I actually can’t get enough of this Panera Autumn Squash Soup recipe. I’ve made it once a week for the last few weeks and I’m still not over it. Errrr, I’ll never be over it!
If you’re as obsessed with every single soup from Panera as I am, you’ll be sure to love this copycat recipe. Dare I say you’ll love this homemade version even more. I’ve already decided myself I love it even more, especially with a grilled cheese!
After I made this Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup I knew I had to make another copycat recipe from Panera. With the chilly Fall weather creeping in, I am craving all of the cozy soups and this one hits the spot.
Table of contents
It’s filled with roasted honey-cinnamon butternut squash, pumpkin puree, bright-orange carrots, apple juice, a hint of curry, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a bit of cream. And you got to admit, the color alone is pretty dang autumnal! It’s just so pretty.
The roasted butternut squash adds a magical touch to the soup. It gets perfectly roasted and caramelized with a little addition of butter, honey, cinnamon and salt. Truuuust me, it really does make all the difference! Roasting the squash helps to condense it’s flavor and takes it from a basic tasting soup to an oh-my-gosh-this-soup-is-so-good kind of soup. Ya know?!
You’ll simmer then blend all the ingredients up to create this creamy, silky-smooth, vibrant Autumn Squash Soup. It’s like Autumn in a bowl, I just know you’ll love it!
This soup is…
- FULL of flavor
- Easy to make
- Perfect for Autumn or really all year long
- Easily made vegan/vegetarian
- Perfect for an appetizer or filling enough for a main meal!
With a few pantry staples and some fresh produce, this soup comes together in a breeze.
- Onion: You’ll need a yellow onion for aromatics to kickstart the soup. A little olive oil (or butter) and onion creates a great base for soup. You can use a yellow onion, sweet onion or a white onion.
- Butternut Squash: Of course an Autumn soup needs some butternut squash! Feel free to buy a fresh, medium-sized squash and peel, seed and cube it up. Or you can buy it pre-cut to save some time. You’ll need 2 lbs. for this recipe.
- Carrots: the carrots help to add a touch of sweetness and color to the soup.
- Seasonings: this soup has a blend of some special cozy spices that take this soup to the next level. Curry, cinnamon, nutmeg (fresh nutmeg if you’ve got it), turmeric and coriander.
- Apple juice or apple cider: When reading the ingredient list from the Panera website, I discovered they use apple juice concentrate. But apple juice or cider does the trick. This is the ingredient that really sets this soup apart and you’ll love how the apple juice and butternut squash compliment each other.
- Fresh ginger and garlic: because hello depth of flavor!
- Vegetable broth: you could also use water but I’ve found a good quality vegetable broth really brings it all together.
- Pumpkin puree: be sure to use 100% pumpkin puree, and not the pumpkin pie mix. This adds a wonderfully luscious texture to the soup and gives it the Autumn vibes you’re craving.
- Brown sugar and honey: Panera uses both in their recipe, so I’m using both in mine. The sugar really helps to enhance the flavors of the squash and carrots and balances out the flavors from all the warming spices. If you find your soup is too sweet, add a bit of salt to balance out the sweetness.
- Cream cheese and heavy cream: these final touches brings the soup home and creates that ideal creamy soup you crave. Use coconut milk, coconut cream, oat milk, or any other dairy free alternative if allergies or intolerances are a concern.
Step by Step Directions
- Roast the butternut squash for about 25 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Saute the onions, then add in the carrots, garlic, ginger & honey.
- Add in the roasted squash, broth, spices, apple juice and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.
- Add the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, and brown sugar.
- Blend in a high powered blender until smooth (you’ll need to do this in batches).
- Stir in the heavy cream at the end and garish with pumpkin seeds.
Tips and Variations
- Use a stand blender, not an immersion blender: I’ve found a blender results in the best consistency, as opposed to an immersion blender. It’s worth cleaning the extra dishes, I promise!
- Use caution when blending hot soups: you’ll need to work in batches when blending. Let the soup cool just a little so it’s not boiling hot. Then fill the blender about 1/3 of the way up, vent the top and you can cover with a kitchen towel to blend. Pour the blended soup into a clean pot and repeat with the remaining soup.
- Roast the carrots, too! This recipe as written only directs you to roast the squash but if you roast the carrots too it’ll help bring out the sweet delicious flavors even more.
- Use pre-cut butternut squash if you’re feeling apprehensive about peeling and cutting your own squash.
- Use coconut cream in stead of heavy cream and a vegan cream cheese, if needed. An almond milk creamer would be yummy too or oat milk to help with the creamy consistency yet still be dairy free.
- As with most soups, toppings are key. This soup is pretty simple with a little roasted pumpkin seeds, a drizzle of heavy cream and a sprinkle of paprika if you’d like.
- Be sure to use apple juice or apple cider, and not apple cider vinegar.
- Prep the soup in advance by chopping the veggies and measuring out spices and putting them in a baggie so when it’s time to make the soup you’ll already have some of the steps done.
Yes! This soup is gluten free.
Soups that contain cream or milk unfortunately do not freeze well. They get a grainy texture and it’s just blah. If you do want to freeze, don’t add in the cream cheese or cream and then let it cool completely and transfer the soup to a freeze safe container, leaving a few inches between the lid and the soup so they soup has space to expand. Defrost the soup in your fridge overnight and then heat on the stove when ready to enjoy.
It will last up to 5 days in the fridge, properly stored.
HUNGRY FOR MORE? If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback! You can also follow me on Pinterest or Instagram. Sign up for my email list, too!
Panera Autumn Squash Soup (Copycat)
For the roasted butternut squash
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes about 6 cups squash or 2 lbs.
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
- pinch of salt and cinnamon
For the soup
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped into thin rounds or finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. ginger, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups apple juice or apple cider (NOT apple cider vinegar)
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. turmeric
- 1, 15 oz. can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 4 oz. room temperature cream cheese
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- garnish: pepitas, cream, paprika
- Preheat the oven to 425 degreesF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup, if desired.
- Place the butternut squash cubes on the baking sheet. Add the honey, butter, salt and cinnamon on top and toss until coated and arrange them in a single, even layer. Roast the butternut squash until they're caramelized and tender, ~25 minutes.
- When the butternut squash is almost done, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are soft, being sure to stir occasionally.
- Add the carrots, garlic, and ginger and stir to combine. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the roasted butternut squash, followed by the broth, apple juice, lemon juice, honey, and all the seasonings. Bring the soup to a boil, then down to medium-low and simmer until carrots are tender, ~10 minutes.
- Once the carrots are done, add in the pumpkin, cream cheese and brown sugar. The cream cheese will be a little clumpy but it's OK.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a blender. Puree the soup, working in batches, until the soup is smooth.
- Stir in the heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with pepitas, a drizzle of cream and paprika. Enjoy!
- Storage: It will last up to 5 days in the fridge, properly stored.
Hi, I’m Tawnie!
Welcome to my tiny “korner” on the Internet! I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who loves cookies as much as kale. (OK, maybe I like cookies a little bit more but shh, don’t tell anyone). I am so glad you’re here! Follow along for hassle free, realistic and approachable recipes.More about Tawnie