Curried Butternut Squash Soup

It's easier to peel a butternut squash if you microwave it whole for 30 seconds first. That short amount of time helps soften the peel just enough to make it easier to work with.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes, yielding about 6 cups of cubed squash (see how to cut and peel a butternut squash)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Salt
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds (if you substitute ground mustard, only use 1/4 teaspoon)
  • A dash of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (can substitute plain yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (can substitute parsley)


1 Sauté the cubed squash: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed stock pot on medium heat. Add a dab of butter to the olive oil.

Working in two batches so as not to crowd the pan, add the cubed butternut squash to the pan. Toss to coat all sides with oil. Sprinkle a little salt over the squash. Then spread out in an even layer and let cook, stirring only occasionally, so that the edges and sides get lightly browned.

You may need to adjust the heat up to ensure browning, or down to prevent burning or drying out. Add more oil and butter for the additional batches. Remove from pan and set aside.

curried-squash-soup-1.jpg curried-squash-soup-2.jpg

2 Sauté the onions, spices, ginger: Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the pot, on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring now and then, until softened. Add the curry powder, mustard seeds, cumin, and fresh ginger, and cook for a minute or so longer. Use a flat bottomed wooden or metal spatula to scrape up any browned bits.

3 Add the squash, stock, salt, then simmer: Return the butternut squash to the pot. Add the chicken stock and a teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, cover the pot. Cook for 40 minutes until squash is completely tender.

4 Purée the soup: Use an immersion blender (or a stand up blender in which case work in batches) to blend the soup smooth. Add more salt to taste if needed.

5 Serve with sour cream and cilantro: Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped cilantro.

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  • Pam Kohart

    Originally, I wanted to make a butternut squash soup with coconut milk. But finding I had no coconut milk in my pantry, I looked for, and found, this recipe. The only difference is I took a large skinless, boneless chicken breast and cut it up into small pieces and browned it with the onion. Used all of the spices as in the recipe, then used my potato masher to just mashup some of the squash that was in a separate bowl from everything else. Then I put everything together in my Dutch oven, put it at a low simmer and let it go for about 15 to 20 minutes. The soup was so good! I will make this again and again and I may even try to tweak it from time to time, by adding chiles, kaffir lime, and maybe that coconut milk!I have been a salt-aholic all my life, and my doctor told me to cut down. I have found that herbs and spices are the best thing to bring out the flavor of foods without using so much salt. I love to experiment! Thank you for this great recipe.


    • Carrie Havranek

      Hi Pam! Thanks for such a thoughtful comment. I’m glad you were able to find something that worked for you that you want to make again. Herbs and spices add so much dimension!

  • Kelly

    Love this recipe, make it all the time in large batches to freeze so that I always have a quick lunch on hand. Delicious!!


  • Timothy

    I just oven roasted the squash halves rather than struggle with peeling and cutting up the raw squash, used no dairy or cilantro/parsley, and added broiled pear slices before pureeing that gave it some needed sweetness. (Some recipes use honey for this.) YUM!!!


  • Renee

    Not a squash fan, but found this very pleasant. Unlike some others, I would add a little more ginger and curry. As for the cream, it is absolutely necessary as it smooths out the
    flavors at the end. And, I sometimes serve this in punch cups before the meal, or at the table. Thanks for another way to incorporate this nice touch of fall.


  • Trisha

    FANTASTIC soup!!!! One of my favorites to make in the fall. I add a couple of cloves minced garlic with the ginger. Everyone loves it!


  • Leya

    Turned out delicious! i added 3 gloves are garlic! Thank you for the recipe!


  • Dianna King

    Awesome. I pedaled the squash then put in a plastic bag with a shot of olive oil, put in micro for 6 minutes to soften then cut up and put in pan to brown up. Didn’t j have the mustard powder but did not seem to matter…wow this was so good. Thanks


  • Candice

    I was wondering, could the fresh butternut squash be swapped with frozen?

  • Michael Schmitz

    Split the squash with a felling axe. Split nicely and very easily. Careful out there halves will go rolling.

  • Melody D

    Made this soup as a half recipe. Delicious!!! Will make wonderful lunches this week. Can’t wait to have it with some naan bread.

  • Ava

    This soup is AMAZING. So smooth and creamy and bursting with flavor! We had it for dinner tonight with some bread and butter on the side. We will definitely be making this again!

  • Moe


  • Fred Peters

    I prepare this regularly in the fall/winter. Of all the recipes I prepare (most my own), my wife says this is her favorite! Tonight I’m warming it for dinner with swiss grilled cheese sandwiches with prosciutto and diced fresh parsley.

