a single bowl full of butternut squash soup garnished with green onion


An easy butternut squash soup

With a touch of sweetness

Although I like butternut squash as a side dish, I have not been able to find a butternut squash soup that has won me over. I have tried a couple of pre-made butternut soups from the refrigerated section of the grocery store and I have tried a recipe or two that looked good to me. But none enticed me to have it a second time. So recently I decided to experiment with one myself using the flavors I like in my butternut squash side dish. It worked! This recipe combines savory soup ingredients with ingredients that make the most of the natural sweetness of the squash. It’s so good.

It all starts with the butternut squash

Roasting is the way to go

I always roast butternut squash. It’s the easiest way to cook it and when roasted, the sweetness of the squash shines through.

As far as I can tell, the majority of people boil butternut squash. I used to boil too so I can tell you from personal experience that boiling butternut squash is a colossal pain in the butt. It’s shape makes it clumsy to impossible to peel. The skin and flesh of the squash are tough. It’s a hard fought battle to get your squash peeled and chopped before you get it into the saucepan.

Even committed squash boilers will concede that it’s difficult to peel and chop a butternut squash. Then they go on to tell me that rather than go to all that trouble, they buy the bagged pre-peeled and cut butternut squash. I can’t believe how expensive those pre-cut cubes of squash are! You get less squash for more money. I might understand paying more if there was no other alternative, but there is. Roasting.

Boiling sends a lot of nutrients down the drain when you pour the water out. And with butternut squash your end result is mushy chunks of squash that you have to steam dry in the pan, or serve as a watery mound. Still for some reason, people who have always boiled butternut squash are all in on continuing that practice. I have suggested roasting butternut squash to countless people who have just brushed the idea off. I don’t get it. 😕

Don’t be one of the naysayers. Try roasting your next butternut squash. You will never go back to boiling. Roasted squash has a much better texture, it tastes better and it is easier. What more can you ask for?

As a side note: Pumpkins and all winter squash are also better roasted.

What to look for

The shape of the average butternut squash has changed during my dinner making years. What I buy in the grocery store these days is a butternut squash with a long straight neck. The butternut squash of yesteryear is still available amongst the new and improved long neck variety. It’s more like an hour glass with a wide bottom, a curvy middle and a flared neck. The “bulb” at the bottom of the squash is home for the seeds. There is edible squash surrounding the seed pod, but not a lot of it. It’s the neck of the squash that has the most “flesh” for cooking.

Here’s a look at the two shapes.

different shaped butternut squash

A look from the inside

You can see how much difference there is between the two shapes when you cut them in half.

short necked butternut squash cut in half
long neck butternut squash cut in half

Here you can see that the squash with the shape more like an hourglass (on the left) has a larger seed pod and it is evident that there is more “useable” flesh in the longer necked squash on the right.

Getting ready to roast

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cutting the squash

Whether you are making a side dish or soup with your butternut squash you will roast it the same way. Let’s take a look at how to get your butternut squash ready for roasting.

a butternut squash unpeeled and a large cutting knife

Whenever you are getting ready to cut a vegetable or fruit that can roll around, cut into it to create a flat surface that you can use to steady it on the cutting board. That’s what we are going to do next.

Looking closer at how to cut

I am going to cut the stem end off. Then I am going to cut the seed end off at the bottom of the neck. Finally I am going to stand the neck on the widest end and cut down the middle to make 2 halves.

the stem end cut off the butternut squash
Cut the top off at the stem end. Moisture is seeping from the cut end showing it is fresh.
cutting off the bulb at the bottom of the neck
At the bottom of the neck, cut the seed pod off
the neck of the squash cut down the middle
Cut through the middle of the neck top to bottom

Remember me saying the squash is dense? Even with my long sharp knife I cannot make one easy cut through the middle of the neck. I “rock” the knife up and down as I put pressure on the handle. Keep the blade in the squash while you are cutting. Trying to pull the knife out before the cut is finished is difficult and dangerous.

You probably won’t have 2 equally sized halves. I usually don’t. If they are close to the same size they will be done at the same time. A piece that is a lot thinner may take less time to cook. Check it in 45 minutes to see if it is done. If it is, take it out to cool and return the larger piece to the oven.

Prepare for roasting

You need a baking dish, baking sheet or oven safe skillet.

Now that you have the 2 halves of the neck cut, we are going to butter all the cut areas with butter or margarine. I just rub it on with my hands. Put the pieces flat side down in the baking dish/pan. The butter will help keep it from sticking. Buttering each end helps keep them from drying out and getting crusty.

rubbing butter over the exposed flesh of squash before roasting
Butter the middle and ends.
two halves of the neck of the butternut squash
Put butter side down in a baking dish.


Roast for 1 hour at 375 degrees.

As the butternut squash roasts it loses moisture and shrinks a little. That makes the skin pucker and start to separate from the flesh of the squash, making it very easy to remove the skin. The browning and puckering of the skin is one indication that the squash is done. Also, the squash should should be completely soft under the skin if you pinch or poke it. If the squash is firm at all, put it back in the oven until it is fully cooked. Check every 10 minutes or so for doneness.

Here is what your butternut squash will look like when you take it out of the oven. Let it cool before removing the skin.

baked butternut squash in baking dish out of the oven
The skin has puckered up as some moisture cooked out of the squash.
roasted butternut squash meat side up with skin on
The inside of the baked squash just out
of the oven.
peeling the skin from the squash after it is roasted
The thin skin is removed easily after the squash is cooled.

