A luxuriously creamy (yet cream-less!) butternut squash soup that is loaded with veggies while still allowing the butternut squash to shine! An optional sweet and savory topping of caramelized onions, sweet apples, and salty bacon kicks up the tasty factor even more. This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free and also includes simple suggestions for making it vegan!
It's the week before Thanksgiving and I'm coming to you with soup. I'll confess, I thought it would be a turkey. Maybe you were hoping it would be too. Next year friends. Maybe.
Buuuuut....if ever there was a soup that we should be making RIGHT NOW, it should definitely be this one.
But first, a thank you...
Before we talk about all things soup and dive into this bowl of creamy tastiness that has been on repeat at my house for the last month, I want to express my deep appreciation and thanks to so many of you.
I am abundantly grateful to those of you who over the last three months have sent me kind messages, posted loving comments, came alongside me in person to just listen (in the moments when there were words to say and in the moments when there were no words to be found), left phone messages, those who gave hugs, those who nourished my soul with food when the grief took over my motivation to cook, and those who drove from both near and far to just be a comforting and available presence.
I am thankful for you.
And I am thankful for your love and compassion toward me during a difficult time as I adjust, grieve, and process the loss of my best friend.
This season of life with grieving has not been easy. But I am okay.
I'm not saying I'm okay with losing my best friend to breast cancer. I hate cancer and I hate what it did to her body. And I miss her like crazy and daily wrestle with the feelings of "if only I could tell her this" or "if only she were here to see this." But in spite of those moments, I'm okay. And sometimes being 'just okay' is not a bad place to be in.
I am taking all that comes with experiencing great loss day by day, and sometimes just moment by moment. I recently read this quote by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross (she is the voice who introduced the world to her theory of the five stages of grief) that currently resonates with me:
"The reality is you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same, nor should you want to."
And that's where I'm at.
And thank you for being with me in it.
And now I'd really like to talk about this soup. Cue awkward transition.
🌟 Why you'll love this recipe
This creamy butternut squash soup IS THE BEST.
I kind of want to enter it into a soup competition because it's THAT good. It doesn't matter how many other millions of butternut squash soup recipes there are already out there vying for the fame and glory of being the best soup on the world wide web. THIS ONE. THIS creamy butternut squash soup is THE BEST.
This amazing soup is:
- Loaded with vegetables, so maybe it should be named The Best Creamy Vegetable Soup instead. However, once the butternut squash is added to the veggie party all those other veggies seem to take backstage and instead lend themselves to an added depth of flavor.
- Soooo creamy, BUT it's a cream-less creamy for all of you needing some slurpy goodness that's dairy-free. Think silky luxuriousness that makes you want to just dump your whole face right into the bowl for a soup facial. Is that a thing yet? Soup facials? I could maybe get on board with that. Too weird? Maybe? Oooor maybe not?!?! Maybe I'm on to something...
- Perfect as-is but even more amazing with this sweet and savory soup topping. The topping is totally optional but think of it as a tasty flavor bonus. Chunks of caramelized onion with crispy, salty bacon pieces, and slightly sautéed diced, sweet Honeycrisp apple. Uuuugh, it's SO good.
- Perfectly flavorful (in my humble opinionated opinion). Perfectly balanced, perfectly butternut squash-ey, and perfectly tasty.
- A great recipe for meal prep or a comforting meal to take to someone in need of a little TLC. This soup freezes really well making it a great go-to meal for when you're in a pinch to get dinner on the table. It's also a wonderful meal to take to a friend or family you know who has been suddenly thrown into a new season of life perhaps caused by loss, a health situation, or welcoming a new baby and could just really use a helping hand with meals.
🛒 Ingredients & suggestions
- Carrots - Orange, white, purple, or yellow. Any color of carrot will do (but purple will alter the color of your soup some).
- Parsnip - Similar in sweetness to a carrot, while adding just the right amount of nutty, earthy pizzazz to this squash soup.
- Coconut milk - Full-fat (versus lite) canned coconut milk is my preference for achieving that next-level silky and creamy soup texture. Not a fan of coconut milk? Use heavy cream or whole milk instead (but the soup will no longer be dairy-free if you do).
- Chicken Broth - Or use vegetable broth to make the soup vegan!
