Make Ahead

Butternut Squash and Cider Soup: 1993

December  7, 2010
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is a great soup to have in your everyday arsenal. It’s sweet, purely flavored, and can be made in a flash. The recipe came from Canyon Ranch, back when the Berkshires spa was little-known but expensive. Now it is just the latter. I think it's the perfect thing to serve the week after Thanksgiving, when you still crave the flavors but need a break from the heft. The recipe called for a red Rome or Delicious apple, neither of which I found tart enough. I changed it to Honey Crisp or Granny Smith. —Amanda Hesser

What You'll Need
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, homemade or canned low-sodium
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 unpeeled Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apple, cored and finely diced
  • Cracked black pepper
  1. Heat a medium-size saucepan over low heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and 1/4 cup water. Cook until the shallot and garlic are softened, being careful not to let them burn, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the squash and the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. Carefully pour the mixture into a blender. Holding the top down with a towel, blend until smooth. Add the cider, sour cream, and salt. Continue blending until well combined. The soup can be made ahead up to this point. Place in a clean saucepan over low heat until heated through. Season with additional salt if needed.
  3. Ladle the soup among 4 bowls. Garnish with the diced red apple and cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Renee
  • Lauren Miller
    Lauren Miller
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
  • Maria Victoria Arnold
    Maria Victoria Arnold
  • Miss Carolyn
    Miss Carolyn
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

24 Reviews

Renee October 6, 2021
I made this yesterday and LOVED it so much! Diggin all the recipes.
Amanda H. October 6, 2021
Really glad you liked it, Renee!
Lauren M. November 30, 2020
Good idea but turns out quite sweet. I would add more chicken stock and less cider, while adding more liquid in general. The texture was more like a puree and less soupy. The apple and (lots of) black pepper are good addition for texture and flavor. I think a salty cheese like parmesan would also add good bite and umami to the dish. Would make again with more than a few tweaks.
suzi November 5, 2014
Yum! Yummy yum! Ha ha. The second time I made this, I roasted pre cut ready to go squash while I took a shower. Then I followed the recipe. I added fresh grated ginger to the simmering pot, and the diced, peeled apple - I used all homemade chicken stock, no water. I also subbed in thick Greek plain yogurt
for the sour cream. What a winning recipe as is, or kicked up a notch! Company and holiday worthy for sure.
Alexandra S. October 16, 2014
This was so delicious! Made it tonight for dinner, and I couldn't believe how quickly it came together, how little stock it needed to become a silky smooth purée, and how much flavor developed in such little time. I used more like 4 cups of cubed squash, so I had to thin out the soup at the end with a little bit more stock, but otherwise I followed the recipe to a T. Loved the first step of softening the onion and garlic in water versus butter or oil — I've never done this, but it worked beautifully and the kitchen smelled so good. Soup received rave reviews from my in-laws. Making it again Saturday. Thank you for another great recipe!
Amanda H. October 23, 2014
Happy to hear you liked it so much -- I've been making it for years.
Paula September 22, 2014
what do you mean by cider....fermented hard cider or apple juice?
Amanda H. September 23, 2014
Apple cider (not fermented), which is just fresh pressed apple juice, and tends to be dark/cloudy (vs. apple juice which is clear).
Maria V. October 16, 2013
Does it really need to be put into a big blender or could one use a stick blender instead?
Amanda H. October 16, 2013
You can try an immersion/stick blender -- it should work!
Alexandra S. October 16, 2014
i used an immersion blender, and it worked beautifully!
Miss C. March 26, 2013
This was not my favorite soup, I was so excited for this soup and it was kind of a let down. To many flavors, maybe it would be better without the sour cream.
vanessa.b November 8, 2012
Has anyone tried making this ahead of time and reheating it? I am looking for a soup to serve with Thanksgiving, but would love to be able to make it a day or two ahead of time and then freeze it.
Amanda H. November 8, 2012
You can definitely make it ahead, just save the sour cream part for just before serving.
flourpower November 12, 2012
I make this ahead all the time - without the sour cream. You don't need to freeze it - it will be delicious if you make it 2-3 days ahead, keep it in the fridge and reheat. You can also add a bit of creme fraiche after reheating if you want instead of the sour cream. Delicious!
vanessa.b November 13, 2012
Great! Thank you!
triplip September 25, 2012
This is really yummy, but didn't make much. 4 very small servings would come out of this recipe. I would double it next time.
flourpower January 8, 2012
So good with a tiny bit of ginger jam swirled into the bowls at the end - Yum!!
Amanda H. February 4, 2012
Nice idea.
arielleclementine November 14, 2011
i'm making this for the third time this fall- i think it is just perfect! i was initially mistrustful of the lack of butter, but i followed the recipe as written and absolutely loved it. thanks for sharing!
Amanda H. November 14, 2011
I hear you about the butter -- seemed like a deal-breaker, but then it surprises you with flavor.
Stu37 November 10, 2011
Just made this for the third time, but went w/ the approach in the Pear Soup highlighted this week. Rendered some bacon, sweated the onion/garlic in the bacon fat and then continued on. Topped the soup with the bacon and some blue cheese (as in the Pear Soup recipe). Highly recommend - this recipe is good on its own, but this makes it just a little richer.
Paulskiogorki January 25, 2011
Would I be reported to the soup police for using vegetable broth?
Amanda H. January 25, 2011
I won't tell. Pinky promise.