Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

VegetarianPumpkinPumpkin Soup

Spicy pumpkin soup! with Southwestern flavors of chipotle, cumin, oregano, and served with pepitas, crema fresca, and cilantro.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

This year on Halloween, in my typical do-it-at-the-last-possible-moment approach, I set out to find a carving pumpkin in the afternoon only to find all of the local stores completely sold out.

So, instead I bought some sort of heirloom fairy tale pumpkin from Whole Foods.

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It wasn’t even orange, but some terribly un-Halloween grey color. My attempts to carve it were laughable. The flesh was at least 3 inches thick.

I did finally manage to carve something resembling a face, but it was so pathetic I ended up chucking the whole thing in the oven and baking it at 350 for a couple hours. (I think it’s almost impossible to overcook a pumpkin.)

Obviously this pumpkin was meant for eating, not for entertaining trick-or-treaters.

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

What to do with 8 cups of cooked pumpkin?

Make pumpkin soup, of course!

While we already have several pumpkin soup recipes on the site, we were missing one with more of a Southwestern feel. I’m delighted with how this soup turned out. It’s smokey and spicy from the chipotle chiles, cumin and oregano.

The soup is creamy enough just with the pumpkin purée and stock that it doesn’t needed added cream or milk, though some crema fresca or sour cream is a soothing addition as a garnish to balance the heat of the chipotles.

The touch that will put a smile on your face as you eat the soup is the addition of toasted shelled pumpkin seeds, called pepitas in Mexican cooking. Their crunchiness is a happy contrast to the smoothness of the soup.

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 to 2 1/2 quarts

If canned chipotle in adobo is not available, you can use chipotle powder, start with one teaspoon and increase to taste. If chipotle powder is not available, use 1/2 teaspoon of regular chili powder, increasing to taste, and a dash of liquid smoke.

Note that fresh pumpkins vary in their moisture content, so you may need to add more liquid, either water or stock, to get to the consistency you want, depending on how thick or thin you would like your soup to be.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers (canned in adobo, 1 for mild, 2 for spicy), chopped
  • 8 cups chopped, cooked pumpkin* (1 7-8 pound cooking pumpkin to yield 8 cups cooked pumpkin, or 3 15-ounce cans of canned pureed pumpkin)
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken stock, depending on desired thickness and how thick your pumpkin purée is (use vegetable stock for vegetarian or vegan option, can sub water for some of the stock)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice


  • Toasted, shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Cilantro
  • Creme fresca, creme fraiche or sour cream thinned with a little water so that it's runny

*To cook fresh pumpkin, use a good cooking pumpkin (i.e. sugar pumpkin, fairytale pumpkin, hubbard, or kabocha pumpkin), cut in half, scoop out the seeds, place the pumpkin cut side down on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for about an hour, or until soft. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh or cut away the skin. Let cool. Freeze for long term storage.


1 Sauté onions, garlic, cumin, chipotle: Heat oil in a large pot (8-quart) on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, cumin, and chipotle, cook for 1 minute more.

2 Add pumpkin, stock, oregano, salt, then simmer: Add the pumpkin, chicken stock, oregano, and salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered.

3 Toast pumpkin seeds: If you are working with raw pumpkin seeds, now would be a good time to toast them. (If your pumpkin seeds are already toasted, skip this step.) Just spread them out in an even layer in a frying pan on medium high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon while toasting, until the pumpkin seeds are fragrant and are lightly browned. Remove to a bowl.

4 Purée soup: Remove the soup from heat. Working in batches of 2 cups each, purée the soup in batches, holding down the lid the your blender tightly while puréeing, and starting on a slow speed. Return the puréed soup to the pot.

5 Add lime juice and more seasonings: Add lime juice. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt, cumin, oregano, or chipotle to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more stock or water to desired consistency.

Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), crema fresca drizzled over the top, and chopped cilantro.

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Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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38 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Lynne

    I needed a southwestern style soup and had some pureed pumpkin on hand so this soup fit the bill! Looking forward to my leftover soup today!


  2. Lindsey

    AMAZING SOUP! I added lots of sauce from the can of chipotle peppers and that made it spicy but not too spicy. I used canned pumpkin and it worked wonderfully! I didn’t have any pumpkin seeds, so I crushed some sweet potato chips on top and my guests and I loved it. I’m going to make this again! Can’t believe it’s vegan (minus the yummy crema I added) MAKE THIS, EARTHLINGS!


  3. Megan

    This is OUTSTANDING soup! We like a bit more heat so we did 3 chipotle chiles and some extra adobo sauce. Love it!

  4. Victoria

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve made it for the last two Thanksgivings and several other times. It gets rave reviews from everyone. Great flavor and just the right amount of heat. It’s chilly outside, so making it tonight. Love it! Thank you!

  5. Lara

    This soup is terrific! I have made it twice now, following the recipte to a tee and my husband, 20yr old daughter and I LOVE it. We do have spicy pallets. The first time I stuck to the lesser recommeded amount for the chipotle and it was just right. Last night I added a bit more chiplotle and although we could tolerate the heat, I think it took away form the sweetness of the pumpkin. This morning, to the leftovers, I added about (eyed it didn’t measure) about 1/4c water, 1/4 c of coconut milk, 1/2 tsp of sugar, 1/4 tsp salt (I hadn’t added any to begin with) and it’s perfect. Don’t skip the lime! It really seals the deal on dynamic flavor!

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