Filled with chunks of potatoes, plenty of cheese, and a heavenly creamy broth, this copycat O’Charley’s loaded potato soup recipe is the real deal.
It’s sure to tantalize the taste buds and satisfy any salty cravings.
Want something rich and full of flavor? This soup recipe is a real stick-to-your-ribs meal!
Chock full of tender potatoes and a mountain of cheese, it’s not one to make if you’re watching your waistline.
But if you need a comforting bowl of soup the whole family will love, you can’t go wrong with O’Charley’s loaded potato soup.
Copycat O’Charley’s Loaded Potato Soup Recipe
I fell in love with O’Charley’s after one meal. But it wasn’t because of their succulent steaks, colorful cocktails, or even fun ‘Free Pie Wednesdays.’
It was their loaded potato soup. I tried it once, and I was hooked.
I would go for lunch every week or so – usually on Wednesdays – and order this soup.
And then, they shut our O’Charley’s down!
I was devastated. Heartbroken. Absolutely bereft. How could I ever live without my favorite silky potato soup?
So I had to figure out how to make it at home. And fortunately for me, it’s not that difficult.
This thick, cream-based soup doesn’t take much work at all.
It’s just a matter of boiling potatoes, mixing the broth, and finding the right toppings.
It takes a bit of time and hands-on effort, but not more than an hour. And the result is well worth it.
Just be sure you have the toppings ready. Potato soup isn’t the same without those.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this copycat O’Charley’s loaded potato soup recipe:
I’ve seen other copycat recipes for this soup online that call for Russet potatoes or Idaho potatoes.
But I think red potatoes are the only way to go. They have the perfect texture for making soup, and they’re the ones that give it that same O’Charley’s flavor.
You’ll need three pounds, diced into small cubes. But don’t peel them! Leaving the peel on enhances the soup’s flavor (and nutritional content!).
Butter gives the broth a rich, yummy flavor that only butter can provide.
I use salted butter because it cuts down on the extra salt some people add after serving.
Remember to let it warm to room temperature before adding it.
Flour acts as a thickening agent in this recipe. It keeps the broth from being too thin and runny but adds nothing in terms of taste.
I recommend all-purpose flour because it’s cheap and readily available.
Though you could use cornstarch if you want something gluten-free. Just use half the amount of the flour noted in the recipe.
Half & Half
Here’s the cream for your cream-based soup.
Some recipes call for milk, while others use heavy cream. But I find half & half to be the happy medium between them.
It provides a rich, thick broth without being too rich or too thick.
You could call Velveeta the secret ingredient for this soup.
That’s where all its wonderful cheesiness comes from. And it’s why this soup is so much better than other potato soup recipes.
I know some people have issues with the big yellow box of cheese. But I promise you, it’s an absolute necessity for this soup.
That said, if you really don’t like it, try Colby cheese instead.
White Pepper, Garlic Powder, and Hot Pepper Sauce
These ingredients are your seasonings and will lift the heavy, rich flavors of the soup.
The amounts listed are one tablespoon of white pepper and one teaspoon each of garlic powder and hot pepper sauce.
I find that works very well. But I recommend you taste the soup before adding them and go from there. You may find your need more or less.
The four must-have toppings for a copycat O’Charley’s soup recipe are crispy, crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, fresh chopped chives, and parsley.
This soup is nowhere near as tasty without them.
If you’re a vegetarian, I recommend finding tofu bacon since the dish needs that hit of meaty saltiness.
How to Make O’Charley’s Loaded Potato Soup
Here’s how to make O’Charley’s loaded potato soup:
1. Prepare the ingredients and get your mise en place ready.
Mise en place is a fancy French term that means “putting in place”.”Essentially, you’ll read the recipe and see what needs to be done before cooking.
In this case, you’ll melt the Velveeta, fry and crumble the bacon, and dice the potatoes.
You can also chop the parsley and chives and shred the cheese for the toppings. Though you could leave that until the end if you prefer.
Basically, gather everything you’ll need and have it ready.
That way, you don’t have to stop halfway through cooking because you realize you ran out of butter.
You should wait until the potatoes are nearly done to melt the butter, though.
2. Boil the potatoes.
Place the diced potatoes into a large pan, cover them with water, and boil them for about 10 minutes.
They shouldn’t be completely done when you remove them from heat. Instead, they should be slightly firm in the middle.
3. Make the broth.
In a separate pan, combine the ingredients for the broth.
Start with the melted butter and flour. Once they’re well mixed, place them on the stove over low heat.
Continue mixing while adding the half & half. Keep stirring.
Finally, add the melted Velveeta. Again, you should stir continuously through this whole process.
4. Add the potatoes and seasonings.
Add the pepper, garlic, and hot pepper sauce. Adjust to taste.
After draining the cooked potatoes, add them to the second pan with the broth. Stir gently so they don’t break apart.
5. Cook the soup.
Finally, cover the pan with a lid. Allow it to cook for 30 minutes over low heat.
6. Remove from heat, serve, and add toppings.
When the soup is ready, pour it into serving bowls. Then, top it with the crumbled bacon, cheese, chives, and parsley.
Enjoy carefully – it’s hot!
O’Charley’s Loaded Potato Soup Recipe Tips
Here are a few final tips to ensure your soup is the best it can be:
- Substitute heavy cream for a thicker soup. If you like broth super thick, use heavy cream instead of half & half.
- Shred the cheese by hand. There’s nothing wrong with bagged shredded cheese in a pinch, but shredding from a fresh block is better (pre-shredded cheese has a coating that keeps it from melting well).
- Use real bacon for the topping. Some recipes encourage you to save time by using bacon bits instead of real bacon. Don’t! Real bacon is the only way to go.
- Puree the soup to make it creamier. I never do this, but I have friends that do. If you want the soup to be extra creamy, puree it before adding the potatoes.
- Don’t add the potatoes if you’re making a big batch for later or meal prepping. The potatoes will turn mushy if they sit in the soup too long. Instead, cook them as instructed and store them separately. Then add them per portion and cook before serving.
- Only add toppings if you’re about to eat the soup. If you have to store or freeze leftovers, you want to avoid having toppings on them. They don’t freeze well.
Speaking of toppings, let’s check out a few extra ones!
Toppings for O’Charley’s Loaded Potato Soup
For a genuine O’Charley’s copycat recipe, you must add the four listed toppings. However, they aren’t your only options.
Here are a few others I love:
- Sour cream
- Green onions
- Fried onions
- Cooked corn kernels
- Diced white onions
- Various shredded cheese varieties
It’s your soup, after all. Add whatever toppings you like to make it your own!
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