Spicy Zucchini Soup

If you are using extra large zucchini, scoop out and discard the seeds first. And if the skin is thick or tough, peel it and discard the peels.

To make gluten-free: substitute the bread with 1 cup of chopped potatoes, cooked or uncooked, or cooked rice. If you use uncooked potatoes, you may need to simmer the soup a little longer. Or you can add a little cream at the end of cooking to help thicken it—just don't boil the soup.

Don't like mint or cilantro? Try substituting with basil or parsley.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile (or more to taste, depending on how spicy you would like the soup to be), seeds, stems and ribs removed and discarded, chopped
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 pounds chopped zucchini (skin on), about 5-6 cups
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped day-old bread (or 1 cup rice or cooked or uncooked potatoes)
  • 3 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian or vegan option)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (spearmint), loosely packed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed, chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Lemon wedges (for garnish), optional


1 Sauté the onions and jalapeño: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the chopped jalapeño, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions are translucent, but not browned.

2 Cook the garlic and zucchini. Add the garlic and zucchini to the pan and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle with salt.

3 Add the bread and liquids: Add the bread, broth, and water, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes. (Note: If you're using uncooked potatoes instead, you may need to simmer a little longer, depending on what kind of potatoes you use.)

4 Purée the soup: Remove the soup from the heat. Add the mint and cilantro (if using). Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth, working in batches if necessary. (You can also use an immersion blender.)

5 Add lemon juice, salt, pepper: Return the soup to the pot. Add the lemon juice, along with salt and pepper to taste.

6 Garnish and serve: Garnish with lemon wedges and sprigs of mint or cilantro. Serve hot or chilled. Keeps for up to a week in the fridge.

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  • Don

    I would have liked it better without the mint, the cilantro, and the jalapeño. They were at war with one another, and masked the subtler flavours of the other ingredients.


  • Yulia

    Just made it with bread, basilic and Feta cheese on top! Super delicious! Thank you for inspiration!


  • Julia

    It’s healthy, fresh, and light. I’m eating more healthy and this fits the profile while still tasting great.


  • Dave

    Easy- no mess- turned out delicious! If you like it spicy, you need to be generous with the jalapeño. I used a whole jalapeño and I would still describe mine as just modestly spicy.


    • Elise Bauer

      So glad you liked it Dave! Jalapeños really vary in their heat. Some can be super mild, some super hot, so you really do need to add the chiles to taste.

  • Theresa

    I know she suggested rice as an alternative to the bread, but has anyone tried cauliflower rice? Wondering how that might work. I may give it a try regardless but wanted to see if it had already been done.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Theresa! Sure, you could give cauliflower rice a try. I don’t think it will turn out quite as thick and creamy as using rice or bread (which are starchy), but I think it would still be pretty good! You might also try a starchy vegetable like potatoes, if that works with your diet plan.

  • Nancy

    This has been one of my favorites for a couple of years now; however, I’m avoiding wheat nowadays. Can you suggest an alternative to the bread?


    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Nancy! Anything starchy should work! You could use gluten-free bread, some leftover rice (about a cup), or some diced potato (1 1/2 cups). Enjoy!

  • Graz

    Lovely soup! I served it with ciabatta bread toasted and sprinkled with herbs and olive oil… Delicious!


  • jonna spikes

    fabulous – I have made it many times and it is great.


  • Susan

    I made this today and it is absolutely delicious!!
    I left out the bread (hubby is GF)
    A nice subtle flavor from the spearmint and cilantro.
    I will be making this again. Great way to use up those zucchini! :)
    Pinned on my Pinterest board


  • Donna Kitchens

    zucchini corn chowder, just what I need. Also, Your servings bowls are so pretty. I’m a potter so I notice serving bowls and yours are great!

  • Char

    I have some pre-pureed zucchini thanks to a food processor malfunction (definitely wasn’t operator error!) So you think I could saute the other ingredients then blend them in with the zucchini or will it lose its flavor?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Char, it should work, you will want to make sure that the zucchini gets cooked.

  • Sarah

    Do you think this could be canned and water bath processed to keep through the winter?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sarah, no, there isn’t enough acid in this soup to allow for safe water bath processing. You may be able to pressure can it though. I don’t have directions for that but you may be able to find some online.

    • Lorraine

      Just freeze the zucchini and make it fresh in the winter.

