Silky, creamy, full of rich butternut flavor … this is possibly the easiest, as well as the best butternut squash soup you can make. It’s comforting and elegant at the same time. It’s my favorite preparation of butternut squash.
How to Cut a Butternut Squash
If you’ve never done it, you might be thinking, “how to I get in there?” Don’t be intimidated! It’s very straightforward. Start by cutting the ends from your squash so you have flat safety spots. This is yet another example why you need sharp knives in your kitchen.
Stand the squash on end and cut it in half vertically. Scoop out the seeds and membranes with a spoon. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, remove the peel in long strips as well as any thick spots of the white layer underneath.
I like to peel one end of the halved squash, then turn it around and peel the other. I find it easier to hold while peeling if it’s halved and seeded first.
An enzyme just underneath the squash skin can sometimes make the skin of your hands feel tingly. Don’t worry, that will wash right off.
Cut the bulbous ends from the main trunk of the squash. Slice those ends into strips, then cubes. Cut the tops into slabs, then slice the slabs into strips, then into cubes.
Remember, cutting your squash into evenly sized cubes (more or less) will assure even cooking.
Making Your Soup
Begin making your butternut squash soup by sauteing onions in butter, then adding your diced squash as well as a peeled, diced apple. Pour in enough chicken broth to barely cover the squash, leaving some cubes poking above the broth. Tying your fresh thyme sprigs together with some string will make their later removal easier.
Simmer until the squash is tender. Blend using an immersion blender or standard pitcher blender.Add remaining ingredients and heat through, but don’t simmer the soup. At this point, never let it boil or it might curdle.
Garnish your serving bowls with a drizzle of cream or Crème Fraiche, if desired.
The Best Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 2.5-3 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in ½" cubes
- 3-4 cups chicken broth
- 1 large apple, peeled and chopped
- 3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
- ⅔ cup heavy or whipping cream, plus more for garnishing, if desired
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper (or ¼ teaspoon white pepper)
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Heat a large soup pot and melt the butter. Sauté the onion in butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Don't let it brown.
- Add the diced squash and apple. Barely cover with only as much broth as needed (it's okay if a few chunks are poking up out of the broth.)
- Tie fresh thyme sprigs together with string for easy removal. Add thyme (fresh or dried) to the pot. Simmer gently, covered, for approximately 20 minutes until the squash is fork tender. Remove thyme sprigs. You can scrape off the leaves and add them if they haven't come off by themselves.
- If using an immersion blender, remove the pot from the heat and blend until smooth. If using a standard pitcher blender, pour the contents of the pot into another pot or large bowl. Blend in batches by ladling some of the squash and broth into the blender, no more than half full. Lay a towel over the lid of the blender and open the vent if there is one and start blending slowly. Blend until smooth then pour the pitcher-full back into the soup pot. Repeat until it's all blended smooth.
- Add the cream, sherry, sugar, salt & pepper and cayenne to the soup. Cook on low for about 10-15 minutes until heated through and the flavors are melded. Don't bring it to a simmer. If it seems to thick, add a little more broth. Taste it and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Garnish bowls with a swirl of cream, if desired.
- Need a dairy-free soup? Substitute olive oil for butter and coconut milk for cream.
- This soup can easily be made ahead and reheated when needed.
- The sugar doesn’t sweeten the soup, but it balances out the “squashiness.”