Butternut Squash Soup Recipe That Actually Tastes Like Butternut Squash ♥

Butternut Squash Soup That Tastes Like Butternut Squash
Today's butternut squash soup recipe: Just four ingredients plus water and salt, yet the butternut squash soup that emerges is luxuriant, silky-smooth and almost custardy. And oo-la-la, if it doesn't taste like butternut squash too! This stuff is so elegant, I considered serving it in wine glasses!

They had me at "butternut squash soup that tastes like butternut squash". There's no counting the recipes I've tried, reaching in vain for that color of honeyed gold, making one after another Sisyphean trip up the hill of butternut squash soup worth making, for its own sake, for its own silky-soup winter squash glory.

Finally. I loved this soup, I think you will too, I want you to love this soup!

The 'recipe' is all about the technique and comes from America's Test Kitchen, that's the parent company to Cook's Illustrated. It 'looks' complicated and yes, there are a few steps. But since I watch the clock, I know that the recipe takes only 30 minutes of hands-on time and that's for a soup ever-so-worthy of our time. Even more, the technique is dead easy. I made a few notes watching the ATK video but didn't once refer to them while cooking. Make this soup once, you'll not forget, the technique OR the flavor!

Here are the tricks to making butternut squash soup taste like butternut squash. I wonder if the same principles might be applied to other soups too? or other butternut squash dishes?
The focus is entirely on the butternut squash, no spices or other attention-grabbing ingredients.
The squash flavor is bumped up by capturing all the flavor inside the 'gunk and seeds' inside the bulb. This worked beautifully with Farro Risotto with Butternut Squash & Mushrooms. Once again, brilliant!
Use water rather than stock for the liquid, again, so not to take away from the delicate butternut squash flavor and color.

UPDATE If you love the idea of butternut squash soup, here's a new soup recipe that adds the sweetness of fruit, Butternut Squash Soup with Mango & Toasted Coconut.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes 7 cups

4 tablespoons butter (see ALANNA'S TIPS)
2 shallots, chopped fine
1 large butternut squash, about 3 pounds, washed well
6 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup cream

COOK THE SHALLOTS In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter until shimmery on MEDIUM HEAT. Add the shallots and stir to coat with fat, let cook til soft.

TRIM the SQUASH Cut off the root and stem ends. Cut off the bulb (that's the rounder end that holds the seeds and 'gunk'). Cut the bulb in half and scrape out the seeds and the 'gunk' inside. Don't throw it away -- this is the brilliant part, add it to the shallots in the pot and stir to coat with the fat, let it cook right along with the onions. Cut the two bulb halves in half again. If the neck is long, cut it in half cross-wise, then cut each piece into quarters, lengthwise.

STEAM the SQUASH Add the water and salt to the onion mixture. Place a collapsible steamer basket in the pot. If the steamer basket is submerged in water, put something underneath to raise it up so the squash can steam, not boil. (I used four beaters from a hand mixer, they worked perfectly.) Arrange the squash pieces, flesh-side down, in the steamer basket, this takes a little finagling, try to get as close as possible to a single layer, cutting pieces to fit if needed. Cover and adjust the temperature to bring the water to a boil and then to simmer. Steam the squash for about 30 minutes until the squash is soft. Turn off the heat and remove the squash pieces to cool (the pot's cover worked perfectly).

SEPARATE THE LIQUID & SOLIDS Drain the contents of the pot through a strainer into a bowl, save the liquid, discard the solids.

PURÉE With a knife, cut off most of the flesh of each piece of squash, then use a spoon to gently scrape off the remaining flesh. (The skins are very soft, so this takes a light touch, see NOTES.) Add some of the squash to a blender and a cup or two of liquid. Be careful not to fill the blender more than half to 2/3 full (otherwise, this can happen). Purée til smooth and pour back into the pot. Repeat with the remaining squash and liquid.

FINISH With the heat on MEDIUM LOW, bring the soup back to temperature. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir in the cream (see TIPS) and let reheat but do not boil.

