old fashioned potato soup

Old-Fashioned Potato Soup


This Potato Soup was my Dad’s favorite. Growing up in a large family through the Great Depression, he learned to love simple foods. Even in his later years, he still requested them.

As a little girl, I remember Dad coming home from Philadelphia or New York City after hauling a load of coal from Indianhead Breaker in Tremont, Pa. (Schuylkill County) in his tractor-trailer and me running out to greet him, climbing up into the cab to ride to the top of the driveway where he parked.

I waited all day for my Pop to come home. I was like a puppy listening to hear the sound of that diesel coming around the turn, crossing the railroad tracks by our house – empty trailer rattling over each rail – then slowing down to turn into our dirt drive.

Rain, snow or sun, I ran outside, down the walk, and climbed up into the passenger side of the cab. “Ready?” Pop would ask and I squirmed in anticipation of him taking off up the drive.

As much as I liked the ride, the big thrill was seeing my Pop at the end of the day and knowing his prized red Mack was named after me — “Miss Lori Ann” was painted on the front bumper.

Almost once a week, Mom had a pot of this soup simmering and ready for him when he arrived home. His eyes would light up seeing this as if he were going to be sitting down to a gourmet meal. As I grew older and took over the kitchen, I made this for him many, many times.

Simple is best

This is not meant to be a thickened potato soup, but rather a very simple one found in Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine that consists of a thin, milky broth filled with potatoes – easy and very budget friendly.

This recipe calls for including chopped hard-cooked eggs in the soup (Dad loved it this way). If you do not like, or do not eat, hard-cooked eggs, you can omit them, but I recommend adding them otherwise.

You can garnish with crumbled fried bacon, chives, paprika…your choice, but keep in mind, this is meant to be a very simple dish; once you start adding other ingredients, you no longer have this wonderfully basic, traditional soup.

My Pop always ate his potato soup topped with a healthy dose of black pepper, a pat of butter and a handful of oyster crackers floating on top.

If publishing or referencing this recipe on another website, please copy/paste the list of ingredients only and link back to this post for the directions (as in “Get directions here”). On social media, share only the LINK to this page (READ why this matters). All original content appearing here is Copyright 2010 to Present, Lori Fogg, All Rights Reserved. For more information, visit the Terms of Use and Copyright Notice page.

Old-Fashioned Potato Soup

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: Soups, EntreesCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy

A simple and filling soup made from everyday pantry items.


  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided plus additional for garnish

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 rib celery diced fine (including some leaves if available)

  • 6 large general purpose potatoes, peeled and diced in to 1/2 inch dice (about 2 pounds)

  • Water

  • 3 cups whole milk OR 1-1/2 cups whole milk and 1- 12 ounce can full fat evaporated milk (NOT condensed milk)

  • 3 hard cooked eggs, peeled and roughly chopped

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • OPTIONAL: Fresh or dried parsley for garnish


  • Cook the onions and celery in 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until softened but not browned.
  • Add potatoes and JUST enough water to cook (just barely to the top of the potatoes). Season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low.  SIMMER until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Watch that you do not boil too hard and cook the pan dry. Do not drain.
  • Add the milk, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat just until hot, do not boil.
  • Stir in the chopped eggs, serve with another pat of butter on top if desired and sprinkle of parsley and/or black pepper.


  • If you choose, you can use a potato masher to mash some of the potato cubes to thicken slightly, but this soup is meant to be thin.