Classic Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

The most flavorful butternut squash soup, made by roasting the squash until it's deeply browned and caramelized.

A white bowl of butternut squash soup topped with spiced whipped cream and three fried sage leaves.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Roasting the squash at high heat until deeply browned enhances its sweetness significantly and brings out its best possible flavor.
  • Browning the butter and cooking the onions until lightly golden adds a nutty depth and extra sweetness.
  • A touch of sour cream in the whipped cream adds a subtle tang that contrasts nicely with the rich, sweet soup.

Smooth and silky butternut squash soup is a cold-weather staple. The secret to the most intense, sweetest flavor is to roast the squash until it's deeply browned and caramelized, then purée it with a base of browned butter and golden sautéed onions. A dollop of sour cream–spiked, cinnamon- and nutmeg-spiced whipped cream and frizzled sage leaves complete this wintertime classic.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 105 mins
Serves: 6 servings
Makes: 2 quarts

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Ingredients

  • 1 (2 1/2pound; 1kg) butternut squashpeeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 large (8-ounce; 215g) carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 7 tablespoons (100g) unsalted butter, divided (see note)

  • 1 large (8-ounce; 215g) yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 4 cups (1L) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, plus more as needed

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy whipping cream

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) sour cream

  • Pinch ground cinnamon

  • Pinch nutmeg

  • 20 fresh sage leaves (optional; see note)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (230°C). Toss squash and carrot with olive oil and arrange on 2 rimmed baking sheets, being sure not to overcrowd the sheets. Roast until squash and carrot are very well browned on a couple of sides, about 40 minutes; use a thin metal spatula to turn pieces 2 or 3 times during cooking. Set aside.

  2. In a large saucepan, cook 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat until just starting to brown. Add onion and garlic, lower heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly golden, about 10 minutes; lower heat as necessary to prevent burning.

  3. Add squash and carrot to saucepan and remove from heat. Pour 1/2 cup (120ml) stock into each baking sheet and scrape up any browned bits, then pour into saucepan. Add remaining stock, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf and return to medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat and simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

  4. Using a high-powered blender, standard countertop blender or immersion blender, blend soup until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Return soup to saucepan and thin, if necessary, with additional stock until desired consistency is reached. Keep warm.

  5. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer, or using a handheld mixer or whisk, beat cream and sour cream with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt, until stiff. Set aside.

  6. If making frizzled sage leaves, melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat, swirling gently, until foamy and just beginning to brown. Add sage leaves, swirling to submerge, and cook until frizzled, about 15 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sage to a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle very lightly with salt.

  7. Ladle soup into warmed bowls, spoon dollops of spiced whipped cream into each one, and top with frizzled sage, if using. Serve right away.

Special equipment

High-powered blender, standard countertop blender, or immersion blender; 2 rimmed baking sheets

Notes

Of the 7 tablespoons of butter, 5 are used for making the frizzled sage; if you decide to omit the sage, you will need only 2 tablespoons of butter.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
391 Calories
31g Fat
27g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 391
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 17g 85%
Cholesterol 75mg 25%
Sodium 621mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 31mg 153%
Calcium 141mg 11%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 812mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)