Pumpkin Soup

This creamy pumpkin soup recipe is the perfect dish for a cool fall night. Packed with warm curry flavor, it's comforting, nourishing, and delicious.

Pumpkin soup

Is there anything more autumnal than creamy pumpkin soup? A few weekends back, Chicago was seeing its first fall weather of the year. The air was crisp, a few leaves were turning yellow and red, and Jack and I were making our traditional Sunday trip to the farmers market. When we got there, I caught sight of a massive kabocha squash with vibrant orange skin. As soon as I saw it, I knew how I was spending my afternoon. On a cool day like that, there’s nothing I love more than making a big pot of soup. I scooped up the shiny squash in front of me and started dreaming up a new pumpkin soup recipe on the spot.

Since then, Jack and I have eaten more than a few batches of this pumpkin soup, but we’re nowhere near tired of it. Thanks to the squash, it has a wonderfully thick and creamy texture. Coconut milk adds richness, and aromatic spices like turmeric, ginger, and cumin fill it with warm curry flavor. If the last few weeks are any indication, we’ll be making it often this season, and I hope you will be, too.

Pumpkin soup recipe ingredients

Pumpkin Soup Recipe Ingredients

If you’re a pumpkin purist, you might be wondering, “What’s all this about kabocha squash? Shouldn’t pumpkin soup be made with, well, pumpkin?” It’s a fair question. But here in the US, much of what we think of as pumpkin is actually just winter squash. That’s right! The canned pumpkin purée we bake into pies, quick bread, muffins, and bars is a hodgepodge of all kinds of winter squash. These squashes are sweeter and creamier than the pumpkins many of us carve each year, so they make for a tastier purée (and soup!).

That’s not to say that this recipe calls for canned pumpkin purée. In fact, whatever you do, don’t use the canned stuff. Fresh squash has a sweeter flavor and firmer texture; the soup wouldn’t be nearly as creamy or flavorful without it. I love making this pumpkin soup recipe with fresh kabocha squash, but it would also work well with any type of firm, sweet winter squash. Buttercup squash, Hubbard squash, red kuri squash, and even butternut squash would all be good choices. Once you’ve selected your pumpkin, you only need a few more ingredients to make this soup:

  • Ginger, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, and coriander – I love this combination of spices in my Easy Coconut Curry, and it works wonders in this pumpkin soup recipe, too. The spices fill it with warm, aromatic curry flavor.
  • Onion and garlic – They add sharp depth of flavor.
  • Coconut milk – It makes this soup rich and creamy without any heavy cream or dairy. Yep, this recipe is totally vegan and dairy-free!
  • Apple cider vinegar – Its tangy flavor balances the squash’s sweetness.

Just grab some vegetable broth, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and you’re on your way to making pumpkin soup!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below. 

Halved kabocha squash cut-side-up on a baking sheet

How to Make Pumpkin Soup

I like to think of this pumpkin soup recipe in three main parts: roast, simmer, and blend. Here’s how it goes:

First, roast the squash. Carefully chop it in half vertically, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Rub the cut side of the squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place it cut-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Halved kabocha squash cut-side-down on a baking sheet

Roast the squash in a 400° oven until it’s completely soft, about 50-60 minutes.

Roasted pumpkin on a baking sheet

When the roasted squash is cool to the touch, peel away its skin and measure 4 1/2 packed cups of the soft pumpkin flesh.

Roasted pumpkin on a baking sheet with measuring cup

Next up: simmer! In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion until it softens. Add the spices, garlic, and ginger, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Mix in the measured squash flesh, broth, and coconut milk, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, and stir in the vinegar.

Finally, blend. Allow the soup to cool slightly. Then, transfer it to a blender and puree until smooth (you could also use an immersion blender for this step!). The consistency will vary based on the water content of your squash, so if the soup is too thick, blend in water, 1/2 cup at a time, to reach your desired texture. Pour into bowls, and enjoy!

Creamy vegan pumpkin soup recipe

Creamy Pumpkin Soup Serving Suggestions

When you’re ready to eat, top your bowl with any garnishes you like. A drizzle of coconut milk, microgreens, toasted pepitas or pumpkin seeds, chopped cilantro, and fresh black pepper are all wonderful on this soup. Crusty homemade croutons would be delicious, too!

