This old-fashioned Scottish potato soup recipe is similar to the bowls of hearty, hot steaming soup that nourished many a Scots throughout the centuries. Scottish potato soup is prepared with budget-friendly ingredients but is humbly delicious and incredibly easy to prepare. This vegan friendly potato soup recipe will easily and quickly become a much loved family menu staple.
This classic Scottish potato soup is perfect for budget-friendly tasty meals as only a few inexpensive pantry staples are required. So delicious.
Quick Origin of potato soup
Most countries around the world have their own tasty versions of potato soup as historically potatoes have been such a successful and economical veggie crop that have the potential to grown almost anywhere with not much effort.
Potatoes were being cultivated as an agricultural crop in Scotland by around the mid 1700s but richer Scottish folk were already enjoying potatoes since the 1600s.
Potatoes soon became a valuable and dependable crop for poorer Scots and when the potato famine struck in 1845 Scots were adversely affected, but not to the same tragic degree of their Irish neighbours.
For more information about the Irish potato famine do have a look at our Old-fashioned Irish potato soup recipe post.
Adding potatoes to soup and stews created a cheap but sustainable meal that provided lots of cheap, valuable, wholesome nutrition.
Contrary to many popular beliefs, white potatoes are naturally fat-free and do contain valuable nutrition. Among many other benefits, potatoes are a good source of antioxidants, provide a good doze of vitamin C, B vitamins, and are a great source of dietary fibre.
Nowadays, potatoes are very much ingrained into the Scots diet with many much loved national dishes incorporating potatoes.
For vegan versions of popular Scots potato meals check out our vegan classic Scottish mince and tatties [otherwise known as potatoes!], and our vegan stovies [simple meal with potatoes, veggie sausages, onions and gravy], and this yummy hearty meal-in-a-bowl vegan Scotch broth soup.
How to prepare old-fashioned Scottish potato soup
Scottish potato soup is incredibly simple to prepare and it is the humbleness of this soup that results in its deliciousness.
However, if preferred do treat this recipe as a foundation for other tasty soupy concoctions. Such as add extra veggies, herbs, and perhaps some cooked or quick cooking pulses or grains, to the soup for endless variations.
First melt the margarine [or alternatively heat ½ cup of veggie stock] within the soup pot.
Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes.
Chuck in the carrots and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Pop in the potatoes along with a bay leaf.
Season with a little salt and pepper.
Pour in the hot veggie stock/broth.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the veggies are soft.
Dish up with fresh chopped parsley or your favourite herb. Extra pepper is also tasty and add a pinch of extra salt if necessary.
A slice or two of wholemeal bread or a few crackers for soup dunking is a nice accompaniment.
Recipe notes and FAQs
Storing, freezing and reheating
Potato soup is best stored within the refrigerator and will keep fresh for up to 3 days.
Or freeze for 4-6 months. Defrost completely before reheating.
To reheat potato soup, pour the leftovers into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1-3 minutes until piping hot. Give the soup a stir every now and again. If necessary a little extra water or stock can be added to the soup before reheating, especially if you wish to stretch one portion of soup into two portions.
Or reheat the potato soup by using a microwave, stir a few times, and reheat until the soup is piping hot throughout.
Other ingredients are generally not necessary for this tasty potato soup recipe but of course extras can be added for variety. Or if you have the odd veggie languishing within the refrigerator that would benefit from being chucked into the soup pot, then do so..
A few suggestions:
* add about a ½ cup of rinsed and drained red split lentils which will thicken up the soup and add extra nutrition and tastiness
* add a ¼-1/2 cup of quick cook rice along with the potatoes. Or if a wholegrain, brown, black, or red variety of rice is preferred consider the increased cooking times and perhaps pre-cook the rice before adding to the soup
* a few sticks of diced celery will add extra flavour and texture
* a cup of diced turnip/swede/rutabaga is a tasty addition
* chuck in a diced parsnip or two
* a ½ cup of diced celeriac is also yummy
* a few diced or minced garlic cloves are perfect for fortifying the soup with plant goodness, especially beneficial during the chilly months to help keep viruses and cold bugs at bay
* any fresh or dried herbs can be added along with the potatoes, such as parsley, lovage, dill, fennel, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, mixed dried herbs, etc [although do consider how each herb will change the flavour of the finished soup]
* for a spicy soup add a teaspoon or two of mild or hot chilli powder at the same time the potatoes are added to the soup
* fancy a curry flavoured soup? Add a few teaspoons or a tablespoon of your favourite curry powder at the same time the potatoes are added to the soup
* add a drained can of cooked beans, such as butterbeans, pinto beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, haricot beans, etc
Any substitutions will change the overall flavour and perhaps name of the finished soup but seeing as the completed soup is yours, feel free to modify any of the ingredients to your own preferences and needs.
