This potato chowder recipe is thick, creamy, and hearty — it’s comfort food at its finest. Full of warm and earthy roasted garlic, you’ve never tasted potato soup like this one, and I know you will absolutely adore it.
- Rich with complex umami flavour.
- Thick and hearty thanks to the potatoes and cream.
- Super cosy and comforting — it’s like a hug in a bowl.
- It’s like the best bowl of garlic mash but in creamy soup form. You truly can taste the potato and roasted garlic!
- Family-friendly and perfect for rainy nights at home or easy lunches.
This potato chowder was a labour of love for me. On a dream trip to Canada and Alaska, I discovered garlic and potato chowder. It was cold — real cold — and this soup was so perfectly comforting and cosy. It made for a very memorable meal, to say the least. Back home, I knew I needed to make it myself. As you can imagine, I’m so glad I can create this bowl of cosy goodness in my own kitchen and you will be too.
This recipe was first published here on July 21st, 2018 and has been updated with new images and information.
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What is chowder?
Chowder is a style of soup that is recognisable by its thick and creamy consistency. It’s often thickened with potatoes (just like this potato soup), but cheese, cream, and a roux (flour cooked in butter) also contribute to its thick creamy texture. Some recipes will use all of these things, but others might use just 1 or 2 of these ways to thicken the chowder.
Chowder is often served with crackers or bread alongside, or croutons like my Cheese and garlic croutons.
The best potatoes for potato chowder
In a potato chowder like this, where it’s being blended to a smooth consistency, floury or starchy potatoes are going to work best. I love to use Royal Blue potatoes — not just for their texture but also their exceptional flavour. If you can’t get those, Russet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, Dutch Creams, Maris Piper, or King Edward varieties will all work great.
Ingredients you’ll need
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Starchy Potatoes: Refer to the list above of the best potatoes to use for this chowder soup recipe.
- Garlic: You’ll need one large full bulb.
- Brown Onion: Also called yellow onions. Feel free to add in 1 large stalk of celery, diced too at the same time as the onion.
- Olive Oil: To roast the garlic and sauté the onion.
- Butter: To create your roux (thickener).
- Plain Flour: Also called all-purpose flour, add it to the butter to thicken the potato chowder soup.
- Vegetable Stock: I like using stock, rather than water, to add even more flavour. You can swap this for chicken stock (chicken broth).
- Whole Milk: Works alongside the cream to make the consistency extra velvety.
- Thickened Cream: You may know this ingredient as heavy cream. This can be swapped for sour cream if you like a tangy flavour.
- Parmesan Cheese: For a slight cheesy background flavour. Or you can use a sharp cheddar cheese.
- Thyme: Try to use fresh thyme leaves if you can.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste. I swear by freshly cracked black pepper and fine sea salt.
- Croutons: I recommend whipping up my cheese garlic croutons!
How to make potato chowder (step-by-step)
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Roast the garlic: Preheat your oven, slice the top off (stem end) of the bulb of garlic, and arrange it on a sheet of foil. Add the olive oil and salt, then roast (photo 1).
- Cook the potatoes: Peel and chop the potatoes into 1-inch pieces and cook in boiling water until fork tender (photo 2).
- Sauté the onion: Add the remaining olive oil and onion to a large soup pot and sauté until translucent (photo 3).
- Create the roux: Incorporate the butter and stir until it melts, then add the flour. Continue to stir until it starts to turn golden (photo 4).
- Add the potatoes and stock: Place the cooked potatoes, vegetable stock, and thyme leaves into the pot and stir (photo 5).
- Squeeze in the garlic: Treat the roasted garlic like a tube of toothpaste and squeeze it into the pot, being careful to remove any of the skin (photo 6).
- Boil: Bring the soup pot to a boil and cook. Add the milk, cream, salt, and pepper (photo 7). Stir and bring to a simmer before removing from heat.
- Blend: Stir in the Parmesan cheese, then use a hand-held immersion blender to purée the potato chowder (photo 8) until it’s smooth.
Serve with Cheese and garlic croutons and enjoy!
Why roast garlic?
If you’ve never roasted garlic before, you really need to try it. Roasting garlic mellows out the flavour and becomes soft and creamy. It’s such an amazing flavour. It’s also super simple – just wrap a bulb in foil and place in the oven until soft. I mean garlic and potatoes are always good, like in these buttery garlic potatoes with prosciutto but roasted garlic has a unique flavour, perfect in a potato chowder like this.
Tips and tricks
- Like to cook seasonally? You can swap the onion for leek if they’re in season.
- You can easily add protein to make this a full meal: Try some prawns (shrimp) or lobster for a luxuriously rich meal. Even leftover rotisserie or roast chicken that’s been shredded and added at the end is amazing. Cooked sausage, ham, or smoky bacon are also great.
- Use more vegetables: Frozen peas, carrots or tinned sweet corn kernels are also really delicious. Some mushrooms that are pan-fried in butter are a wonderful choice too!
- Add any extra ingredients after blending: All of the add-ins listed above need to be incorporated into the potato chowder after it has been blended. If they need to be cooked (for instance, raw prawns), just return the soup to the stove until the extras are cooked through.
A chowder is a style of thick soup with a creamy look and texture. The thickness comes from potatoes, cheese, cream, or a roux (flour cooked in butter) — or a combination of these.
The terms soup and chowder are often used interchangeably for potato chowder. Generally, however, a soup wouldn’t be quite as thick — it may have chunks of potato as opposed to blending in order to thicken the soup.
Yes, the flavour of this thick potato soup lends itself well to many other additions, from shredded chicken to prawns (shrimp), peas or corn, and so much more. Just make sure to add these ingredients after blending the soup, then return to heat to sufficiently warm or cook them as needed.
Generally, yes. There are some exceptions (like Manhattan clam chowder), but most other chowder recipes do include some sort of milk or cream. Both add flavour and help to thicken the broth.
Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This soup freezes quite well too – thaw it overnight in the fridge, then just give it a good whisk before reheating.
Did you try this potato chowder soup recipe?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!
Potato Chowder (with Roasted Garlic)
- 1 large full bulb garlic
- 750 g starchy potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + extra for the garlic (notes 1)
- 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter (28g/1oz)
- 2 tablespoons plain flour (all-purpose flour) (notes 1)
- 4 cups vegetable stock (vegetable broth) (1 litre /1 qt)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt + extra for seasoning garlic and potatoes
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup whole milk (125ml)
- ½ cup thickened cream (heavy cream) (125ml)
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan (27g/1oz)
- Croutons to serve
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- DO AHEAD: Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan forced) / 400F.
- Using a sharp knife, slice off the top (stem end) of the bulb of garlic, leaving the top of the cloves exposed. Sit the bulb on a sheet of foil, douse in a good lug of olive oil, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roast for 45 minutes.
- Peel and chop the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Place them in a saucepan, cover with water and add ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cook for 7-10 minutes until fork tender. Drain and set aside.
- FOR THE CHOWDER: To a soup pot, add the oil and onion and sauté over medium heat until the onion has softened – 3-4 minutes.
- Add the butter and melt, then add the flour. Stir constantly for 2 minutes or until it just starts to turn golden in parts.
- Add the cooked potatoes, vegetable stock and thyme leaves. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the bulb (like squeezing a tube of toothpaste) making sure to remove any of the papery skin. Discard the skin.
- Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the milk, cream, salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the parmesan.
- Taste and add more seasoning if desired.
- Serve with cheesy garlic croutons and a sprinkle of some more fresh thyme leaves.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
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