  • Famidha

    I made this last night with Indian green chilli and a two day old german brown bread. :-) I am not a soup maker as I have any takers at home and this one is my way of having something stocked up to eat alone after the morning storm settles :-P Thank you sharing the recipe and inspiring new ways to cook zucchini!

  • Emily

    This was delicious! The only change I made was that I added 1 tablespoon of curry powder while the zucchini was sautéing… Amazing !

  • Ashton

    Very tasty and healthy! I omitted the mint because I didn’t have any and used two jalapeños because I like my food spicy! I forgot to leave bread out yesterday so I just toasted some. I also added a bit more lemon juice. Thanks for this great recipe! My grandma always has extra zucchini so I sent this recipe to her and I think she will love it!

  • Pat

    Used what I had & halved the recipe: immature green pumpkins instead of Zucchini, parsley instead of cilantro, rye bread and added chopped squash blossoms and used a whole jalapeño. Fabulous even before the blender! A real keeper!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Pat, great substitutions! I never would have thought to use immature green pumpkins. So glad that worked in this soup. Also squash blossoms would enhance the zucchini flavor.

  • PK

    Just made this as written – delish!!!


  • Bela

    Instead of bread we do it with potato. Two or three medium potatoes peeled and cut to small chunks. Cook it with veggies. We also put a generous scoop of cream cheese in it.

  • Anđelko

    This is such a good soup recipe.
    Very easy and so tasty. I made it today for the first time and everyone in family loved it.
    Such a great way to use zucchinis which we have in abundance!
    I’ll definitely do this more often.
    Thanks for sharing it!


  • Janine

    Great soup. Stuck to your recipe and it turned out great.


  • Vini aka Pooh!

    I tried it last weekend and everyone including my 14 month old daughter loved it

    Thank you


  • Nuala

    What a huge success! I made this on a first time try for 7 people (always a risk if you’ve never done it before) and it was a runaway winner. I’ve made it once since then and it freezes fabulously, and is good hot and cold! I substituted hatch green chiles for jalapenos for an extra zing. Don’t skimp on the mint and cilantro.


  • maria

    Excellent! Loved it both warm the first time and cold afterwards. Used organics from my CSA and home garden… all dishes benefit in flavor from organics. I was dubious about the mint, but that really made the dish sing. Don’t skip the lemon! Love cilantro but didn’t add it this time… and didn’t miss it. Will try it again with the cilantro sometime. It is so light and summery tasting… wouldn’t want to try cream in it but maybe when it gets cooler outside and in the heated version it will be a nice twist.

    Used an immersion blender rather than transferring back and forth from the cooking pot… it worked beautifully. Froze some too, and had it for lunch a week later… just like when I made it. This recipe is a keeper! and one to be shared, too.


  • Janine

    Another great recipe from Elise. You know why I like your site better than all the other cooking sites? Your recipes are simple and easy. They are seasonal, and they can easily be modified to adjust to personal taste buds or preferences. I always look at the other sites and although the pictures are great and the recipes are appealing, I always come back to your site, where I am sure to find something simple for dinner, with incredients I either already have or can easily pick up on the way home. And, I also find recipes that I always wanted to cook and never knew how. So, this soup turned out wonderful I had some poblano chiles at home. I roasted and peeled them and added the strips to the soup. That added some additional spice and made the soup a bit more filling for lunch. Thank you.

    Thanks Janine, you are very welcome! I’m glad the soup worked out for you. ~Elise


  • MC

    We made this last night and it was really, really tasty. I fought the mint the whole time. Complained about it buying it (2 bucks!), couldn’t imagine it was going to taste good in the soup …. and then the first bite shut my mouth. The mint adds a really unique, very fresh flavor. I just tried some cold and it works well as a cold soup, too.

    Someone mentioned adding ham to it and I think it would work well with a ham bone during the cooking process. Maybe next time. We did half a jalapeno and it could easily have worked well with a whole one.

    Great recipe, Elise! As usual.


  • Laura

    I LOVED this soup! I used a whole small Jalapeno and heavy whole grain bread. I was so anxious to try this recipe that I didn’t have the time or patience to wait for day-old bread cubes, so I cubed the bread and toasted it in a toaster oven, leaving it in the oven to thoroughly dry out. I’m not certain if this added a toasty taste or not, but we loved it both hot and cold. Thank you for sharing! I’m passing it on to all my friends!