Enjoy the soup on its own, with a hunk of crusty bread or homemade focaccia on the side, or make it part of a larger meal. I love to pair it with avocado toast, a dressed-up grilled cheese sandwich, or a hearty autumn salad like one of these:

For more salad ideas, check out this post!

Creamy pumpkin soup in bowls

More Favorite Soup Recipes

If you love this pumpkin soup, try one of these delicious soup recipes next:

Pumpkin Soup

rate this recipe:
4.85 from 13 votes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Serves 6
This creamy pumpkin soup recipe is super comforting and warming - perfect for a cool fall night. I recommend making it with fresh kabocha squash, but buttercup squash, red kuri squash, Hubbard squash, or even butternut squash would work here too.

Ingredients

  • 1 (4-pound) pumpkin (kabocha squash is best)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, reserve a little for garnish
  • cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Water, as needed
  • microgreens, optional, for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet, cut-side down. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes, until very soft. When cool to the touch, peel away the skin and measure 4½ packed cups of the flesh.
  • Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and several grinds of fresh pepper and sauté until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cardamom and stir for 30 seconds, until the spices are aromatic. Add the cooked squash, coconut milk, and broth and stir to combine. Simmer for 20 minutes, then stir in the vinegar.
  • Transfer to a blender, working in batches if necessary. Blend until smooth. Kabocha squash can vary in water content, so if your soup is too thick add up to 1½ cups water (½ cup at a time) to reach your desired consistency. Garnish with additional coconut milk, fresh black pepper, and microgreens, if desired.

13 comments

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  1. Cynthia
    10.01.2020

    5 stars
    This looks delicious!

    What are the greens you sprinkled on top of the soup in the photo?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.01.2020

      cabbage microgreens 🙂

  2. Cathrin
    10.01.2020

    Made this soup for my family. Only change I made is that I roasted the onions and garlic as well in the oven (lazy). They really enjoyed the soup with sourdough bread and garlic bread. Thanks!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.06.2020

      I’m so glad you all loved it!

  3. Sarah
    10.04.2020

    5 stars
    This is fantastic!!! I used buttercup squash that I found at the farmer’s market. It’s sweet and more on the dry side, so it’s great for soup (And smoothies). I used a potato masher rather than puréeing it which kept some of the texture. I will definitely make this again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.06.2020

      Hi Sarah, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Angela
    10.05.2020

    Do you strain your soups after blending? The consistency in your pictures look so thin and smooth compared to when I make them!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.05.2020

      Hi Angela, no, I don’t strain. Since squash can vary in water content, I suggest adding water after you blend it if it’s too thick. It’s possible you could just add a bit more liquid than what you’ve used in the past? Let me know if you give the ratios in this recipe a try. With the coconut milk and all, it should be pretty creamy.

  5. Katy
    10.09.2020

    3 stars
    I liked it, thank you, but was hoping for a little sweeter of a taste. I was going to add a cut up apple but decided I wouldn’t on my first go-round. Next time I think I will.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.09.2020

      Hi Katy, you could stir in a little honey or maple syrup to sweeten it to your liking (without re-blending anything).

  6. Krystal
    10.10.2020

    5 stars
    Oh. My. Gracious. This is easily the best soup I’ve ever made. Swapped the spices for a king masala spice blend that had all the required goodies in it because I couldn’t track down the individual ones, roasted 2 of the garlic cloves, and at the end of it all decided to leave it chunky instead of blended, using a wooden spatula to mash some of the larger squash chunks. Paired it with a piece of cornbread and voila: heaven! Thank you for such a fabulous recipe!!

  7. Carie
    10.21.2020

    5 stars
    Just made this soup and it is delicious!!! I also love that the squash used in the recipe is low fODMAP which butternut squash isn’t. I added just one small clove of garlic and used garlic oil to sauté leek greens instead of onions to keep it all low FODMAP. Can’t wait to eat it for dinner with sourdough and a salad 😋 thanks!!

  8. David
    11.29.2020

    I could not find a kabocha squash so I used buttercup squash instead. I’m guessing it’s a decent substitute but I found the buttercup squash a bit starchy compared to butternut squash but the buttercup had a wonderful nutty smokey flavor when fully cooked. I would recommend halving the spicies too much of a strong curry like flavor which drowns out the wonderful taste of the squash. I would also want to try cream instead of the coconut milk next time. Soup takes on a richer fuller flavor after a day in the refrigerator but thickens up substantially so be prepared to thin it a bit.

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.