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Cut the leeks (white and light green parts only) in half lengthwise and then cut into ¼-inch wide half moons. Wash the chopped leeks in a bowl of cool water (or in a salad spinner) and drain well.
Melt the butter in the Instant Pot using saute mode.
Add the leeks to the pot and saute until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Press Cancel to turn off the Instant Pot.
Pour in one cup of the broth and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add the potatoes, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, salt, pepper and remaining 2 ½ cups broth to the pot. Stir.
Close the Instant Pot lid. Turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Use the Pressure Cook or Manual button to set the pressure cook time to 8 minutes at high pressure. The Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down.
When the cook time ends, let the Instant Pot release naturally for 10 minutes by letting it rest. Then quick release any remaining pressure by carefully turning the steam release valve to the venting position.
Open the lid. Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme stems. Most of the thyme leaves should have fallen off into the soup.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth, or transfer it in batches to a counter top blender.
Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add another ½ cup of broth. Serve garnished with chopped fresh chives.