Butternut Squash Soup with Apple (Instant Pot or Stovetop)
Classic butternut squash soup with apple somehow manages to be pure comfort and pure elegance at the same time. This easy recipe has instructions for both Instant Pot and stovetop, so you can choose your pleasure.
If you're in the mood for classic vegetable soups, you might also like our Potage aux Legumes.
For a deeper flavor, you can roast the squash first according to the instructions below. It's a nice trick but not necessary.
Instant Pot butternut squash soup
We are very picky about our Instant Pot recipes, since we like to cook and don't mind using the stove. In order to be IP-worthy, a recipe needs to fit three criteria: first, you have to be able to place all the ingredients in the pot at once and walk away. Just because you can sautée in the Instant Pot does not, in our minds, mean you should. Second, the recipe needs to have long-cooking ingredients that truly cook faster in the Instant Pot, even when you account for the time it takes for the IP to come up to pressure. And third, there can be zero loss of flavor, texture, or authenticity based on the use of the Instant Pot.
This recipe qualifies for sure. You just add all the ingredients (except the cream, which stirs in at the end) to the pot, turn it on, and go about your life. Butternut squash takes quite a while to cook on the stovetop, so the IP timing is truly more efficient. And the flavor of this soup is excellent.
To roast or not to roast?
We sometimes like to make a deeply flavored squash soup where we roast the squash first. You can adapt this recipe to do that if you like (in which case, just make the soup on the stovetop afterward, since the IP loses its speed benefits).
To roast the squash, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Set it on a rimmed baking sheet cut-sides up in the center of a 400°F oven and roast until very tender, about an hour depending on the size and shape of your squash.
When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and add it to the soup at the same time you would if you hadn't roasted it. The cooking time will be much shorter from this point forward — just simmer the soup for about 10 minutes to marry all the flavors and then proceed with the recipe.
- 1 large butternut squash (between 3 and 4 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- 1 large Granny Smith apple
- 2 1/2 cups good, low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 2 tablespoons good maple syrup
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Trim ends from butternut squash. Peel, scoop out seeds, and dice into 1-inch pieces.
- Dice onion and apple.
- Instant Pot Instructions: Place all ingredients except cream in Instant Pot and close lid. Set vent to sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, then carefully release steam manually.
- Stovetop Instructions: In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and apple, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about five minutes. Add butternut squash, broth, cider, maple syrup, bay leaves, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until squash is very tender.
- Remove bay leaves and cinnamon sticks if using.
- Stir in cream.
- Puree soup with an immersion blender directly in Instant Pot/pot or in batches in a blender. (The Vitamix makes this soup super-creamy and luxurious, if you’re into that sort of thing.)
- Grind in some black pepper and adjust for salt.
- Ladle into bowls and serve.
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