Other than pumpkin spice lattes, there is perhaps no recipe that encapsulates cozy fall vibes quite like butternut squash soup. Everything from its orange color, reminiscent of fall foliage, to its luscious flavor, bursting with sweet autumnal warmth, makes butternut squash soup the seasonal comfort food you absolutely cannot skip when it’s cold out.
Along with its awesome hue and taste—not to mention its richness in fiber and micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium—butternut squash soup is prized for its velvety puréed texture and simplicity. (It’s more rare to find a butternut squash soup with larger chunks or cubes of the veggie—preparing it this way isn’t off the table, but it will lead you into stew territory.)
To achieve that signature buttery smoothness, most butternut squash soup recipes require some kind of blender and follow a similar flow. Typically, the vegetable is stewed on the stovetop (for about 20 to 30 minutes) or roasted in the oven (for about 30 to 45 minutes) until tender. The other ingredients might be cooked with the squash (such as aromatics) or added in after (such as grains) Either way, the squash base gets puréed or blended with liquid (like cream, milk, or broth) until silky smooth—either in batches using a traditional blender, or right in the pot using an immersion blender. (If you’re without a blender, your next best option is a food processor.)
While the steps in different butternut squash soup recipes are similar, that doesn’t mean they all taste the same. These eight recipes, for instance, cover a span of flavor profiles, relying on a range of different herbs and spices and both crunchy and chewy toppings to put unique spins on this fall classic. You might want to highlight the squash’s natural sugars by pairing it with apple and cinnamon, or go down the spicy route and use coconut milk and chilis to make a Thai curry-inspired dish.
When it comes to substituting ingredients in butternut squash soup recipes, feel free to get creative. You could swap chicken broth in for veggie broth, or non-dairy milk in for dairy milk, for instance. And, OK, while the idea of subbing the butternut squash itself may seem preposterous, its winter squash cousins like acorn squash and kabocha squash would also make delicious soups.
If you’re ready to embrace the season and make a lovely pot of fragrant fall soup, try one of these excellent butternut squash soup recipes.