  • Catsuite

    Simmering on the oven and smelling delicious! I switched in low sodium organic vegetable stock and tripled the recipe for Thanksgiving dinner and beyond – just hope I used enough ginger. Thanks!

  • Batya F

    I have made this soup several times now and it is a real winner. For the first time last night I took a shortcut. Instead of wrestling the whole squash, I used the Trader Joe’s precut and peeled butternut squash. One pointer … rinse the pieces with cold water before sautéing to remove any soft, stringy bits. Because they weren’t chopped on the spot, the pieces get a little soft on the outside. Those softer bits come off in the pan and burn pretty easily making an unpleasant odor and black drippings. Once I rinsed the pieces, that problem was solved and the soup was delicious.

  • GregG

    I used buttercup squash and aside from carpel tunnel in my wrist from cutting it in cubes and some extra prep time, it was delicious! My 7 year old daughter even loved it! By the way, her name is Elise also.

    • Lisa Davis

      I have read articles about carpel tunnel symptoms actually being from Vitamin B deficiencies. All of the spectrum of Vitamin B needs to be taken in mass doses, to address the issue. If you take high doses of the full spectrum of Vit. B, you will notice the pain go away inside of two weeks. If you stop taking the vitamin after a while, the pain will return in about two months. I have done this myself, and am always amazed by the quick response, from simply taking Vitamin B supplements. Good luck to you. And please pass this info along to others who suffer. It is a way nicer way to address the problem, rather than surgery, that in the end does not work. All the best.

  • Uyen

    Elise – This soup was divine, one of the best I’ve tasted. Thank you from the bottom of my novice-cook heart. x

  • ARPerry

    This is awesome! I made this the first time it appeared on your site-I stalk this site, it’s not even funny-and it was amazing. I get tired of all the overtly sweet butternut recipes. Well, for some reason this time around, my supermarket did not have butternut squash, weird huh?, so I had to do with what they had. Hubbard, Acorn, Kuri, or Pumpkin. Now, mind you, I didn’t want it to be overly sweet, so I looked over acorn and pumpkin, and given that I’ve never even SEEN a Kuri squash before, and from reading that it was nuttier tasting than the others, I’m making right now with the Kuri squash. So far, it tastes amazing.

    Thanks for all the awesome recipes!

  • L.A.

    I made this for a potluck at work, and everyone loved it! Almost everyone who tasted this soup asked for the recipe!

    However, the quality of the squash greatly affects the quality of the soup. I made this soup again at home. It was good, but not the amazing flavor at the work potluck. For the work potluck, I had used a Farmers Market squash that was very ripe–almost too ripe I thought when chopping it. For the second version, I used a squash from a discount grocery store that probably wasn’t ripe enough.

    Buy a quality squash, make sure it’s ripe, and this soup will be a winner!

  • Alicia P.

    I’ve made this twice now. The first time I fell head over heels in love with it. I like the sweeter soups but was looking for a more savory and slightly kicktastic version of a Butternut squash soup I’d been making. This was it. I adjusted the seasoning and put in just a little bit of cayenne towards the end *emphasis on little* and it came out perfect. I also used some creme fraiche that I had left over from an old family recipe for Normandy Fish stew so I used that instead of sour cream.

    I’m currently making another batch and doubled it up, since it doesn’t last very long between me, my mother, and my empty pit of a boyfriend. It’s gone within a day! Now, I’m hoping to stretch it out to at least two XD

  • joey

    I absolutely love this soup! I have made it twice now with different curries. Both times I had some bulgar in the fridge and since I’m a nut about high fiber I added a spoonful or two to my bowl and then added the soup. In my opinion, the garnish is optional. Thanks!!

  • Elizabeth

    I just made this soup last night. It was AWESOME!!! My husband and I like spicy foods so I added a tablespoon of ground chile paste. (I used sambal oelek).Thank you for yet another fabulous recipe!

  • Sandra

    This soup was beyond delicious! Perfect for a crisp Fall evening dinner. I added some shredded roasted chicken breast after the soup was on the plate. Sour cream and cilantro balance the flavors perfectly. Wouldn’t change a thing! :)

  • catherine

    AWESOME recipe! I modified it based on what I had on hand and it turned out so incredible that my husband thinks it could be served in a fine restaurant (which is a supreme compliment for someone who is just learning to cook).

