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

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 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.


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 puree.

Be sure to look for sugar pumpkins or Japanese kabocha pumpkins. 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 Thin (or Thicken) Your Soup

If after making this soup, 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.

By contrast, if you’d like a thicker soup, you can either add more pumpkin puree if you have it, or add a few slices of fresh bread, let them soak in the broth until well saturated, and then puree them into the soup. Again, check for seasoning before serving.


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.


Want to make a big batch for the freezer? That’s great! 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 puree it again in the blender until smooth.


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 fantastic.


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 or a Japanese Kabocha pumpkin if you are going to cook with it.


  • 1 4-5 pound cooking pumpkin (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
  • 1 tablespoon 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


1 Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to350°F. Cut your pumpkin 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

6 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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20 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Nicole

    Hi Elise, I just noticed that the recipe calls for sage and thyme in the ingredients list but it isn’t in the instructions. Would this be added along with the smoked paprika and other spices? Or just at the end? Thanks!!

  • Susie

    The flavors in this soup were incredible. My husband does not like cream soup. So I chopped up the apples and the onions very fine and added the pumkpkin that I had frozen in the fall to the pot along with the herbs and the wonderful smoked paprika that I purchased at Costco. He also thinks he has to have meat, so I added smoked turkey sausage. After letting it simmer for 20 minutes, this soup was thick and creamy with vegetable and meat bites. He loved the soup without ever knowing it was pumpkin. I left the cream out to reduce the calories. It was great without it. I did put a little in my bowl to see how much it would change the flavor. Both versions were fantastic. I think my comment was, I could die eating this soup and be happy.

  • Chelsea

    Hi Elise,

    This sounds delicious..I’m wondering, my boyfriend can’t really handle cream..Would i be able to substitute soy milk for the milk and cream or maybe do soy milk and half and half so its a little less dairy?

    You could just replace the dairy with more stock. Or water. Or you could try it with soy milk. I’ve not used soy milk as a substitute for regular milk in cooking. But I have made a butternut squash soup without cream and it was fine. ~Elise

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