Creamy pumpkin soup with fresh apples and ginger is the best comfort food of the season. Quick and easy to make in the Instant Pot or on the stove. Ready to serve in about 30 minutes.
Pumpkin soup is popping up in restaurants all over town this season. And why not? Pumpkin spice has flavored everything else.
If you have already bought half a dozen cans of pumpkin puree for recipes you will figure out later, you are set. Use a can or two for pumpkin soup.
RELATED: Love bread with your soup? Read up on the best bread for pumpkin soup.
Why You Will Love This Soup
- Prep is easy. Pumpkin puree makes it easy to throw the soup together. And it takes less time to cook the soup when you use puree.
However, you can make your own puree or even use raw pumpkin cubes. Be aware that this will add to the cooking time.
- Year-round soup. Using canned pumpkin puree means you can make the soup anytime you feel a pumpkin craving. Libby’s canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie) is my favorite brand to use for the soup.
- Flavorful. The spices, plus fresh apples and ginger, complement the pumpkin flavor. The coconut cream adds a creamy mouthfeel almost as luxurious as adding whipping cream.
RELATED: You may also be interested in the best ways to eat pumpkin. Not just soup and pie!
- Pumpkin. Using pureed pumpkin is the fastest and easiest way to make soup. However, you can use fresh pumpkin too.
If you use fresh pumpkin:
- Use a cooking pumpkin known for tasting good. A few examples include pie, sugar, white Casper, or Cinderella pumpkins.
- You can puree the pumpkin first or add raw pumpkin cubes to the soup. Be sure to peel the pumpkin before cooking it in the soup.
- Learn the best way to peel the pumpkin. Peel it before or after it is cooked.
- Apples. Sweet apples contrast with the spicy ginger in the soup. However, if you like your apples tart, use them instead.
I recommend Gala, Fuji, or Honeycrisp apples if you want to stay sweet. Try Braeburn, Granny Smith, or Pink Lady apples if you prefer tart.
Peel the apples if you want an ultra-smooth soup. Don’t peel them if you want an easier job or more fiber in your soup.
You will have no trouble blending the apple peel if you have a powerful blender like a Vitamix. However, an immersion blender won’t get the peel as pureed.
Check out how to use a Vitamix blender. Vitamix has excellent customer service too. If you need a high-powered blender, the Vitamix is my recommendation. Buy it here.
- Ginger. Fresh ginger is peppery and the key to spicing up the soup. Only use powdered ginger spice if you can’t find ginger in the store. Fresh ginger has so much flavor.
Wash and pat dry the ginger first. Then peel it.
The best way to peel ginger is with a Kuhn Rikon’s piranha swivel vegetable peeler. This is my powerhouse peeler.
It is powerful enough to peel a whole pumpkin and gentle enough to peel a peach. You won’t break a sweat when peeling ginger.
The best thing about the peeler is its capacity to peel only a thin layer of skin off. No wasting precious ginger flesh. Buy this powerhouse peeler here.
After peeling the ginger, grate it. A zester (like the Microplane) is my favorite tool for this task. But I’ve also used a box grater before. Grab your zester here.
The soup will be pureed, so the size of the ginger pieces won’t be a problem.
- Seasonings. You will recognize many of these pumpkin seasonings if you make pumpkin pie. Ginger adds warmth, as do these spices.
Add cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves for warmth and depth. Season with salt and white pepper (if you have it). Black pepper will be fine if you don’t.
Flavor with bay leaves, sweeten with maple syrup or brown sugar, and brighten with apple cider vinegar.
- Liquids. If you have a favorite vegetable broth, use it. However, I recommend Better Than Bouillon seasoned vegetable base if you are still searching for your go-to veggie broth.
The bouillon is a paste you mix into water to make the broth. Buy it here.
The second crucial liquid in the soup is coconut cream. Coconut cream is thicker and creamier than coconut milk, giving the soup an amazing texture. You can use coconut milk if you prefer a thinner soup.
- Use butternut squash in place of the pumpkin. It is a close match in flavor and texture.
- Swap out the coconut cream and replace it with whipping cream. For an even creamier mouthfeel, add 2 tablespoons of softened cream cheese to the soup before you blend it. (Or try a healthier cream cheese substitute.)
RELATED: If you love pumpkin, you will love these pumpkin snickerdoodles. They'are a real treat!
Prep the Veggies and Fruit
- Peel and chop the onion.
- Peel and smash the garlic cloves.
- Peel, core, and chop the apples.
- Grate the ginger.
- Heat the butter in the Instant Pot on the Sauté setting or in a soup pot on the stove.
- Add the chopped onions and apples. Cook for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften.
- Add the smashed garlic and grated ginger. Cook for 1 minute. Stir so the garlic and ginger don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Cook the Soup
- Pour the vegetable broth, coconut cream, and pumpkin puree into the Instant Pot (or soup pot).
- Stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, white pepper, and salt. Top with the 2 bay leaves.
- Close the pressure cooker lid and bring soup to high pressure. It will take 15 to 16 minutes to reach pressure. (Or bring the lidded pot on the stove to boil.)
