Classic Vichyssoise

published Sep 24, 2021
summer
Vichyssoise Recipe

This version of vichyssoise lightens up the traditional ultra-rich ingredients and only includes cream.

Serves4

Makesabout 2 quarts

Prep15 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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Vichyssoise (a soup made with potatoes, leeks, and cream and typically served chilled
a soup made with potatoes, leeks, and cream and typically served chilled) in a bowl, topped with green onion
Credit: Perry Santanachote

An obituary headline in the August 30, 1957 edition of The New York Times perfectly sums up the background for the world’s most famous potato-leek soup: “Louis Diat, Chef de Cuisine, Dies; Creator of Vichyssoise Was 72: Artist of the Menu 41 Years at Ritz-Carlton Raised Leek and Potato to Greatness.” Forty years prior to his death, Chef Diat combined the lowly leek and humble potato into a light and subtly tart chilled soup that rocked the culinary world. 

While Monsieur Diat’s vichyssoise blissfully contained four kinds of dairy (butter, milk, half-and-half, and heavy cream) our version lightens it up a little by calling for just butter and cream. We don’t think you’ll miss the lack of multiple dairy components — it’s still plenty rich and decadent.

What Is Vichyssoise?

Vichyssoise is a classic French creamy potato and leek soup that is served cold with chives. While it was invented by a French chef and named after a French spa, the dish was created in New York City and made popular by New Yorkers.

Why Is Vichyssoise Served Cold?

Chef Louis Diat served vichyssoise chilled in order to cool off his summertime patrons on his rooftop garden restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in New York. When the temperature rises, you should do the same, but vichyssoise is also delicious served warm.

What Should I Pair with Vichyssoise?

There are several toppings, from decedent to earthy, that go great with vichyssoise.

Can You Freeze Vichyssoise?

Vichyssoise is best enjoyed shortly after it’s made. Soups that contain potatoes don’t freeze well and can become dry, gummy, and grainy once defrosted.

Vichyssoise Recipe

This version of vichyssoise lightens up the traditional ultra-rich ingredients and only includes cream.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Makes about 2 quarts

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    russet potatoes (about 3 medium)

  • 2

    medium leeks

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 2 cups

    unsalted chicken stock or broth

  • 2 cups

    water

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground white pepper

  • 1 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 small bunch

    fresh chives

Instructions

  1. Prepare the following, placing each in the same medium pot as you complete it: Peel and cut 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Trim 2 medium leeks and cut the white parts crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Wash the leeks thoroughly and drain. Coarsely chop 1 small yellow onion.

  2. Add 2 cups unsalted chicken stock, 2 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are very tender and nearly falling apart, about 30 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat. Blend the soup directly in the pot with an immersion blender until smooth, or blend in batches in a stand blender.

  4. Pour the mixture into a large container and let it cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

  5. Add 1 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and whisk to combine. Taste and season with more salt if needed. For a silkier soup, strain through a fine-mesh strainer before serving if desired.

  6. Finely chop 1 small bunch fresh chives until you have 2 tablespoons. Sprinkle over the soup before serving.