    My modifications were:
    Instead of the squash:
    – 1c leftover roasted pumpkin
    – roasted 1 acorn squash (didn’t sautee it because I have no idea how to get the skin off these things)

    -2.5c chicken broth instead of 4 (I think I didn’t have enough squash but I still used all the same amounts of spices)

    – used 1/2 onion and added an old leek which needed to be used

    – sauteed onion & leek in butter instead of olive oil

    – added a little coriander

    – left out ginger bc I didn’t have any but I’m sure it would be great with ginger

    It is SERIOUSLY incredible. I think one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten. Thanks Elise – I love your blog!!!

  • Emily

    I’ve just started using curry powder in recipes (I used to think I didn’t like curry!), and this recipe sounded so good I had to try it. I made it last night and it was a hit! My boyfriend even reminded me again this morning how much he liked it – and it was great for lunch today, too.

    I am new to this site and so glad I found it; I can’t wait to try all of these great recipes! Thank you!!

  • Joey

    Made this last night and followed the recipe exactly as written. Simply delicious! Enjoyed the leftovers for lunch today. Thanks for the always-fantastic recipes!

  • Laura Morton

    I roast the squash at 425 degrees (after pricking it) for about 45 minutes to an hour. I cool it then scoop out the soft flesh for soup.
    I make a Huge vat of chicken stock then freeze it in freezer bags as a base for my soups.)
    ( For the chicken stock I roast about 10 pounds of chicken backs and necks at 350 for an hour. Then deglaze with water and pour into a large stock pot. In a large skillet, over medium heat, I melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add two tablespoons of olive oil. I then saute until soft: 2 cups of finely chooped onion, I cup finely chopped carrots, 1 cup finely chopped celery, and 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley. Put this in the stock pot with two teaspoons of dried thyme, cover with water and place lid on top and simmer for about three hours.Cool to room temperature and refrigerate over-night. The next day scoop the fat from the top and discard. Place in bags and freeze. Special note: I do not salt this until I have prepared the finished soup product since salt requirements differ according to the soup. I use this as a base for potatoe leek soup, roated squash, roasted pepper, and mixed root vegetable soups.

  • Lance KC

    Just made it tonight and it was simply phenomenal! Thanks for that.

  • Misty Kimble

    WOW!!!! This soup was so mild and flavorful. It was thick and creamy. I fell in love with it and bought another squash so I can have it again next week.

  • wm1

    I love this recipe, BUT, You need to explain that not all curry spice blends are alike. I tried dozens over the years and they vary in taste by a lot. I finally found a hand made extream quality curry blend. It is made by Juliet Mae Spices, in San Francisco. They have an online store but I went and watched the guy grind and blend the spices in the officers club in the Presidio. Really check them out, you will be amazed this kind if detail work is still available.

  • caroline

    That bowl is fantastic– where did you get it? So appropriate that it almost mimics the shape of an acorn squash that’s been halved crosswise.

    Thanks! I got that bowl at Anthropologie. Cute, isn’t it? ~Elise

  • Susan

    Can I substitute vegetarian broth for the chicken stock? Looks yummy. Love your recipes, Elise! Thanks for a wonderful column.

    Yes. You may need to up the spices, or you may want to add some cream in at the end as in my experience, most vegetable broths aren’t as rich or flavorful as those from chicken. ~Elise

  • Susan

    I cook my butternut in the microwave. Put quite a few nicks with the point of a butcher knife in the skin so it won’t explode. Cook on high about 30 minutes. I just scrape it out and mash, add butter and eat. It is sooo flavorful and juicy!!!!

    This time it was good in the soup. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Lubinka

    Dear Elise,
    I happen to have some butternut squash but not curry. Do you think that I could substitute the curry with some saffron? (I realise it won’t be curry soup anymore, but still, I’d really like to make some butternut squash soup…)

    If you want a butternut squash soup without the curry, I suggest this butternut squash apple soup. I don’t recommend saffron as a substitute. ~Elise

  • Sara

    I make a very similar soup with canned pumpkin. I used to make it with squash, but then one day, I couldn’t find any squash, so I tried a can of pumpkin left in the pantry from thanksgiving, and it was even better. Now I always make it that way. It’s also super fast and easy, because the pumpkin is pre-cooked and mashed.

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    This soup would be delicious with Blue Hubbard squash, too, and a restaurant chef gave me a tip for how to open one: drop it on the floor (preferably outdoors, on a sidewalk or driveway), so it cracks open into big pieces. Then roast those pieces to loosen the flesh for soup. Butternut squash is easier — and not as messy!

    Oh that’s a great visual, thanks Lydia! ~Elise

  • Sunny P

    Yum, looks fantastic, Elise! :) Have you tried making it with the plain yogurt? I am a big fan of using yogurt as a substitute whenever I can!

    Yes, I tried it with whole fat plain yogurt. I prefer sour cream, but yogurt will work too. ~Elise