Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika

Have you ever tried cooking with smoked paprika? A few months ago I posted a recipe for roasted chicken with smoked paprika in which I told how I first encountered smoked paprika in a kumara soup in New Zealand.

Like chipotle, smoked paprika can add a wonderful smokey dimension to food. It’s perfect with this rich and creamy pumpkin soup. McCormick is putting some marketing effort behind promoting this wonderful spice, so you should be able to find it easily in your local supermarket.

Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Roasting pumpkin time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 1 4-5 pound cooking pumpkin* to yield 6 cups roasted pumpkin OR 3 (15 ounce) cans of pumpkin purée
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped, about 2 cups
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 large tart green apple (Granny Smith) peeled, cored, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option, and gluten-free broth for gluten-free version)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

* Most pumpkins in the store are meant for jack-o-lanterns, not eating. Use a sugar pumpkin or a Japanese Kabocha pumpkin if you are going to cook with it.


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Kabocha pumpkins. If you use a Kabocha, note they are pretty hard, use a strong, sturdy knife and be careful when you cut the pumpkin.

1 To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar or Kabocha pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds* and stringy stuff (an ice cream scoop works well for this purpose), lie face down on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don't use for future use.

* Don't throw away the seeds! Use them to make toasted pumpkin seeds.

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2 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add smoked paprikaground cumin, and cayenne and stir for a minute more.

3 Add the chopped apple and pumpkin purée. Add broth and water. Add the thyme and ground sage. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the apples are cooked through.

4 Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender or a food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. OR use an immersion blender to purée.

If you want extra smooth soup, pass the purée through a food mill, after it's been through the blender.

Return the soup to the saucepan.

5 With soup on low heat, slowly add the milk and cream, stirring to incorporate. Add salt to taste. Adjust other seasonings to taste.

Can make a day ahead.

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Showing 4 of 31 Comments

  • lydia

    I’m glad smoked paprika will be easier to find in the supermarket; it’s always available at Penzeys online, too, for those who don’t live near a Latino market. Be sure to read the jar before you buy, as there are three versions of smoked paprika (pimenton) on the market: sweet, which is what most of us will use; bittersweet; and hot — which is really hot!

  • Rachelle


    I have never seen all three varieties of ‘smoked’ paprika. Usually only the non-smoked comes in different varieties.

  • jennbec

    Oh, thank you, Elsie! I just got a kabocha pumpkin at the farmers market this weekend and was wondering what to do with it. This recipe is perfect! Although I have to say, they’re such interesting pumpkins, it’s tempting to just display them. Maybe I’ll sit them on the table for a week as a centerpiece and then have them for lunch next week. :)

  • chigiy

    This is good information about cooking with pumpkins. I always use the regular jack-o-lantern pumkins. I will have to use the other kind.
    I want to try the smoked paprika too.

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