Easy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

This butternut squash and sweet potato soup is my all-time favorite soup recipe and one that I've probably made over 100 times.  No, that's not an exaggeration. I make it year-round, but it's especially good in the fall, when butternut squash and sweet potatoes are in season. 

Bowls of butternut squash and sweet potato soup with bread.

Yes, it's the perfect fall soup. But I make it year-round. Here's why!

I love this recipe because it is healthy, filling, easy to make ahead of time in large batches. It lasts for over a week in the refrigerator when stored properly.  You can freeze this soup, but I honestly think that it compromises the flavor a little bit. You can make it in your Instant Pot, in your slow cooker, or even on the stovetop...over the years I've done all three.

  • Healthy and filling: This soup is chock-full of fresh vegetables and, unlike many other similar recipes, doesn't contain a drop of cream. It can easily be modified into a vegan recipe by replacing the butter with olive oil and the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
  • Feeds a crowd: This recipe makes a generous 10-12 servings. But if I'm not feeding a group, I'll often make it for myself and have it for an easy lunch or dinner over the course of a week.
  • Instant Pot / slow cooker / stovetop: No Instant Pot? No problem! My easy butternut squash and sweet potato soup can also be made via your slow cooker or on the stove top. Refer to the "Notes" section of the recipe for variations!
  • Did I mention the flavor and texture? Despite the lack of cream, this puree still tastes rich and creamy. It features accents of warm ginger, cinnamon, garlic, and a touch of brown sugar. I like the texture on the thicker side, but you can certainly thin it out with extra broth, if desired.
Two bowls of instant pot butternut squash and sweet potato soup.

Video tutorial: See how easy it is to make my Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients and special equipment

Ingredients for soup recipe.

Ingredients for Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

  • Fresh butternut squash: Look for one that is between 3-4 pounds. Depending on the distribution of the squash, you might end up with more than you need to fill the Instant Pot. Save leftover butternut squash cubes in a zip top bag in the refrigerator to roast with olive oil, salt and pepper as a healthy side dish!
  • Orange sweet potatoes or garnet yams: Look for red or orange-skinned sweet potatoes, not white sweet potatoes, which have a more crumbly and dry texture.
  • Yellow onion: Choose medium sized, sweet or standard yellow onions.
  • Olive oil / butter: For a vegan recipe, use double the olive oil and omit the butter.
  • Brown sugar: Light or dark brown sugar are both fine. You can substitute maple syrup if you don't want to use sugar.
  • Minced garlic
  • Ground cinnamon / ground ginger
  • Chicken or vegetable broth: Choose a reduced sodium option, if possible. For a vegan recipe, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  • Salt and pepper

Special equipment

Black Kitchenaid immersion blender.
  • Instant Pot or slow cooker: I used to make this recipe solely in a slow cooker or crock pot until I was gifted an Instant Pot by my parents. The main recipe provides instructions for making this soup in the Instant Pot, but the "Notes" section tells you hoe to alter the instructions for your slow cooker or your cooktop.
  • This recipe calls for an immersion or a "stick" blender (pictured above).  If you don't have one of these, you can always puree the soup in batches in a regular blender or food processor.  However, I will tell you that my immersion blender is one of the best small investments that I have made for my kitchen.  My first model cost less than $25, and I used it countless times for soups, sauces, purees, gravy, etc.  It is significantly easier to clean up after than a blender or food processor, not to mention the fact that it is darn fun to use.  If you don't have one, the holidays will be here before you know it, so add it to your wish list. You won't be sorry!
  • Make sure that you have some Tupperware-style containers on hand for leftover soup. This recipe makes quite a bit, and I think that the flavor improves over time.
  • Potato peeler: useful for prepping the butternut squash and sweet potatoes

Step by step photos and instructions

  1. Halve the onions and then thinly slice them.
  2. Heat the butter and oil using the Sauté function on your Instant Pot. For vegan recipes, omit the butter and use 2 tablespoon olive oil instead. See "Notes" section in the recipe card, below, for directions if using a slow cooker or a pot on the stove.
  3. Add the onion, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden brown and tender, 10-15 minutes.

4. While the onion cooks, cut the butternut squash and sweet potatoes into 1½ inch pieces. Add these to the the Instant Pot along with 6 cups of the broth.

5. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and switch to the "Manual" feature, and set the time to 16 minutes. When finished, allow the steam to naturally release for 15 minutes and then carefully flip the sealing nozzle to release the rest of the steam.

6. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the Instant Pot until it is smooth an creamy. Alternatively, transfer the soup to a traditional blender to puree in batches.

