This Cheddar Cheese Apple Soup is bursting with sweet and savory flavors, plus it's incredibly easy to make! This ultra-creamy, velvety, smooth soup is deliciously flavorful with notes of fruity apples, sharp cheddar, salty bacon, subtle sweet potatoes and complex apple cider! This five-star recipe is the definition of fall comfort food and it's guaranteed to get rave reviews! Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.
Cook the bacon (optional): Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Blot or drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the pot.
Add the vegetables: In the same pot, add the potatoes and increase the heat to medium-high. Season with 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add in the onions and apples. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is incorporated, about 2 minutes.
Add liquids: Slowly add the stock and use the back of a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the apple cider, thyme and bay leaves. Stir well to combine. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a rapid simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaves and discard.
Puree: Turn the heat off under the pot and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. OR, transfer the soup in batches to high-speed stand blender and puree. Return soup to the pot.
Add brandy and cream: Turn heat to medium-low and stir in the brandy and cream. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until warm throughout.
Add cheese: Turn the heat to low. Add the cheese in three batches, stirring constantly until cheese is melted and smooth before adding the next batch of cheese. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.
To serve: Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with crispy bacon. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and parmesan if using. Enjoy!
Bacon: You can easily omit the bacon! Skip step 1 of the recipe. Use two tablespoons of unsalted butter or olive oil to sauté the vegetables in step 2.
Apples: I like to use a combination of apples for a more complex taste. Fiji, Gala and Golden delicious apples are my personal favorite, but use whatever apple variety you prefer. (See the post for a full list of the best apple varieties for cooking.)
Prepping Apples: I prefer to peel and chop my apples in advance to save prep time later (especially at Thanksgiving). To prevent apples from turning brown mix 1 teaspoon of kosher salt with 2 cups of water and store your chopped apples in the salt water (covered and refrigerated). Before using them simply rinse and drain. You can easily double the salt water mixture if needed.
Cream: I used heavy cream in this soup, but if you would like to substitute half-and-half feel free. However, your soup will be on the thinner side.
Seasoning: Make sure you taste the soup and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper before serving. Complex soups require a good amount of salt to really make the flavors sing, so don’t be scared to generously salt!
Nutritional information is an approximation based upon 6 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.