  • Dana

    I made a version of this last night to bring to work for lunches this week…. so good!!


  • Neiner

    I made this soup last night–minus the mint because I didn’t have it…SO GOOD.


  • anna

    Made this yesterday…so delicious but wish i used the entire jalepeno! I tried to zap it up with cayenne but it wasn’t the same…I added all chix stock but will do the one cup of water next time for consistency. I also added extra lemon juice for the zing. LOVED it!


  • Danielle

    I made this soup yesterday (and doubled it to happily use the 6 huge zucchinis in my fridge.) It is delicious! The only change I made was to omit the jalapeno as some of my family are very spice-sensitive. I’ve had it warm and cold and love it both ways. I may try freezing a portion to see how well it freezes. I will definitely be making this again! Thank you!


  • Sarah

    Just made and devoured this. Lovely. Didn’t have a jalapeño to hand so compensated with cayenne pepper and some chilli pepper.
    Really refreshing with the lemon and light. Perfect for light dinner on the rare cooler evenings in the summer. Might roast the zucchini first next time. Thanks Elise- it’s a keeper!


  • Dara

    Wonderful soup, Elise. What a smart idea to use day-old bread to thicken the soup. I made a zucchini soup a few weeks ago, but used coconut milk in mine – very silky and flavorful.


  • Lindah

    This is the bestest soup ever! I didn’t had cream, but I had Feta cheese and added a tablespoon to each serving bowl on top! OMG heavenly! Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Wayne

    Are you sure 1/2 cup mint leaves? Or is that a mistake?
    I tired this recipe and followed it to the letter. The mint was way way way to over powering! It should be called, “Mint” soup!
    We could not eat it and poured it down the drain, so dissapointed and such a waste.
    But I did learn a lot and I have gained experience.

  • Stephen Knauf

    Great soup recipe! I substituted the cup of water for a cup of coconut milk and it was sublime!

  • Ashley Kosher

    Thanks for the great recipe! I used corn tortillas instead of the bread and went with a whole jalapeno. It turned out really nice. Light and refreshing for the first day of fall! :) I think next time i might add a can of diced green chiles too.

  • maria

    I use cooked rice instead of bread to thicken soups and it works well, for those that are gluten free… you have to add to a bit of soup and then put in a blender. Works in any soup.

  • susan g

    I had fun with this one, with delicious results. Working with what I had on hand:used a yellow pepper to make up a zucchini deficit; subbed quinoa flakes for the bread for the celiac in the family, then had to add some water because it was so thick!; no mint — but I had some of Steamy Kitchen’s Asian Pesto which has both cilantro and mint — that plus some sour cream, and I’m in a glow from the goodness. It was satisfying and pretty too. I’ll make this again and play some more. Thanks!

  • deena

    I’ve made a similar recipe that uses corn tortillas instead of bread to thicken — it achieves the same goal, but contributes a nice masa note that bolsters the Mexican flavors.

    Great idea Deena, thanks! ~Elise

  • xander

    Mandy: My mother gave me a pretty good soup recipe which uses a fair amount of soup. The recipe follows:

    8 oz yogurt
    1 egg
    1 qt chicken broth
    1 c rice, cooked
    2-3 cloves garlic
    fresh parsley and mint, finely chopped, amount to taste (I tend to use about 1 c mint and 1/2 c parsley)

    Beat the egg, then add the yogurt. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. I tend to serve it hot, but it is also pretty good cold.

    It is good with some chicken thrown in, or with the juice of a lemon. My wife and I also recently altered the recipe by removing the mint and parsley, and using basil instead (we got about 10 lbs of basil from the CSA this week, and there is only so much pesto that one can make and freeze before losing their mind).


  • Patric

    Thanks for that wonderful recipe. I tried it last weekend. Instead of the chopped bread I used 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs. The leftovers were mixed with some heavy cream and used as a pasta-sauce on the next day.

    Greetings from Germany

  • Mara

    Just finished making this soup. Easy to do and tastes wonderful. Didn’t even need extra salt, the veggie broth had plenty. Needed an extra kick so we added picante, just a few drops because the jalapeno was not enough. Next time I’ll try it with the cream, don’t need the bread and a bit more jalapeno. Thanks. Excited to experiment with it.

  • Amy

    We made this yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, I think I put in too much mint. How do you measure fresh mint? Loosely packed? Before or after chopping?