* sweet potatoes or butternut squash can replace the white potatoes or carrots
* replace the potatoes for celeriac
* instead of sauteing in vegan margarine or butter use ½ cup of veggie stock or your choice of oil
* any vegan bouillon, stock, or broth can be used, including vegan chicken or beef stocks. And of course home-made broth can be used.
Even though potato soup is so simple and easy to prepare, a nice garnish can elevate the humble soup to something that is perfect for dinner parties, family get-togethers, and other special meals.
This recipe generally only needs a few tablespoons of fine chopped parsley as the flavour of this herb goes really well with the potatoes. Although the following ideas are also worthwhile:
* a few teaspoons of nutritional yeast flakes
* a tablespoon or so of shredded vegan cheese
* a sprinkle of red pepper/paprika flakes or chilli flakes
* a dusting of paprika
* toasted or plain sunflower or pumpkin seeds [can be done simply by dry frying, for a few minutes, in a small pan until browned in places, add a pinch of salt for extra flavour. Shake the pan often to prevent burning. Sunflower seeds compared to other seeds or nuts tend to be inexpensive, so its worthwhile purchasing a bag for toasting and adding to soups for extra nutrition. Or even just eating for a filling snack]
* bread croutons [check out our old-fashioned cream of swede [rutabaga] soup which includes a delicious simple crouton recipe which is perfect for using up stale bread]
* fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, thyme, chives, etc
* diced or sliced spring onions [otherwise known as green onions/cybies]
* a sprinkle of vegan bacon bits/pieces
* a swirl of plant cream or a scoop of vegan sour cream/creme fraiche
Honestly the best potato for potato soup is whatever variety of potato that you have to hand.
Although some potato types may loose some texture whilst boiling particularly the types used for mashed potatoes, it really won't affect the finished flavour or wholesomeness of the potato soup.
However, if you do prefer your potatoes to retain their integrity and be soft but firm at the end of cooking, choose a potato variety such as new/baby potatoes, charlotte potatoes, Yukon Gold, Maris Piper, red potatoes, russet potatoes, ordinary white potatoes, etc.
The type of potatoes that were used for this Scottish potato soup recipe was Carlingford and were grown at my daughters Scottish allotment plot. Carlingford potatoes are meant to be a salad potato but they were firm, creamy and perfect for this soup recipe.
Whatever potatoes are used for this potato soup, do retain the skins if possible and if unblemished, as they contain valuable nutrition. Just scrub the skins gently until nice and clean.
Image below: The large potatoes are Carlingford variety whilst the couple of smaller ones are an unknown variety! Both home-grown at my daughters allotment plot.
Simply ensure that the vegetable stock or broth used is certified gluten-free and if using vegan margarine or butter also check that it is free from gluten ingredients.
More simply delicious vegan potato soup recipes:
Potatoes are so cheap, wholesome and delicious that they feature frequently in my Scottish family's meal rotation. Hence why there are so many soups here featuring the humble potato: [and many, many more to be added!]
Old-Fashioned Scottish Potato Soup
- 1 large soup pot [or a stove-top dutch oven or similar pot]
- 2 tablespoon vegan margarine or vegan butter/or an oil such as rapeseed oil [or replace with ½ cup of veggie stock for an added fat-free soup]
- 4 tablespoon parsley fine chopped
- Heat the margarine or veggie stock in the soup pot.2 tablespoon vegan margarine
- Add the onions and cook on low-medium heat for 5 minutes. Give it a stir every now and then.1 large onion
- Tip in the carrots and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.If necessary add a few splashes of hot water or veggie stock to loosen up the veggies if they begin to stick to the pot.2 medium carrots
- Next pop in the potatoes, along with the bay leaf and season with a little salt and pepper.850 grams potatoes, 1 whole bay leaf
- Pour in the hot veggie stock, turn the heat up, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the veggies are soft.1.5 litres vegetable stock
- Season with salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Remove the bay leaf.Scatter some chopped parsley over each bowl, if using.4 tablespoon parsley
- Ladle into bowls and serve with some nice bread or crackers. Wholemeal bread is especially tasty with this Scottish potato soup.
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Leftover Scottish potato soup is best stored within the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Or freeze for 4-6 months.
- Defrost completely before reheating.
- Reheat in a saucepan, simmering for a few minutes, until piping hot throughout. Or reheat in a microwave until piping hot.
- To stretch one portion into two simply add extra water or veggie stock. Or some plant milk to create a creamy potato soup.
- Any potato is fine for potato soup but some potato varieties may hold up better during simmering [such as new/baby or Charlotte potatoes] and others may fall apart [such as those types of potatoes that make great mashed potatoes], but its no matter as the soup will be delicious regardless. So just use whatever potatoes you have access to.
- Potato soup is even more tastier the next day, so leftovers are perfect for quick and easy lunches or light meals. A cup of hot potato soup along with a tasty sandwich or a slice or two of toasted wholemeal bread is perfect cold weather human fodder!
Prepared this tasty old-fashioned Scottish potato soup recipe?
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So we can admire your good cooking.
Thanks so much.
All the best Jacq x