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Several years ago, my mom and I hosted a bridal shower in the fall and decided to serve a variety of soups and salads to our guests. We all have our “go to” recipes, but we wanted to try something fresh and new that we had never done before or even seen anyone else do for that matter. We started researching a bunch of recipes to compile the perfect menu that had enough variety and novelty for everyone to enjoy. We looked through recipe books, recipe websites, we may have even searched Pinterest (I honestly don’t remember if it was even around back then.) I don’t know that I had ever even heard of butternut squash soup before this endeavor, but the recipes looked so yummy and perfect for the season.

We tested out a bunch of recipes, made changes, combined things that we liked about each recipe, and took things out of recipes that didn’t suit our taste buds. What we ended up with when we were done was the perfect butternut squash soup. At least in my humble opinion. But honestly, I have tried a lot of butternut squash soup recipes at restaurants and from other kitchens since, and all of these years later, I have still never found one that even comes close.

Now I have to warn you. This is not the type of recipe that you can pull off when you are distracted. It is particular and while it seems like a really simple recipe, I have messed it up a number of times because I wasn’t fully focused. Also, it takes a LONG time. If you are in a hurry to throw something together, this is not the recipe for you. But don’t let that discourage you. If you want to make something that will impress dinner party guests at a fall gathering, it’s totally worth every ounce of effort. Let’s start with the ingredients.

12 cups butternut squash
1 lb carrots
3/4 cup onion
1/2 cup butter
6 cups water
10 tsp. Chicken bouillon
1 tsp. Dried marjoram
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp Cheyenne pepper
3 (8oz) pkg. Cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1/2 cup raw sugar

When selecting your gourds, make sure to get the biggest ones possible. I typically plan 4 very large squashes to get the 12 cups that are needed. The less squashes you have to bake will save you time and it’s a lot easier to scoop out the flesh. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice your squash in half length wise and scoop out all the seeds. Place squash on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake until very tender. The time it takes to cook your squash will depend on the size and how evenly you cut them in half. After about an hour, stick with a fork to test the tenderness. As soon as you feel like its easily scoop-able with a spoon, it’s ready.

While squash is baking, boil carrots until very tender. Like soggy. This is a step I have messed up before because I wasn’t paying close enough attention. I accidentally boiled out all of the water and the carrots at the bottom of the pot burn. Even if you don’t use the burned ones, the rest of the carrots acquire that burned flavor just from being in the same pot unfortunately. Not to mention, the not so lovely aroma that fills the rest of your house. 

If you are paying really close attention to the carrots, while they cook, you can dice the onions into very small pieces. Put them in a large pot with butter and cook until the onion is translucent. Here is another step that can ruin your whole soup. You have to watch the onions closely as well. There is only seconds between when your onions are translucent and then burned. It happens SO fast. Don’t take your eyes off the onions and stir them consistently as they cook. Lower temperatures on your burner can help slow the transition time that it takes to overcook the onion. DO NOT try to salvage them if they are overdone at all. It will absolutely change the flavor of your soup.

When the squash is fully cooked, scoop the “meat” out, measure, and add to cooked onions in the pot. When you are done scooping, there should be nothing left but the skin of the gourd.

Add cooked carrots, water, bouillon, seasonings, cream cheese, and sugar to pot and heat through.

When just boiling, remove from heat. Pour into blender and blend soup until smooth. I have used an immersion blender before to avoid having to transition the soup back and fourth into a regular blender. It usually takes 3-4 times filling it up to really blend up the large amount of soup, but it is definitely more thorough. The immersion blender never really gets all of the chunks of cream cheese and carrots smooth and it takes a lot longer. Once your soup is smooth and well blended, heat it through again and enjoy.

This recipe will make enough soup to feed about 14-16 people and believe me, they will be thrilled that you shared. I never make it in smaller quantities because of how much work it is. I want to get as much out of the time spent as possible. Invite your very favorite people over and smile as you watch them go back to the pot for seconds.

I can’t wait to hear what kind of party you serve this savory soup at. It was obviously a big hit at the shower that we originally made it for and I am in charge of bringing it to our family Christmas soup potluck every single year. I also have a brother who asks me to make it for him often. It’s his very favorite. I recommend serving it with fresh homemade rolls and a yummy fall salad. It’s also creamy enough that it’s perfect for serving in bread bowls. What is your favorite fall soup? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to discover more delicious chilly weather staples.