacon to sprinkle on top of your soup and you can add shredded cheese and other toppings you like. In my opinion-you must have a cake of cornbread to have a good bowl of tater soup.

My favorite way to eat tater soup is to crumble cornbread in a bowl, cover with soup, and sprinkle a few onions on top. Pour yourself a glass of sweet tea to drink with your soup and you have a feast. A feast that if you’re not careful-in Pap’s words-you’ll bust your belly on.

Please share your favorite potato soup recipe with us!


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  • Reply
    December 31, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    i used this exact recipe the week before christmas and it was great! this past week i used only one baking potato, with one onion and about 6oz fresh mushrooms. it was good, but it was even better the next time, when i added another potato mashed up with butter. matter of fact, i have half a baked ootato i didn’t eat last night, think i’ll chop it up and throw it in. always keep the peels on, and toss in some shredded cheese after i’ve heated up a bowl of soup. i’m driving home tomorrow, need to put it in a tupperware for some motel soup! 🙂

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    January 20, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Well, thanks a whole bunch, Tipper. Here I am, having gained seventeen pounds last year and, now in the throws of a 1500 calorie diet, I have to make myself not think about food; at least not big pots of beans or gumbo or potatoes.
    And, now, you come along with your potato soup and, like an alcoholic being called by some hidden bottle of devil liquor, I know that if I don’t quit thinking about your soup, get in the car and run away from it, I’ll find myself hastily peeling potatoes, doing your recipe, and watering at the mouth over what I’m about to do.
    Your readers make the craving compounded. Their recollections of ways to make potato soup, their stories of all the cornbread sides and buttermilk quaffs and freshly chopped onions on top of it all … If I don’t stop I’m going to founder myself by the time it gets dark outside.
    Last year I would have just read your cook-up and gone to the stove and filled the biggest pot we have with what would have become our version of potato soup. January’s resolution has to quelch that urge.
    Oh well, this diet surely allows for one free day every couple of weeks.

  • Reply
    Richard moore
    January 19, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Followed this recipe last night and loved the results. Simple and quick and a wonderful soup for the coldest night of the year.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I ’bout forgot my favorite soup, Tater-mater-onion. It’s equal amounts of taters and canned maters with however much onion you want to add. Add enough water to cover what the maters didn’t and cook til the taters and onions are softened then add salt and pepper to your liking. Ladle into a heavy duty extra large bowl or one of those big mugs with two handles. Break you off a big chunk of cornbread and you have all you need (unless you like buttermilk, too!)

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    My mother used to make a slurry (she didn’t call it that but Alton Brown does) of milk and flour to add to diced potatoes to make what she called thickened taters. She did the same with tomatoes. She added sugar to the mixture to thicken apples, peaches and blackberries. I never thought of it as soup but it is pretty close to what you make.
    Cornbread has always been a cake. Made in a cake pan. We all call it cornbread but it is really corncake. Why? Because you make it from a batter. Bread is made from a dough. Some people make cornbread in a skillet (me being one) but that is sacrilegious. The best part of a cornbread is the corners. A round cake of cornbread doesn’t have any corners at all. I hear people talk about a pone of cornbread. I never heard the word pone until I was grown and gone. I still don’t know what it means. Do you bake it in a ponepan?
    I remember in algebra when we figured the area of a circle using πR² and everybody repeated the joke “pie are round, cornbread are square!” Oh well, things change and people change and I don’t. Every day it seems I drift a little farther from the mainstream. Or, is it the mainstream that’s drifting away?

