As soon as October hits, a bowl of warm butternut squash soup becomes a staple on practically every restaurant menu. Well, in our house, butternut squash soup is a staple all year round. This butternut squash soup is everything you expect from a traditional butternut squash soup – rich, creamy, and full of roasted butternut squash flavor. It’s vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free.
One of the reasons I love cooking so much is that it’s half science and half art. The technical parts of cooking involve chemistry, mathematics and physics. The art of cooking involves pleasing the eye and the palate. Understanding how ingredients and their tastes interact with one another can help you be a better improviser in the kitchen.
This butternut squash soup is a great example of how various flavors play out in one recipe. In general there are five tastes recognized in current culinary circles – salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami. Making delicious food is all about balancing these tastes.
Salty tastes exactly what it sounds like – salty. It enhances the flavor of food, particularly sweetness, and balances out bitter tastes. Sweet balances out sour and bitter tastes, and is a natural complement to salty. Sour is often confused with bitter, but the two are very different. Sour works wonders in balancing a dish, adding liveliness and counteracting sweetness and heat. Bitter is critical to balance as well, making food interesting. Umami doesn’t really balance out other tastes as much as it can enhance an entire dish by providing some savory notes.
Sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter are all balanced by each other. If you taste one stronger than the rest, consider adding some or all of the others to bring it into balance. If you are able to have all four tastes present and balanced, you have a brilliant dish on your hands, like this roasted butternut squash soup.
Tips for Making Butternut Squash Soup
Although the list of ingredients for this soup is rather simple, the end result offers an exceptionally rich flavor. The few ingredients you will need are:
- Butternut squash: the main ingredients in this soup is, you guessed it, butternut squash. It’s definitely sweet, but the sweetness isn’t overbearing. Look for a butternut squash that is darker in color (the darker and more uniform the color, the better), feels heavy for its size, and sounds hollow inside when you give it a tap.
- Onion and garlic: most good soup recipes start with aromatics because they deliver deep, rounded flavor. You could also use a classic mirepoix.
- Coconut milk: the flavor of coconut milk is a little bit less traditional for butternut squash soup, but so good! It also makes the soup really rich and creamy. If you don’t like coconut milk, you can leave it out or add a little bit of butter instead (plant-based or regular).
- Ginger: the warm, spicy flavor of ginger highlights the autumnal taste of squash. Together with the coconut milk, it also gives the soup somewhat of a Thai twist.
- Lime juice: a little squeeze of fresh lime juice is all it takes to brighten all the flavors and make the whole butternut squash soup shine. It’s amazing how a dull soup can come to life with a bit of acidic element.
- Vegetable broth: the backbone of any soup, which provides the hard-to-pin-down umami taste that plain water can’t. Of course, homemade vegetable broth is best.
- Salt: to bring all the flavors into balance, particularly the sweetness of the squash, you will need salt. The amount will depend on whether your vegetable broth already contains salt.
How to Make Butternut Squash Soup
Most of the soup’s flavor comes from roasting the butternut squash and the aromatics. You could certainly make a traditional butternut squash soup on the stovetop, but roasting is a great technique especially for sweet vegetables because it breaks down large sugars into smaller, sweeter ones, intensifying the vegetables’ natural sweetness.
- Cut and seed the butternut squash. Start by slicing the ends off the butternut squash (to create a flat surface). Then stand the butternut squash on the larger end and slice through it lengthwise. Lay the squash cut-side up and using a large spoon, scoop the seeds.
- Roast the butternut squash. Sprinkle the squash with salt, drizzle it with olive oil and place it cut-side down onto a baking sheet. Roast the squash at 425°F/218°C for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. The more deeply you brown the squash in the oven, the more intense and caramelized its flavor will be. Since you’ll be puréeing the soup anyway, there’s no real risk of overcooking the squash aside from flat-out burning it. One of the most common issues with creamy soups comes from under-cooking the vegetables. The squash should be uniformly soft, with little to no resistance when you test it with a fork.
- Roast the aromatics. Lightly coat the onion and garlic with olive oil and add them to the squash at the 30-minute point. The onion will need about half an hour whereas the garlic will be golden and fragrant in just a few minutes, so keep an eye on it. Roasted aromatics have a deep sweetness and a gorgeous amber color. Generally, the deeper the color, the sweeter the flavor.
- Blend. Scoop out the butternut squash flesh into a high-speed blender. Then add the roasted aromatics, coconut milk, ginger, lime juice, vegetable broth, and salt, and blend until completely smooth. Start with less vegetable broth. You can always add more later to thin the soup down. Good butternut squash soup should be thick and hearty.
How to Serve Butternut Squash Soup
As satisfying and warming as butternut squash soup can be, it can also look and feel like it’s lacking something. That’s where garnishes come in. You can top the soup with roasted butternut squash seeds (or pumpkin seeds), garnish it with fresh parsley leaves, sprinkle it with freshly cracked black pepper or even red pepper flakes.
