Make Ahead

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

April 22, 2021
13 Ratings
Photo by Eric Moran
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

A savory, spicy butternut squash soup you don't expect, but one you'll want to eat all season long. —Kenzi Wilbur

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon white shiro miso
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 (1-inch) knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or slightly more to taste
  • 1 (3-pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  1. First, make your miso stock. Put 4 cups of water into a saucepan and heat to a simmer. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of water together with the miso, and pour that into the saucepan. Bring to a simmer, but don't let it boil.
  2. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of a large, heavy pot. When it's hot, add the onion and sweat it until it's translucent. Stir in the ginger, cumin, and cayenne, and toast spices for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Deglaze with a ladle-full of your miso stock.
  3. Add the cubed butternut squash and the salt, mixing everything to combine, and then pour in the rest of the miso stock. Simmer until the squash is completely tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, and purée the soup in a food processor or with a hand blender, being careful of the hot liquid. At this point you can strain for a super-smooth soup, or you can leave it how it is—up to you!
  5. Return the puréed soup back to the pot, and stir in the coconut milk. Taste, adjust for seasoning and spice.
  6. Serve warm, with bread on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • robin lewis
    robin lewis
  • The Melting Pot
    The Melting Pot
  • Natalie
  • Becca Ann Entenberg
    Becca Ann Entenberg
  • carlito

46 Reviews

robin L. January 20, 2023
1/2 tsp of cayenne really packs a punch, but this soup is very good. The only thing I'd say about it is that takes quite a while for the squash to soften because you shouldn't boil miso, and it was hard to maintain just a simmer instead of a boil. I'd probably dice the squash smaller next time in an attempt to hasten along the cooking.
emanne April 22, 2021
Not the most flavorful--I had to add extra miso, and it still felt like it needed a punch of something else. I'd make it again but maybe add carrots or something with a bit more flavor than squash, and sub broth for the water.
The M. December 8, 2016
Really delicious, I already made it two times in the past days!
The second time I didn't add any salt but I added some kurkuma. Yummy!
The M. December 8, 2016
Oh and I also used brown miso paste instead of white shiro miso
Karen T. January 13, 2016
This is a great recipe--very adaptable and the flavors were great. I made a few changes --added the juice of a small lime for some acid, used lite coconut milk instead of full fat, added 2t hot curry powder. The soup is great as is however we bulked it up by topping the bowl with a scoop of steamed jasmine rice. Ate the leftovers today and my husband is already asking when I'm going to make it again!
Natalie November 19, 2015
I just made this and was very pleased! I did add a bit of acid at the end and some herbs.
Becca A. November 9, 2015
I made the recipe exactly as written and thought it was terrific. I did as AntoniaJames did and served it with a squeeze of lime and it definitely brightened it up. Didn't think there was too much miso or coconut milk--thought both were very subtle.
carlito February 12, 2015
First food52 recipe I ever made :) Have made many times since. Love the butternut and miso combo
JORJ January 6, 2015
I think that there is too much miso paste in here... so I used about half of it and that helped a lot. the soup really tastes amazingly better the next day. I added a little yummy vinegar on top when I served it and that was a good call. I had a fancy sweet potato vinegar from japan but I think apple cider would be good too.
AntoniaJames February 19, 2014
I made this last week, curious to compare it to Deborah Madison's quite similar soup. We found this much improved with a touch of lime juice added just before serving. It needs the acid to brighten it, given the sweetness of the squash and coconut milk. (I also did not add all of the coconut milk called for. I strongly recommend that the instructions be revised to suggest that coconut milk be added gradually, to taste.) ;o) P.S. I don't usually add miso until the very end, so as to maximize its nutritional benefits. I wanted to give the recipe a fair shot, so I followed the instructions as given. Next time, I'll make the soup with a stronger miso solution added while blending.
Windischgirl February 16, 2014
Unfortunately, we found this soup disappointing--not a lot of flavor as it was. Now, I did use the flesh of a sugar pumpkin that I baked in the oven; don't know if a squash would have had a stronger taste. I added lime juice, basil, fish sauce, and sriracha to liven it up, and even then, no one really cared for it. :-(
jcrowley February 16, 2014
If you don't want to peel the squash, you can cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast it in a medium to hot oven (I usually do 400 degrees, but 350 or 425 would work) until soft. Start the squash, have a drink, then start the rest of the soup. When the squash is soft, scoop out the flesh and stir it into the soup. Easy, and roasting actually brings out the sweetness.
maggie February 16, 2014
like languagegirl (below), I found the coconut totally overpowering. I was very excited by the recipe, and right up until adding the coconut milk it smelt and tasted fantastic. the coconut addition was a disaster - made the soup heavy, cloying and, to my palette, inedible. after contemplating what I could do to rescue it for some time I decided not to waste any more ingredients and tipped the whole lot on the compost heap. my first major food failure in years!
mpalmer January 24, 2014
This was delicious--capital D delicious. I used light coconut milk and it still turned out perfectly.
diver114 January 20, 2014
This was delicious!!! Added lump crab meat. Yum.
languagegirl December 30, 2013
I thought the coconut flavor was a little overpowering. I tried it before adding the coconut milk and it was delicious. I did only make it with half a large squash so maybe that was the problem. However, husband approved wholeheartedly!
ashley's B. December 29, 2013
Oh my. this was (is) fantastic! It's most definitely a recipe where the sum of the whole is greater than the parts. I used one small butternut squash and one acorn squash; it was great. (I suspect that it be great with a variety of different squashes or combinations.)
I obsessed a little about the chopping/dicing, but since you end up puree-ing it, the only issue is length of cooking time. (So chop big if you're patient, dice finely if you want things to go faster.)
Marvelous! and simple! = Winner!
Randi S. November 11, 2013
Do you think this soup will freeze well? I want to make it early and then serve it on thanksgiving
Kenzi W. November 11, 2013
I know it does! I actually just defrosted a batch of this the other day for lunch. :)
Randi S. November 11, 2013
did you add the coconut milk after you defrosted it?
Kenzi W. November 12, 2013
I've done both (added before and after), and both worked fine.
Randi S. November 24, 2013
This might be a silly question: sweetened or unsweetened coconut milk?
Kenzi W. November 24, 2013
NatWhit November 8, 2013
I was thinking about making this soup, when I saw that Trader Joe's was selling pre-made miso- ginger stock, and that completely sealed the deal. The soup was delightful, but if anyone else is lazy and thinking of using the TJ's stock, I recommend still adding the ginger in the recipe. I don't know how gingery the soup is as written, but subbing the TJ's broth for the water, miso, and ginger, didn't give it as strong a ginger flavor as I would have liked.
lpcooks November 3, 2013
This was great, though much better the next day after the flavors had time to meld. I was too lazy to cube the butternut squash so I just cut it in half, roasted it for about an hour and then scooped out the flesh and proceeded with the rest of the recipe.
Johnpatrick M. October 30, 2013
Another vote for brilliant soup! The miso is a great vegetarian way to add savoriness to an otherwise sweet soup that I hadn't considered. Used 2t of Penzey's hot curry powder.