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Creamy 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. 

creamy butternut squash soup in a white tureen
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Why we love this recipe

If I do say so, over the years I’ve perfected creamy butternut squash soup. The balance of flavors. The consistency and texture. This soup is autumn to the max and delivers exactly what you’d expect from a classic squash soup recipe, every time. It has:

  • Fresh butternut squash, roasted for depth of flavor if you like (but it’s not necessary)
  • Gorgeous, nuanced apple flavor, from both fresh fruit and cider
  • A gentle blend of aromatics and spices that enhance rather than overpower
  • A silky, just-right texture that’s not too thick and not too thin

I first published this recipe here back in 2019. I’ve since updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Butternut squash is such a well-behaved winter squash variety. It’s easier to peel and chop than some other types. I like to dice it nice and small so it cooks quickly and evenly. You can use pre-cubed squash or even frozen squash if you prefer.
  • You’ll use a combination of Granny Smith or other tart green apple and apple cider to add a delightfully complex apple flavor to the mix.
  • A little bit of good-quality real maple syrup adds a gentle layer of sweetness and complexity.
  • To make this recipe vegetarian, use a good vegetable brothThis one has by far my favorite flavor profile. Or use chicken broth if you’re not concerned with making it vegetarian.
  • A little bit of onion and garlic adds a backbone of savoriness that you’ll love without really noticing outright.
  • A gentle mix of warming spices — cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaf, salt, and pepper — adds just the right amount of cozy fall flavor.
  • A little bit of heavy cream goes a long way toward enriching this classic soup. See below for dairy- and cream-free options.
  • Use a good-quality butter if you can. Here and virtually everywhere, I start with a cultured, salted butter from grass-fed cows. This sounds fancy but doesn’t have to be. Kerrygold, for example, is sold in most supermarkets at a reasonable price.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a great pot of creamy butternut squash soup in the Instant Pot. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details for the IP and also the stovetop method in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll add all the ingredients except the cream to a 6- or 8-quart Instant Pot.
  2. Note that in the recipe card below, I’ve slightly decreased the broth in the IP as compared to the stovetop method. The IP is a sealed environment, so you’ll hardly lose any liquid to evaporation while cooking.
  3. Seal the vent and cook on manual, high pressure, for 12 minutes. Then perform a manual release.
  4. Pour in the cream. Using an immersion blender, a regular blender, or my favorite Vitamix, blend carefully, in batches if necessary, until perfectly smooth and creamy. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Should I roast the squash?

This soup has a wonderful depth of flavor under any circumstances, so I don’t typically find the need to start with roasted squash. But if you’d like to give it a try, here’s how.

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. 

Can I make this recipe dairy-free/vegan?

Sure thing. Replace the butter with vegan butter or olive oil (or leave it out, if using the Instant Pot method). Replace the cream with cashew cream, coconut cream, or a cup of cooked white beans, or leave it out entirely.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

For sure. Like many soups, this one only gets better as it sits and has a chance to relax. (Don’t we all?) Once cooled, store it in airtight containers in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a year.

More favorite creamy soup recipes

creamy butternut squash soup in a white tureen

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creamy butternut squash soup in a white tureen
4.77 from 17 votes

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Classic butternut squash soup with apple somehow manages to be both the ultimate in comfort and totally elegant at the same time. Make it in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total: 47 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients 

  • 1 large butternut squash, about 3 pounds/1(360 grams) (see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 2 ½ cups (590 ml) good, lower-sodium vegetable broth (see note 2)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) pure maple syrup
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream

Instructions 

  • Trim ends from butternut squash. Peel, scoop out seeds, and dice into 1-inch pieces.
  • 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, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until squash is very tender.
  • Remove bay leaves.
  • 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.)
  • Ladle into bowls and serve.

Notes

  1. A three-pound squash (weighed whole) will yield about 2 3/4 pounds trimmed flesh, which makes about 11 cups diced squash cubes. If starting with pre-cubed butternut, whether fresh or frozen, use approximately that amount. If starting with squash puree, use two cups.
  2. If you're using the Instant Pot method, reduce the broth to 2 cups. The IP is a sealed environment, so you won't lose as much liquid to evaporation. To make this recipe vegetarian, use a good vegetable broth. This one has by far my favorite flavor profile. Or use chicken broth if you're not concerned with making it vegetarian.
  3. Like many soups, this one only gets better as it sits and has a chance to relax. (Don't we all?) Once cooled, store it in airtight containers in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a year.
  4. This soup has a wonderful depth of flavor under any circumstances, so I don't typically find the need to start with roasted squash. But if you'd like to give it a try, here's how. 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. 
  5. For a dairy-free, vegan version of this soup: Replace the butter with vegan butter or olive oil (or leave it out, if using the Instant Pot method). Replace the cream with cashew cream, coconut cream, or a cup of cooked white beans, or leave it out entirely.

Nutrition

Calories: 243kcal, Carbohydrates: 41.4g, Protein: 2.9g, Fat: 8.7g, Fiber: 5.3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soups
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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