Fresh cucumbers and sweet, mellow leeks are the stars in this super savory, chilled Cucumber Leek Vichyssoise soup.

(Photo by Rick Souders)

Vichyssoise Soup Recipe

Robert doesn’t like cucumbers on their own, but will eat them mixed in with other foods. I, on the other hand, love cucumbers, so to accommodate him I often experiment, finding new ways to incorporate them into a dish. One day I decided to combine a cucumber soup and Vichyssoise recipe together.

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.

What is Vichyssoise soup?

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.

Cucumber Leek Vichyssoise Recipe 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)

It turns out, 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, thinly sliced radishes add contrasting color and a bit of crunch!

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.

FAQ for Cold Potato Leek Soup

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.

Storing Cucumber and Potato Soup (aka Vichyssoise)

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.

Serving Chilled Potato and Leek Soup

Serve on a warm summer day paired with one of our main dish salads; here are some suggestions:

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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
  • 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 haves 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. 😀