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Pumpkin Soup

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Flavored with leeks, maple syrup and spices, this pumpkin soup is the ultimate fall comfort food.

Bowls of pumpkin soup.

Photo by Johnny Miller, Clarkson Potter 2021

When we think of pumpkin, we usually think of autumn sweets, like pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, but pumpkin’s earthy flavor is wonderful in savory dishes, too. This velvety soup is flavored with leeks, apples, and maple syrup, so it has those sweet undertones that work so well in squash soups, but smoky cumin and spicy cayenne pepper balance out the flavor. If it sounds like an unusual combination, have faith—one reader wrote to me that it was one of the best soups she’s made in 53 years of marriage! I know canned pumpkin feels like cheating, but it’s a great shortcut; if you’d like to roast and purée fresh pumpkin, you’ll need 1¾ cups.

What you’ll need to make pumpkin soup

pumpkin soup ingredients

How to make pumpkin soup

Before starting, it’s important to wash the leeks well — they are notoriously dirty. To clean them, cut off the dark green portions and slice the leeks in half lengthwise. Run under water, pulling the layers apart to wash off any dirt, sand, and grit stuck between the layers.

Person washing leeks under running water.

Thinly slice the leeks.

Sliced leeks on a cutting board.

Melt the butter in a soup pot, then add the leeks.

Leeks cooking in a pan.

Cook until the leeks are softened, about 10 minutes.

Pan of cooked leeks.

Add the pumpkin purée, apples, herbs, salt, and spices.

Apples, herbs, and pumpkin added to a pan with leeks.

As well as the chicken broth, then bring to a boil.

Wooden spoon in a pot of soup.

Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Immersion blender in a pot of soup.

Add the cream and, using a stick blender (or regular blender), purée until smooth.

Pot of blended soup.

Ladle the pumpkin soup into bowls and top with a swirl of cream and more thyme.

Bowls of pumpkin soup.

Photo by Johnny Miller, Clarkson Potter 2021

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Pumpkin Soup

Flavored with leeks, maple syrup and spices, this pumpkin soup is the ultimate fall comfort food.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2.5 pounds leeks, white and light green parts only, washed well and thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin purée
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • ¼ cup heavy cream, plus more for garnish


  1. Melt the butter in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the pumpkin, apple, broth, maple syrup, salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes more.
  3. Add the heavy cream. Use a stick blender to purée the soup until completely smooth. (Alternatively, cool the soup slightly and use a blender to purée in batches. Be sure to remove the center knob on the blender and cover with a dishtowel to avoid splatters.) Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a swirl of cream (see note below) and fresh thyme leaves, if desired.
  4. Note: To add a swirl of cream that floats on top of the soup, whip a few tablespoons of cream with a whisk until ever so slightly thickened. Then use a teaspoon to drizzle and swirl the cream over the soup.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can be frozen, without the cream, for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. Once heated through, add the cream and bring to a simmer before serving.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Serving size: about 1 1/2 cups each
  • Calories: 331
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 53 g
  • Sugar: 24 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 702 mg
  • Cholesterol: 27 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • So I had a pie pumpkin sitting around since Thanksgiving and I was determined not to toss it.
    I baked it whole, scooped it out and used it in this excellent recipe with leeks, maple syrup, garlic, cumin and some fresh ginger. I made it vegan with almond milk and it was incredible!
    A new family favorite thanks to you, Jenn!

    • — Carol HB on January 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made something of an approximation of this using what I had on hand. Instead of a can of puree, I roasted a pie pumpkin, and since I was roasting, I threw the garlic in with it. Also, I had some apple cider on hand, so I threw that in as well. Herbs and spices weren’t exact, but same-ish warm flavors. The result was savory and sweet and deep and perfect.

    • — jennifer on November 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • So, I got my leeks from Trader Joe’s, they came with the green part trimmed off. I thinly sliced them until I got 2.25 lb worth. It was A LOT! Probably 10 cups, and filled my entire medium sized pot. The soup turned out the consistency of apple sauce and tasted good, but the leek smell was very strong – I am not motivated to eat it again because, tmi, I basically smelled like leek the next day… By chance, when you measure 2.5 lbs of leeks are the green stems still on? Then when you go home you cut them off and slice the rest to about 6 cups?? Or are you using 2.5 lb of sliced leek?

    • — Nic on November 15, 2023
    • Reply
    • The 2.5 pounds of leeks assumes that the dark green stems will still be on so if they were removed when you bought them, it makes sense that the soup was very strong in flavor as the white and light green parts are the most pungent. Also, When you buy them, you should purchase 2.5 pounds (versus having 2.5 pounds after slicing them). Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2023
      • Reply
  • A wonderful soup! Absolutely love this recipe. Our local supermarket was selling off Halloween pumpkins for 10p so I have a freezer full and I suspect a lot of this soup will be made over the winter months. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Yvonne on November 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delightfully surprised! I was looking for a little sweeter than the usual savory pumpkin soup and have found it! I used only 1/2 t. sage, per a reviewer’s comments; I didn’t have leeks, so I subbed caramelized onions; and I used half and half instead of heavy cream (and added at least 1/2 c. instead). Perfect for a chilly fall day. I’ll be back to try more recipes. Thank you!