Here’s what YOU WILL NEED:

butternut squash soup ingredients mashed squash chicken broth milk onion butter maple syrup salt cinnamon and nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup yellow onion minced
2 cups roasted and mashed butternut squash
1 large long necked squash should be enough
1 (14.5) ounce can of chicken broth
1 (12) ounce can of evaporated milk
or 1 and 1/2 cups of another milk or cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Ingredient tidbits: About Onions

About ingredients

Real maple syrup

You need real maple syrup for this recipe and any recipe that calls for maple syrup. If the label reads “syrup” without the word maple in front of it, or “maple flavored” it isn’t the real thing. Pure maple syrup is more expensive but worth every penny in cooking. When a recipe calls for maple syrup it’s usually not a lot. A little of the real thing goes a long way.

Do you want to know more about real maple syrup? We have a post for HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE that tells you all about how maple trees are “tapped” for sap and the sap is boiled into syrup. It is a 100% natural product.

Evaporated milk

I am using evaporated milk. I use it a lot in both sweet and savory recipes. It is thicker than regular milk because some of the water content has been evaporated.

It comes naturally for me to use evaporated milk because my grandmother used it. She used evaporated milk in her cream pies, custards and puddings, all of which were mouthwateringly good! She even lightened my cup of tea with evaporated milk. So I equate the taste of evaporated milk with good food. I also like that it stores well and I can always have it on hand.

You can use any milk you want. Using a dairy milk product or a plant based milk substitute will give you a thinner consistency.

This is WHAT TO DO:

Mince the onion

We are going to mince the onion for this recipe. Mincing means cutting the onion into very small pieces. Butternut squash soup is a cream soup. We don’t want chunks or slices of onion. The minced onions are being sautéed in butter on medium heat. The minced onion will soften and also add flavor the butter.

sliced onion and minced onion on a cutting board

Making the Soup

Soften the minced onion

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced onion and soften. We are using medium heat so the onion will cook slower without getting browned. Stir the onion regularly for about 5 minutes to soften them. The “melted” onions will have a sweet buttery taste. This is the savory base for our soup.

minced onion cooking in melted butter

Add squash and spices

mashed squash and spices added to saucepan with butter and onion
mashed squash mixed with spices butter and onion

Add the liquids

Now all that’s left to do is add the milk, chicken broth and maple syrup.

butternut squash soup in pan with liquid added but not simmered yet the spices are floating on top

Boil then simmer

Bring the soup to a boil, and then put a lid on the saucepan and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Finishing touches


You can choose the texture you want for your butternut squash soup. Since you minced the onion and mashed the squash your cooked soup does not have a lot of texture. It’s great this way. But, if you want a smoother consistency, you need to take one more step before serving.

Emulsion blender

There are different ways to make your soup a smoother consistency. The easiest way is using a kitchen tool made for the job. It’s called an emulsion blender. I don’t advocate for going out to buy a lot of fancy equipment. My mother was always looking for cooking tools and gadgets and the ones I have are hers for the most part. But the emulsion blender is an exception. I bought this one for myself. It may not be used everyday, but for this job and some others it’s the perfect tool.

There is a huge price range when it comes to emulsion blenders. Professional chefs always have one or more of them in their kitchen. You only need an inexpensive one for the home kitchen.

Here is what an emulsion blender looks like.

an emulsion blender for soups and drinks

Emulsion blenders are not just for making soups. They are perfect for blending beverages too. They usually come with a cup that fits the blender perfectly so you can make a single serving of a smoothie, a milk shake with ice cream, and yes, it is great for adults only concoctions too.

Food processors, blenders and mixers

If you don’t have an emulsion blender, you can take the soup from the stove, cool it a bit and pour it in a blender or food processor. Depending on the size of your equipment, you may need to blend in batches.

You can also use a hand mixer in the soup pot. If you have a whisk attachment it may work better for the job, but do the best you can with what you have.

This soup is absolutely delicious without making it smooth, so you don’t need to have any of these things. You will not sacrifice one bit of flavor.

Before and after

Here are some pictures of what the soup looks like before and after using a kitchen appliance to make it smoother. I have used my emulsion blender.

butternut squash soup done but not blended to be smooth
butternut squash soup after it has been blended to be smooth

It may look more like other butternut squash soups after making it smoother, but I honestly like it just as much without the blending. The flavors seem more pronounced to me.

Your soup is ready to serve

butternut squash soup served in a large serving bowl with a ladle soup has green onions  and some cinnamon added to the top
Butternut squash soup being served. Chopped green onion and a sprinkle of cinnamon are used as a garnish.

a single bowl full of butternut squash soup garnished with green onion


If you like butternut squash chances are you will like our savory butternut squash soup with a touch of sweetness.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
roasting the squash 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, meatless meal, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 151 kcal


  • ½ cup yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups butternut squash roasted and mashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 can chicken broth 14.5 ounce can
  • 1 can evaporated milk 12 ounce can or 1½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup pure maple syrup only


Prepare the Ingredients

  • Roast a butternut squash at 375 degrees for 1 hour. We have a lot more about how to prepare the squash for roasting in our post.
  • Mince a small yellow onion. Measure out ½ cup.

Cooking Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to make soup. A 2½ quart saucepan is big enough. Add the minced onion and cook them down slowly on medium heat. Do not let the onions brown, but a little golden brown in the butter is perfect. (the bottom of a saucepan usually tells you how much it holds)
  • Add the mashed butternut squash, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir until combined.
  • Add the chicken broth, evaporated milk and pure maple syrup. Stir to incorporate.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • For a smoother soup, use an emulsion blender, counter blender, food processor or hand mixer. This step is not necessary. It just effects the texture, not the taste.


Calories: 151kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 5gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 647mgPotassium: 413mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 5116IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 206mgIron: 1mg
Keyword autumn meals, baked squash, cold weather meals, comfort food, homemade soup, making homemade soups and stews, meatless meal, one pan meal, roasting squash
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