Cold Weather Recipe: Cheesy Potato Soup

By Brooke Ortel

Jan 23, 2020

hands holding a steaming spoonful of cheesy potato soup in a green and orange NOLS mug
Photo by Jordan Cranch

When you’re tired and chilly after a rainy hike or day of backcountry skiing, this hearty soup is a perfect way to refuel. A classic from the iconic NOLS Cookery, our favorite potato soup is guaranteed to warm you up. Even your grumpiest pal can’t stay hangry with a bowl of cheesy goodness!

Watch: How to Make Cheesy Potato Soup


  • ½ cup powdered milk
  • 2 tbs. flour
  • 2 tbs. dried onion
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • ½ cup potato pearls
  • 1 cup crumbled cheddar
  • Optional: cayenne, hot sauce, or dry mustard powder

Note: Serves three.


  1. Put all the ingredients except potato pearls and cheese into a pot. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
  2. Put potato pearls into a bowl and add enough of the hot soup to form a thin paste.
  3. Pour the paste back into the soup; stir.
  4. Then, add the cheese, stirring until melted.
  5. Serve hot, with bread.
hand stirs grated cheese into potato soup over a WhisperLite stove


  • Try adding a dash of cayenne, hot sauce, or dry mustard powder.
  • When in doubt, add bacon bits!
hands sprinkle bacon bits onto potato soup in a mug over a WhisperLite stove
Photo by Jordan Cranch

Pro Tip: Pre-package Your Soup

If you’re planning to make potato soup on your next backpacking trip, try preparing it beforehand. Your future self will thank you!

To package your soup as a backcountry meal, store pre-measured powdered milk, flour, dried onion, salt, and pepper together in a freezer bag. Pack the other ingredients separately (hint: olive oil packets are a handy invention!).

Check out NOLS Cookery for more of our favorite backcountry recipes.

Written By

Brooke Ortel

Brooke is a runner and writer who enjoys finding adventure in the everyday. True to her island roots, she loves sunshine, that salty ocean smell, and the sound of waves against the shore.