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    January 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Far as I’m concerned, ANY day is a good day for soup, especially potato soup – because I LOVE it. My recipe serves 2 people (like in our house).
    I start it by sauteeing about 1/2 cup each of diced celery and leeks, and 1 cup of carrots cut bite sized in a Tablespoon of butter.
    Just when the leeks begin to turn golden, add 2 cups of ham or chicken broth. (I almost always have ham broth in the freezer, because I boil smoked hams before baking them to rid them of some of the salt) and bring to a simmer.
    When the carrots are about half way to tender, I add a cup of diced potatoes into the mix.
    When the potatoes are tender, I add 2 cup of milk and bring to a simmer.
    Then I take 1 cup of that warmed broth, mix it with 1/2 cup of room temperature cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of sweet Hungarian paprika, and whip with whisk until smooth (or nearly so, remaining heating will melt any little particles that don’t blend.
    Then I add that back to the soup along with 1/2 cup of sour cream back. (I generally add cream cheese and sour cream to all my potato recipes; it’s the Hungarian blood – I can’t help it. LOL)
    Bring back to simmer. Test seasonings which should be good. (I don’t generally need to add more salt because of the salt that was in the ham broth, but add it at this point if it needs it.)
    You can add smoked turkey, ham, bacon or smoked keilbasa when you add the potatoes if you want meat in it.
    I like to serve this with rye bread. Yum!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    January 18, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Tater soup and cornbread- mmm, mmm good!!!

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    hi tipper,its tater soup tonight,g-sons home from school today and his hands will do the work while nani tells him what to do. i’ve had many helping hands since my hand surgery,still in recovery.god bless.jean

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 18, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    I love tater soup too and I make it about the same as you do, with a cake of cornbread. And I make sure I don’t get carried away with my tater masher cause I like it a little lumpy too.
    Right now I got some cornbread flitters (cooked on top of the stove) with a big pot of summer sausages and kraut. I love that stuff too.
    Boy it’s Ooshie today, I looked at the thermometer in my Jeep and it was 16 degrees at almost 2 pm, but I got a good farr in the heater. Got to keep the Cats warm, and little Whisky. Gosh, I love Cold Weather! …Ken

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    We have been using this recipe since you first posted it and it is our favorite! Made a double batch yesterday and will have it again today. Cold here! Went down to 2 degrees this morning and only going to 12 today. Perfect tater soup weather!

  • Reply
    Barb Wright
    January 18, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    We often have tater soup for lunch on a cold day. I put a little celery along with the onion. I like a thick homemade bread with mine..I guess the northern roots are showing. We do eat quite a bit of cornbread,but usually with bean based soups.

  • Reply
    Margaret Johnson
    January 18, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I have been making Potato Soup for 40 years or more. It was a favorite of my grandson for I had been making it for him through out his life (he will be 32 in May). In 2010 he moved to Hawaii and one of the first things he asked for was my recipe for Potato Soup. On the beautiful island of Oahu, about 5000 miles away, he was making Potato Soup and corn bread. There is a lot of truth in the old saying you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. An update, he moved back to the mainland and now lives in Canton, NC and still making Potato Soup.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    January 18, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I believe I could eat tater soup every day. I noticed yall call it a cake of cornbread and someone else a pone–we called it a skillet of cornbread. Whatever it’s called it is necessary for a good meal of tater soup.
    If you like hot stuff try adding a drained can of whole kernel corn and a chopped up jalapeno (or more) and some cheese if you like.
    I often use “Pet” milk In creamy soup. As a child, when we no longer had cows, it was a staple–used in coffee and just about everything. It was the only milk other than powdered milk we had. Mama made gravy with “Pet” milk and I do too–if you’ve never tried it you will be surprised how good it makes gravy.
    Mama always said tater soup was best for sick people–she said if you couldn’t eat that you’d better get to the doctor quick. My husband & I both have diabetes now so we have to watch our carbs we’re going to have to have some before long.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    ummm yum! It is even cold here in Florida today! Will fix that soup before our cold weather runs out! I’ll have chicken “n dumplins too. Thanks for the recipe

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 11:42 am

    You got it! The only thing that compares when the cold moves in is a big pot of soup beans. I grow and cook October beans for soup beans, but if I want a crowd pleaser potato soup does the trick. It is the one simple dish that nobody ever says they don’t like–winter or summer.

