Butternut Squash Soup

This may come as a shock to many of you (insert intense sarcasm), but I did not always make nice with vegetables. We were never buds. I was one of those stereotypical kids that kicked and screamed when my mom tried to force me to eat my vegetables. I just never liked them. The only thing my mom could get me to eat without an argument was broccoli smothered in Cheez Whiz (hey, it was the 80’s!) and a tossed salad. Anything else was off-limits as far as I was concerned. I’m not sure why my taste buds were so averse to vegetables – my mom loves them and always ate them regularly, and my sister has always been a fan as well. My dad never liked vegetables either though, so I guess I picked up his vegetable-hating habit.

Nowadays I have gotten slightly better. I still turn my nose up like a 5-year-old at the site of asparagus, green beans, brussel sprouts, and a host of other things. But I have become much more willing to at least give things a chance. Like butternut squash. The first time I tried it was last fall. I was admittedly nervous. All I knew was that I wasn’t a fan of most other squashes, but I hadn’t tried this yet so I gave it a shot. (Mostly because I was at someone else’s house and didn’t want to appear rude, but that’s beside the point.) It was roasted in olive oil, brown sugar, maple syrup and thyme. It was heaven, and I was hooked.

I enjoyed butternut squash roasted a few more times last fall and then around the holidays I made a fabulous butternut squash salad with mixed greens, walnuts, dried cranberries, and a cider vinaigrette (look for that recipe here on the site soon!), and again, I just loved it. So once fall rolled around a few weeks ago, I knew that I definitely needed to give butternut squash soup a try. And boy am I glad that I did.

This is a fairly easy and simple soup. The recipe does call for steaming the squash in the pot with a steamer basket. If you don’t have a steamer basket that fits your soup pot (I didn’t) you can go makeshift here. I just inverted a colander and put it in the pot, then placed the pieces of squash on top and covered it tightly with foil. Good enough! There aren’t many ingredients to this soup; the small amount of dark brown sugar and nutmeg are just enough to accent the squash and really make the flavor pop. The cream adds a bit of texture, and on the whole, this is a very filling soup. One bowl with a few crackers was definitely enough for dinner for me. And although I didn’t think of it at the time, this would be fabulous served with a piece of toasted cinnamon bread!

One year ago: Egg Bagels
Three years ago: The Perfect Omelet

Butternut Squash Soup

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, chopped fine
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), cut in half lengthwise, and each half cut in half widthwise; seeds and strings scraped out and reserved (about ¼ cup)
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
Pinch of grated nutmeg

Directions:

1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven (or heavy pot) over medium-low heat until foaming. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the squash scrapings and seeds, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns saffron color, about 4 minutes.

2. Add the water and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, place the squash cut-side down in a steamer basket, and lower the basket into the pot. Cover and steam until the squash is completely tender, about 30 minutes. take the pot off the heat, and use tongs to transfer the squash to a rimmed baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scrape the flesh from the skin. Reserve the squash flesh in a bowl and discard the skins.

3. Strain the steaming liquid through a mesh strainer into a second bowl; discard the solids in the strainer. (You should have 2½ to 3 cups of liquid.) Rise and dry the pot.

4. Puree the squash in batches in a blender or food processor, pulsing and adding enough reserved steaming liquid to obtain a smooth consistency. Transfer the puree to the pot and stir in the remaining steaming liquid, cream, and brown sugar. Warm the soup over medium-low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and adjust the seasonings, adding salt to taste. Serve immediately. Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days. Warm over low heat until hot; do not boil.

(Recipe adapted from The Best Soups & Stews by America's Test Kitchen)

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56 Responses to “Butternut Squash Soup”

  1. Cherine on October 25, 2010 at 3:22 am

    A wonderful comforting soup.

    Reply

  2. LimeCake on October 25, 2010 at 5:40 am

    this looks really good! i like that you used water instead of stock, unlike most other soup recipes. lets the butternut flavour really come through.

    Reply

  3. Liz @ Blog is the New Black on October 25, 2010 at 6:59 am

    This looks great. I’m always looking for new, easy soup ideas!

    Reply

  4. Amalia on October 25, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I have always loved butternut squash! I have one getting ripened (is it spelled like that?) right now!

    -Amalia

    http://buttersweetmelody.wordpress.com/

    Reply

  5. Jason Sandeman on October 25, 2010 at 8:10 am

    I love that you used the squash scrapings to flavor the butter. I would have never thought of that. I learned something today, and thank you for that. I will be passing that along to my cooks!

    Reply

  6. Paula on October 25, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I was like you growing up, not a big fan of a lot of vegetables. My appetite for them has matured with age. Even today however, in a soup is the only way I eat butternut squash. Your soup recipe looks great.

    Reply

  7. Val on October 25, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Awesome! I was the same way, but it was green beans with Velveeta and Bac-Os. I am now a vegetarian. :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 25th, 2010 at 10:16 pm

      Mmmm Velveeta and Bac-Os – more 80’s classics! No sleepover was complete unless there was Ritz and spray cheese either ;-)

      Reply

  8. Jenny Flake on October 25, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Beautiful soup!! Perfect for this rainy day today!