You can enjoy this soup as a side or main dish. To make it the center of a meal, serve it with bread croutons or crusty sourdough bread.
How to Store Butternut Squash Soup
The great thing about puréed soups is that they taste even better the next day. So, make sure you make a large batch to have enough for leftovers.
- Refrigerate: allow the soup to cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
- Freeze: allow the soup to cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container (leaving a little bit of room for expansion) and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: transfer frozen soup into the refrigerator 24 hours before reheating to thaw slightly. Reheat in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until hot. Add ¼ cup/60 ml water/broth at a time if too thick.
More Puréed Soup Recipes
If you’re interested in more puréed soup recipes, I have an entire blog post with Vitamix soup recipes and tips for making blended soups. Some of the recipes include:
- Cream of broccoli soup: you would never know this broccoli soup is entirely plant-based. It’s incredibly flavorful and has the most luxurious creamy texture.
- Cream of cauliflower soup: this soup is lusciously creamy, a bit garlicy, and slightly nutty. What makes this cauliflower soup shine is roasted cauliflower and caramelized aromatics.
- Cream of mushroom soup: if you love cream of mushroom soup and want to skip the canned stuff, this soup is your new favorite soup. It’s so creamy, rich, and satisfying that you would never guess it’s dairy-free.
- Roasted red pepper soup: this light roasted red pepper soup is a twist on the classic cream of tomato soup. The sweetness of roasted bell peppers blends beautifully with the distinctive tartness of sun-dried tomatoes. The result is a comforting, delicious soup.
- Gazpacho: there are a million and one versions of gazpacho out there, so this is my most basic recipe to get you started. This soup is refreshing, light, and flavor-packed.
If you try any of these recipes, please, leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.
Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 (3-lb) butternut squash
- 1 yellow onion , halved
- 3 cloves garlic , unpeeled
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- salt , to taste
Toasted Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Seeds
- 1/2 cup butternut squash seeds (from 2 squashes)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. olive oil
- salt , to taste
Butternut Squash Soup
- Preheat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 425ºF/218ºC.
- Cut and seed the butternut squash. Slice the ends off the butternut squash to create a flat surface. Stand the butternut squash on the bulb end and slice through it lengthwise. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds.
- Roast the butternut squash. Drizzle the butternut squash with a little bit of olive oil, season it with salt, and place it cut-side down onto a baking sheet (you can line the baking sheet with parchment paper for an easier clean up). Roast the butternut squash until tender, for 40-50 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
- Roast the aromatics. At the 20-minute mark, lightly coat the onion with olive oil and place it cut-side down onto the baking sheet together with the unpeeled garlic cloves*. Continue roasting the butternut squash with the aromatics.
- Blend. Scoop out the butternut squash flesh into a high-speed blender. Then add the roasted aromatics, coconut milk, ginger, lime juice, vegetable broth, and salt, and blend until completely smooth. If using a Vitamix blender, blend until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid, 5-6 minutes.
- Season. Taste and adjust the flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, and ginger for a spicy bite. If the soup is not sweet enough, you can add a little bit of maple syrup.
- Serve. Pour the soup into serving bowls - it will be hot straight out of the blender (if using Vitamix). Garnish with a drizzle of coconut milk and toasted butternut squash seeds.
- Reheat. Transfer frozen soup into the refrigerator 24 hours before reheating to thaw slightly. Reheat in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until hot. Add ¼ cup/60 ml water/broth at a time if too thick.
Toasted Butternut Squash Seeds
- Clean the butternut squash seeds. Pinch away all the large chunks of squash flesh and strings. Place the seeds into a strainer and rinse under cold running water to remove any additional squash flesh. Transfer the seeds onto a clean kitchen towel (or paper towel) and dry thoroughly.
- Toast the seeds. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F/150°C. Transfer the cleaned butternut squash seeds onto a bare baking sheet. Add the pumpkin seeds, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, and toss to coat. Spread the seeds into a single layer and toast until the seeds begin to brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
That soup turned out amazing ! A little bit sweet and a little bit sour. Very interesting combination of tastes!
I like it! And it’s so simple to scoop the butternut squash after baking it)) In previous times when I tried to make that kind of soup it was very difficult for me to take all the “meat” of butternut squash when it was raw! Almost impossible! Now I know how to cook it in a more simple and healthier way!
I recommend that soup for every season of the year! It’s good not only for winter but for summer as well!
Thank you, Petra!
This soup is one of Tanner’s favorites, that for sure 🙂 So happy you enjoyed the recipe, Evgenia!
Thank you for the recipe , I can’t wait to try it!
I have a little question: does the onion needs to be caramelised as you explained in the technique part or until soft and lightly golden? Which one do you use when making this recipe? By the way the story of Tanner hogging the soup was so funny!!