- Ingredients for Optional Topping - Sauteed bacon (uncured, no sugar added, thick-cut), sweet onion, Honeycrisp apple, and Italian parsley are an awesome topping combo on this soup for an extra little punch of yummm.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities see the recipe card at the end of this post.
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
Step 1: Add a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic, carrots, onion, celery, and parsnip. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Step 2: Add butternut squash, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat.
Step 3: Add broth and bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover, and let it simmer babe. Give it 20 minutes or so for those hunks of squash to become fork tender.
Step 4: Time to make the soup smooth and creamy! Transfer the soup in two batches to a high-speed blender (being careful not to fill the blender too full with the hot liquid, no exploding blenders please).
Step 5: Allow the blender to run until the soup is silky and dreamy.
Step 6: Return soup to the pot and add in the coconut milk, stirring to combine.
Step 7: Allow the soup to cook for a few more minutes over medium heat.
Step 8: Time to eat! Top your soup with the optional bacon-apple-onion topping (see below for step by step instructions) and a drizzle of coconut milk if you wanna be extra fancy. 💃
🔪 Step-by-step instructions for optional soup topping
Step 1: Add bacon and onion to a skillet and sauté for about 5-10 minutes until the bacon is crispy, its fat has rendered, and the onions are soft and slightly caramelized. Drain off the grease and return the skillet to the stovetop.
Step 2: Add the apple and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Step 3: Add parsley and give it quick stir.
Step 4: Your tasty soup topping is ready to garnish some butternut squash soup!
👩🍳 Recipe tips!
- Alright, let's be honest for a moment. Peeling and cubing a butternut squash can be downright difficult. If that's how you feel about prepping a butternut squash, try this method for softening the squash before you peel and cube it. Prick the squash all over with a fork and place it in a microwave for about 4-5 minutes. Allow the squash to cool, then peel, halve it, scrape out the seeds, and cube it.
- Make a big batch and freeze it for later! This soup freezes really well and will keep for months in the freezer. Allow the soup to cool before placing it in a freezer-safe container or freezer bags. When you're ready to eat it, place the frozen soup in a pot and allow it to thaw on low heat. If you substituted some type of dairy in place of the coconut milk you may notice some separation occurring as you reheat the soup. If this is the case just put the soup back in the blender for a minute or two and it should come back together.
💭 Frequently asked questions
Yes, you do need to peel the squash. Butternut squash have tough skins that aren't very edible (unlike other winter squashes). However, if you'd like, you could take this recipe one step further by turning it into a roasted butternut squash soup recipe in which case leave the skin on, slice the squash in half, brush olive oil on the cut side of the squash, place each half cut-side-down on a baking sheet, and roast in an oven set to 375°F for 50 minutes. The flesh will easily scoop out of the skin after roasting.
Add extra broth, a little at a time, until the soup reaches your desired consistency.
An immersion blender also works! Sometimes it's more difficult to get a perfectly smooth soup with an immersion blender but you can get it pretty close and it will still taste awesome!
I'm thinking this soup might just be the perfect first-course for your holiday smorgasbord.
But first things first. Who's with me on that soup facial?!
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The Best Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: Makes about 10 cups 1x
A luxuriously creamy (but dairy-free!) butternut squash soup that is loaded with veggies while still allowing the butternut squash to shine! An optional sweet and savory topping of caramelized onions, sweet apples, and salty bacon kicks up the tasty factor even more.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 1-2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (approx. 1 cup)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (approx. 1 cup)
- 1-2 stalks celery, chopped (approx. 1 cup )
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and coarsely chopped (approx 1-2 cups)
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (approx. 7 cups)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth (*see notes below)
- 1 can (14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk (*see notes below)
Sweet & Savory Topping (Optional)
- 4 slices uncured, sugar-free, thick-cut bacon, diced
- ¾ cup onion, diced
- ½ large Honeycrisp apple, diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add garlic, carrots, onion, celery, and parsnip. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add butternut squash, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat.
- Add broth and bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover, and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender.
- Transfer the soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree soup until smooth.
- Return soup to the pot and add coconut milk. Continue cooking for a few more minutes over medium heat.
- Serve as is or garnish with Sweet & Savory Topping (see instructions below) and a little drizzle of coconut milk.
Sweet & Savory Topping (Optional)
- Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
- Add bacon and onion to skillet and sauté for about 5-10 minutes or until bacon is crispy, its fat has rendered, and the onions are soft and slightly caramelized.