    Reply

  9. maggy@threemanycooks on October 25, 2010 at 9:57 am

    This looks absolutely delicious! I will have to make it – and I’m going to try and make some yummy cinnamon bread with it too :)

    Reply

  10. Maria on October 25, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Your soup looks soooo good! The photos are stunning!

    Reply

  11. Susan on October 25, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Gorgeous photos and it sounds so delicious! The chilly weather calls for a soup like this!

    Reply

  12. Sues on October 25, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I love butternut squash soup… And I especially enjoy that this one has brown sugar in it :) Such a pretty soup!

    Reply

  13. Katrina on October 25, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Well I’m glad you like butternut squash! This recipe looks amazing!

    Reply

  14. Tina from PA on October 25, 2010 at 11:23 am

    This soup looks so cozy ! Have you ever had the squash soup at Wolfgang Puck’s ? It is out standing ! I cann’t wait to try yours. Don’t feel bad about not liking veggies,last Thanksgiving my older sister (she’s 58) don’t tell her I told you that, tried sweet potatoes for the first time and loved them! So you’re never too old to try something new!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 25th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      My lips are sealed! And no, I’ve never been to Wolfgang Puck’s, but I’ll definitely remember to try it if I ever find myself there!

      Reply

  15. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle on October 25, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I love butternut squash;it really is so versatile and made even easier by the fact that my Costco carries it already cleaned and cubed in the fresh veggie section. I don’t usually pay a premium for stuff like that, but the ease of use is so worth it for me. Shopping there today; thinking soup on the table tonight!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 25th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      Oooh Barb, what a great convenience! I don’t live very close to a Costco, but I am making a Sam’s trip tomorrow; I’ll have to see if they carry it cubed and cleaned! Thanks for the tip!

      Reply

  16. GreenEyedLilo on October 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I also like the use of water instead of stock–stock doesn’t always improve a recipe–and blending the squash scrapings with the butter.

    I was the same way about vegetables growing up, which made my first attempt at vegetarianism as a kid something of a bust. Now that I’m an adult lacto-vegetarian who’ll actually eat most vegetables, this soup looks absolutely delightful to me!

    BTW, I always thought I hated Brussels sprouts. It’ll never be a permanent staple for me, but when I got some in my CSA box, I found that shredding them, then sauteing them *very* quickly with walnuts, made them worth eating!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 25th, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      Oooh I’ll have to try the shredded brussel sprouts sauteed with walnuts; that actually sounds good! :)

      Reply

  17. eatgreek.net on October 25, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    yummy!!!!!!!! :D

    Reply

  18. Kocinera on October 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Wow! That soup looks so gorgeous and creamy–perfect for fall! Butternut squash is definitely a yummy food to have in your good veggie repertoire. I had just tried butternut squash ravioli for the first time a few days ago and was astounded by its deliciosity. :D

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 25th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

      I am planning a big ravioli making day to stock the freezer for winter, and I think I will definitely add butternut squash variety to the list! Thank you for the idea!

      Reply

  19. madge @ vegetariancasserolequeen on October 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Oh Michelle! I just wrote a post about my dislike of vegetables, as well! How ironic. I’m always looking for “tolerable” vegetables and so far I’ve been wary of butternut squash. But if another vegetable-hater can recommend something – I’m game…

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 25th, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      Oh how funny!! Yes, as a fellow vegetable hater, I say give this one a try!

      Reply

  20. elizabeth on October 25, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    This looks delicious! I don’t have a steamer basket, or even a metal colander, so I think I’ll try roasting the squash. I can’t wait to make it!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 25th, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      Elizabeth, roasting would work perfectly here too. Enjoy the soup!

      Reply

  21. GreenGirl on October 25, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    This soup sounds and looks great. I’m always looking for new ideas for soup, especially in the fall. thanks for sharing

    Reply

  22. the blissful baker on October 25, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    this is one of my favorite soups! yumm!

    Reply

  23. RavieNomNoms on October 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    That looks delicious!

    Reply

  24. Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox on October 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Veggies and I are not friends which is why soups and I generally don’t get along. But this is so pretty even I’m tempted.

    Reply

  25. Michelle on October 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Squash Soup is just so darn pretty! I made my first squash soup just last year and it was delicious, pretty sure this would be the same!!

    Reply

  26. Tracy on October 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    What a gorgeous fall soup!

    Reply

  27. Annie on October 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    That recipe looks great. I haven’t come across a butternut squash soup recipe this easy before. I am always daunted by involved recipes especially now when working in the retail world is getting hectic. Maybe I’ll give this a whirl on my next day off.

    Reply

  28. Kim - Liv Life on October 25, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Love the simplicity of this one!! I’m a recent veggie convert as well and have come into my own in the veggie area. Still working on my husband, but this is one he might actually eat. Beautiful shots!

    Reply

  29. Nancy@acommunaltable on October 26, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I didn’t grown up eating butternut squash but after having it the first time I too was hooked! I generally roast the squash for soup but now I am going to have to try steaming it – I love the beautiful golden yellow color of yours!!

