Craving something savory and creamy? Our Panera baked potato soup has tender potato chunks simmered in a flavorful, creamy broth. Fall in love with this comforting entree by customizing it with your favorite baked potato toppings.
Are you a big fan of Panera's soups? You'll want to check out our copycat versions of their creamy tomato soup and their bistro French onion soup. Don't miss our collection of 11 Panera copycat soup recipes, too!
Our copycat Panera baked potato soup recipe uses pantry staples that can be found in most major grocery stores. The only ingredient that might be hard to find is the Neufchâtel cheese, which is similar to cream cheese.
- Dairy: We used salted butter, whole milk, heavy cream, cubed Neufchâtel cheese, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- Flour: We used all purpose flour, but to make this gluten free, use your favorite gluten free flour. Panera Bread uses rice flour with cornstarch for this soup.
- Broth: We used reduced sodium chicken broth, but to make this vegetarian or vegan, use vegetable stock.
- Vegetables: We used russet potatoes, because that is what Panera uses, but feel free to use Yukon Gold, as they are less starchy.
- Seasonings: We used hot pepper sauce (Tabasco) and liquid smoke.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Need this gluten free? Swap flour for your favorite gluten free flour or leave out the flour and not have a roux. Use a cornstarch slurry at the end.
- Need this vegan? Use vegetable stock, vegan cream cheese, vegan cheese, full fat coconut milk, and add extra spices.
- Need extra spices? Use Cajun seasonings, ground ancho chili pepper, white pepper, or celery seed.
- Need this lower in fat? Use 2 oz. Neufchâtel, 1 cup half and half, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
- Need this heartier? Use ¼ cup bacon, and ½ cup finely diced ham.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients to make this copycat recipe.
- Melt the butter over medium high heat in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven, then saute the onion with a generous sprinkle of salt until soft, roughly 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute while constantly stirring. Sprinkle on the flour and whisk for two minutes to help cook out the raw flour taste. (If you need this gluten free, use rice flour or GF flour.)
- Slowly pour in the chicken broth while whisking to prevent any lumps from forming.
3. Add the whole milk and heavy cream and stir.
4. Carefully add the cubed potatoes, trying to avoid splashing the hot liquid.
5. Cover and bring to a near boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8 minutes, or until the potatoes are done. While the soup is simmering, cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet until golden. Mash half of the potatoes. This will help thicken the broth and change the texture.
6. Add the spices and seasonings and stir well to combine. Note: the turmeric is optional, but Panera does have it listed in their ingredients.
7. Add the softened cubed Neufchâtel cheese, the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, the crumbled bacon, and the chives. Whisk the baked potato soup until the Neufchâtel cheese is melted. Simmer on medium low heat for 15 minutes, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
8. Serve hot with your choice of toppings. We suggest freshly grated Parmesan cheese, bacon, and chives. If you're feeling fancy, serve it inside a sourdough bread bowl from Panera's bakery or from your local grocery store.
No, you'll find that some cafés will carry it, but others won't. At the time of this post, our local café does carry it.
Panera has some gluten conscious menu items. This means there is flour in the air due to baking bread, and the veggies are cut on boards where breadcrumbs could be. If you read the ingredients list for baked potato soup, Panera uses rice flour and cornstarch to help thicken it.
Our copycat recipe can easily be made gluten free by replacing the all purpose flour to your favorite gluten free flour, like King Arthur's measure-for-measure flour. You can also leave out the flour and have a soup that is a little less thick because it is also thickened by mashing half of the potatoes. You can also use a cornstarch slurry at the end.
For one cup of Panera's, there are 210 calories, 11g fat, 23g carbs, 3g sugar, and 6g protein. For the same serving size, our copycat version has 268 calories, 15g fat, 26g carbs, 3.8g sugar, and 7.4g protein. For more nutritional facts, please scroll to the end of the recipe card.
It is not recommended to freeze this recipe. The potatoes act like a sponge, absorbing moisture and becoming gummy after reheating. Plus, dairy based soups separate and lose their creamy consistency after being frozen and reheated.
Panera serves this entree with a choice of sourdough bread bowl, for an up charge, a bag of kettle chips, a piece of baguette, or an apple. Other serving suggestions are a slice of crusty bread, side salad, and fresh fruit.
Looking for other Panera soup recipes? Make sure to try our copycat recipes for bistro French onion soup, autumn squash soup, Panera chicken noodle soup, chicken and wild rice soup, and Panera turkey chili.
Round out your meal by serving one of these 8 Panera copycat dessert recipes after you enjoy your soup.
- Don't overcook the russet potatoes, as they are a starchy potato and can fall apart easier than a waxy potato.
- Don't overdo it with the potato masher; the soup should still have some chunks.
- Whisk in the chicken broth gradually to prevent clumping.
- Can't find Neufchâtel? Use cream cheese or sour cream.
- Can't find a sourdough bread bowl? Use any kind of small round bread to serve the soup in.
More Panera Copycat Recipes You'll Love
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Panera Baked Potato Soup
For the Soup
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup yellow onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 5 cups russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, cubed and softened
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- ⅓ cup bacon, cut in ½-inch pieces (6 pieces)
- 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
- Pinch to ⅛ teaspoon ground turmeric, for color (optional)
- ¼ cup chives
For the Garnishes
- Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Chives, minced
- Bacon, cut in ¼ inch pieces
- In a large Dutch oven set over medium high heat, melt the butter, then add the onion with a generous pinch of salt and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook until it's fragrant, roughly a minute.
- Sprinkle on the flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Slowly pour in the chicken broth while whisking to prevent clumps. Pour in the milk and the heavy cream. Stir, then carefully add the potatoes to prevent splashing.
- Cover and bring to a slight boil, which will take roughly 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low. Keep covered and simmer for 8 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- While it is cooking, fry the bacon in a cast iron skillet until it is golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and blot off any extra grease. Allow to cool, then crumble into smaller pieces.
- Stir in the sea salt, Tabasco, liquid smoke, and a pinch of turmeric if you want it to have a more golden hue.
- Add the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, Neufchâtel cheese cubes, bacon crumbles, and chives. Whisk until the cheese melts, then simmer uncovered on medium low heat for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- Garnish with additional toppings, such as bacon, chives, and Parmesan cheese. Serve in a sourdough bread bowl or in a bowl with a chunk of a French baguette or a wedge of black pepper focaccia. Panera also gives you the option of kettle chips or an apple with your order.
- Be careful not to overcook the russet potatoes.
- Panera Bread has chunks of potato, so go easy with the potato masher.
- To prevent clumping, whisk in the chicken broth gradually.
- Use cream cheese or sour cream if you can't find Neufchâtel cheese.
- Like the idea of a bread bowl? Use any kind of small round bread. Panera uses sourdough.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.