During the deep, dark days of winter, nothing says “comfort” like a bowl of hot Canadian Cheese Soup.
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I’ve been making this recipe for something like 30 years (OMG!), ever since my aunt Lois gave it to my mom. There is a photocopy of my mom’s original handwritten card in my recipe binder, but I know it by heart. This is a family favorite. Whenever I say we’re having soup for dinner, my younger son always wants to know if it’s “the white soup.”
This version is similar to some I’ve found online, but it does not have celery – maybe because when my mom wrote down the recipe, she knew we would never eat anything with celery in it? Hmmm… I’ll have to ask her about that. Also, there is really no need to saute the carrots and onions as some online recipes state. I’ve tried it and the taste just wasn’t the same. It’s a mild, simple soup, which is just perfect for my family.
I usually use more potatoes and carrots than stated, sometimes more cheese if I have plenty on hand.
Canadian Cheese Soup
3-4 potatoes, peeled and grated
2-3 carrots, peeled and grated
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 stick butter (I forgot this once and it still tasted good)
Leftover ham, diced (as much as you like)
1/2 cup flour
1 can evaporated milk (12-oz)
Sharp cheddar cheese, about 8 ounces (grate your own, it will melt better)
Place vegetables and butter in heavy-bottom soup pot (I use an 8-qt pot) and cover with enough water to keep everything from burning. Add seasonings to taste. (I usually keep it simple: salt, pepper, parsley, sometimes seasoned salt.) Heat quickly, then simmer for 20-25 minutes, adding ham partway through cooking.
Once the vegetables are cooked to your liking (not mush!), raise the heat, whisk the flour with water to make a thickening slurry and add it to the soup a little at a time, stirring constantly. Once the soup has thickened, lower the heat, add the evaporated milk and then the cheese. Turn off the heat, it’s done.
Add some saltine crackers and it’s dinnertime!
This soup reheats nicely the next day – great for intentional leftovers to take to work! If you try to freeze it, it will separate and look sort of icky when thawed. Just warm it up, stir it well, and it will taste fine.
When I have time, I like to make Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks to accompany the soup. See them on Pinterest. They are beyond amazing and much better than Olive Garden’s. I usually get 16 breadsticks from a batch and cook them 12-14 minutes total. Also, I tend to only have salted butter on hand, so I use much less salt in the basting sauce.