I think we could save some calories by using just 2 tablespoons butter. Still, this soup doesn't have that fatty mouthfeel that to me, anyway, points to too much butter.
I found removing the steamed flesh from the large sections of squash to be a little fussy. Next time I'd be tempted to just cut the squash into cubes before cooking, like in a How to Cut a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers.
For appearance's sake, I'd rather drizzle a little cream over top of each serving than to combine it into the soup itself.
The second day, this soup is a little bit thicker and just maybe, just a tidge bit better. But I wouldn't hesitate to serve it Day One.
So there's no messing with a perfect recipe, right? Okay. For grins, I'd like to stir in a teaspoon of dry sherry, or maybe whipped cream spike with sherry. For smooth-smooth-smooth soup, I'd push it through a chinois.

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~ Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar ~
~ Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Tagine ~
~ How to Cut a Butternut Squash ~
~ more winter squash recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Roasted Butternut Squash with Apple ~
from Kitchen Parade

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2010

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I can't wait to try this recipe! I made a huge(18 qts) pot of chicken stock tonight, inspired by your recipe, actually it's still simmering. Warm Regards, Sandy Wates

  2. I love butternut squash soup. This weekend I made three squash soup (with butternut, acorn and spaghetti) and while it was very good, it was butternuty enough! I will try this one out for my Dad - officially the leader in squash consumption. :P

  3. I always enjoy reading and often making the recipes you share, whether yours of shared from other sources. I wonder, however, if I might make a possible suggestion for avoiding the blender/chinois combination.

    While some purists might poo-poo the notion of a stick-blender, I have found my ability to make a "Thai" winter butternut squash soup with a 200W immersion stick blender directly in the stove-top pot to yield quote possibly the most velvety-smooth soup consistency I have yet encountered, professional or homemade.

    Another "benefit", if you would like more flavor to also be puréed, separate the solid shallot bits from the seeds and 'gunk' after straining back into the soup before hitting with the stick blender. It will make quick work of liquefying the shallots with their absorbed squash flavors back into the soup. (Still, I would absolutely avoid re-including the squash seeds and the fibrous 'gunk' -- although someone once suggested a method to include the squash seeds as an edible and decorative garnish, either atop the soup, or along side. *g*)

    Certainly not a critique or a replacement for the blender/chinois method, but a alternative consideration for those possessing the hardware.

  4. Thanks for posting this recipe-I love the flavor of butternut and don't like the soups where I can't taste it's delicious flavor. I'll be making this one!

  5. wow.. that is one delicious bowl of soup.... just bought butternut squash for the first time... waiting to taste this veggie...

  6. I just made a soup like this today. You can save sooo much time and trouble if you just cut that baby in half (the squash) and roast it slowly in the oven until it's very soft. I was just hanging around cleaning house as it cooked. Then turn off the oven, let it cool there. Then just scoop that flesh out. I used onions instead of shallots. And I loove my stick blender. It made quick work of the whole thing with just some tiny pieces to give it a rustic look and mouth feel. My seasoning was curry powder. But the squash tastes still comes through. I add cream to mine (Adkins). The squash has some carbs, but we will use small portions to begin our little dinners.

  7. Susan, Granted there are simpler recipes, I've tried several over the years. But at least in my kitchen, to my palate, until this recipe, none of the soups really tasted like butternut squash. They were too watery, too apple cider-y, etc, too spiced up. Also -- you really don't need to cut the squashes in half, I've got three cooling right now. Watch for the technique in a new post next week.

  8. OK, I'm sold. This sounds wonderful, and seems pretty easy to prepare.

    I've been looking for a new recipe for butternut squash soup, and I agree with you that many (most) squash soups don't taste all that much like squash! Thanks.

  9. this is pretty much the recipe I use although I do add a pinch of nutmeg and leave out shallots or onion. I use the liquid from baking the squash (about 1.5 cup water in baking dish) as it has all the flavor and goodies. I sometimes use a dash of curry powder as well for a change.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna