A classic butternut squash soup recipe, made with roasted butternut squash, flavoured with a little apple and maple syrup. Vegetarian and dairy-free options, as well. A perfect Fall soup!
This classic butternut squash soup tastes like Fall! It has been my go-to butternut squash for many, many years. I love how simply it comes together, that it is easy to make ahead and re-heats well and finally, that the combination of roasted squash, apple and maple is simply delicious.
Why you’ll love this butternut squash soup!
This soup starts with roasted squash. Roasting the squash really brings a wonderful flavour to this soup. It also means you don’t have to peel or cut the butternut squash into chunks and if you’ve ever done that, you know that’s a bonus!
Added to this butternut squash soup is a bit of onion, apple and thyme and it is finished with bit of maple syrup and cream. This soup is truly Fall in a bowl and a perfect way to celebrate the season!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here are the simple ingredients you will need for this soup …
- Butternut squash – you’ll need about 2 medium whole butternut squash to yield the 6 cups of roasted squash that you’ll need for the soup. Look for two equal-sized squash, as they will roast more evenly.
- Chicken Broth – use your favourite chicken broth. Alternately, substitute a vegetable broth for a vegetarian soup.
- Apple – any apple will do. There is just a small amount in the soup. It can be omitted if you don’t happen to have an apple on hand, but it does offer a subtle acidic note to the soup that is very lovely. A bit of pear might work as well.
- Thyme – it’s hard to beat fresh herbs and specifically, fresh thyme in this soup, so it’s well worth it if you have some. If not, use a lesser amount of dried, thyme leaves.
- Maple Syrup – again, it’s hard to beat the flavour of the real thing, so real maple syrup is recommended here. In a pinch, a splash of pancake syrup will provide the flavour, at least. Use less to start, to avoid an overly-sweet soup.
- Cream – heavy whipping cream will provide the best results, as it will produce a lovely thick soup, without being overly rich. You can use a lighter cream, though it will produce a less thick soup. For a dairy-free alternative, substitute coconut milk (stirred), a plant-based cream or omit entirely.
- Other Ingredients You Will Need – Butter (or substitute cooking oil), Onion, Salt and Pepper.
- The amounts for the maple syrup and the cream are flexible. Start with the lesser amount, taste and add a bit more if you feel it needs it. You should be able to detect a very subtle maple flavour.
- Seasoning is the key to a great soup! Be sure to taste the soup at the end of cooking and add salt, as needed and some freshly ground pepper. If it tastes a little flat or you feel “it needs something”, the something it needs is probably more salt :)
- When it came time to garnish my soup for photos, I kept it simple with just a few drops of heavy cream, that I ran a skewer through and a few fresh thyme leaves. For a heartier version, garnish with some simple homemade croutons (or maybe bacon-fat crisped croutons!).
Can I make this soup ahead? Absolutely! I’ll often roast the butternut squash off ahead, maybe the night before or the morning of the day I’ll be making the soup. Simply roast, let cool a bit, then scoop the roasted flesh out in to a bowl and pop into the refrigerator until you are ready to make your soup.
You can also make this entire soup ahead of time and re-heat to serve, which is perfect for Thanksgiving. If the soup thickens while sitting in the fridge, simply thin with a little more chicken stock until you get to the desired consistency, if needed. Be sure to re-heat first, then add stock as necessary, as it will thin a bit as it heats.
Can I make this soup vegetarian? Yes! Simply swap vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
Can I make this soup dairy-free/vegan? Yes! Simply use non-dairy cream or coconut milk instead of the dairy cream or you can just omit the cream altogether and still have a lovely soup.
Can I freeze this soup? Yes! This soup freezes well frozen in an airtight container. As with making ahead, if soup is too thick after re-heating, simply add a splash of broth to thin it.
Can I change up the flavours? Yes! This is my favourite version of this soup, but when I’m looking to change it up a bit, I’ll omit the maple syrup and bring on the spice. Add a bit of curry powder or smoked paprika instead. Or cinnamon. Or add a little heat with some cayenne pepper. So many ways to make this soup your own :)
How to serve butternut squash soup
There are an endless number of ways to serve this delicious soup, but if you are looking to dress it up for Thanksgiving, for example, here are a few ideas …
- Drops of heavy cream with some thyme leaves (as shown in the photos here)
- Thyme-infused toasted bread croutons
- Dried apple slices and walnuts
- Dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche
- Roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Get the Recipe: Simply Perfect Butternut Squash Soup
- 6 cups roasted butternut squash, from about 2 medium-large butternut squash
- 3 Tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted or substitute 1 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 medium apple , peeled, cored and shredded
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, or about 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves (less if powdered)
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup real maple syrup
- 1/2 - 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, 35% b.f.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F (regular bake setting/not fan assisted) Cut squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and dark orange stringy flesh. Place squash cut side down on to a baking sheet. Note that you want the squash to lay perfectly flat, so you can get some caramelization going for best flavour. If they won't all lay flat, use two baking sheets if necessary and rotate their position in the oven half way through roasting. Roast in pre-heated oven for 60-70 minutes or until very tender and soft when you press on the top of the squash.
- Remove from oven and using a spatula, flip the squash halves over and allow to cool a few minutes. Using a spoon, scoop all the roasted squash flesh out and in to a bowl, being careful not to take any of the skin. Discard squash skins. If making the soup immediately, measure out the amount of cooked squash needed for the soup and set aside. Any extra squash can be refrigerated or frozen and used for another purpose.
- In a large soup pot, large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook, stirring, until onion has softened and is translucent, but not browned. Add the measured roasted squash. Add the chicken broth and shredded apple. Stir to combine well. Add the fresh thyme sprig. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow soup to gently simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes to blend the flavours.
- REMOVE THYME SPRIG and discard. Using an immersion blender (or alternately in small batches in a blender) puree the soup well until smooth. In the soup pot, add the maple syrup and the heavy cream to the pureed soup. Stir well to combine and allow to cook over medium-low heat a few minutes to warm through.
- Taste soup. Add salt as needed and some freshly ground pepper. You don't want to be skimpy with the salt! Salting well is the key to bringing out all the great flavours in this soup. Maple syrups vary in intensity. If you don't notice a subtle maple taste in the soup, add a bit more maple syrup, as needed. Serve warm garnished with drops of heavy cream and fresh thyme leaves. If you like, use a skewer to run through the drops of cream to make a pretty design.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!