Spicy Pumpkin Soup

I love pumpkin soup, don’t you? This recipe is adapted from one featured in Oprah Magazine. The original called for the soup to be served in roasted carved-out sugar pumpkins – a nice touch, but a little overkill for my taste. Helping with the cooking were my young friends Alden and Reilly. We all agreed that the original recipe was a little too spicy, so we added some heavy cream and some brown sugar and it turned out just perfect.

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Spicy Pumpkin Soup Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin*
  • 5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)**
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

*To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. 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.

**If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free broth.

Method

1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.

2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

3 Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.

4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.

Serve in individual bowls. Sprinkle the top of each with toasted pumpkin seeds.

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54 Comments

  1. Steph

    I made this recipe using butternut squash instead of pumpkin, and it turned out great! It is very spicy (I think I went a little overboard on the “pinch of cayenne”), but luckily my husband and I both love spicy food.

    This is a wonderful recipe for these gray, rainy Fall days.

  2. Jeni

    Hey, my husband and I tried this soup for a small dinner party. We halved the recipe and it was great! We didn’t have any coriander, so we just added a pinch more of every other spice (esp cayenne), and we loved it. Thanks!

  3. Melissa

    Great soup! We didn’t have time (or the will) to blend it and it still turned out wonderfully. A nice way to use those cans of pumpkin that have been in the pantry for years…

  4. kleitch

    Oh boy, this ought to be grrrrreat….!!!

  5. Tony

    Made this last night and it is quite good. I did not do the addition of brown sugar and heavy cream at the end to keep the fat/calories down and I couldn’t find any ground coriander so I used some cumin (’cause I like it…) and it turned out just fine. It’s creamy and tastey without being heavy like cream-type soups are want to be. I can’t wait to see how it goes over with my family tonight.

  6. 40wattclub

    Lovely! Made this for a fundraiser at work and it went like crazy. I was heavy on the spices to great effect, and also added some fresh grated ginger with the onions. Lastly, I added the cream (without mixing) to each portion seperately at serving time, which made for nice presentation. Highly recommended!

  7. Cassandra Nicholls

    I make a similar pumpkin soup.
    I use butternut pumpkin and some sweet potato; the two work beautifully together.

  8. Tristan

    I made this soup tonight it’s great. I added a half of a yellow Jamaican scotch bonnet pepper to the pot. WOW!

  9. Robyn

    I made this soup in a double batch for a church soup dinner. Everyone loved it. The cream and the brown sugar elevated the flavor profile. It was outstanding.

  10. Tim Kirkup

    This soup is sooooo good! The first time we had it, we cooked for several guests. They all loved it too. We made it again today but used Red Onions vice the Yellow Onions and in my opinion, it was better. My cooking style differs in that after I finished Step 1 (softening onions and adding spices), I transferred them and added everything else into a crock pot (minus the milk and cream). I then used a hand blender until everything went smooth. Finished it off by pouring in the milk and cream. A pinch of Cayenne Pepper was a mandatory requirement in this household but the extra salt was not at all needed.

  11. mandy

    I made this soup exactly as the recipe calls for except I used low sodium chicken broth. It was incrediably bland. I had to doctor considerably using salt much more spice and then try to bring out the pumpkin flavor with traditional pumpkin pie spices. I finally had a soup that was acceptable but hardly exceptional.

    Note from Elise: if you cut back on the salt, you have to up all the other spices.

  12. mandy

    Thanks Elise, I sort of just kept adding them in, would you suggest amounts, also how much sea salt do you think I should add. I’m fairly salt sensitive so I try to stay away from soups etc with a lot of salt already in them– I like to add it myself.

    Mandy

    Note from Elise: I always just add spices and salt to taste. Also, taste your spices before putting them in. Spices do grow old and as they age they lose their potency. A good rule of thumb is to replace any spices or herbs that are over a year old, unless they are still in the pod, so to speak, like cardamom, cloves, or nutmeg, or whole pepper. Spices before they are ground will usually last longer than the ground spices.

  13. Sarah

    Just made this soup. It’s delicious — perfect for Halloween Eve!