- Drain off the grease and return the skillet to stovetop.
- Add apple and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat. Add parsley and stir until just combined.
- Serve as a topping on a bowl of luxuriously creamy butternut squash soup.
The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products I use or recommend.
Vegan option: Swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.
Lower calorie, lower-fat options: Use lite coconut milk in place of regular coconut milk (the soup will not be as thick and the flavor will be affected slightly). You can also omit the bacon from the topping and instead sauté the onion and apple in a small amount of olive oil.
What is the white drizzle on top of the soup? It's coconut milk! If you'd like to add that pretty drizzle of coconut milk to the top of your soup, reserve a little bit from the can when adding the coconut milk to the soup. This will save you from needing to open up an additional can of coconut milk.
Storage: This soup freezes really well and will keep for months in the freezer. Allow the soup to cool before placing it in a freezer-safe container or freezer bags. When you're ready to eat it, place the frozen soup in a pot and allow it to thaw on low heat. If you substituted some type of dairy in place of the coconut milk you may notice some separation occurring as you reheat the soup. If this is the case just put the soup back in the blender for a minute or two and it should come back together.
- Category: Soup
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Keywords: butternut squash, butternut squash soup, soup recipes, gluten free recipes, easy dinner recipes, fall soup recipes
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Hi there and Happy Thanksgiving! I am excited to make this recipe as a part of my Thanksgiving feast this year! I was wondering, instead of cooking the butternut squash stovetop can I roast it in the oven first and then incorporate it when blending with the other ingredients?
I’m also hosting on Friday instead of Thursday. I’m assuming if I make this a day or two ahead of time, housing it in the fridge will be ok?
Hi Annette! Yes, you can definitely roast the squash first and then incorporate when blending the soup. This soup also stores great in the fridge if you decide to make it a few days ahead of time. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
I love it
Yay! I'm so happy to hear Mimi!
I'm going to make the recipe this week! I do not like the taste of coconut milk, so what dairy can I use instead? Should I use half n' half or just regular milk? This looks SO good. I can't wait to try it!!
Hi Lindsey! Yes, you could swap out the coconut milk for half and half or whole milk. You could also leave the dairy out completely and thin out the soup with a little more broth. Each of these options will change the flavor of the soup slightly from the original recipe but it should still be tasty! I hope you enjoy it!
I love this soup! It is especially good in the fall.
Thank you Emily! I couldn't agree more!
This is the absolute best recipe! I didn’t/wouldn’t change a thing. Next time I’m going to double the topping because it is the perfect finishing touch.
Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment Cheryl! I'm so happy to hear that you loved this recipe!
This is the BEST Butternut squash soup recipe I have found yet! We did a taste test before adding the coconut milk and decided it tasted amazing with out it! This will now be our go to soup recipe!
Awesome Jenny! I love hearing this! Thanks so much for leaving a comment to let me know what you thought.
Perfect! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
So glad you liked it Enjoli! 😊
I’m cooking this recipe right now, and am looking forward to the topping, also. I’ll let you know how it turns out! I think it’s going to become one of my favorites!
Awesome! I hope you love it! Can’t wait to hear what you think!
I am excited to try this recipe. But I think the carb information is incorrect. There is no way it could have 500 g carbs per serving, and only be 2-300 calories. Maybe the decimal point is off by one place?
Hi Christy! Thanks for your comment. I dug further into the mysterious carb count that my nutrition label was generating and discovered that for some reason the label was having a hard time processing the nutrition facts for the chicken broth I used. So weird! The nutrition facts for the soup should look a little more reasonable now. ? I'd love to hear what you think of the soup after you tried it out! I hope you enjoy!
This is great soup! I keep going back to this recipe.
Thank you Marita! I'm so glad to hear that it's become a go-to recipe for you! ❤️
This was the best butternut squash soup I've had and I've tried a handful! The soup itself is delicious on its own, but the topping (with the apples, onions, bacon and parsley) MAKES this recipe. Delicious and definitely a make again.
Thanks so much Allison! I'm so happy to hear that you loved it!
I love me some butternut squash soup!!
I was looking for a butternut squash soup recipe.....and this one is AMAZING! so easy, and so so good! love the creaminess of the coconut. I look forward to trying the topping too next time!
Thanks so much Megan! : )