Delicious and creamy butternut squash soup recipe that’s easy to make. Sauteing the squash with apples, vegetables, and fresh herbs enhances the flavor. All you need is some crusty bread for dunking.
Table of Contents
If you’re looking for a hearty meal, making a pot of butternut squash soup is the answer. This winter squash is packed with nutrients to create a healthy meal for chilly nights. I love this soup to meal prep and enjoy throughout the week.
Combining two methods, saute and simmer, boosts the nutty flavor of the gourd and softens the flesh. When blended, it breaks down into a thick and smooth consistency. I added fall-inspired ingredients like apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg that will fill your home with incredible aromas.
Prepare the butternut squash
The trickiest part of making this soup is cutting the butternut squash. The tough and fibrous skin requires careful handling. The skin is edible and softens once cooked if you want to leave it on. However, I like to peel the skin for the creamiest texture.
Trim the stem and root end, then use a Y-peeler to remove the skin. You can remove the seeds and roast them for a snack, just like pumpkin seeds! Cut the flesh into 3/4-inch cubes. I like to saute the squash for a one-pot stovetop meal, but if you prefer, you can toss in olive oil and roast the butternut squash to add more flavor.
Sauté the butternut squash
To develop a flavorful crust on the surface of the butternut squash, sauté the cubes in olive oil. This process mimics roasting and develops caramelized notes that enhance the natural sweetness of the nutty squash.
Spread them in a single layer in the large soup pot or dutch oven. I let them sit undisturbed, occasionally stirring until lightly golden brown.
Cook the aromatics
Add the diced yellow onions until translucent and golden in color to mellow out the raw sulfurous taste. This process helps to balance the savory squash. Minced garlic, along with fresh sage and thyme, is briefly cooked. Adding it to the hot fat will help to draw out fat-soluble flavors of the herbs, onion, and garlic, making for a much more flavorful soup.
Add in apples
Apples are a surprise ingredient that I like to add for a soft tartness to enhance the creamy, slightly sweet taste of the butternut squash. I do this for my pumpkin soup and instant pot butternut squash recipe too!
Any type of apples may be used. My top picks are Granny Smith for the most robust malic acid note, Honeycrisp, sweet and tangy, or Fuji for the sweetest pick. No added sugar is needed. It all comes naturally from the fructose in the fruit.
Cut the apples into 1/2-inch dice, then saute them for about 5 minutes until crisp-tender. They will fully soften once simmered.
Simmer the soup
Simmer in vegetable broth or stock to further tenderize the squash, fruit, and vegetables. Chicken stock also works well. I add a little bit of salt and pepper to season the liquid.
Bring the soup to a boil, lower it to a simmer, and cover. The squash should be very tender to break into tiny particles easily when pureed. The process takes about 15 minutes.
Purée the soup
Butternut squash is a starchy gourd. When cooked and blended, the flesh becomes super creamy. There’s no need to add extra thickening agents like flour or cornstarch to increase the viscosity.
I use a hand immersion blender to purée the soup in the same pan. For a very smooth consistency, use and high-speed blender or food processor.
Make it creamier
Heavy whipping cream adds a rich, velvety consistency to the soup. Pureéing it whips in more air which lightens the texture. The fat in the cream traps the air.
For a dairy-free alternative, use canned unsweetened coconut milk. If the soup is too thick, add more vegetable stock or broth.
Add bold spices
Ground cinnamon and nutmeg add a baked aroma. It makes the soup taste a little like dessert, without the extra sugar. You can experiment with ginger, cardamom, allspice, cloves, or even curry powder.
When I’m in a pinch for time, I add my homemade pumpkin pie spice to the soup, it’s delicious! I like to garnish topped with cream, thyme, sage, pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), and freshly cracked black pepper.
Serve this with
- Serve with crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds
- Add chopped candied pecans on top
- Top with sour cream, creme fraiche, or heavy cream (drizzle or whipped)
- Pair with crusty no-knead bread
- Add shredded chicken for extra protein
Butternut squash is packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, potassium, and magnesium. When incorporated into a soup, the starchy flesh creates a thick and creamy consistency. No added sweeteners are needed, the flesh is nutty and slightly sweet on its own.
Yes! The skin might feel very tough and fibrous when raw, but it actually becomes very soft when cooked. The skin becomes very thin and tender, making it easy to purée. This also adds extra fiber to the soup.
The growing conditions of the gourd can impact the taste of the flesh. This may cause an elevated production of cucurbitacin in the squash, resulting in a slightly bitter taste. You can balance it with a little bit of salt and sweetener like honey or pure maple syrup.
The benefit of sauteeing the butternut squash
To coax out the squash’s natural sugars for a sweeter, roasted taste, you need to apply dry heat like sauteing in fat. The gourd has a small amount of fructose and glucose, which begins caramelization at 230ºF (110ºC). This will not happen in moist heat like simmering, in which the max temperature is 212ºF (100ºC) when boiling. So saute, then simmer for the best soup flavor.
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Butternut Squash Soup
- 5 cups butternut squash, ¾-inch cubes, about 2 ½ pound squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onions, ½-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chopped sage, optional
- 1 ½ teaspoon chopped thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried
- 1 ½ cup diced Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Fuji apples, ½-inch dice
- 4 cups vegetable stock or broth, divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream or unsweetened coconut milk
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅙ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons pepitas, optional
- Prepare the Butternut Squash – Rinse and dry the squash. Trim the root and stem end and peel the skin. Cut in half near the center where it goes from tapered to wider, creating two pieces. Cut the rounded bottom section in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut flesh into about 1-inch cubes- measure 5 cups for the recipe.
- Saute the Butternut Squash – Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil, once hot, add the squash in a single layer. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the surface is lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Cook the Aromatics – Add the onions, saute until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic, sage and thyme, saute for 30 seconds.
- Cook the Apples – Add the apples, saute until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
- Simmer the Soup – Stir in 3 cups of vegetable stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Cover and cook until the butternut squash are soft and tender, about 13 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Puree the Soup – Using a hand immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Alternatively, work in two batches, and puree the soup in a blender on medium speed. Remove the funnel cap on the lid to prevent the steam from building up, and cover the top with a towel. Transfer soup back to the pot if blending.
- Season the Soup – Stir in the heavy cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Puree if you want to add some air into the cream for a lighter texture. Add the remaining vegetable stock if needed to thin the consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Warm the soup over medium-low heat before serving.
- To Serve – Garnish with a drizzle of cream, thyme, sage, and pepitas.
- Recipe Yield: About 6 cups
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Storing: Cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Freeze in resealable bags for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: Warm on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. Defrost if frozen. Alternatively, place in a bowl, cover, and microwave on high heat in 30 seconds intervals until hot, stirring in between.
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