  14. Mallory

    Vegans gotta eat too! This soup is flat-out delicious and I decided to switch it up for a few of my omnivoric friends. First, I used a butter alternative (i.e. Earth Balance Spread)and vegetable broth without a problem. In order to cut out the cream and milk I substituted coconut milk (full fat works best!) The coconut milk added a natural sweetness to the recipe so I cut out the brown sugar. In the end I ended up with a soup that was fast, easy, cheap, healthy and vegan safe. Yum.

  15. Anonymous

    Big Hit! Made this for a Potluck for a finicky crowd (members of local gourmet club), they loved it,commented on it’s merits all evening and wanted the recipe (the best compliment).

  16. Maureen

    Made this recipe exactly as directed (skipping the optional cayenne), except that I omitted the pumpkin seeds on top. Everyone absolutely LOVED it.

    For my own portion, I chose to add a dollop of sour cream at the table, which looked attractive when swirled through the surface with the tip of a knife.

    I also found, to my surprise, that the soup even tastes good STONE COLD out of the refrigerator.

  17. ethan

    We skipped the cayenne and added more red pepper flakes, and we tried a 1/4 cup of orange moscat champagne vinegar to offset the sweetness. It was really quite nice.

    If I did this again, I’d puree the onions and garlic before making the broth, it would make it easier both in checking texture and in cleanup.

  18. Rosemary

    Thanks for the great recipe! I had a small pumpkin from halloween that I did not want to waste and after raking leaves all morning this soup really hit the spot. I cut the recipe in half as I didn’t have enough ingredients. I used skim milk and only had a little light cream in the house so I added skim to make the cup and a half. I also substituted chile powder for the cayenne. I added a little ground sea salt too. Since I was not using the recommended milk and cream, I made up for it by cooking the pumpkin mixture down until is was nice and thick before pureeing it, about 20 minutes. My husband and I both enjoyed it and we have some left for lunch tomorrow.

  19. Rita

    My husband and I made this soup for dinner tonight and really enjoyed it. We had it with some Nan bread and a cucumber and tomato salad. YUM!

  20. Trish

    Made this recipe because I have been looking for healthier ways to use up my roasted pumpkin than the traditional Thanksgiving pie or pumpkin bread. I used vegetable broth instead of chicken. I tested the recipe before the soup was put into the food processor(between steps 2 and 3). It was described as vegetarian french onion soup. I now have a couple variations to enjoy. This recipe will be used every year in my seasonal cooking. It is hard to please vegetarian and non-vegetarians family members with one dish!

  21. Azirkah

    Spicy Pumpkin Soup is great stuff! Sweet, nutty, spicy enough to be interesting without being seriously hot (I used 1/4 tsp. cayenne and 1/4 tsp red pepper flake.). I also like that the spice level can be increased or decreased at time of service to suit each individual’s taste, which is great.

    I made this for a dinner party and had enough left over to send ‘to go’ cups home with people… One said he wasn’t going to take his leftovers to work for lunch the next day because it smelled so good he knew his co-workers would ask to try it and didn’t want to share.

    Thank you very much for a recipe that I’ll get a lot of use and enjoyment from! =)

  22. Emly

    I just made this last night. Sooooo yummy! I followed the recipe. Used can pumpkin and it was delish! I would definitely make this again. Thank you!! :)

  23. Derv

    I made this soup close to the recipe, and it was delicious! I used fresh pumpkin, cubed and roasted. For stock, I use dehydrated vegetables that I pulverize in the blender and keep in the freezer (about 2 Tbs per cup of stock). Ended up only about 3-4 cups of stock and doubled the milk (1%) to thin out the final product. Left out the cream. Also, I substituted 3-4 Tbs of maple syrup for half of the brown sugar. Thanks!!

  24. Charis

    I just made this and it was amazing! I will definitely be making this one again.

  25. Amber

    I made this tonight for a dinner party tomorrow. It’s delicious! I used light coconut milk instead of the regular milk listed here, as I am lactose intolerant. I then left out the brown sugar since the coconut milk adds sweetness. I also left out the cream. I definitely needed to add salt, as my stock wasn’t salted and the coconut milk did make it sweeter. This is a great soup, and I hope tomorrow’s guests will agree!

