Poblano Potato-Leek Soup Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Poblano Potato-Leek Soup Recipe


Photography by Carolina Korman


I have been on a major soup kick this season.  I have always made soup once during the week and once on the weekend during the school year.  I am now making soup at least three times a week and we are all loving it.  I also order soup when I go out to eat, sometimes as my meal.  In the last year or so, I have always found it very beneficial to eat more of my calories before 2 pm, with my lightest meal being dinner.  That doesn’t always happen, but I feel best when I eat that way.

My family and I visit Park City, Utah regularly and one of our favorite special dinners is Fireside Dining at Empire Lodge at Deer Valley Resort.  Once, many years ago, we ate a delicious and unusual, but simple, poblano potato soup.  Poblanos are the mildest of chili peppers, with only a tiny bit of heat.  We all loved the Southwestern flavor the peppers gave to a classic potato-leek soup.

This soup was a huge favorite in my classes not just because it was creamy and delicious, but also because it is very easy to make.  Potato-leek soup is one of the most classic soups in the last several decades.  It contains very few ingredients and it is a very simple, and delicately flavored soup.

Leeks in the onion family, but are not the same as onions.  Leeks are much more rich-tasting than onions.  They have a light, grassy buttery flavor that is just amazing.  And they soften more quickly than onions.  I know they are a little more work because you have to clean them, but I think it’s worth it!  I actually save the green leek tops, wash them and freeze them for the next time I make vegetable stock.

Most kids like simple food and my son, Mr. Picky, is one of those kids.  He absolutely flipped for this soup.  I didn’t garnish it with extra roasted poblanos or cracked black pepper.  Instead I asked him if he wanted to crush a few tortilla chips on top, which he did!  My strategy with my son has always been to meet him halfway and be flexible without going against what I believe is the way to create a lifelong healthy eater.

This soup will last as long as your stock will be fresh.  If your chicken stock is already on Day 5, this soup will need to be finished pronto!  If your stock is freshly made,  this soup is good for 5 days.  I do not think it freezes well, though.

We love this soup with a quesadilla or corn bread or a fresh side salad.  But it can be the starter for an elegant dinner as well.  I hope you love it and that you make it this week.  Please tag me so I can see everything you make!  @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman I would love to share your creations so we can all spread the message of healthy cooking!


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Poblano Potato-Leek Soup
Serves: 6
  • 2 Poblano* peppers + more if desired for garnish
  • 4 medium leeks, white and light green parts only (dark green tops can be washed and saved for making stock)
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee (or use vegan butter or olive oil)
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or more to taste
  • ½ cup unsweetened milk of choice or vegan cream cheese
  • optional: white pepper to taste or cracked black pepper
  1. Roast the peppers: over a gas flame using tongs to hold the peppers one at a time, blacken the skins lightly (don’t char the living daylights out of the flesh.) Place the blackened peppers in a bowl and cover the bowl while you make the soup.
  2. Wash the leeks: split the leeks in half lengthwise and run water in between each layer to remove any sand or grit. Pat dry and slice crosswise.
  3. Warm a medium pot over medium heat. Melt the butter and stir in leeks and onion. Saute until the leeks are tender, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes, salt, and stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, peel the poblanos and discard the seeds. Chop the poblanos coarsely and add to the soup with the milk. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Or process in batches in a standard blender, taking care not to overprocess or else you will have a gummy soup. Taste for salt and season accordingly.
This can be garnished with additional roasted poblano peppers, diced or additional leeks, fried.
*Poblano Peppers may also be labeled Pasilla Peppers at the store.


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  1. Hi Pamela,
    Not sure how I missed this recipe before. My “Mr. Picky” husband does not care for potatoes-(NSNG) Can I substitute white beans in this recipe? Thank you!!!!

  2. So delicious! I honestly only found this recipe because I had two spare poblanos and some leeks in my fridge and needed to do SOMETHING with them, but I am so happy to have come across this recipe and your website! I’ve already recommended this soup to 3 different people. I also put just a small drizzle of olive oil on top of my soup before serving it, and it was just perfect. Cannot wait to make this again!

    • Isn’t that the best when it all comes together just right? So happy you found me because of it, too!

  3. Delicious ~ I used yellow potatoes, didn’t add the milk and just mashed with my potato masher…I was such a precise follower of recipes, so making those little changes is big for me ~ thanks to you I am more confident in the kitchen. Best regards

    • So great! Glad you followed your gut 🙂

  4. Hi Pamela,
    This soup is delicious. I had a hard time peeling the poblanos (maybe I didn’t char them enough), but even with most of the peel still on, it turned out great. Thank you.

    • Great! But you’re right, even with some of the skin, the soup is still wonderful.

  5. Hi Pamela! I don’t have a Poblano pepper. I do have a jalapeño..would that work or should I just omit? I also only have 2 leeks. Wondering if it will still turn out ok without the poblano and only 2 leeks?

    Thank you!

    • IT’s worth a try with a jalapeno! Can you supplement with a little onion to make up for the lack of leeks?

  6. I whirled the roast poblanos with the milk and added to the soup. I mashed the potatoes with a spatula because I like chunky soups. I loved the flavor of the soup and will definitely make it again.
    I roasted the poblanos in my air fryer. It’s so much easier and faster. Plus I don’t over char them!

    • I really love all your suggestions and tips! So clever! Thank you 🙂

  7. This recipe is amazing and so easy to make. Just what my family needed on this cold Sunday!

    • So happy it hit the spot!

  8. Hi Pamela, what can be substituted for unsweetened milk?
    Thank you

    • “Unsweetened milk” just implies any milk, non-dairy or dairy, but if you choose non-dairy, make sure it’s unsweetened. I’m going to rewrite the recipe to make it more clear. I have not tried yogurt, but I have added creme friache and various almond milk cream cheeses.

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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