    Reply

  30. Cookin' Canuck on October 26, 2010 at 12:49 am

    There is something about butternut squash that seems to win over even the most ardent vegetable-hater. What a pretty, creamy soup.

    Reply

  31. Nuts about Food on October 26, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Was just trying to figure out what to do with my butternut squash. Love soup but also love the idea of roasting with maple syrup, sugar and olive oil. Thanks!

    Reply

  32. Jen @ How To: Simplify on October 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I’ve never had this kind of soup but the photo is making me crave it right now! Another winning recipe!

    Reply

  33. pigpigscorner on October 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    This is so comforting! I hated veg too and now, I eat it cause my hubs forces me to =(

    Reply

  34. Baking In Brooklyn on October 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Wow, I bet this makes your house smell amazing when it’s cooking. I am definitely in a soup mood right now and will have to try it!

    Reply

  35. My Man's Belly on October 26, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    This soup sounds fantastic!

    Try roasting those other veggies that you mentioned you don’t like. I’ve found several, that I didn’t care for, I now love when they’re roasted. Even if you just roast them with olive oil and salt…it makes a huge difference.

    Reply

  36. Nancy Baggett on October 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Your pic is wonderfully appetizing. It makes me want to make that soup, even though I have a really good autumn soup on my site that I really like and make a lot.

    Reply

  37. Amanda on November 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I’m going to get all scientific for a moment here…a few months ago, I went to a parenting discussion led by a woman who is a pediatric dietitian. She said that she has NEVER liked vegetables–and couldn’t understand why until she went to a conference a few years ago. Everyone at the conference was given a small piece of vellum-looking paper in their packets. During one speaker, they were asked to put the paper in their mouths. The woman said it was so incredibly bitter and had an awful taste, but no one around her seemed to react that way. Most people around her couldn’t even taste anything. Turns out that some people are sensitive to certain compounds–and those who didn’t like the paper also did not like the taste of vegetables. So, there is scientific backing to not liking vegetables!

    And, I’m totally making this soup tonight. But I’m going to try roasting the squash with garlic and sage before souping it up. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

  38. KellyC on November 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I made this soup recipe last night and loved it. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 22nd, 2010 at 9:45 pm

      You’re welcome, so happy to hear you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  39. Jenny Spinelli on November 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I made this recipe on Thanksgiving for my family. My old School Italian Grandaprents were in shock, and didn’t want to try such an “orange” looking soup, but they absolutely loved it! My grandfather had three bowls. Hahahah. Such a hit! Thanks Brown Eyed Baker.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 29th, 2010 at 7:41 pm

      I love when people try something new that they think they’ll hate and end up loving! Yay grandparents!

      Reply

  40. Stephanie on December 12, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I literally just finished making this recipe and I LOVED IT! It came out so nice and creamy. The butternut squash flavor really shines. I love your site :) Thank you!

    Reply

  41. Stesah on December 20, 2010 at 6:25 am

    I was that way about mushrooms and peas as a child… Now mushrooms sauteed in butter are one of my favorite comfort foods; never did grow out of hating peas, though.
    My husband hates most squash, butternut in particular, but I love them. I came across your recipe tonight while looking for ideas and made it, and lo and behold he absolutely loved it.
    Fantastic, it turned out beautifully. Very yummy, thanks so much! :)

    Reply

  42. Kathe on October 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Today (Saturday) is soup day. I’ve got a pot of potato leek (chicken stock) and a pot French onion (beef stock) simmering. A friend gave me a beautiful butternut squash from her garden. I’ve been looking for a butternut squash soup recipe and I’m so glad I found yours, no beef or chicken stock and I would have never thought of using the scrapings and seeds for flavor instead of a meat-based stock.
    No meat stock is so going to let the squash flavor shine through.
    Now, some split peas and ham stock into the crock pot and then everything into the freezer. Thanks!

    Reply

  43. rebecca on February 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Made this tonight, added curry powder and lessened brown sugar just a bit, probably added more heavy cream only because of consistency (most likely b/c I didn’t measure water). I had never made anything with butternut squash before, but the prepackaged, cut-up tub was on clearance in our local produce dept so I thought I would give it a shot. WONDERFUL!!!! Thanks so much for a simple but excellent recipe!!!!

    Reply

  44. Nancy Rose on October 24, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    can’t wait to make this. sounds really good.Soup is great this time of year

    Reply

  45. Andrea M on November 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I have been using this recipe as a thanksgiving favorite for the past 11 years, ever since I saw it published in the Nov 2001 edition of Cook’s Illustrated. Raquel Pelzel’s approach to including the purée into the butter was genius! I have never strayed from this recipe since I tried it back in 2001 and have turned many onto this brilliant approach to bringing the savory flavor of the squash to its fullest potential. I top the soup with cinnamon sugar seasoned croutons to add a little texture.

    Reply

  46. trisha on December 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I love this soup!!! some of my friends loved it to…… love, love your recipes.

    Reply

  47. Jinny on February 21, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Tried this today and it was awesome! I didn’t include any cream or sugar cos I thought it was rich enough, and it still turned out great! Love how this recipe doesn’t need any chicken/veg stock! :D

    Reply

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