  26. Steve

    Made this today and all I have to say is WOW! I went heavy on the “heat” and it was balanced perfectly with the brown sugar/whip cream. I also substituted 1 cup milk for another 1/2 cup cream making it out to be 1 cup total for each. Turned out excellent!

  27. Jimmi

    This was a hit at our companies Halloween potluck! I did modify it and remove the Curry & Coriander since a lot of people don’t like Curry and I was out of Coriander. It worked out really well.

  28. Chris Atkinson

    I made this for a dinner party last night (Halloween) and it was a hit! I used fresh pumpkin puree and the flavors were a perfect blend. Guests called it an “elegant soup”.

  29. charis

    I am making it for a second time tonight – last time for our family and tonight for a potluck. I am a big fan of curry, so this was a great twist on pumpkin. We use fresh roasted pumpkin and homemade chicken stock. Tastes amazing!

  30. Jeanne

    This is the best soup I’ve tasted in a while. My husband summed it up by saying “you make great soups – but this is special”. Fab!!

  31. Shea McFusick

    This soup is amazing! I made it with all the fatty goodness added. The brown sugar and heavy cream combined with the spicyness make it decadent and yum.

  32. L. Davis

    I really enjoyed this soup, this is a perfect flavor of pumpkin that I was looking for in a soup. Excellent!!!

  33. Chuck

    My family, friends and I absolutely love this recipe! I make this with Silk brand vanilla soy milk and Silk creamer instead of milk and cream, respectively. I made 2 batches for Thanksgiving last year, one with milk and the other with soy milk. My family actually liked the soy milk one better.

  34. Lexi Sgt

    Everyone loved my soup!
    Changes:
    Eliminate milk/sugar/cream.
    Add: low fat coconut milk.

    I did use a real pumpkin and made the puree. STEP 3: I added low fat coconut milk, and eliminated step 4.

  35. Steve Keith

    I grow pumpkins in my small backyard garden in Peabody MA, and for the past 3 years I have used this recipe for soup…it is absolutely fantastic. Sometimes I make it hotter sometimes milder, but it is truly a winner. Thank you SO much for posting it.

  36. Clay

    I made this and it was far too sweet for my taste. I recommend leaving out the brown sugar entirely.

  37. Barbara

    This soup was amazing, IF, you double the spices. I don’t like real hot foods, but this was just too bland as written with all the milk and cream. When the spices were doubled, it had just the right amount of heat. I also added at least 2 tsp. of salt. I served this with some smoked cheddar cheese and it was fantastic. Oh, I also left out the brown sugar. I tried it without and decided it didn’t need it.

  38. Gwyn Suttell

    This soup is amazing! I make it all the time, my whole family loves it.
    Really all of your recipes are great, thank you!

  39. TaChalla

    The soup turned out good. I was a little worried before I added the brown sugar and milk/cream, but once I added the remaining ingredients the flavors blended together beautifully. I used canned pumpkin and I chopped the onion and garlic very fine so I didn’t put it in a blender. I prefer it this way because it gives the soups another texture with the chopped onions. Will definitely try this again, but next time I’ll add some pumpkin seeds. Thanks for the recipe!

  40. Ashley

    Pumpkin soup is my FAVORITE, and this recipe was my first shot at it — and it turned out beautifully! I used a mixture of pumpkin and butternut squash. I omitted the pinch of cayenne, but with a 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper, it was still very spicy. I only used 1/4 c. and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and I used 1 2/3 c. 1% milk, and 1/3 c. of heavy cream. Personally, I thought that this much liquid at the end took away a lot of the soup’s texture. When I make it again, I will probably only use 1 1/4 cups of milk and cream to keep it a little thicker, but other than that, I would do everything as is. Thanks!

  41. reenato

    this soup is really delicious. i just made it and added a splash of cinnamon and used buttermilk instead of milk and omitted the cream.
    i am thinking the soup will taste much better tomorrow after the flavours settle. really nice for a rainy day with crusty bread!

  42. Marcia

    This was delicious! I used fat free milk and it was plenty creamy enough with the heavy cream. I used 5 cups of Queensland Blue Squash and 1 cup of the pumpkin I displayed outside for Halloween and it was perfect.

