Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika

SoupFavorite FallMake-aheadPumpkin

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika! This rich and creamy pumpkin soup gets a extra depth from smoked paprika. Make it with either a whole pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Do you like cooking with smoked paprika? I first encountered smoked paprika in a kumara sweet potato soup in New Zealand years ago. It’s a wonderful spice to pair with winter squash or sweet potatoes.

WHAT IS SMOKED PAPRIKA?

Like chipotle, smoked paprika can add a delightful smoky dimension to food. It’s make from peppers that have been dried, smoked over a wood fire, and ground into a powder. It’s not spicy, but adds a smoky depth to any recipe in which its used.

Smoked paprika is perfect with this rich and creamy pumpkin soup. This spice has gained popularity in recent years, so you should be able to find it in the spice aisle of most grocery stores or online.

WHOLE PUMPKIN OR CANNED PUMPKIN?

This soup can be made with either a whole pumpkin that you prepare yourself or with canned pumpkin.

Don’t be intimidated by roasting your own pumpkin! It’s easy and the flavor is more interesting than canned pumpkin purée.

Look for sugar pumpkins or Japanese kabocha pumpkins to roast. The kind of pumpkins sold at most grocery stores for carving into jack o’lanterns are not meant for cooking, so read the labels carefully.

To roast it, all you have to do is cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds (which you can turn into a tasty snack), and then roast the halves until they’re soft all the way through. Scoop out the flesh from the skins and you’re ready to make soup.

how to make pumpkin soup

How to Thin (or Thicken) Your Soup

After making this soup, if you’d like it to be a little thinner, just stir in some extra broth or water. Taste to check the seasonings again, and add more salt if needed.

On the other hand, if you’d like a thicker soup, you can either add more pumpkin purée if you have it, or add a cup of two of puréed cooked white beans. You can also add a few slices of fresh bread, let them soak in the broth, and then purée them into the soup. Again, check the seasonings before serving.

CAN THIS PUMPKIN SOUP BE MADE AHEAD?

This soup can be made the day before serving. Reheat gently over low heat until steaming.

Pumpkin soup also makes great leftovers and can be kept refrigerated for about a week.

CAN THIS SOUP BE FROZEN?

Want to make a big batch for the freezer? This pumpkin soup freezes beautifully, even with the milk and cream. Just transfer it to freezer containers (or use freezer bags, like this), and freeze for up to three months.

To reheat, you can either let it thaw in the fridge over night or pop the frozen soup right into a sauce pan. Either way, reheat over low heat until steaming. If it seems to separate, just purée it again in the blender until smooth.

Pumpkin Soup

WHAT TO SERVE WITH PUMPKIN SOUP

Serve this soup with crusty garlic bread or soft garlic knots on the side. If you’d like some more greens with your meals, a hearty salad like this Kale Caesar Salad would be terrific.

MORE FALL SOUPS WITH WINTER SQUASH

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika Recipe

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

Most pumpkins in the store are meant for jack-o-lanterns, not eating. Use a sugar pumpkin, a Japanese Kabocha pumpkin, or Red Kuri squash if you are going to cook with it. Use 2 small (2 to 2 1/2 pound) pumpkins or one heftier one (4 to 5 pounds).

Ingredients

  • 4-5 pounds of cooking pumpkins (see Recipe Note), or 3 (15-ounce) cans of pumpkin purée
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped, about 2 cups
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons smoked paprika, more or less to taste
  • 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
  • Handful of toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) for garnish

Method

1 Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut your pumpkin(s) in half, and scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff (an ice cream scoop works well for this purpose). Lay the halves face down on a foil or silicone lined baking sheet and bake until soft, about 45 min to an hour.

cut sugar pumpkins kabocha squash in half, scoop out seeds, place cut side down on lined baking sheet

Cool, remove the peel, scoop out the flesh. You'll need 6 cups roasted pumpkin for this recipe; freeze whatever you don't use for future use.

roasted sugar pumpkins and kabocha red kuri squash remove peel from roasted pumpkins

Don't throw away the seeds! Toast them for a healthy snack.

2 Cook the onions with the seasonings: 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 paprika, ground cumin, and cayenne and stir for a minute more.

cook onions in butter add smoked paprika and cumin to onions and garlic

3 Add the remaining ingredients and simmer: Add the chopped apple, pumpkin, broth, water, thyme, and ground sage. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the apples are cooked through.

cook pumpkin soup

4 Purée the soup: Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender or a food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Alternatively, 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.

puree pumpkin soup

5 Stir in the milk and cream: Return the soup to the saucepan over low heat. Slowly add the milk and cream, stirring to incorporate.

Taste and add additional salt or other seasonings if needed. (Since I use unsalted homemade stock, I add about 2 teaspoons of salt to this soup.)

add milk and cream to pumpkin soup

6 Serve! Sprinkle with toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) and a little more smoked paprika to serve.

This soup can be made a day ahead. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for about a week, or frozen for up to three months.

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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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21 Comments / Reviews

No ImageCreamy Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Michelle johnson

    Just made this recipe. To all the reviews that say the smoked paprika is overpowering maybe try a recipe without it. It has a wonderful flavour. I was looking for a soup with a slightly different flavour as I’ve been making lots of butternut squash and pumpkin soups lately that taste the same. We had an abundance of pumpkins from the garden and this was a great way to use a couple. This was definitely a hit. Will be enjoying the leftovers for days.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Gera

    You did it again! Another amazing recipe!
    Didn’t change a thing and the soup came out smooth, velvety and so delicious!
    This goes straight into our family’s rotation! Thanks!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Max

    Awesome recipe! I will definitely keep this recipe in the cookbook.
    The day before yesterday I tried to cook it using another recipe I found, but your recipe is tastier.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Kathy

    Great base recipe. I loved the spice blend but increased the quantity of each spice plus nutmeg to make it even spicier and added extra pumpkin/squash purée to make a thicker soup. Super quick to make since I already had cooked pumpkin in the fridge. This recipe is a keeper!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Shelley

    I love smoked paprika, but this is way to much. I used: 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic. 1/2 c water, 1c apple, 1c total of half & half, and cream. 1/4 tea cumin 1/4 paprika, about a tlbs of fresh sage & tyme each. Then for a dollop, creme fraiiche mixed with abit of whiskey, just to make it smoother.

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Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Smoked PaprikaCreamy Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Paprika