Ham and cheese potato soup is the ultimate weeknight comfort meal. Let it simmer all day in the crock pot and end with a cheesy, creamy thick potato soup that has a burst of sweet and smokey ham.
Ham and Cheese Potato Soup – Potatoes
There are so many different variety of potatoes, for this soup you will want to use Russet or Yukon Gold. Starchy potatoes like Russet or an all purpose potato like a Yukon gold will make the creamiest soup.
The key is to use the starch of the potato to give the ham and cheese potato soup some body. When you cut the potatoes, do not rinse because that can remove the starch which you would want to do for mashed potatoes and french fries but not for this creamy thick soup.
When you cut the potatoes the potato should be cut into small bite size cubes for even and easy cooking.
Starchy potatoes like the Russet really become hard to cut. You will notice that the potatoes stick to the knife and will leave a white residue on the knife. If it becomes too hard to manage, use a kitchen towel and wipe off the residue to help make cutting easier.
Ham and Cheese Potato Soup – The Ham
At the grocery store, near the meat section there are pre-cooked ham steaks. Sometimes they come with flavors such as maple or smoked. I try to use the smoked. Maple would also be delicious just slightly sweeter. This is also the perfect recipe for leftover ham after the holidays.
I like to divide my ham up into two sections. I cook half of the recipe ham in the crock pot with the potatoes to give the body of the ham and cheese potato soup flavor. With the remaining ham steak, I pan sear it in butter and cut it into larger bite-size cubes for garnish. This adds another irresistible layer of sweet, smokey, buttery ham.
I prefer to immersion blend only half of the soup so that it becomes creamy and thick but also has bite-size potato chunks. Feel free to blend the entire soup if you want it to be extra creamy.
I use an immersion blender straight into the crock pot, but if you do not have an immersion blender you can a regular blender. Note, with a regular blender, remember to work in batches if necessary. Only fill it up about half way with soup because the heat will make it expand in the blender and you do not want it to explode overtop.
Time Crunch, Make it on the Stove
If you don’t have time for the crock pot, you can easily make this same soup on the stovetop in about an hour. Follow the same recipe below making these few adaptions:
Step 1: Put the ingredients in a large dutch oven or pot and bring up to the boil. Once the stock starts to boil, reduce the heat down to medium so that it is still simmering. Simmer until the potatoes are soft enough to fall off the fork when poked, about 30 – 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue with the rest of the recipe.
Makes great leftovers! Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Freeze them into individual servings for an easy take-to-work lunch!
Ham and Cheese Potato Soup (crock pot)
- 1 Leek - thinly sliced
- 12-16 oz Ham Steak, precooked, smoked flavor preferred divided into two halves
- 3 lbs Russet Potatoes - peeled and cubed into about ¼ inch cubes.
- 1 TBSP Salt
- 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4 cups Chicken Stock
- 8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese - shredded off the block
- 4 oz Gouda Cheese - shredded
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- ½ TBSP Black Pepper
- Green Onions - thinly sliced
- 1 TBSP Butter
- In a crock pot, add the leek, half of the ham steak - ¼ inch cubed, cubed potatoes, salt, smoked paprika, bay leaf and chicken stock. Make sure the potatoes are submerged in the stock, if you need it, add a cup of water. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low 6-7 hours, until the potatoes are soft and fall off a fork. Keep on warm until you're ready to finish the soup.
- Remove the bay leaf. Add the cheese and stir until combined. Add the cream and black pepper.
- Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend half of the soup to make it creamy but keeping some potato chunks.
- In a pan, over medium heat, add 1 TBSP of butter and pan fry the remainder of the ham steak. Once browned, cut into large bite-size cubes.
- Thinly slice green onions for garnish.
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