    I would say loosely packed, before chopping. And make sure you are only using the leaves, not the stems. I’ll clarify in the recipe. ~Elise

  • Anna

    Just made this soup it is Awesome! I added an extra clove of garlic, put in 4 cups of broth and no water, and used dried bread crumbs because that is what I had. Instead of using cilantro or mint…I substituted lemon balm-it is wonderful. The best part is that zucchini is not my favorite so I generally do not take it when people give it away…now I will say yes! I was going to throw in a little buttermilk but it doesn’t need it. Next time I may add a little ham or bacon.

    Thank you for the great recipe…

  • Amy

    I am not a fan of mint; can I substitute basil, parsley, dill, lemon balm, lemon grass, or something else?

    The mint and cilantro work well together. If you omit the mint, you could just use cilantro, or you could omit the cilantro and mint and use basil and parsley instead. ~Elise

  • Cheryl

    I like the blend of spices and herbs in this recipe. I find the bread to be unnecessary. By altering the technique slightly, you’ll get a really creamy soup and don’t need to add bread at all to get a thick luscious soup served warm or cold.

    My version – double the garlic, slice it thinly to add to the onion. let the zucchini sauté until it is just tender, then add the broth (I use all broth, no water). Simmer 30 minutes with lid half off until the zucchini is completely soft.

    I then add the lemon & mint/basil or cilantro. Then blend. I always serve the next day to allow the flavors to fully develop.

  • jules khayati

    Over here in old England when we have big courgettes, zucchini to you. We make a nice jam with ginger out of them, or chutney.
    Coriander leaf and tomato marry well with them too. We have had rain, rain and more rain so they are like marrows!!
    Will try the soup though, sounds tasty.

    That chutney sounds great! ~Elise

  • Branwen

    Hi Elise… A zucchini soup sounds great right now, but I am not a fan of mint or cilantro. Is there something else that could be used?

    Fresh tarragon, basil, or parsley, depending on the flavor you want. ~Elise

  • Mise En Place


    WE have monsters growing in our front yard and along with zhuccini bread this recipe is perfect!!

    We substituted the Jalapeños for some Apaches we are growing! Perfect.


  • sarah

    This is such a simple idea that really transforms zucchini from a somewhat bland veggie (especially when eaten every day this week) to a really interesting dish. Another idea is to make a zucchini spread by lightly steaming it and then blitzing in a blender with some garlic and olive oil, salt and pepper. Then use with crackers or veggies for dipping. Light lunch sorted!

    Great idea, thanks Sarah! ~Elise

  • frances

    Nice dish, although I would use a diced potatoe instead of bread. It gives the soup a smoother texture.

  • jeanette

    I love the bowl! You have such a wide variety of dishes. What’s your secret to finding great dishware?

    Thanks! Anytime I find a cool looking bowl or plate, that I think would look great in a photo with food, I buy it. That bowl I bought at Anthropologie in Berkeley. ~Elise

  • Barbara | Vino Luci Style

    I like the addition of some heat to this soup; truth is it seems lately I like the addition of heat to a lot of things…not too much, I’m not into the mouth burning variety, but some jalapeno and also cilantro…shoot I would start a garden now to have abundant zucchini so I could make this soup!

    One thing I’ve done with an abundant crop and my neighbors overflow? I grate them, measure them into two cup packages and freeze. No need to blanch…open and use for zucchini breads in the winter.

  • Laura

    Thanks for this recipe! My coworkers are bringing in their excess zucchini in droves and I want to use it.
    I have the same question as a previous commenter – around how many cups is 2 lbs?

    About 5-6 cups, roughly chopped. ~Elise

  • Mitch

    I wound up making this into a refrigerator soup–threw in some leftover chorizo, a half can of tomato puree, some brown rice, and then finished it off with some Frank’s Hot Sauce and shaved parmesan cheese on top. Made a very nice lunch.

  • Mitch

    I’m cooking a batch of this right now–subbing a couple of cups of tomato puree for a cup of the stock and the water, and some leftover brown rice for the bread. Looking forward to it–good way to use up a “gifted” zucchini monster we got the other day!

  • JML

    Is there something you can use instead of bread? We’re grain free!

    You can skip the bread and put in a little cream at the very end (don’t bring to a boil). Or you can can add peeled, cooked potatoes. ~Elise