I've made my first potato soup and it has no taste.

Just to get an idea this is how I made it: chopped and onion and a carrot and place them with some oil to fry. After the onion got brown, I added the potatoes, water and salt and kept it cooking until the potatoes were done.

It tastes like ... just... boiled water.

How do I salvage the soup, preferably using minimally processed ingredients (for example, avoiding MSG)?

  • 7
    I am sorry, but what counts as a chemical? Water is H2O, plain old salt is NaCL. The hot flavor in peppers is called capiscum oil and is a chemical. Soup normally is not started from a water base, but from a stock of some kind, whether chicken or shellfish, or even vegetable.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 17:44
  • 3
    As SAJ14SAJ says using water as a base for a soup made with a bland ingredient like potatoes is not the best course of action. How much salt did you add? I would just guess you've not seasoned it enough.
    – Stefano
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 18:01
  • 1
    Edited to remove reference to chemicals, substituting the best reasonable alternative I could come up with ("minimally processed ingredients") so that the question would not need to be closed. I feel there is a legitimate underlying question here.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 19:37
  • 2
    "Traditional ingredients" is probably another reasonable way to ask this - the kinds of things that you've always been cooking with and tend to be able to buy at arbitrary grocery stores. You can also just not bother being that specific. This isn't the kind of community where people are going to say "msg and synthetic bacon powder, no other options"; you'll always get real answers like the ones below.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 2:06

7 Answers 7


First, cook your potatoes in stock, not water. I prefer chicken stock but you can use vegetable stock if you prefer. Make sure you use only enough stock to barely cover the potatoes, and cook them with the lid off. When the potatoes are done, add milk or cream until you achieve a nice, creamy consistency. If necessary, you can thicken it by mashing some of the potatoes against the side of the pan. You can also add some grated cheese. I would use a hard cheese like Parmigiano or Romano. Now just season to taste. With a simple soup like potato, I would stick to salt and pepper only. If you do use other spices, be careful because they will easily overwhelm the delicate flavor.


Some ingredients I like to include in potato soup:

  • Cooked, chopped bacon
  • Corn
  • Shredded cheddar (or similarly medium strong cheese)
  • Cabbage or broccoli

Any combination or all of the above can be added to potato soup. The cheese, in particular will add an overall creamy flavor and texture.

(If you weren't concerned with the MSG and/or sodium, I'd suggest a couple of chicken boullion cubes, too.)


Seems to me that, aside from telling you to add ingredients (I am going to assume that you added salt prior to adding water to help sweat the ingredients), you may be missing the step of fully preparing your stock. While browning your onions will have been effective; did you just add the carrots along with the water, did you give them an opportunity to sweat and brown as well?

Some considerations:

  • Be sure that you allow the onions to fully brown. This will ensure that they have expressed their fullest flavor
  • Be sure that your carrots are being steamed (covering the pot with a lid is very helpful) and then cooking fully to create your stock
    • If you added the carrots and the onions at the same time, but the onions are browning sooner than the carrots even get soft, add some water to the bottom of the pan to prevent the onions from burning, but to keep the carrots cooking (only add enough that onions float but carrots rest on bottom)

I would also add that roast the potatoes might be helpful. Also, you can alter the soup by pureeing some portion of the potatoes and adding it back to the pot.

In terms of a few additional ingredients: toasted sesame oil, fennel (whole, fresh), dill (whole, fresh)


Fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary or thyme will give your soup zing.


If you are after salvaging this pot of soup rather than starting over, some possibilities

1 a sprig of rosemary and some garlic that's been fried with a slick of olive oil

2 white pepper horseradish and sour cream

3 fresh snipped fennel green with baby peas and asparagus (primavera)


I think you can cook your potatoes in water it is not a problem the question is how to make it fragrant even though you don`t have a stock base: first put some onions, 2 garlic cloves,3 celery leaves,small chopped carrot all of them with natural butter and let them cook for 5 minutes till they turn translucent take them to the mixer and ground then finely put them back in the pot and put 3 cups of water let them simmer for 5 minutes in another pan fry your potatoes just a little bit then add them to the simmering vegetable stock when the potatoes are 75% take them all to the mixer again and mix them then return back again to the pot here you can add cream or cheddar cheese add your black or white pepper and salt if you want an oriental flavor add 1/2 tb of cumin


The answers above are best if you're starting from scratch, but if you want to salvage this pot of soup a stock (or bouillon) cube or powder is your best bet. It's processed but it should work.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.