Creamy cauliflower soup is a comforting classic, but this rendition breaks the mold by achieving a silky-smooth texture without a drop of cream, thanks to a clever technique from America’s Test Kitchen.

By delicately balancing undercooked and overcooked cauliflower, we unlock a deliciously creamy consistency without sacrificing flavor. Elevating the dish further, a garnish of brown butter, caramelized cauliflower florets, and sherry vinegar adds depth and visual appeal. Perfect for impressing guests or serving as a convenient heat-and-serve starter, this soup is bound to leave everyone asking for seconds—and the recipe.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup |
Creamy Cauliflower Soup |

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Indulge in a creamy cauliflower soup—a velvety delight with a silky-smooth texture achieved without a drop of cream. An easy soup that is bursting with flavor and comfort.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6


  • 1 head cauliflower 2 pounds
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 leek white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
  • 1 small onion halved and sliced thin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives


  • Pull off outer leaves of cauliflower and trim stem. Using a paring knife, cut around core to remove; thinly slice core and reserve. Cut heaping 1 cup of 1/2-inch florets from the head of cauliflower; set aside. Cut remaining cauliflower crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  • Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently until leek and onion are softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
  • Increase heat to medium-high; add 4 1/2 cups water, sliced core, and half of the sliced cauliflower; and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sliced cauliflower, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
  • While soup simmers, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring frequently, until florets are golden brown and butter is browned and imparts nutty aroma, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer florets to a small bowl. Toss florets with vinegar and season with salt to taste. Pour browned butter in skillet into small bowl and reserve for garnishing.
  • Process soup in a blender until smooth, about 45 seconds. Rinse out the pan. Return pureed soup to pan and return to simmer over medium heat, adjusting consistency with remaining water as needed (soup should have thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with a flat surface after being stirred) and seasoning with salt to taste. Serve, garnishing individual bowls with browned florets, a drizzle of browned butter, and chives and seasoning with pepper to taste.


White wine vinegar may be substituted for the sherry vinegar. Be sure to thoroughly trim the cauliflower’s core of green leaves and leaf stems, which can be fibrous and contribute to a grainy texture in the soup.
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

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  1. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. I make it every winter Friends and family that I serve it to who don’t know what it is think it is baked potato soup specially when I top it with cheese and bacon

    1. Hi Claudia,
      So cool that the first recipe you learned was cauliflower soup. Do you make it often? Definitely try it with the florets on top. I always like to top creamy soups with a garnish that complements the bites to provide some nice contrast for alternating bites.