Thank you Andrea! 🙂 Either works – I usually do soft and lightly golden because it takes less time, but if you have the time, caramelized onions are AMAZING!
Hi Petra, thank you for all the recipes. I like how you don’t have many recipes but every time I try one of your recipes, it works amazing! Question related to this soup, does this recipe also works for other types of squash and pumpkin? I currently have a pumpkin and Kabocha and was wondering which one you think would be better for this recipe! Thank you and as always amazing work.
Thank you for the kind words, Mariana! I really appreciate it. Kabocha squash is more similar to butternut squash. The flesh is both sweet and earthy, which will work really well in this soup. The texture is quite dry and flour-y (compared to butternut squash), but it shouldn’t be an issue once you puree it. You could use pumpkin as well, but but the soup will be more bland. I often make this soup using a mix of butternut squash and pumpkin but I am yet to try using just pumpkin.
Great recipe, very yummy! Any suggestions for other ways to use the left over Miso paste? Marinade? Make into another type of sauce? Ideas??? It’s too good to not use up!
Thank you for the kind feedback, Rose! I am not sure I understand your question. I don’t think there is any miso paste in this recipe…
Hi Petra, thanks for a great recipe! Quick question about baking squash. Can you explain the cooking differences between baking squash right side up or cut side down? If I put it cut side down, can I rub oil on it instead of using parchment paper? Thank you!
Hi Shyamala – by baking the squash halves cut-side-down, the edges caramelize and brown, which adds flavor. It also lets excess moisture fall away from the squash and onto the baking sheet. If you were to bake the squash halves cut-side-up, the liquid would pool in the middle of the halves. Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂
I made this soup for my hubby and 14 yr old daughter who doesn’t. Like pumpkin, and to my surprise my daughter ate the whole plate!! I was so happy. And my hubby said it was the best pumpkin soup he has ever had! And he’s had a few pumpkin soup is his fave. So I can tell youth is will be a regular in our home . Thank you so much for sharing your talent/blessing with the world . Much appreciated
Hi Fiona – so happy to hear everyone enjoyed the soup!❤️ Thank you so much for the rating and feedback. It truly made my day!
Fabulous Butternut Squash Soup recipe!
Excited to serve it at Thanksgiving this year!
Do you have a GF DF Pie Crust Recipe for Pumpkin Pie this Thanksgiving?
Hi Michele – so happy you enjoyed the soup! Here is my go-to pie crust recipe (for a 9-inch pie crust):
1 3/4 cups almond flour, blanched and finely ground (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal – I use golden flaxseed meal + 2 1/2 Tbsp. water)
pinch sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and flax egg and work it into a dough. The dough will seem crumbly at first, but it should come together just fine.
3. Grease a 9-inch round pie pan with a little bit coconut oil.
4. Spread the crust dough evenly in the pie pan, making sure to press it firmly so it sticks together. Press the edges down against the rim — this will help the crust stay put as it bakes. Crimp the edges with your fingers or press with the tines of a fork.
5. Cover the crust with a sheet of parchment paper and fill it halfway with dried beans or pie weights. (If you don’t do it, the crust will dome as it bakes). you might also use a pie shield or a few strips of aluminum foil to prevent the edges of the crust from browning too much.
6. Bake the crust until the bottom is just beginning to color, about 20-30 minutes.
Let me know if you have any questions 🙂
Thank you Petra!
You are so thoughtful and kind.
You’re very welcome, Michele!❤️
Could I make this pie crust ahead and freeze it?
Would I freeze it pressed in a pie pan or into a ball?
Should I expect the consistency of a Graham Cracker type crust? Or, can it roll out with a rolling pin?
1. Yes. I typically press the dough into the pie pan and then freeze it (tightly wrapped). You could also refrigerate it for a few days (again, tightly wrapped).
2. You will get a ball of dough, but it is easier to press it into the pan rather than trying to roll it out.
3. The texture of the pie crust will depend on the fat you use. If you go with coconut oil, it will be crispy, biscuit-like. For a flakier pie crust, you would need to use soft vegan butter. The type of fat you use will not affect whether you can roll or press the crust.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions.
Fabulous pie crust recipe Petra! A Big hit with my family. Do you have a GF DF Pumpkin Pie Filling you like?
Hi Michele – I saw your comment and completely forgot to reply. I am still testing a few different filling recipes, but this is my go-to for now:
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1 1/3 cups cashews, soaked
1 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. coconut sugar
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (some pumpkin pie spice is stronger, so maybe start with less)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
1. Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until completely smooth. It works the best when all ingredients are at room temperature.
2. Add the filling into the unbaked crust and bake until the top is slightly brown, for 45-55 minutes at 350 °F. The filling will firm up as it chills. If the crust is browning too quickly, I recommend using a pie shield.
3. Let cool completely, for at least 2-3 hours. I typically let the pie cool on the counter for 2 hours and then place it in the refrigerator for about an hour or so to let it set.