This classic pumpkin soup recipe is rich, heartwarming and bursting with flavor. It is remarkably easy to make using just a handful of ingredients. This velvety smooth and naturally creamy pumpkin soup offers a warm, earthy and slightly sweet taste. Topped with roasted pumpkin seeds as the perfect garnish, it is the perfect go-to soup recipe when the weather cools down during fall and winter, delivering the perfect comfort food in a bowl.
Pumpkin soup ingredients
- Pumpkin: Use preferably fresh pumpkin with the peel and seeds removed. Both pumpkin or butternut squash are great choices and up to personal taste. Frozen pumpkin or canned pumpkin purée are also both great alternatives to make this soup, especially when short on time. Just keep in mind that the total cooking time will vary when using the latter ingredients.
- Onion and garlic: Both yellow onion and a few garlic cloves are the flavor base of this soup. Use as much garlic as you like, but count at least 2 cloves as a minimum.
- Olive oil: The vegetables are first sautéed in olive oil to release their flavors which is what gives the taste of this soup.
- Broth: Use either vegetable or chicken broth, according to personal preference.
- Seasoning: Apart from salt and pepper, I also use ground cinnamon and cumin as warming and earthy spices. As for herbs, I add a bay leaf and a teaspoon of dried thyme (fresh thyme will work as well).
- Cream: I use a drizzle of heavy cream just for garnish, not for cooking. For a dairy free version, add soy cream or coconut cream. Either way, any type of cream is optional.
- Pumpkin seeds: To add crunch to this soup I lightly toast some pumpkin seeds and add them as garnish just before serving.
What type of pumpkin to use for soup
This classic pumpkin soup can be made with either fresh or frozen pumpkin and even with canned pumpkin purée. But for optimal pumpkin flavor I highly recommend using fresh pumpkin.
Now what with all the various types, you might be wondering what is the best type of pumpkin to use to make pumpkin soup?
Here is a list of some of the culinary pumpkin varieties which are suitable to use:
- Sugar pumpkin
- Hokkaido pumpkin
- Butternut squash
- Kabocha pumpkin
- Cinderella pumpkin
These are great examples of varieties that all have a smooth texture along with a sweet, tender and nutty flavor, giving this easy pumpkin soup optimal taste. However, one variety which is not recommended to use are carving pumpkins as they are grown for size and not for flavor.
How to make pumpkin soup from scratch
Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Making a traditional pumpkin soup is fairly easy with most of the work being the chopping of the pumpkin into chunks.
- Prepare the pumpkin: Depending on which type of pumpkin you use, you might need to remove the peel. For instance, butternut squash has a thin peel which can be used in the soup. Remove the seeds and chop in equal chunks. Make sure all the pieces are the same size to allow equal cooking time.
- Sauté the aromatics and pumpkin: Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat and sauté the chopped onions until softened. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking until fragrant. Then add the pumpkin with all the seasoning (cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper, bay leaf and thyme) and carry on cooking for another 5 minutes until they turn slightly golden.
- Simmer the soup: Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft and tender.
- Blend the soup: Don’t forget to remove the bay leave before blending the soup.
- With a stick blender: Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup smooth with a stick or hand blender.
- With a stand blender: Allow the liquid to cool down a bit then transfer the mixture in batches to a stand/table top blender and mix until smooth. Transfer back into the soup pot.
- Adjust seasoning: Add more liquid if the soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish and serve: When the soup is boiling, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds or pepitas in a dry pan. Garnish each serving with a handful of seeds.
Pumpkin soup variations
This recipe is for an easy, simple, classic pumpkin soup. However, there are numerous variations of pumpkin soup that caters for different tastes and dietary preferences, either with other vegetables or with a variety of spices.
- Adding vegetables: Don’t go overboard adding too many other vegetables otherwise it wont be a pumpkin soup anymore. The following vegetables pair really well with the flavor profile of pumpkins:
- Sweet potatoes
- Red bell peppers
- Apples (ok, this is fruit, but it works well in this soup)
- Different seasoning: Adding various spices and/or herbs works perfectly to give a slightly different flavor and taste to this soup. But as with extra veggies, go easy on the spices or you wont taste the pumpkin:
- Spicy: Add chilli flakes or cayenne pepper
- Earthy: Cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg
- Asian: Curry powder, turmeric, ginger, coriander
- Mediterranean: Oregano, basil, rosemary, sage
- Sweet: Maple syrup, honey
- Creamy: Heavy cream, coconut milk or coconut cream
- Meat: Adding meat is more for garnish. Crispy bacon, chorizo or Spanish ham can be considered.
How to store
You can prepare this pumpkin soup in advance and refrigerate it for up to 4 days. After cooking, let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a sealed container and refrigerate. Alternatively, you can freeze this soup as well. Allow it to cool, divide it into smaller portions in freezer-safe containers and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheat the soup in a sauce pan over medium heat, while stirring frequently. Alternatively reheat in small portions in the microwave.
How to serve this soup
Serve as a light lunch or easy weeknight dinner with rustic crusty farm bread, baguette, crunchy french loaf or this Spanish tomato bread. Or consider serving as a starter or first course. Add croutons, roasted chickpeas or toasted pumpkin seeds.
More pumpkin recipes to try
- Creamy pumpkin stew with spinach
- Creamy butternut squash pasta with sage
- Butternut squash soup with orange and mint
- Roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts
Classic pumpkin soup recipe
- 2 pounds (or 1 kg) pumpkin or butternut squash peeled, seeded and chopped into 1-inch (or 2.5 cm) chunks
- 2 onions diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups (or 1 liter) vegetable or chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 bayleaf
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 handful pumpkin seeds lightly roasted
- Peel and seed the pumpkin and chop into 1-inch (or 2.5 cm) chunks.
- Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the pumpkin and carry on cooking for 5 minutes until they turn golden. Season with salt and pepper, add the cumin, cinnamon, thyme and the bayleaf.
- Pour the stock into the pan and bring to a boil. Once the liquid boils, reduce to low heat, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for a further 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and tender.
- Take the pot off the heat and remove the bay leaf.
- Blend the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve and garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of cream.