Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

$6.37 recipe / $2.12 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.96 from 49 votes
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What did we do before the cauliflower revolution? While I’m not the type to completely replace foods with cauliflower (I can’t do the pizza crust guys, sorry), I love mixing cauliflower into foods because the color and texture are so versatile that it’s almost undetectable. It’s so sneaky. So, when I was craving cheesy potato soup this past week I decided to sub half of my potatoes for cauliflower for a little extra fiber and cruciferous action. This Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup was super creamy and satisfying, without being overly heavy like creamy potato soups can sometimes be. It was the perfect weight for this transitional is-it-fall-or-is-it-summer weather!

Close up of a wooden ladle in a pot of thick and creamy Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Substitutions:

Cauliflower: I used a whole head of fresh cauliflower here because I was able to get it for a great price at Aldi, but you can substitute a one pound bag of frozen cauliflower florets in its place.

Evaporated Milk: I used evaporated milk because it is rich and thick without being overly heavy, but also because it acts as an emulsifier with cheese. You might be able to substitute heavy cream (a smaller amount, perhaps 1/2-3/4 cup) in its place, but I have not tested this to make sure. I do not suggest using soy, almond, or cashew milk because they are not thick enough, and coconut milk would probably be too strongly flavored and clash with the other ingredients.

Vegetable Broth: I used vegetable broth to keep this soup vegetarian, but chicken broth will work just as well.

Can I Use Frozen Cauliflower Instead of Fresh?

Yes, frozen cauliflower works seamlessly in the recipe below. You’ll want to use a one pound bag of frozen cauliflower florets in place of the fresh listed below.

A bowl of Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup with cheddar and green onion sprinkled on top.

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Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

4.96 from 49 votes
Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup is rich and creamy without being overly heavy. Eat your vegetables and enjoy them, too! 
Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup is rich and creamy without being overly heavy. Eat your vegetables and enjoy them, too! Budgetbytes.com
Servings 6 1.5 cups each
Prep 30 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 1 hr

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 1 head cauliflower ($1.99)
  • 1.5 lb. russet potatoes ($1.42)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth ($0.52)
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk ($0.65)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.03)
  • freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
  • 4 oz. medium cheddar, shredded ($0.85)
  • 3 green onions*, sliced ($0.33)

Instructions 

  • Dice the onion and add it to a soup pot along with the olive oil. Sauté the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
  • Peel and dice the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Add the cubed potatoes and cauliflower florets to the soup pot along with the vegetable broth. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the pot up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and cauliflower are extremely soft.
  • Add the evaporated milk to the soup. Use an immersion blender to purée the mixture, or allow it to cool slightly, then transfer the soup in batches to a blender to purée. Blending hot liquids is extremely dangerous, so make sure to let it cool until warm first (adding the evaporated milk will help bring the temperature down), and drape a towel over the lid of the blender as added protection against unintended splatter.
  • Once the soup is puréed, season with smoked paprika, salt, and freshly cracked pepper (10-15 cranks of a pepper mill). The amount of salt needed will vary, depending on the salt content of the broth used.
  • Place the soup back over medium heat and allow it to heat through. Once hot, begin stirring in the cheese, one handful at a time, until it has fully melted into the soup. 
  • Serve the Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup with sliced green onions on top.

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Notes

*The green onions really add a pop of flavor to each bowl, so I don't suggest skipping them.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5CupsCalories: 304.5kcalCarbohydrates: 36.53gProtein: 12.78gFat: 12.7gSodium: 1183.65mgFiber: 4.03g
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A spoon scooping Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup out of a bowl

How to Make Cauliflower Potato Soup – Step by Step Photos

Saute Onion in a large soup pot

Start by dicing a yellow onion and adding it to a soup pot with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté the onion for about five minutes, or until it has softened.

Add diced potatoes and cauliflower florets to soup pot

Peel and chop 1.5 lbs. russet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Chop one head cauliflower into small florets. Add them both to the soup pot.

Add Vegetable Broth to the Pot

Add four cups vegetable broth to the pot as well. Place a lid on top, bring it up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes…

Boiled Potatoes and Cauliflower

Or until the potatoes and cauliflower are extremely tender. They need to be extremely soft to be easily puréed.

Add Evaporated Milk to Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Add 12 oz. evaporated milk to the pot. This will help bring the temperature down, which is important if you are using a blender to purée your soup. If using an emersion blender, you can purée the soup right in the pot, even while it’s hot. If using a blender, it needs to be cooled until the soup is warm before blending. Blending hot liquids can build pressure and explode the top off the blender, spraying hot soup everywhere and potentially burning you. SO, let the soup cool a bit, transfer it in batches to the blender, DRAPE A TOWEL OVER THE CLOSED LID, and then blend until puréed.

