Butternut Squash Soup
This is the absolute BEST Butternut Squash Soup! It’s easy to make, creamy, and delicious, without actually being loaded up with heavy cream. The way the soup is made allows the incredible natural flavor of the roasted butternut squash to really shine through.
It’s easy to make soup recipes of all kinds taste good by adding lots of fat or added sugar, but I wanted to make a healthy version of Butternut Squash Soup that’s truly delicious without those additions. And goodness this is a success!
The squash is the primary ingredient, with only a few supporting players: onion, butter or olive oil for softening the onion, salt, pepper, a touch of cinnamon, and chicken or vegetable broth. It’s especially wonderful during the cozy fall and winter months, when the time of year is marked by chillier and shorter days.
Why This Recipe Is The Best
Roasting = the biggest secret of all – For the best soup, we’ll be using Roasted Butternut Squash. Why? Because roasting caramelizes and intensifies the natural sweetness and flavor, and roasting cubes in particular maximizes the amount of surface area for that to happen. You just can’t get the same effect if you simmer the cubes in the broth.
Minimal ingredients but incredible flavor – The five main ingredients you’ll need are onion, chicken or vegetable broth, butter or olive oil (a cooking fat of your choice), cinnamon, and roasted butternut squash. It’s an elegant soup that is simple but flavorful.
Incredibly creamy, without dairy – While you can add a drizzle of heavy cream or coconut cream on top to make it pretty, this soup is made without dairy entirely. It truly does not need it.
Intense flavor, and not watery – Roasting the squash first cooks out a lot of its water and intensifies the flavor.
No added sugar or sweetness – You’d be surprised how many recipes and restaurant versions call for adding sugar, which is an easy way to make things taste good, but totally unnecessary here. We will get a natural sweetness from roasting.
Batch friendly – What I do when I make roasted butternut squash cubes is make a double batch, one for eating as a vegetable side or in a salad, and one batch for this soup. You can even keep the cubes in the freezer if you don’t want to make this right away.
Tips for Best Results
Pick a good butternut squash – Look for a whole squash that has a dark beige color and a very firm texture. If it’s starting to feel soft or if it has a lot of dings in it, pick a different one. You also want the stem to be firmly intact instead of fallen off, and ideally you want the heaviest squash for its size, which indicates more moisture inside.
Roast the squash in small pieces – I know you can roast the squash whole, but the downside of this is you don’t get to caramelize much surface area. That caramelization is what makes this creamy butternut squash soup taste so amazing! So take the time to cut those cubes so you maximize browning and flavor.
Step by Step Overview:
Soften the aromatics
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, combined butter or olive oil (or your fat of choice), chopped yellow onion, salt, and black pepper:
I like to keep the ingredients minimal, but if you want to add curry powder, cayenne pepper, or any other spices, add them here. Then, cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat, until the onion is soft:
Add the Roasted Squash Cubes
Next you’ll want to add Roasted Butternut Squash. If you’re doing this now, follow the instructions in the post for how to roast it on a sheet pan until caramelized and soft, but the beauty of this recipe is that you can use previously roasted butternut squash. This is usually what I do. What I will do is make big batches at once, serving part of the batch as a side dish for dinner, then keeping the remaining squash cubes in the fridge or freezer for this recipe. Then you can quickly make a batch of this soup with the leftovers.
Also, if you’ve never cut one before, here’s my visual guide for How to Cut Butternut Squash. That will show you how to cut uniform pieces.
Add the roasted squash cubes to the pot along with some ground cinnamon:
Stir for a couple minutes until the cinnamon is fragrant. This really enhances the flavor and gives the dish a great autumn or winter feel.
Add the liquid
Add either chicken broth or vegetable broth to the pot:
Personally I like chicken broth more, but if you want to keep things vegetarian, a vegetable broth will suffice. You may also use a chicken stock or vegetable stock instead.
The difference between broth and stock
Although many people think of them as interchangeable, they are slightly different. Broths are typically made more with meat whereas stocks are made more with bones, giving a different type of mouthfeel. A true broth will give you that classic soup flavor and feel that you’re going for.
When making quick soups like this one where you’re not really simmering for long, it’s important to use a broth that has a lot of flavor to begin with. It’s what lets you get away with such a quick preparation that still tastes delicious. I suggest buying a handful of brands from the store and doing your own taste test. I have found that brands vary hugely in terms of richness and flavor. I tend to like Swanson and Imagine.
Bring the soup to a boil, and simmer for 2 minutes. You’re really just heating up the liquid, rather than cooking.
Puree until smooth
In order to get a creamy soup with a silky smooth texture, you need to blend the soup thoroughly. You can either do this in the pot with an immersion blender (affiliate) (aka a stick blender), or let the soup cool slightly and blend in a regular blender:
Why I like the blender more: The blender is a little more annoying than the immersion blender, but I find it makes for a MUCH smoother end result and silky texture, so I prefer it. If you don’t have a blender at all, you can try using a food processor, but it won’t be as smooth. Be sure to follow your blender or food processor’s instructions for blending hot liquids, as there’s usually a maximum fill line for this.
The soup is now ready to serve. Usually it’s still hot enough to serve straight from the blender, but if not, simply pour the liquid back into the pot and heat on the stove for a couple minutes to warm it up. I find the soup has a wonderful, natural sweet flavor, but if you wish to add a touch of brown sugar or maple syrup, you may stir that in now, before serving.
How to Serve
This easy butternut squash soup recipe is truly fantastic on its own, but you can add a touch of heavy cream (or coconut milk or cream to keep it dairy-free) for extra richness, and toasted pumpkin seeds for a little bit of crunch, if desired. I add these when I’m serving company, but most of the time when I’m just making this for eating on a weekday, I don’t bother.
Recipe Tips and FAQ:
The soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, but I find that the flavor starts going downhill after 3 or 4 days. Make sure to store in an airtight container so the soup doesn’t absorb off flavors from the fridge.
Yes, this freezes great. Store for up to 2 months in an airtight container. Thaw in the fridge the night before you want to serve again.
In the microwave or on the stovetop. In the microwave, heat in 15 second intervals until warmed through. On the stovetop, heat over medium for about 5 minutes, until warmed through.
Yes, the soup can be completely made and stored in the fridge a day or two before you want to serve it. It can also be frozen.
Spices – I do think it’s nice to add cinnamon here, but you could also try a little bit of clove, nutmeg, or allspice.
Onion – You can substitute other options like shallot or leek with delicious results, but those are pricier ingredients.
Butternut Squash Soup
- 3 lb roasted butternut squash*
- 2 tbsp butter or olive oil, for dairy free option
- 1.5 cups chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth**
- drizzle of heavy cream optional, for garnish
- toasted pumpkin seeds optional, for garnish
- Plan ahead: You will need Roasted Butternut Squash cubes for this recipe. As stated in the blog post, you can either make them now, or use leftovers. If making them now, follow the instructions in that post and get the squash in the oven before you start sauteing the onion and such for this soup, since roasting takes about 30 minutes.
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, then add the onion, salt, and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft.
- Add the Roasted Butternut Squash cubes and cinnamon, and stir for 2 minutes, until the cinnamon smells fragrant.
- Add the stock, bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes at a simmer.
- Puree everything together, either using an immersion blender, or by cooling the soup slightly and blending in a blender (you will likely need to do this in batches).
- Taste, and see if it needs more salt or pepper.
- Serve as is, or with a drizzle of heavy cream and a few pumpkin seeds, if desired. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in August 2021. Originally published November 2015.