Cucumber Leek Vichyssoise is a chilled soup that’s silky, delicate and elegant. It’s perfect for those hot summer days when you want something cool, refreshing, and easy to make. The combination of puréed leeks, potatoes, cucumbers and cream creates a smooth and creamy texture that will leave you feeling satisfied and refreshed. Vichyssoise is known for its subtle flavors and is perfect for serving as a first course or light meal. So, if you’re looking for a refreshing and easy-to-make recipe to beat the summer heat, this recipe is sure to impress your taste buds.

(Photo by Rick Souders)

You will Love Vichyssoise Soup

This Cucumber Leek Vichyssoise is a classic soup with a twist. Vichyssoise (see definition below) is a chilled soup traditionally made with leeks, potatoes and cream, and served cold with a garnish of chives or other herbs. In this recipe, I add the refreshing flavors of cucumber and lemon juice to the mix, along with baby spinach, garlic and onion. These additions add depth to the combined soup’s flavor – garlic adds a bit of a bite, baby spinach earthiness and color, and fresh lemon juice brightens everything up. Finally, a garnish of thinly sliced radishes adds contrasting color and a bit of crunch!

What is Vichyssoise?

Vichyssoise is a leek, potato and cream-based puréed soup that is velvety smooth and served chilled. Growing up, I loved the version served at the country club where my family belonged (it’s still on the menu today!). Since Vichyssoise is served cold, adding cold cucumber seemed a natural fit.

What does Vichyssoise mean in French?

Surprisingly, vichyssoise is not a French word. This chilled soup was created in 1917 by the head chef at the Ritz Carton in New York, and he named it after the French town of Vichy, which was near his home town.

Cucumber Leek Vichyssoise Ingredients

As mentioned above, in creating this recipe I started with the ingredients in a traditional Vichyssoise:

  • Leeks
  • Potatoes
  • Water (or chicken broth/stock)
  • Milk or cream (I use half and half)
  • Salt
  • Chopped chives, for garnish

Based on one of my cucumber soup recipes, I added these ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Garlic (or shallots)
  • Onion
  • Cucumber
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Lemon juice
  • Ground white pepper
  • Sliced radishes, for garnish (along with the chives)
Chilled cucumber leek vichyssoise soup garnished with sliced radishes

How to make Vichyssoise Soup

Here are the steps to follow in making this delectable soup:

  1. Prep ingredients.
    Chop the garlic, onion, leeks and spinach. Peel, seed and chop the cucumber (see Tip below) and peel and chop the potato.
  2. Cook garlic, onion and leeks.
    In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic (or shallots), onion and leeks. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes or until soft and the leeks are just beginning to turn brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Cook cucumber, spinach and potato.
    In a large saucepan, bring chicken stock and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cucumber, spinach and potato. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, uncover and cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Combine leek, cream and cucumber mixtures.
    Stir leek mixture and half and half into cucumber mixture. Purée with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender in 2 batches and purée until smooth.
  5. Add lemon juice and seasoning.
    Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and ground white pepper.
  6. Chill.
    Cover and chill soup for at least 2 hours, up to 3 days.
  7. Serve.
    Taste soup and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve cold; garnish servings with thinly sliced radishes and chopped chives.

Storing Cold Leek Soup

Once the soup is prepared, put it in a large sealed container in the refrigerator to chill. Store any leftovers the same way. It will keep for 3 to 4 days.

Recipe for Vichyssoise Soup FAQs

What potatoes are best for this soup?

I recommend using russet (or Idaho) potatoes in this Vichyssoise. Russets are higher in starch and therefore break down easier and help thicken the soup. I don’t think you get the right texture with a lower starch potato, like a Yukon Gold or Red.

What is the difference between vichyssoise and potato leek soup?


The main difference is that vichyssoise is served cold, and potato leek soup is served hot. Vichyssoise always calls for milk or cream, and it’s optional in potato leek soup.

