Make Ahead

Butternut Squash Soup

June 13, 2021
13 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis.
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Makes about 6 1/2 cups
Author Notes

Here’s a pro tip for as soon as the weather starts to turn windy and brisk: Make a batch of this butternut squash soup—or, even better, make a double batch—let cool, then freeze in pint containers. It’ll hang out there happily for months, ready to be thawed in the fridge whenever a craving (or cold) strikes, and microwaved into cozy, comforting bliss.

For the butternut-squashiest butternut squash soup (which is to say, the best butternut squash soup), use the vegetable not one but two ways: Roast some, yielding deeply flavored, caramelized hunks (along with onions, because onions make everything better). And boil the rest of the squash in salty, garlicky water, creating a pseudo vegetable stock in a matter of minutes.

Tossing some walnuts into the blender enriches the soup with an instant nut milk—offering loads of richness and flavor, without the heaviness of cream. I like to use raw nuts for their milky, mild personality, but you can toast them beforehand if you’d like. And you can swap in another nut, like cashews, if that’s all you have around.

Grated Parmesan brings cheesiness, of course, but also saltiness and umami. If you’d like to make this vegan, no problem: Just add nutritional yeast or shiro miso (white miso) to taste, added at the same point you would have added the cheese.

Serve this butternut squash soup with crusty bread, a zingy salad, or both. Or, if you’re an overachiever, you can team up with a gooey grilled cheese for dunking. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • 3 pounds butternut squash (about 1 large or 2 small), peeled
  • 1 pound yellow onions (about 2 medium), peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2/3 cup walnut pieces (or chopped walnuts)
  • 3/4 ounce Parmesan, finely grated (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Whole-milk yogurt, for swirling on top (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Halve the squash and remove the seeds. Chop into 1- to 1 1/2–inch chunks. Add half of these to a sheet pan, along with the onion wedges. Drizzle with the olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands, breaking the onions into petals. Roast for about 35 minutes—using a spatula to shuffle everything halfway through—until the squash is tender and blistering in spots.
  2. While that’s working, add 6 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, and the garlic cloves to a stockpot and set over high heat to come to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the remaining squash and cook for about 10 minutes, until the squash is soft. At this point, add the walnuts and cook another 1 minute to soften. Turn off the heat.
  3. Use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer the squash, garlic, and walnuts to a blender. Pour the squash broth from the pot into a heatproof measuring cup (you should have about 4 cups). Blend the squash mixture until a smooth-ish purée forms. Add 1 cup of squash broth and blend. Add the Parmesan and blend. Taste and add more cheese if you want. Pour the soup into the stockpot.
  4. When the squash and onion are done roasting, transfer those to the blender and add 1 1 1/2 cups of squash broth. Blend until smooth. Pour into the stockpot. Add another ½ cup of squash broth to the blender and blend (this captures all of the soup that was stuck to the sides). Pour this into the pot, too.
  5. Stir the vinegar into the soup. Thin out with more broth if you want, then taste and adjust with more vinegar, salt, and/or black pepper. At this point, you can stick in the fridge or freezer—or serve right away, drizzled with yogurt if you’d like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nicole
  • Kara Weber
    Kara Weber
  • Mary Forst
    Mary Forst
  • j9schaefer
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

8 Reviews

Nicole September 21, 2023
My favorite butternut squash recipe to date. I used white miso in place of Parmesan to make it vegan and it was wonderful.
j9schaefer November 26, 2022
Okay I’m sorry to be that guy who’s like, I made an entirely different recipe 5 stars BUT I had to sub half the squash for sweet potato bc it’s all I had, and I used a splash of cream instead of walnuts, again, for lack of ingredients, but DANG this was AMAZING. Absolutely would make again, either this way or with all the actual ingredients lol
Kara W. November 29, 2021
I always wanted to love butternut squash but never did - UNTIL NOW. So. Much. Flavor! This was so so so delicious even the kids were asking for more! Per Emma's suggestion, served with some sourdough grilled cheese and a salad - will definitely re-make a double batch asap.
evanascent June 13, 2021
This soup is so flavorful, delicious, and simple to make. I have a butternut squash that's been laying around my kitchen since the fall and is still good to use. Even though it's summer now, I'll be using it to make this soup again. I should add that this is the tastiest thing I've ever made with butternut squash!
Heather December 21, 2020
This ended up being a lot of work and, unfortunately, was pretty flavorless. My search for a good butternut squash soup recipe continues....
Mary F. October 13, 2023
You could try the Squash-Pear soup in one of Anna Thomas’ Vegetarian Epicure cookbooks.
Katie October 3, 2020
I made this last night and it was delightful! It wasn't quite as orange as I was expecting, so perhaps I used a bit too little squash and a bit too much nuts and onions, but it was still super tasty. I used pecans as that's what I had. I am amazed how wonderful the garlic-squash broth is!
Katie October 3, 2020
I made this last night and it was delightful! It wasn't quite as orange as I was expecting, so perhaps I used a bit too little squash and a bit too much nuts and onions, but it was still super tasty. I used pecans as that's what I had. I am amazed how wonderful the garlic-squash broth is!