All The Tips You Need To Make The Best Pumpkin Soup This Fall

Hint: It's all in the garnish.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Avocado
Photo: Greg Dupree

Sometimes we pity the pumpkin. For all its potential, it's seen only as a means to eat pie. That's why we recently came up with a series of recipes that unlocks all the culinary levels you can achieve with this squash besides carving a Jack-O-Lantern. But if asked which recipe is our favorite, we would tell you it's this pumpkin soup.

But before you think we might be asking you to lug a whole pumpkin home from the grocery store and cut it up into several pieces, don't run away yet. You'll only need a can of puree, like the kind you might use for your favorite Thanksgiving desserts. Our favorite part of this recipe? Not only is it super easy, but you can also dress it up a zillion ways, making it the perfect big batch recipe to make on Sunday and eat throughout the week. Or a great choice for friends and family get-togethers where everyone can customize it to their liking with a toppings bar.

Tips To Make Pumpkin Soup

Roast the Pumpkin

As the star of the show, roast pumpkin can add tremendous flavoring and texture to your soup. If you are short on time, canned pumpkin puree will work. Make sure to remove all the seeds from a fresh pumpkin—which you can also roast separately—before cutting the squash into quarters to cook. Cover the pumpkin with olive oil and bake until you can easily pierce the pumpkin with a fork.

Boil the Pumpkin

You can also cut the pumpkin into smaller chunks, remove the skins, and boil it with a broth to form the soup's base. Use a Dutch oven or boil chicken stock, pumpkin, and your choice of additional ingredients or spices. Popular add-ins include onion, garlic, thyme, and heavy cream. Try caramelizing them first with garlic before adding pumpkin slices or puree when cooking with onions.

Use Your Blender

After mixing your soup and letting it cool to room temperature, run it through a blender. This step helps create the smooth and velvety texture that makes pumpkin soup delicious. After achieving your desired consistency, stir in salt, pepper, and heavy cream. Don't boil the mixture after adding your heavy cream because it will separate in the soup.

Add Some Spice

Besides onions, simple pantry ingredients often create the flavoring for traditional pumpkin soup. Popular fall renditions of this meal include adding warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. You can also choose to add a spicy flavoring by using cayenne pepper, cumin, or ground ginger. Maple syrup is also a great way to add sweetness to this savory dish.

Alternatively, butternut squash is a great substitute for pumpkin in most soups. Instead of crotons, you can use your roasted pumpkin seeds to top your new fall soup.

5 Ways To Change the Flavor Profile

In addition to traditional pumpkin soup flavoring and spices, here are five ways to customize this dish so you can make it all fall long without ever getting bored.

Indian Pumpkin Soup

Substitute a couple of teaspoons of ground ginger and a teaspoon of ground cardamom in place of cumin. Then top with a dollop of plain yogurt in place of avocado cream and sausage.

Middle Eastern Pumpkin Soup

Substitute in a couple of teaspoons of ground cinnamon, a teaspoon of ground turmeric, and a teaspoon of star anise in place of cumin. Top with pomegranate seeds and red chile slices in place of avocado cream and sausage.

Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Add two teaspoons of chipotle pepper to cumin and garlic. Top with queso, cotija cheese, and scallions instead of avocado cream and sausage.

French Pumpkin Soup

Substitute in a teaspoon or two fennel seeds in place of cumin. While hot in serving bowls, top with gruyere cheese in place of avocado cream and sausage.

BBQ Pumpkin Soup

Substitute two tablespoons of your favorite BBQ rub or seasoning blend in place of garlic and cumin. Top with crumbled pork rinds or chicharróns and a drizzle of hot sauce.

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