Pumpkin Soup

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe

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

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.

washing-leeks

Thinly slice the leeks.

sliced-leeks

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

leeks1

Cook until the leeks are softened, about 10 minutes.

leeks2

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

apples-herbs-pumpkin

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

ready-to-boil

Simmer for about 20 minutes.

blending-soup

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

ready

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

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

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  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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Reviews & Comments

  • Doubled for family! We loved it!

  • Is there a substitute for the thyme or should I just omit it ? Thanks

    • Hi Betsy, it’s perfectly fine to omit it. It will still be delicious!

  • Soup is delicious! I chose to not add the cream to cut fat. It froze and reheated very well. I hope you don’t call me “nuts” but I added about 1/4 cup of (white) cannellini (sp?) beans to my dish of soup BEFORE reheating for dinner. White beans mild in flavor. My idea was to add a little more nutrition/protein for myself since it was my only dinner dish. I plan to make more and freeze in portions. It’s very satisfying.

  • This was a big hit with the family and I would definitely make it again. I only used 2 tablespoons of maple syrup thinking that 5 tablespoons would be too sweet for our taste buds. Can you freeze this soup with the cream already added? I used Half & Half (Canada) cream that my husband uses in his coffee instead of Heavy Cream.

    • Hi Grace, it’s best to freeze it before adding the cream, but if it’s already in the soup, it will still work. The soup may separate a little when you reheat it; just give it a stir or two to recombine. Glad everyone liked it! 🙂

  • Absolutely delicious, followed the recipe as written. It’s hearty, rustic and spicy;
    great for the fall. Five Stars!

  • WOW! This soup is DIVINE! Perfect soup for fall. So flavourful and smooth. This soup will definitely play a starring role in my Thanksgiving weekend menu!

  • Can you suggest a way to omit the cream? Is there a substitute that’s a little healthier?

    • Hi Franka, You can leave the cream out (or substitute with a bit of coconut milk instead). Enjoy!

  • I tried a pumpkin jalapeño soup at a local restaurant and fell in love. The owner retired and sold out. Since then I’ve looked everywhere to find a recipe for the soup, with no luck. One day I stumbled onto this site and discovered this recipe. It is amazing to say the least, and as good, if not better, than the original. I add a few jalapeños with the leeks, extra cayenne, and only 2T of maple syrup. It’s so easy and absolutely incredible! Thank you for sharing!

  • I made this soup today. It’s so delicious. Thank you.

    • What type of meat would go best? Chicken/shrimp?

      • — Meghan on November 22, 2019
      • Reply
      • Hi Meghan, My inclination would be chicken, but I really think that, depending on how you season it, you can serve this with any kind of protein.

        • — Jenn on November 22, 2019
        • Reply
  • Delicious (sweet and herby and creamy) and reliable recipe. Just like all the others on this site. And the photos and narrative at the beginning of all these recipes, I swear have taught me how to be a cook over the years. Thank you! P.S. I used fresh sugar pie pumpkin. Was yummy!

  • I just finished cooking this soup and really love it. Can’t wait till everyone is home and we start eating. The only change i did was to use fresh squash and 4 tbsps maple syrup. Thanks for this great recipe.

  • Delicious!

  • If I made the soup on Tues evening (keeping in the frig b/c added cream, first time making) will it be still b ok to serve Sat evening?

    • Hi Sam, I think waiting until Saturday is pushing it a bit. While it definitely freezes better without the cream, I’d opt for freezing it if you feel strongly about serving it on Saturday. The cream may separate a bit, but you can recombine it when reheating.

  • I made this soup tonight, and it is very good. I made a couple of minor changes though. I used fresh roasted butternut squash instead of pumpkin. I was concerned about how sweet it would be, so reduced the maple syrup to 3 tbsp instead of five. I used 1 tsp of dry thyme because that’s what I had on hand. And after blending in my vitamix i decided it didn’t need the cream. The soup is delicious. I will definitely make this again.

  • I don’t know if this is splitting hairs, but is the 2.5 pounds leeks before or after you cut off the dark green parts?

    • Hi Melinda, It’s 2.5 pounds before cutting. Enjoy! 😊

  • this was delicious! Not generally liking pumpkin, I took a chance based on the rave reviews. Excellent and savory. As I was unsure of the sweetness of my apple, I used 4 T of maple syrup instead of 5. love the idea of serving in small clear glasses as a holiday appetizer.

  • I swear – every recipe I’ve tried on this website has been fantastic, including this one. I detest squash but decided to give this a try… was NOT disappointed. So flavourful and love the subtle heat twist. Thanks so much for posting. Made just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving!

    • Melissa-I totally agree with you that this website is fantastic. EVERY RECIPE IS FANTASTIC. You took the words right out of my mouth. I have been saying this for months since I started using the site. With that said I recently made the French Lentil Soup with Vegetables, never thinking my husband would eat it. He loved it !!!!! So I’m going to try this soup tonight because like you said every recipe is fantastic.

  • Absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe exactly but substituted fresh butternut squash for the pumpkin. I used the full amount of cayenne pepper. What I loved about the soup is the taste is a surprise from what you expect. If you want to make this truly elegant for a dinner party, putting the finished soup through a chinois or very fine strainer would make it silky smooth and even more beautiful.

  • I made this soup last weekend and WOW! So yummy! I followed the recipe exactly and my husband said it is his new favorite soup. We had it for dinner two nights in a row – and my family isn’t a fan of leftovers. Served it with a dark nutty bread from Macrina bakery called the Volkhorn and some toasted pepitas to sprinkle on top. A great pairing. I put some in the freezer for another day. Hoping it freezes well but it was very easy to make so you can whip up a batch in now time. Thanks for another yummy recipe!

  • I made this soup last weekend and we all enjoyed it. It provides 6 very ample portions! I think it would be great for a potluck supper in the fall.
    Cocunut milk was substituted for the heavy cream.

  • CAN I USE SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD OF MAPLE SYRUP EG GOLDEN SYRUP OR HONEY AND STILL ACHIEVE A GOOD TASTE? THX.

    • Sure, Joan – I’d go with honey. 🙂

  • What is the serving size? Recipe says 6 servings. I love this soup, but am on Weight Watchers (WW) diet so need to determine how many WW points per serving.

    • — Loretta Kayser
    • Reply
    • Hi Loretta, I would estimate that each serving is about 1 1/2 cups. Hope you enjoy!

  • This is delicious! I need to cut calories, so I left out the cream. Also, I didn’t have maple syrup or fresh herbs, so I substituted some brown sugar and dried herbs, but it was still great! I will definitely make it again when I am able to buy good leeks at the store.

  • I served this as a passed appetizer in small glasses on Xmas day. Everyone loved it!

  • Totally worth the time. Positive ravs from everyone .will make it again .someone suggested crabmeat?? Think I’LL try

  • This soup, like everything I’ve made from onceuponachef, is so good. I used a red delicious and 3 Tbs of maple syrup. I added the 1/4 tsp of cayenne. Obviously I’m more of a savory than sweet gal! Jenn, thanks for this fabulous blog and taking the time to put together great recipes!!!

  • I just made this soup and it is so, so good. It has such wonderful mix of flavors and the cayenne gives it a nice bite.
    How do you measure chopped fresh herbs? Do I let them sit loose in the measuring spoon or pack them down? Thank you for the recipe. Its going into our book of favorite recipes. Welcome to the family!

    • Hi Sue, so glad you enjoyed the soup! For fresh herbs, I generally loosely pack them into the measuring spoon; just so they’ll stay in there, but don’t pack them down too hard (unless it’s specified in a recipe). Hope that helps!

  • This soup was very tasty, thick and nourishing. I was having cataract surgery and made it to have for lunch that day and the next. Left out the sage because I didn’t have any but thyme and cumin seemed to be enough. Anxiously awaiting delivery of your cookbook!

  • I made this soup to use up my canned pumpkin I bought in the Fall. It was absolutely delicious! I did make a few changes. I used an onion instead of leek because I didn’t have any. I used a bay leaf in place of the sage and thyme again because I didn’t have them on hand. I used 2 cans of pumpkin instead of one to thicken it up and omitted the heavy cream. I cut back on the maple syrup using half the amount and added the juice of one lemon. To garnish I used sour cream and pepitas with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Scrumptious! Thanks Jenn and a Happy New Year to you and your family

    • — Darlene Catuara
    • Reply
  • Fabulous winter soup! New family favorite, and enjoyed to the last drop. So filling, and such an easy recipe.

  • Have made this recipe several times and turns out perfect every time. My new favorite.

  • This soup is fabulous! I’m the soup cook at St Vincent de Paul kitchen where today I cooked this for 258 people. It was perfect as I had 6 really large pumpkins that I wanted to use up. There were so many complements from the group we served. One lady hugged me. She said it was the best she had ever eaten! I love your recipes!

    • Wow, what a wonderful and giving job to have – to help that many people each day is a gift. So glad the soup was a hit!

  • Made this soup for a Thanksgiving potluck. I thought one batch might not be enough so I made a double batch. I am so glad I did…this soup is so good that I am praying there are leftovers that I can take back home to enjoy myself (I know…selfish…but it really is that good!) Thanks for an awesome recipe. 🙂

  • Hi,

    I really want to try this soup, but I just do not like heavy cream in soups. Do I really need it in the soup? If yes, can I substitute with a little bit of non fat yogurt?

    • Hi Mindy, You can leave it out (or try a bit of coconut milk instead). Enjoy!

      • I used the coconut milk and it was great, I think it made it a little less creamy, but it was still really good!

