Some links in this article are ‘affiliate links’ which means we may earn a small commission if you chose to purchase something from the link. Don’t worry, it costs you nothing. Learn more.

Haven’t heard of a thermal cooker? It’s basically a non-electric crockpot. Check out my post about thermal cookers here. You’ll be glad you did. It’s a game changer!

We are a potato loving crew. Baked. Mashed. Wedges. We love them all. Potatoes are a great thing to cook in the thermal cooker. Because of their density, they can take more propane to cook than I like, BUT in the thermal cooker…not so much.

I adapted this from my friend Andrea’s stovetop recipe. It’s THE BEST potato soup I’ve ever had, and using the thermal cooker lets the flavors meld even better than the original version. On dreary rainy days or when cooler weather reminds us to head south, this recipe helps keep us warm and happy. 

Recipe feeds a hungry family of four

What you need:

5 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped small (diced would be overkill)
5 medium sized potatoes, chopped (we leave skin on, your call)
2 cups milk (we use Parmalat)
2 cups water
1 bouillon cube
1 block cream cheese (8 oz.), cubed, softened
1/2 stick of butter, cubed, softened
1 tablespoon garlic powder (we like garlic, use less if you don’t)
Serving options:
1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

What you do:

  1. In large pot that came with your thermal cooker, over medium heat, cook bacon for ~5 minutes then add onions. Cook for additional ~5 minutes. 
  2. Add potatoes, milk, water, bouillon, cream cheese, butter, and garlic powder. (Liquid should just cover potatoes. If it doesn’t add water until it does.) Put on pot lid. Bring to a boil.
  3. Boil for 10 minutes.*
  4. Carefully remove pot off stove and place into outer thermal cooker. Close lid. Let those flavors meld and ingredients continue cooking for at least 2 hours before serving.
  5. Open lids carefully and stir soup. Mash with potato masher to your preferred consistency. Stir one more time.
  6. Serve with shredded cheese. 


  • When bringing to initial boil, check the pot every ~ 5 minutes to catch when it starts boiling. No reason to use additional propane. (While lid is off, I usually give it a stir too.)
  • You can use chicken broth instead of water & bouillon. (We use bouillon on our boat to save space.)
  • If you haven’t served the soup within 6 hours of sealing it in the thermal cooker, check temp. If it’s cooled too much, put it back on the stovetop and bring it to a boil before serving.
  • * If you don’t have 2 hours to spare, leave pot on stove to boil an additional 5 minutes before putting into thermal cooker. Your soup will now be ready in an hour.

Check out our other family friendly favorite thermal cooker recipes:

  •  Breakfast:
  • Lunch or Dinner:
    • Pork Carnitas
    • Hamburger Soup
    • Rice 
      • Notice there are 2 different recipes: 
        • when you need a lot of rice = cook it in the big pot (then I usually cook beans in the top pot at the same time)
        • when you don’t need as much = cook it in the top pot (then I usually have soup or something in the bottom pot at the same time)

P.S. Sign up to receive more shareworthy info and tips about family cruising via our newsletter. And don’t worry. We won’t SPAM you. We won’t share your email address either. We only send you an email a few times a month that shares notables that every cruising family can use with top posts and timely tips that don’t necessarily get published on the site. Let us help you save time. We’ve done the work so you can just do what you love…spend time cruising with your family! provides recipes as a resource and educational tool only, and make no food safety guarantees. We are not liable for any failure to meet food safety standards that may arise in your thermal cooking. We make every effort to ensure that our recipes meet established food safety standards, but all thermal cookers are not created equal, and there are many variables at play resulting in the temperatures being reached and maintained in your thermal cooker. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific brand and model of thermal cooker, even if that means tailoring our recipes. If you are in doubt, please consult the FDA page on foodborne illness for safe cooking temperatures and other safety tips. And use a food thermometer to ensure that your food has been cooked and stored at a safe temperature.