Add spices to pureed potato and cauliflower soup

Once puréed, season the soup with 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, some freshly cracked pepper (maybe 10-15 cranks of a pepper mill) and salt. I used 1 tsp salt, but you will want to taste and adjust this to your liking. The salt content of vegetable broth can vary, so the amount of salt needed at this point will vary as well.

Add Cheddar to Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Now it’s time to add the cheese. The soup needs to be hot to melt the cheese, so if you let it cool to purée, simply place it over medium heat again until the soup is hot (stir fairly often). Add the cheese to the soup, one handful at a time, stirring until the cheese is fully melted into the soup.

A finished pot of Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup with cheddar and green onion sprinkled on top.

And that’s it! It’s never a bad idea to taste the Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup one last time to see if you want to adjust any of the seasonings. Serve each bowl with a few sliced green onions sprinkled over top. The onion really adds a pop of fresh flavor that I felt took the soup to a higher level.

A wooden ladle spooning Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup out of the pot.

Refrigerated leftovers of this Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato soup reheat very well. I haven’t tried freezing this soup, but creamy milk based soups usually don’t survive the freeze/thaw process well. 

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Comments

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  1. Delicious – with or without the green onions. It would not have occurred to me to use smoked paprika in a soup like this. It added a subtle smoky flavor. We all loved it!

  2. hello! i am an amateur home cook and food appreciator based in kyiv, ukraine. this recipe was a delight. it made for a fun lunch with ma hubs and he didn’t even realize he ate a whole head of cauliflower. thanks! good day.

  3. This was amazing. I used almond milk but also added 2 tsp ground flax and it thickened nicely. I used 8 cups of veggie broth instead of 4,but you may want to use something in the middle if you want it super thick. I also subbed 1/2 cup nutritional yeast for the cheese. so good!

    1. Thank you for the alteration ideas, Lisa! I wanted to do some changes for dairy free and now I feel more confident to give it a go.

  4. This was fast and easy, I made exactly as is but added crumbled bacon on top. 🤤

  5. This soup was tasty. I cook for my friends and I, and they all gave this recipe 5 stars. I’ve always loved the recipes you have.

  6. This was fantastic!!

    I made some baked potato skins the other night, and I had a bunch of cooked potato left over, so I used that, chopped up an additional potato and threw that in, too. Then I used a pouch of riced cauliflower from Costco, and this all came together really quickly.

    I also added in a pinch or two of cayenne pepper and some chopped ham. It was a big hit!! (the guys drizzled some hot sauce on top, too)

    So filling but not loaded with calories.

    I was also thinking that some pepper jack cheese would be really tasty, too! Next time. ;-)

    This will go into my regular rotation. Thanks, Beth!! Budget Bytes is, by far, my favorite recipe / cooking site.

    (For those reading, I also highly recommend the Swamp Soup — I’ve made that a number of times, and it’s always a big hit.)

  7. Tried it tonight. Had some cauliflower to use. I added butter to sauté, and added chili flakes and chili powder, simmered with parsley but didn’t use the green onions.
    So easy and lovely, I don’t know why I pay over inflated soup prices at restaurants..

  8. I have many Budget Bytes favorite recipes, but this is my all time favorite. I think of it comfort soup to the max, and we have been needing comfort this last year.

    The first time I made it I made it exactly as written. The next time I left out the smoked paprika and liked it even better–especially on a cold evening.

  9. This recipe was FANTASTIC! the whole family loved it! When I first told my husband what I was making, he was doubtful, but after trying it, he had seconds!  I followed the recipe to a “T“ with one exception: I used my Instant Pot! I sautéed the oil/onion and then followed the recipe. I cooked on high pressure for 3 minutes, followed by a 10 min natural pressure release. I then added the cheese and evaporated milk, and blended it all until smooth. Fantastic! I served it with “bread sticks” I made from extra  pizza dough (also a Budget Bytes recipe) 

  10. Made this tonight and followed recipe exactly it is absolutely delicious. Thanks for the great great recipes 👍👌

  11. Fantastic, lighter version of potato soup. I added garlic and just added the cheese to each individual bowl plus fresh chives & bacon. So satisfying but not too heavy. Will be on the rotation for the remainder of fall/winter!