  • I need to make a soup for Thanksgiving dinner. I picked your spicy pumpkin leek recipe. Two questions: How do I incorporate a fresh pumpkin into the recipe; & how do I adjust the recipe for 10-12 people?

    • Hi Stan, you can use fresh pumpkin here; just roast and purée it before incorporating it. And if you’re serving it for 10 – 12, I’d suggest just doubling it. You may have a bit leftover, but it will keep nicely in the fridge for 2 – 3 days. Hope everyone enjoys!

  • Hi Jenn, recently happened across your website and have been excited to try some of your recipes…I have four kids (youngest 4 months old, the other three picky eaters) and love your approach to cooking :). Pumpkin soup is a favourite of mine but is not actually a favourite of my husband’s…but this recipe is fantastic. Everyone really liked it! My husband said it was 100 times better than my old pumpkin soup recipe, maybe have made a pumpkin soup fan of him after all :). My older kids ate two portions, my 3-year-old, who is in a difficult phase where he refuses to eat most savouries, ate three portions! Definitely a winner :).

    I live in Germany, where canned pumpkin is not available, so made it with fresh. Also left out the thyme, not realising I was out, and the sage, being too lazy to look it up in German. Next time will be sure to have the herbs!

    Look forward to trying more recipes and your cookbook in the spring!

    • So happy your family enjoyed the soup, Mags – I know what a challenge picky eaters are!

  • Delicious soup. Turned out much more sweet than spicy, maybe even too sweet. I’d definitely use this recipe again but halve the maple syrup and go heavy on the cayenne pepper.

  • Made last night, and it was great! Jen, thank you – your recipes are always reliably good! Only change I made was substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth, since it was “Meatless Monday” and it worked very well. Re: cayenne, I used a pinch, which was probably just less than 1/8 tsp, and that it was a touch of heat.

  • Hi Jenn
    Making soup now so quick question. Do you chop the thyme and sage ?

    • Yep – just corrected. Thanks for catching that, Lee Ann!

  • How much mashed pumpkin do I need to equal a can of pumkin soup?
    Thanks. 💖

    • Hi Dianne, You’d need about 1-3/4 cups. Hope that helps!

  • Another winner Jennifer! Once again you hit the trifecta. Quick, easy and tasty! My wife and I both enjoyed it. Thanks for another blue ribbon recipe!

  • I made this soup and it was delicious. I did not have a stick blender but it was actually fine. I have made potato leek before and for that you would definitely have to blend it but the pumpkin is already smooth. Will make again:)

  • I made this for dinner tonight, and wow is it tasty! It’s very similar to a favorite pumpkin soup at a local restaurant, so I’m very happy to have this recipe on hand. I subbed honey/ creme fraîche for the syrup/ heavy cream because I already had them on hand, and they worked very well. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  • I was unsure about this soup, because the ingredients seemed so odd, but decided to give it a shot. I loved it. I don’t think I would add any cayenne next time. I love heat , but not so much in this soup. I started with 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, because some reviews said it was too sweet. I ended up using all 5 Tbsp., and felt it really just rounded out the soup, and did not make it seem too sweet. I used pure maple syrup, and wondered if maybe they were using imitation, which always tastes too sweet to me. I can see myself dunking my leftover turkey sandwich in this rich hearty soup. I did substitute dried herbs for fresh, and just adjusted the amount because I didn’t have those available at the time. As usual, a great recipe, and I can’t wait for the cookbook next year.

    • — Laura Migliore
    • Reply
  • Hi Jennifer, I am a huge fan. Spent the summer making only recipes from your blog and was NEVER disappointed! Looking forward the the fall and your warm and cozy recipes. My question is how do you feel about homemad chicken broth vs store bought and do you have a favorite recipe for broth? Thanks, Beth

    • Hi Beth, So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! Re. the broth, it depends. I wouldn’t bother for a puréed soup like this one that has so many other flavors going on but for a brothy chicken soup, I’d make it from scratch (time permitting). You can’t go wrong with Ina’s recipe.

      • Thanks and agreed! Ina’s has been my go to for broth for years:) just checking…

  • Absolutely delicious! I loved all the different flavors — the maple syrup paired with garlic and leeks. I wasn’t sure what the mix of flavors would be like, but it was great! I made it ahead of time and reheated it; next time I think I’ll make it ahead and then put it in the cockpot to keep it warm.

  • Absolutely delicious and very straight forward. I didn’t use sage, thyme or cream and still fantastic.

  • Jenn, please ignore previous question. I just saw the picture of ingredients.

  • Hello Jenn, New Zealand has recently been getting Libby’s pumpkin. Is this what you mean when you say 1 can pumpkin puree?
    Thanks. S

    • Hi Susan, yes Libby’s canned pumpkin is pumpkin puree. Just make sure it isn’t pumpkin pie puree!

      • — Lynn in the Desert on January 4, 2020
      • Reply
  • Awesome!!! A fall/winter favorite!

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