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    January 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

    “Durn Tootin!”

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    January 18, 2016 at 11:35 am

    I will cook up some “Tater Soup” today. It’s cold in Santa Monica California 65…70 degrees. Wish I were back in Daybook, Burnsville, or Asheville watching the “snowbirds” play. I love my ancestral homeplace, Smokey Mountain memories. Poetry on my mind. A place I’d druther be, A place so dear to me, Carolina, Tennessee, Appalachian memories. “Hold yer Taters!” Cain’t “Get above my raisin” nohow.

  • Reply
    ray j , winburn
    January 18, 2016 at 11:30 am

    i like just plan old tater soup or can call it stewed taters with lots of onions
    and hot hoe cake bread,…my mom could take a little of nothing and make us kids a big meal, she had to they was so many of us back then 8 children
    her and pa jack.. we was real poor, but GOD her to keep her children feed.
    i miss her so much she pass away august 10 th @ 1.30 pm.. she was 80 years, she was the smartest woman i ever knew, did’t have but a 1 st grade ed, lot of good old comm scents… But i know she is with the LORD that helps me a lot to know that…like youlls old time pickin and singin,,thats the kind we play at our church,,GOD bless, would like to know were yall live, i might could by sometime when we up that way..

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    January 18, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Grandkids are out of school and staying with us today. Will be making potato soup a little later. Can hardly wait!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 18, 2016 at 10:55 am

    One more thang….
    I have a terrible time making a small pot of any type… chili, soup, chicken n’ dumplin’s, stew beef, etc.
    So, we end up putting a container or so, just for the two of us in the freezer…comes in handy.
    I am going to give your smaller proportioned recipe a try maybe by the weekend…..
    Sounds good and easy!
    Thanks again

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 18, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I made a big pot of tater soup last week. I’ve made it twice since Christmas….sent one pot over to some that was feeling croupy in the family. Like his Dad was, this child loves potato soup. I add one carrot minced, sometimes a small little (tree) or two of broccoli and minced onion. The color I think is divine and the veggies are disguised by the larger pieces of taters…
    I’ve got to have cornbread also…Toppings are select your own, crisp bacon pieces (sometimes I cook with the soup instead of much butter for flavor), shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream if there is any left over, ha and chopped green onion if I have some….We have got to where we love making Mexican Cornbread to eat with ours…Crumble in the bowl and pour a dipper of three of tater soup…Sit down while you savor this comfort food….Have yore corner the living room ready with your book and “blankie” so you can curl up, watch the snow, and sleep off the carbs the rest of the afternoon!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….No soup for us today….It’s leftover Sunday roast, taters, carrots, onion and celery….always better the next day

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 18, 2016 at 9:59 am

    How right you are. This weather just calls for ‘homey’ food. Potatoe soup is one of my wife’s favorites. I like it but not as much. One of the great things about it is – as you said- it can be adapted in so many ways.
    By the way, just for fun, in this chilly weather say ‘potatoe soup’ or ‘chili’ or ‘beef stew’ in a crowd then fine out how many ate it that night. Something about the idea sticks like a bur…….

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 18, 2016 at 9:22 am

    We love tater soup here at the Banks house. We make ours very similar to your recipe. And yes you have to have a pone of cornbread to go with it.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Yummy! Sounds like a breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner type of recipe. I especially like the cornbread addition.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    January 18, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Potato soup was my husband’s favorite. I wish I’d had this recipe to make for him. It looks delicious. I think I will make it for myself. Thanks, Tipper.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 8:27 am

    gonna hafta go out buy some potatoes!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 18, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Tip, I think I can say with total truth, I never meet arsh tater I didn’t like. You can do almost anything to a arsh potato and I’ll love it. I even like them raw. Your soup sounds delicious and perfect for this chilly weather.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 8:15 am

    O boy,, yep sounds good to me.. Brrr

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