- Process for 5 minutes in the pressure cooker. (If cooking on the stove, cook for 15 minutes.)
- Release the pressure manually and remove the bay leaves.
Puree the Soup
- Blend the soup in a Vitamix or other high-powered blender for 30 to 60 seconds or until it is smooth. You may need to do it in batches. Have a large bowl handy to pour the blended soup into.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. I usually add ½ teaspoon more salt and occasionally another tablespoon of maple syrup. Stir the apple cider vinegar into the soup (optional).
- Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, roasted pepitas, or Parmesan cheese.
- Add curry powder for curried pumpkin soup.
- Use a combination of pumpkin and sweet potatoes in the soup.
- Roast the pumpkin before making the soup.
- Caramelize or partly caramelize the onions. If you want to take your soup up a notch, caramelize the onions before adding anything else.
Beware: It will take about 45 minutes longer to make the soup. I only do it when I have dinner guests or for special occasions.
Cut the onions in rings instead of cubes. Cook them on the stove, not the Instant Pot. It is difficult to get a pressure cooker on a low enough heat setting to do the job.
- Don't forget to garnish. Every soup is better with toppings. Grab a couple of toppings for pumpkin soup to garnish your bowl. Croutons, cheese, bacon, and roasted nuts are just a few ideas.
RELATED: Want a sweet pumpkin treat? Try pumpkin snickerdoodles. The best holiday cookies with a unique pumpkin twist.
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftover pumpkin soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Leftovers will last three to four days.
Reheat single servings in the microwave. Reheat larger quantities in a saucepan on the stove.
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Soup?
Don’t worry about making a large batch of pumpkin soup because you can freeze leftovers. Place the leftover soup in an airtight freezer container or a zip-top freezer bag. Don’t forget to label the container.
Freeze the soup for up to 6 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator when you are ready to eat the leftovers.
You can make pumpkin soup in the Instant Pot, stove, or slow cooker. Each method has drawbacks and benefits.
The Instant Pot is hands-free and easy. The automatic warming feature automatically kicks on when the soup is done.
Cooking on the stove takes about as much time as using the Instant Pot. You can caramelize the onions on the stove before making the soup if you want.
Using a slow cooker takes hours, but it might be appealing if you want to start dinner in the morning.
As long as the pumpkin is a variety that tastes good, you can always start with a raw pumpkin to make soup.
If you peel and cube the pumpkin, add it to the soup before it cooks.
You can also roast or boil the pumpkin before adding it to the soup.
If you want a thicker soup, thicken it by reduction or additions of ingredients. To get specifics, read all about how to thicken pumpkin soup. You will love the easy tips.
Best Side Dishes for Pumpkin Soup
There are tons of side dishes that pair wonderfully with pumpkin soup. Here are a few.
- Sandwiches. There are many sandwiches that go with pumpkin soup. Take a look at the list.
- Crusty bread. Pick up a loaf from your local bakery.
- Buttermilk biscuits. Try this recipe for buttermilk biscuits made from pancake mix. Easy and delicious.
- Kale and Brussels sprouts salad. A crisp, healthy kale salad is perfect paired with pumpkin soup.
- 1 cup of white or yellow onion chopped (about ½ a medium onion)
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger freshly grated (or 2 teaspoons dry ground)
- 2 medium sweet apples like Gala
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 3 cups of vegetable broth I recommend Better Than Bouillon vegetable base
- 1½ cups 13.5 ounce can coconut cream
- 3 cups 29 oz. can of pure pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon of nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon of ground cloves
- pinch of white pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ to 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar optional
- PEEL and CHOP the onion.
- PEEL and SMASH the garlic clove.
- PEEL, CORE, and CHOP the apples.
- PEEL and GRATE the ginger.
- HEAT the butter in an Instant Pot on the Saute setting. (*See notes if cooking on the stove.)
- ADD the onions and apples. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
- ADD the garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute. Stir so the garlic and ginger don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- POUR in the vegetable broth, coconut cream, and pumpkin puree.
- STIR in the maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, white pepper, and salt. Top with the 2 bay leaves.
- CLOSE the pressure cooker lid and bring the soup to high pressure. It will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure.
- PROCESS for 5 minutes.
- RELEASE the pressure manually and remove the bay leaves.
- BLEND the soup in a Vitamix or other high-powered blender for 30 to 60 seconds or until it is smooth. You may need to do it in batches. Have a large bowl handy to pour the blended soup into.
- TASTE and adjust the seasonings as needed. I usually add ½ teaspoon more salt and occasionally another tablespoon of maple syrup. If the soup needs some brightness, add ½ to 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (optional).
- SERVE hot and GARNISH with freshly ground black pepper, roasted pepitas, or Parmesan cheese.
- To cook the soup on the stove, saute the onions, apples, ginger, and garlic with butter in a soup pot over medium high heat.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the apple cider vinegar. Cover and bring to a boil.
- When the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
- Follow the rest of the instructions listed above starting at step 13.