    • — Barb on November 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this one other time and it turned out perfect, creamy and delicious. This time less creamy as if I put too much broth in. Is there a way to thicken this up?

    • — Pam on November 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, you can simmer it, uncovered, until it gets to your desired thickness.

      • — Jenn on November 8, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this tonight and it was fantastic! I made my own puree and it was very easy! My daughter (who is very picky) said we can make this again. Highly recommend.

    • — KED on November 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • I just made your pumpkin soup. Everybody loved it.
    Jenn, I have made so many of your recipes and have saved many more. Is there a way to organize my recipe box. It may be obvious to some, but as my son tells me, I’m technologically challenged.

    • — Kathy Trimbach on October 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, Glad you like the soup! As of now, there’s not a way to organize the recipes in your recipe box – I’m sorry! I will add that to my list of features to potentially add to the site.

      • — Jenn on October 23, 2023
      • Reply
      • I meant to give your soup 5 stars. The last one didn’t stick. I couldn’t find a way to edit it.

        • — Kathy Trimbach on November 2, 2023
        • Reply
    • Hi. I organize my recipes using an app called Paprika. It clips the recipe. You can organize them with tags. It’s well worth the cost. In fact I paid to have it on my tablet, my phone, and my PC.

      • — Karen on November 9, 2023
      • Reply
  • Soup tastes amazing! I followed recipe exactly and have blended soup in my Vitamix. My only concern is the texture of the soup is not smooth like the photo…it looks more like baby food? I’ve made lots of soups but have never had this issue. Any ideas for how to solve the issue before my party tonight? Thanks!

    • — Cate on October 21, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Cate, I’m obviously weighing in too late to help, but it sounds like it would’ve benefitted from adding a bit more broth to thin it out. Hope it turned out okay!

      • — Jenn on October 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • This soup is one of our all time favourites! The hint of spice with the sweet ness of the maple syrup and comfort of the chicken broth and pumpkin makes the rating a full 5 stars.

    • — Gail Dunfield on October 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • I had planned to only make 1/2 the recipe. Halfing the recipe would mean 1.25 lbs of leeks as the full recipe called for 2.5 lbs of leeks. I purchased 3 packets (six ounce each) of trimmed leeks from Trader Joe’s which includes only the white and light green parts. After slicing two packets (12 oz.) I had 6 cups of sliced leeks which is double the amount for half the recipe. So I am bit confused on how many leeks are needed. Do I use all 6 cups for 1/2 the recipe even though the weight is way off? Thanks.

    • — Danielle on October 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Danielle, I’d go with the weight for half of the recipe.

      • — Jenn on October 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • This soup is delicious and I will make it again. The only change I made, was I cut a 3lb pie pumpkin (since they are in season) into cubes and make the soup with that. I simmered everything for 20 minutes, blended the soup and it was the right thickness. I found the flavours subtle and the sage and thyme, for me, did not overtake the flavour of the soup. I will be making this soup again this year.

    • — Danielle on October 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Yumm! next time I might cut back on the sage as it was a tad prominent. Sure it would be even more delicious but eliminated syrup and cream due to current diet and still delicious comfort food!! Will be making this again 😎

    • — Susan Penta on October 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • Question – Can you freeze this soup?

    • — Carol Ferrini on September 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • Definitely (without the cream added). See the bottom of the recipe for freezer-friendly instructions. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 29, 2023
      • Reply
  • Another winning recipe from Once Upon a Chef. The hardest part (tedious, not really hard) was cleaning the leeks, but I knew how to do it thanks to Jenn’s recipe note. I like pumpkin soup but had not made it in a very long time and never with leeks.The flavor of this soup recipe is outstanding. I can’t wait to share the soup and the recipe with others.

    • — Andrea on January 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wow🤩 🤤
    What a wonderful symphony of flavours dancing around in my mouth. Deeeelicious.

    Thank you!

    • — Shannon on December 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • What kind of apple would be good to use?

      • — Tina G. on October 15, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Tina, really any apple will work here but some of my favorites are Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Fuji, Granny Smith, or Golden Delicious. Hope you enjoy the soup!

        • — Jenn on October 16, 2023
        • Reply
  • This soup is so good and easy. I think this is the fourth batch I’ve made. I always put one container in the freezer for lazy days. I don’t add the maple syrup.

    • — Marjory on December 8, 2022
    • Reply
    • I’m going to work on adapting this for the InstaPot. Any tips would be appreciated!

      • — Chris VeHorn on September 28, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Chris, I don’t have enough experience with an instant pot to tell you confidently how to adapt this, so you may want to take a peek at these tips. It looks like they could be useful. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

        • — Jenn on September 28, 2023
        • Reply
  • Hi,

    Can the chicken broth be substituted for vegetable broth?


    • — Samantha on November 27, 2022
    • Reply
    • Definitely — enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can I substitute heavy cream with yogurt? I don’t have cream at home.

    • — JC on November 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yes that will work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • Wow! I love all things pumpkin, but this soup is the tops! I will be making this again and again and again! Wonderful recipe! Thank you for posting!

    • — Gloria Scalise on October 31, 2022
    • Reply

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