7. Add more broth to the soup if it is too thick for your taste (I like a thicker soup), and then reheat the soup until it is warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.

Two bowls of butternut squash and sweet potato soup.

Frequently asked questions

What should I serve with Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup?

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup is a delicious, healthy option for lunch or dinner. A bowl of the soup makes a filling entree on its own, perhaps served with a little bread on the side (like my Easy Popovers). You can also serve it alongside a seasonal salad, such as my favorite Spinach Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing. If you'd prefer to serve it as a first course or by the cup, it pairs well with a healthy grilled protein, such as chicken or pork, and a sautéed green vegetable, such as broccolini or spinach.

Why use an immersion blender instead of a standard blender?

Also known as a hand blender or stick blender, an immersion blender offers several advantages over a traditional blender:
Portability and size: Immersion blenders are compact and lightweight, making them easy to store in small kitchens. They are also more portable, allowing you to use them directly in the cooking pot or container without the need to transfer hot liquids or ingredients to a separate blender jar, adding an extra step and often an extra mess.
Easy to clean: Traditional blenders typically have multiple parts, including a blending jar, lid, and blade assembly, which can be harder to clean. Immersion blenders have a detachable blending piece that can be cleaned with soap and water or placed in the dishwasher.
Versatility: Many immersion blenders come with various attachments, such as a whisk and chopper bowls, making them versatile tools that can handle tasks beyond blending.
Cost-effective: Immersion blenders are often more affordable thantraditional blenders, making them a budget-friendly option for blending.

How do you pick a butternut squash from the grocery store?

Picking a good butternut squash from a grocery store involves several characteristics. Pay attention to the following when selecting your squash:
Firmness: Choose a butternut squash that feels firm and solid when you gently press on its skin, with no mushy areas.
Skin tone: The skin should be smooth and free from major blemishes or cuts (minor imperfections are usually fine.)
Color: A ripe butternut squash has a uniform beige or tan color. Avoid squash that has green patches as it may not be fully ripened.
Weight: A good butternut squash should feel heavy for its size.
Season: Butternut squash is generally available in the fall and winter months. If you're buying outside of these seasons, check for signs of long-term storage, as older squash may not be as fresh.

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Bowl of butternut squash and sweet potato soup.

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Julie Hession
Healthy and hearty Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup can be prepared in an Instant Pot or a slow cooker, and can easily be made vegan-friendly with just a few small changes. It's perfect for a cozy fall or winter meal....but I love to eat it year-round!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 241 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Instant pot or slow cooker (6qt model used for this recipe)
  • 1 Immersion blender or standard blender
  • 1 Potato peeler

Ingredients
  

  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional for vegan recipe -- see Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 to 3½ lb butternut squash, halved, peeled and cored
  • lb red sweet potatoes or garnet yams, peeled
  • 6 to 8 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

Instructions
 

  • Halve the onions and then thinly slice them.
  • Heat the butter and oil using the Sauté function on your Instant Pot (for vegan recipes, omit the butter and use 2 tablespoon olive oil instead.) See "Notes" section below for directions if using a slow cooker or a pot on your stove top.
  • Add the onion, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden brown and tender, 10-15 minutes.
  • While the onion cooks, cut the butternut squash and sweet potatoes into 1½ inch pieces. Add these to the the Instant Pot along with 6 cups of the broth.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot and switch to the "Manual" feature, set to 16 minutes. When finished, allow the steam to naturally release for 15 minutes and then carefully flip the sealing nozzle to release the rest.
  • Using an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the Instant Pot until it is smooth an creamy, or transfer the soup to a traditional blender to puree in batches.
  • Add more broth to the soup if it is too thick for your taste (I like a thicker soup), and reheat until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.

Video

Notes

  • SLOW COOKER VARIATION If using a slow cooker instead of an Instant Pot, sauté the onions per Steps 2 and 3 in a skillet over medium heat.  Transfer the onions to your slow cooker and add the butternut squash, sweet potatoes and broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours, until the squash and sweet potatoes are tender.  Puree the soup as directed Step 6. 
  • STOVE TOP VARIATION If using a large pot on your stove top instead of an Instant Pot, sauté the onions per Steps 2 and 3 in the pot over over medium heat.  Add the butternut squash, sweet potatoes and broth. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until until the squash and sweet potatoes are very tender, 20-25 minutes.  Puree the soup as directed Step 6. 
  • This soup keeps well in the refrigerator, tightly sealed, for up to one week.
  • To make this soup vegan, simply substitute the butter with 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil and use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. 

Nutrition

Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 441mg | Potassium: 1270mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 38706IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 2mg
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