This 30-minute gluten free Cream of Celery Soup recipe simply celebrates the unique flavor of celery, which is surprisingly sweet, in this rich, velvety savory soup.
Pouring through old cookbooks with a cup of something hot in hand is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon.
I’m always surprised that cookbooks go so far beyond just teaching us how to cook and what to eat. They’re full of knowledge about history and especially culture.
The Inspiration for This Cream of Celery Soup Recipe
Growing up, my mom had a tattered old vintage Betty Crocker cookbook. It was bright orange on the front with a collage of very 1980’s-esque photos, its insides torn and splattered. Many pages were dog-eared and recipes marked up and amended with hand-written notes jotted down in the margin. I adored that cookbook.
Every time my mom pulled it out, we knew something delicious would ensue. I found my own copy of that cookbook on eBay a while ago and every so often when I’m feeling nostalgic, I’ll look through it.
This soup comes from quite a different cookbook though. When my niece young, she and I would head to Barnes & Noble every Friday night for a little girls’ time. We’d sip hot cocoa and nibble cookies and gossip, perusing books from various topics that interested us. Mostly fashion and beauty with a bit of mythology mixed in for her, and nearly always cooking-related, but sometimes fantasy or historical fiction for me.
On one particular evening, the place was pretty full and I was in a hurry to grab a book and find a table. The title of Real Irish Food by David Bowers stood out, as I love the simplicity and hearty, home-style comfort food-type dishes that are the heart of Irish cuisine. I ended up being so smitten with the book that I bought it. The first recipe to inspire me was David’s Celery Soup.
Ironically, I renamed my version to Cream of Celery Soup because of its lusciously creamy texture, but David’s soup (which he just calls Celery Soup) uses light cream and mine doesn’t!
The Best Homemade Cream of Celery Soup
You are going to absolutely love this cozy soup! It’s hearty and satisfying, and healthier than you might think. And bonus, this soup is naturally gluten free because we use a potato (instead of flour) to thicken it.
I find that butter and whole milk along with potato give this soup a very rich texture and flavor without the need for cream. However, by all means, add it in if that’s your preference.
But don’t skip the nutmeg here. On the contrary, bump it up to 1/8 teaspoon or so if you like. It adds that little je ne sais quoi.
Another thing to mention, David’s version of this hearty soup doesn’t call for garlic, but I love just a hint of it here. (And yes, I consider three cloves to be just a hint, lol.) I find that it adds a bit of complexity to the dish, and also, it pairs really well with potato.
This gluten free Cream of Celery Soup recipe whips up in just 30 minutes! It makes a nice light meal (as in, not heavy meal…not “lite” calorie-wise) or starter course for a winter dinner. It’ll warm you from the inside out.
Ingredients in Gluten Free Cream of Celery Soup
- Unsalted butter – to add richness; this is what we sauté the vegetables in
- Celery – undoubtedly, the star of the show
- Russet potato – the potato starch adds body to the broth and helps thicken the soup without the need to add flour
- Onion – for savory depth
- Garlic – adds lovely aroma and flavor, and pairs really well with potato
- Chicken or vegetable stock – a really good quality stock makes a big difference
- Salt and black pepper – to season the soup
- Nutmeg – just a touch of nutmeg adds complexity and elevates the flavor
- Bay leaf – for another subtle layer of flavor
- Whole milk – adds creaminess to the soup
How to Make Cream of Celery Soup
Step 1: Sauté the Vegetables to Build the Base Flavor:
Add the butter to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it starts to melt, add the celery, potato, and onion, cover the pan, and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften but not brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic during the last minute, stirring constantly once it’s added.
Step 2: Add the Stock and Let it Simmer:
Add the stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to simmer, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Finishing Touches:
Stir in the milk and heat a couple minutes until steaming, being careful not to let the soup boil after the milk is added so the milk doesn’t curdle. Use a fork to mash a few of the potatoes against the side of the saucepan to thicken the soup a bit.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat Cream of Celery Soup on the stovetop or in the microwave, but try not to let it come up to a boil to avoid the milk curdling.
More Creamy Soup Recipes Full of Veggies to Try
- Italian Inspired White Bean Soup
- Zupa Ogórkowa (Polish Dill Pickle Soup Recipe)
- Kulajda (Czech Mushroom Soup Recipe)
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
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Cream of Celery Soup Recipe
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large stalks celery thinly sliced (about 2 heaping cups sliced)
- 1 large russet potato peeled and cubed (about 3/4 to 1 pound)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/16 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup whole milk or half and half to make it extra luscious
- Add the butter to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it starts to melt, add the celery, potato, and onion, cover the pan, and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften but not brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic during the last minute, stirring constantly once it’s added.
- Add the stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to simmer, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the milk and heat a couple minutes until steaming, being careful not to let the soup boil after the milk is added so the milk doesn’t curdle. Use a fork to mash a few of the potatoes against the side of the saucepan to thicken the soup a bit.
- Recipe Yield: This recipe serves 4 as a starter or appetizer course, or it serves 2 as a lunch. The nutritional information given is based on 4 servings.
- Recipe Inspiration: This recipe was inspired by and adapted from the Celery Soup recipe in Real Irish Food by David Bowers.
- Storage and Reheating: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat Cream of Celery Soup on the stovetop or in the microwave, but try not to let it come up to a boil to avoid the milk curdling.
Amanda Paa says
simplicity. you’ve captured it! i wish that everyone who believes that cream of celery only comes from a can could have a taste of your soup. it looks so velvety and perfect for a cold day. i too am inspired by vintage cookbooks, and i wish our generation did more carrying on food traditions. xo
The first recipes I made were from that very same vintage Betty Crocker cookbook! (lemon roll and black forest cake of all things…lol)
I love this kind of soup – pure comfort. Subtle, simple flavors that are entirely satisfying!
Kevin | Keviniscooking says
Yes, yes, yes please. I am a HUGE celery fan and am surprised by how many people don’t like it. Strange to me. This looks so perfect, love the celery slices, nutmeg ( I put it in my cream of broccoli soup, too). I’m with you Faith in that 3 cloves is a hint! The more the better, even roasted.
I also have found English and Irish food to have this rep of being bland and to the contrary, so many dishes are so excellent. This is wonderful. Have a great weekend.
Delightfully fragrant and so comforting. A wonderful winter soup.