  43. Laura

    Delectable! Because I was making it for just my husband and myself, I cut the recipe in half. I didn’t have a few of the ingredients on hand, and it was “a cold and rainy night,” and I didn’t want to run to the store, so I made the following changes: I sauteed the onions for 3 minutes, then added the minced garlic for the last minute, so it wouldn’t get bitter. I only used 1 15-oz. can of pure pumpkin, so I wouldn’t have to throw away half a can, and the soup was still very thick and rich. I didn’t have heavy cream, so I used a small can of evaporated milk, added with the regular milk, and I added at least a half-teaspoon of salt at the end, as suggested. I also added about a half-teaspoon of white pepper. Serve it with Caesar croutons on top. Yum!

  44. Candace

    I’m unsure how this will work. I made pumpkin puree by boiling my pumpkin and then pureeing it afterwards. It seems much runnier than store bought pumpkin and I’m just in the midst of boiling it (haven’t added milk or cream) but it is runny like water – not sure if it will thicken. Suggestions?

    You might want to just let it simmer uncovered for a while to evaporate some of that water. It’s really really hard to overcook pumpkin. ~Elise

  45. Karen Roberts

    This recipe is awesome! I just finished making my second batch in as many weeks. I’m too cheap to buy broth so I used the water that came from the cooked pumpkin (used real pumpkins) and added tap water to make up for any lacking liquid. I added twice the crushed red pepper, ran out of coriander but didn’t notice it missing. Added extra curry and I used chili powder because I didn’t have cayenne pepper on hand.

    I liked the second batch better because when I pureed the ‘batches’ I added it back into the unpureed remaining in the pot. I liked that consistency because it left some small chunks and wasn’t too creamy. Yumbo!

  46. E Feder

    super yummy.

    I made this one time with parsnips that i roasted along with the sugar pumpkin in the oven (put them in about half way through the baking time (approx 350 degrees for 45 min for pumpkin) and added some summer savoury that i had dried from my summer garden.

    Delicious in both variations.

  47. Kara

    My boyfriend & I really enjoyed this recipe, but I did change it a little bit. I added more chili powder and used coconut milk instead of the heavy cream. I also added black pepper. Super tasty, I highly recommend it with these additions.

  48. JoAnn

    Made this last night with frozen pureed pumpkin. When the puree defrosted a lot of the extra liquid seeped to the top making it easy to pour off and avoid a runny recipe. I substituted low fat sour cream for the milk and heavy cream. Just before serving I topped it off with fresh cilantro which gave it a definite Thai flare. We both loved it. Will make this again.

  49. Lori

    I must start off by saying I have been making this recipe every week for 3 months! I love it!!
    I’ve changed a few things because of my dietary needs.
    I use real pumpkin (only because I had so many left over from Halloween), add a couple sweet potatoes and butternut squash if I happen to have left overs. I make my own veggie broth and use coconut milk instead of the dairy. I omit the coriander because of allergies. I only put a pinch of brown sugar if I feel it needs it but other wise I skip the sugar. I think the sweet potatoes and coconut milk give it enough sweetness.
    Wow this is delicious soup!!! Everyone who tries it can’t get enough…..thus I make it every week~

  50. Claire

    Has anyone tried freezing this soup? I’ve read it’s better to leave out the dairy if freezing soup, and then add it in to finish the soup when it’s reheated, but it would be more convenient to freeze it with the cream in it if it didn’t make any difference. Has anyone tried it either way?

  51. Angie

    Best soup I’ve ever tasted let alone made myself! I have made your recipe for the last 3 Fall seasons and as I’m sitting here with my first warm bowl from this years batch I just wanted to say thank you!

  52. Ruth

    Absolutely delicious. I substituted the heavy cream with 2% evaporated milk (1 can). I would like to know the number of calories in a serving.

  53. Stacy

    I’ve never reviewed a recipe online but I’ve been looking for a pumpkin soup since I ate Wegmans which is delicious but expensive.

    This recipe is really good. I halved it because it’s just me eating it and I wasn’t sure I’d like it. Other than that the only modifications I made was to throw a sweet potato in and I didn’t use the curry. It was a little sweet so I may cut a little back on the brown sugar next time but it was really good. Thank you.

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