A creamy and comforting Irish Potato Soup recipe topped with bacon, cabbage and cheddar cheese. We have updated this post with new photos when making it in March of 2022. For more St. Patrick’s Day ideas, be sure to check out our guide to Real Irish Food.
With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, this food blogger with Irish roots likes to share some Irish recipes fit for the occasion. Today we share an update of this Irish Potato Soup with Bacon and Cabbage. We seem to make this soup at least once a year in the lead up to St. Patrick’s Day.
For vegetarian soup to serve for the occasion, try our Irish Vegetable Soup.
An abundance of cabbage from our farm share led to my first experiment with potato cabbage soup. I late enhanced the Irishness of the dish with the addition of some Guinness, and made the flavors richer with some bacon and cheddar cheese. This Irish Potato Cabbage Soup is hearty enough to be served as a main course. The soup could also be a nice starter for a traditional Irish meal such as corned beef and cabbage. BTW, if you are a wine fan like me, you should check out our wine with corned beef article.
Head down to the recipe card for the full ingredient list. Here, we cover the major ingredients with some tips about your options.
- Potatoes are, of course, an essential ingredient for Irish potato soup! I like Yukon golds for this soup, but you can also use russet if you like.
- Bacon add nice flavor to the soup. I have swapped in turkey bacon sometimes making this recipe, and that works pretty well.
- Cabbage I typically go for basic green cabbage here, but you could also use Savoy cabbage, too. Slice the cabbage nice and thin, especially the portion you are reserving to top the soup.
- Cheddar cheese makes a nice topping to finish off the soup. I suggest buying a block of good cheddar and shredding it by hand rather than the pre-shredded cheese. And bonus points if you want to go with Irish cheddar!
- Stout adds some depth of flavor to the soup. Of course, Guinness is the classic Irish choice. For our latest batch of this potato cabbage soup, we used a stout from one of our favorite local breweries, Idle Hands. Feel free to use any basic stout — just stay away from flavored versions (e.g. coffee or chocolate).
Recipe steps overview and tips
Here’s a visual overview of the Irish potato soup recipe steps along with some tips; head down to the recipe card for the full details instructions.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your soup pot on medium heat. Cook the bacon until crispy, about 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan. Drain most of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving a bit flor flavor.
Note: If someone at the table doesn’t eat bacon, you can cook the bacon separately for those who want it, and start the soup itself by cooking the onions. That’s what we did when making this soup most recently for these pictures.
Sauté onions & carrots: add another tablespoon of olive to the pot, on medium heat. Add the onions, sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Then stir in the carrots.
Stir in the cabbage and garlic after adding the carrots.
Give the cabbage a few minutes to begin to soften, then add the potatoes and sage, along with a bit of salt.
Add liquid: after the potatoes have been added, start adding the liquid, starting with the broth and cup of water.
Add the stout: pour in a half cup of the stout you are using. Don’t worry, if you have a pint, you will still have a nice amount left to pour into the glass!
Simmer the soup for a good 30 minutes, until all of the veggies are good and tender.
Stir occasionally during the 30 minute simmering period. Adjust the heat slightly as needed to keep it at a steady simmer.
When the veggies are good and soft, remove the soup from heat, and purée with a hand held blender.
Serving this soup
Scoop the Irish potato soup into bowls, topping it with bacon bits, shredded cheddar cheese, and a bit of thinly sliced cabbage.
I definitely like to serve this potato soup with some bread. Irish soda bread or brown bread certainly would enhance the Irish aspects of the dish. But other good, crusty bread can do the trick.
The latest time around making this Irish Potato Soup, I wanted to try a wine pairing.
I figured a Chardonnay would have the body and flavor profile to go with the soup, so opened a bottle of 2017 Oregogne Willamette Valley Chardonnay from Maison Noir. This Chard is Burgundian in style, a lighter touch than many US Chardonnays. I get kiwi fruit and lemon curd on the palate, with notes of flint. Creamy mouthfeel and a pleasant finish. Definitely a good pairing for the potato soup — the bacon in particular makes a nice bridge to the Chardonnay.
When we first tried the Oregogne Chard last year, we paired it with this pulled pork risotto. Delicious!
This recipe does call for you to open a stout, so a beer pairing with this potato soup can definitely make sense! We’ve had it with a Guinness, but you could also try other stout beers you enjoy.
We enjoyed the remainder of the Idle Hands Check Raise while making our latest batch of this Irish soup. I am sure it would make a fine pairing!Print
Irish Potato Soup with Bacon and Cabbage
A creamy and comforting Irish Potato Soup recipe with cabbage gets rich flavor from bacon, cheddar and Guinness.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 50 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: Irish
- 2 slices of bacon (turkey bacon a healthy substitute for regular if you like)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 3 ½ cups cabbage, 3 cups coarsely chopped and remainder sliced super thin for topping
- 4 medium red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped coarsely
- 6 sage leaves, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup Guinness or other dark beer of choice
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup or so shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon to a plate with a paper towel on it, set aside to cool. Drain most of the bacon fat from the pan but leave a bit for flavor. When the bacon has cooled, crumble it up into small bits to serve on the soup later.
- Return the pan to the burner on medium heat, add the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, cook for about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften.
- Stir in the carrots, followed by the cabbage and garlic.
- After the cabbage and garlic have had a few minutes to soften, add the potatoes and sage. Add a bit of salt at this point, too.
- Add the liquids: vegetable broth, water, and Guinness. Stir well to combine. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer on medium. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
- Remove from heat, and puree with a handheld blender, or transfer to puree in a food processor. I went for a consistency that still had some nice chunks of potato and other veggies, but you could go for a smoother puree if you prefer.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle bacon, cheddar and a bit of the shredded cabbage on top of each bowl to for a nice presentation. Enjoy with a glass of Guinness!
- Turkey bacon can be used in place of typical pork bacon if you want to lighten things up.
- Cook the bacon separately if someone at the table doesn’t eat bacon. You can serve the crumbed bacon bits over the soup of those who want it.
Keywords: Irish cabbage soup, cabbage and bacon soup, Irish potato cabbage soup
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Tool and Resources: An immersion blender is great for making soups like this. Below is a link to where you can find one on Amazon. I occasionally use Amazon affiliate links for products I recommend related to the article, which means I earn a commission if you choose to purchase using these links.