Pumpkin soup is the perfect fall comfort food. With its velvety texture and warming spices, it’s no wonder pumpkin soup is a staple on so many autumn menus. If you’ve never made pumpkin soup before, don’t be intimidated. This easy pumpkin soup recipe comes together in just 30 minutes and requires only a handful of simple ingredients.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Soup
Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy homemade pumpkin soup recipe:
- 1 small sugar pumpkin or 2 (15 oz) cans pure pumpkin puree
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Tips for Selecting Pumpkins
If using fresh pumpkin, make sure to start with a sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin. These varieties have thicker flesh and a sweeter flavor than carving pumpkins. Look for a pumpkin that feels heavy for its size with taut, smooth skin free of blemishes or soft spots. Avoid large jack-o-lantern pumpkins, which tend to be stringy and watery.
When selecting canned pumpkin, make sure it is 100% pure pumpkin puree without added sugars or flavorings. Avoid canned pumpkin pie mix, as it contains spices and other ingredients that will alter the flavor.
Some grocery stores sell pre-cut and peeled fresh pumpkin chunks in the produce section for ease of use. One 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree equals about 1 3/4 cups fresh pumpkin puree.
Now, let’s get cooking! Here is a simple step-by-step guide to making perfect pumpkin soup:
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes until softened and translucent. If your onion starts to brown, reduce the heat a bit.
- Add the garlic and sauté for just 1 minute more to release its aroma without burning it.
- Add the pumpkin puree, broth, cream, and seasonings all at once. If using fresh pumpkin chunks, add those instead of canned puree. Whisk well to fully incorporate.
- Bring the liquid up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the fresh pumpkin chunks are fork tender.
- Carefully blend the soup using an immersion blender directly in the pot or by transferring to a countertop blender in batches. Blend until silky smooth and creamy.
- Return the blended soup to the pot and adjust seasonings to taste. Add more salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg if desired.
- Simmer briefly to reheat if needed. Then ladle pumpkin soup into bowls and garnish as you like.
And that’s it! In just 30 minutes, you can have the creamiest pumpkin soup ready to enjoy. The key is finding that perfect blend of spices to complement the natural sweetness of the pumpkin.
Don’t be afraid to play around with spices and herbs to make this pumpkin soup your own. Consider these tasty additions:
- A pinch of cloves or allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes for heat
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder or garam masala
- Dash of smoked paprika
The possibilities are endless for customizing this recipe. The important thing is tasting as you go, and adjusting to suit your preferences.
Creamy and Smooth Texture
Achieving a silky smooth texture is one of the keys to amazing homemade pumpkin soup. Here are some tips:
- Use an immersion blender directly in the pot to smoothly puree.
- Strain the blended soup through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any bits.
- For the ultimate creaminess, blend in a package of cream cheese after pureeing.
- Swirl in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream after blending.
- Adding a sliced and pureed Granny Smith apple provides natural pectin for thickening.
Don’t be afraid to blend in small amounts of additional liquid if needed to achieve your desired consistency.
A delicious garnish can provide the perfect finishing touch for your homemade pumpkin soup. Consider these fun topping ideas:
- Toasted pepitas or pumpkin seeds
- Croutons made from cubed bread
- Crumbled bacon or prosciutto
- Parmesan cheese shavings
- Fresh chopped herbs like sage, parsley or chives
- Spiced whipped cream or creme fraiche
- Maple butter – mix maple syrup into soft butter
- Honey roasted pumpkin cubes
- Pomegranate seeds
- Candied pecans or walnuts
Storing and Freezing
One of the bonuses of making homemade soup is enjoying leftovers all week long. Properly stored pumpkin soup will keep well:
- Let soup cool completely before transferring to airtight containers or resealable bags.
- Refrigerate pumpkin soup for 3-4 days.
- Freeze individual portions of soup for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in fridge before use.
- Freeze extra pumpkin puree in 1 cup portions to use later in breads, pancakes or a future batch of soup.
Now that you know how easy it is to make the best pumpkin soup at home, you’ll want to keep this seasonal favorite on hand throughout autumn.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re new to making pumpkin soup, you may be wondering…
How can I tell if my pumpkin is spoiled?
Signs of a spoiled pumpkin include mold, soft spots, shriveling skin, and an unpleasant sulfur-like smell. Discard any pumpkin showing these signs of spoilage. Properly stored, whole pumpkins will last 2-3 months in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate cut pumpkin in an airtight container for up to one week.
How long does homemade pumpkin soup last?
Homemade pumpkin soup will last 3-4 days when properly stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure to let it cool completely before refrigerating to avoid condensation. You can also freeze single serving portions of soup for longer term storage. Thaw frozen soup overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What can I do if my pumpkin soup is too thin?
If your blended soup is too thin, there are a few quick fixes. Whisk in a slurry made of 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water. Bring to a boil for one minute to thicken. You can also puree a slice of bread in the blender then whisk it into the soup. For extra richness, blend in cream cheese or half-and-half.
What kind of pumpkin is best?
Sugar pumpkins and pie pumpkins have the best texture and sweetest flavor for soup making. Carving pumpkins tend to be stringy with more water content. Canned pumpkin puree is often made from Dickinson squash, a variety very similar to sugar pumpkins.
Can I use leftover pumpkin for other recipes?
Yes, leftover pumpkin puree can be used in many fall baked goods. Stir it into pancake batter, add to muffins, quick breads, or brownies. You can even freeze scoops of extra puree for 2-3 months. Use it to make your next batch of soup or pumpkin pie. The possibilities are endless!
More Soup Inspiration
Once you master this basic pumpkin soup recipe, consider trying these tasty variations:
- Curried Coconut Pumpkin Soup – add coconut milk, red curry paste, cilantro and lime juice
- Pumpkin Chili – add beans, corn, red pepper flakes and chili powder
- Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Soup – swirl in mascarpone and top with sage
- Pumpkin Apple Soup – use apple cider as the broth base
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup – roast pumpkin cubes with garlic, onions, olive oil
- Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup – combine with cubed sweet potatoes
Don’t stop at just one signature pumpkin soup. Try a new spin to keep this fall favorite feeling fresh all season long. Your family or dinner guests will love the variety.
Satisfy Your Pumpkin Cravings
Homemade pumpkin soup is the ultimate fall comfort food. With its luscious texture and cozy spices, this easy pumpkin soup recipe will become your new seasonal tradition. Make a batch to share at Thanksgiving or your next autumn gathering. Just be prepared for the recipe requests after your friends and family get a taste! Enjoy this wonderful seasonal treat.