What’s the difference between vichyssoise and gazpacho?

Vichyssoise and Gazpacho are both chilled soups, but they are quite different in terms of their origin, ingredients, and flavor profiles. Vichyssoise is a puréed soup that is traditionally made with pureed leeks, potatoes and cream, and has a smooth, creamy texture. On the other hand, Gazpacho is a Spanish soup that is typically made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, olive oil, vinegar and bread. In terms of texture, it can be either chunky or puréed.

Why is my potato leek soup gummy?

Your soup can become gummy if you overcooked the potatoes, stirred the potatoes too much when cooking, and/or overprocessed (blended) the potatoes for too long.

overhead shot showing how to serve vichyssoise soup as a first course

What to serve with Vichyssoise Soup

Serve on a warm summer day as a first course with bread followed by one of our main dish salads; here are some suggestions:

Print
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Chilled cucumber leek vichyssoise soup garnished with sliced radishes

Cucumber Leek Vichyssoise Soup

Fresh cucumbers and sweet, mellow leeks are the stars in this super savory, chilled Vichyssoise soup. Note that the soup needs to chill for several hours.

  • Prep Time: 13 mins
  • Cooling Time: 135 mins
  • Cook Time: 22 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale

(See gluten-free adaptations in the Notes section at the bottom of the recipe.)

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic or shallots
  • 1/4 cup (1/4 large) chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups (2 large) chopped leeks, white and light green parts
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (2 large) peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground white pepper
  • Garnish: thinly sliced radish, chopped fresh chives

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic (or shallots), onion and leeks. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes or until soft and the leeks are just beginning to turn brown. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring chicken stock and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cucumber, spinach and potato. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, uncover and cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in leek mixture and half and half. Purée with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender in 2 batches and purée until smooth. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and ground white pepper.
  4. Cover and chill for several hours. Adjust seasonings, as needed. Serve cold; garnish servings with thinly sliced radishes and chopped chives.

Notes

Gluten free: Use gluten-free chicken stock.

Make ahead: Soup can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.

  • Author: (From “Fresh Tastes” by Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Category: Chilled Soups, Gluten Free, Easy Entertaining
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
Chilled cucumber leek vichyssoise soup garnished with sliced radishes

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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Comments

  1. This is fabulous. Your added garlic ,spinach adds alot. Great depth . Quite often I give recipes to friends and they always say “well, it wasn’t as good as yours” I say did you season it. ..No, because I dont like to use salt ! Well, good cooking is about flavor. Dont do this recipe if you dont use salt..period.

  2. This is absolutely, incredibly delicious! I’ve been making Fanny Farmer’s vichyssoise recipe for years, and we love it (although we eat it warm) and with a ton of cucumbers in the garden, I was hoping for something different that we could try. This was it! Yes, it absolutely needs salt and it needs butter (and I used heavy cream instead of half and half because that’s what I had) but it came out light and just creamy enough and perfect on a summer evening. It’s not as smooth as my normal vichyssoise recipe (although that may be because I processed it all in one batch) but actually, that wasn’t at all detrimental to the soup. We ate it warm, but it was so good, and I have a couple of extra leeks, I may just make it again right away and refrigerate it for tomorrow so we can try it cold!

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!

      1. For the record, we had this soup with toasted tomato sandwiches – homebaked oat bread toasted and spread with mayonnaise topped with inch thick slabs of homegrown, lightly salted heirloom tomato (Cherokee Purple, in our case). If you’ve got homegrown tomatoes as well as cucumbers to use, it’s a great accompaniment – a little acid and sharp in contrast to the smoother, creamier soup. You do need heavier bread, though, so it doesn’t dissolve under the juicy tomato.

        Thank you again for the recipe. I’ve been trying *so* hard to find a soup with cucumbers that *didn’t* use plain yogurt or that wasn’t vegan! If you’ve got any other soups like this with cucumber, I will run (not walk!) to try them out, too. 😀