Who said potato soups are bland and boring? This America's Test Kitchen recipe calls for a sharp cheddar to ensure the soup is fully loaded with flavor.
Slow-Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Serves 6 to 8
8 slices bacon, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 pounds Red Bliss potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
Salt and pepper
8 ounces white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
Cook bacon in large saucepan over medium heat until crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and refrigerate until soup is ready. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot.
Add onions to fat in pot and cook until softened and lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to boil over high heat.
Combine potatoes and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in slow cooker. Pour hot broth mixture over potatoes; stir to combine. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 6 hours on high, or 6 to 7 hours on low.
Puree soup with immersion blender until smooth, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, puree soup in batches in blender until smooth; transfer to Dutch oven and keep warm over low heat.) Whisk cheddar into soup until melted. Whisk in cream, chives, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Season with salt to taste.
Microwave bacon until hot and crispy, about 30 seconds. Serve soup, garnished with bacon and sour cream.
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