Learn the best ways to thicken pumpkin soup. Reduction, thickening agents, or adding pureed veggies or starches are just a few tricks to try.
Is your pumpkin soup too thin and runny? Don’t panic. There are many easy fixes to thicken your pot of pumpkin soup.
What is the best way to thicken pumpkin soup? The two best ways to thicken pumpkin soup are by reduction or soup additions. Reduction simmers the soup until some liquid boils away, thickening the texture and intensifying the flavor.
Adding natural thickeners or pureed foods are other smart ways to thicken soup.
Check out this delicious creamy pumpkin soup with apples and ginger recipe. You will love it! And don't forget to grab your pumpkin soup side dish. There are lots of creative ideas to make the meal complete.
1. Thicken by Reduction
Thickening pumpkin soup by reduction is one of the easiest techniques cooks use. However, it can take longer than thickening in other ways.
Reduction is the technique of simmering a pot of soup on the stove long enough for some of the liquid to boil off and evaporate. The soup will be thicker and the flavor more concentrated.
Leave the lid off the soup pot during reduction. Then the steam can escape the soup and evaporate, leaving a fuller soup.
Keep an eye on the soup as it simmers. Otherwise, too much soup can evaporate. This leads to a soup that is dense and sludgy. Not what you were after.
Depending on how thin the soup starts, reduction can take between 15 to 30 minutes. Be sure to stir the soup periodically to gauge the texture.
Any soup that is still too thin after 30 minutes will probably benefit from another thickening method. Either a natural thickening product or pureed food. Learn about these soup additions below.
2. Thicken with a Thickening Product
The sole purpose of some products is to thicken. The best thickening products do not add to the flavor of the soup.
Others have a subtle flavor. Be aware of how certain additions can change the taste of pumpkin soup.
Modified Food Starch
Modified food starch is a flavorless food thickener and stabilizer. It can be made with corn, waxy maize, or potatoes. Which means it is often gluten-free (though not always).
This product is easy to use in both hot and cold foods. And it doesn’t have to be pre-mixed before being added to the soup.
The most significant advantage is its resistance to lumping. No one likes lumpy soup. And, as another perk, pumpkin soup won’t separate or weep when it cools.
One of the most popular modified food starch products is Cornaby’s E-Z gel. The soup can be hot but shouldn’t be boiling when you add E-Z gel.
Sprinkle it in the soup and then whisk it in. It will thicken within minutes.
The biggest drawback is finding the E-Z gel in your local grocery store. Most of them don’t carry the product.
Fortunately, you can find it online. Buy here.
Cornstarch may be the most common liquid thickener around. It is cheap and easy to find in most grocery stores.
It can be finicky, though. You can’t add it straight into a hot pot of soup. It will clump and never recover. It also has a mild cereally taste, which you may or may not notice in your soup.
Unfortunately, it can also break down (or weep) if heated and stirred too long.
To thicken pumpkin soup with cornstarch, whisk cornstarch into cold water until it is smooth. Use twice the amount of water versus cornstarch. And don’t use hot water!
For example, measure two tablespoons of cold water into a small bowl. Then whisk in one tablespoon of cornstarch. When the mixture is smooth, stir it into the hot pumpkin soup on the stove.
Continue to cook the soup for a few minutes as the cornstarch approaches boiling. It should begin to increase the heft of the soup within a few minutes. Buy here.
Unlike cornstarch, flour has gluten. For thickening, this means you will need more flour to thicken pumpkin soup than you would need cornstarch.
Never add flour directly to a hot pan of soup. Otherwise, clump city. Yikes!
Instead, make a slurry with flour and water, just like with cornstarch and water. Whisk it with a fork until it is smooth before adding it to the soup pot.
Continue to cook the soup as the flour thickens for 5 to 10 minutes. Flour has a floury flavor, which does not taste good until cooked.
Be sure to taste your soup before serving it. If it still tastes like flour, cook it for a few more minutes to get rid of the taste. Buy here.
Arrowroot powder comes from the roots of tubers. It has a neutral flavor, which makes it an appealing thickener.
It has at least twice the thickening power of flour and ⅔ the thickening power of cornstarch.
Make a slurry with room-temperature water before adding it to the soup. Cook for a few minutes, but keep an eye on the soup.
When the pumpkin soup is the right consistency, remove the pan from the heat. Otherwise, the soup may start to break down. Buy here.
Tapioca comes from the starch of a cassava root. It can give the soup a lovely sheen and a sticky texture. Use it for soups you know you will freeze because it helps the soup keep its texture even when frozen.
Tapioca starts to thicken the soup as soon as it begins to heat. But the pearls can be stringy in soup, so keep that in mind when considering tapioca as a thickener.
Make a slurry with equal parts tapioca and water. Then add it to the soup and cook for just a few minutes. Buy here.
Use masa harina if you want an enchilada flavor addition to your pumpkin soup. It works similarly to the other thickeners discussed already.
Don’t pour it directly into the soup, or it will form lumps. Make a slurry first, and then pour it in. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the pumpkin soup is as full-bodied as you like. Buy here.
Bread crumbs make an excellent soup thickener. And unlike the other thickeners, bread crumbs can be thrown directly into the soup.
Use one or two tablespoons of homemade bread crumbs to get the right soup texture. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or regular blender to incorporate the crumbs.
You may also be interested in how to make bread crumbs without a food processor.
3. Thicken with Fruits or Vegetables
Sometimes all you need are some complimentary fruits or veggies to add flavor and thicken your pumpkin soup at the same time.
Be aware of the flavor change of the soup with these additions. Adjust seasonings and flavorings if needed.
Adding more pumpkin puree may thicken the soup a little. But raw pumpkin cubes will thicken it even more.
Add raw pumpkin cubes to the soup as it cooks. This post on the best way to peel pumpkin is a useful resource.
Or, for even more flavor, add roasted pumpkin cubes to the soup. Puree the soup for hearty, delicious pumpkin soup.
Apples or applesauce will complement the flavor of pumpkin soup. No need to peel the apples unless you want an ultra-smooth soup.
Applesauce is another fantastic choice to thicken and add apple flavor. Read these instructions for making applesauce without added sugar.
Curried pumpkin soup tastes delicious with the addition of whole tomatoes as a thickener. Canned or raw tomatoes will do the trick.
Carrots won’t even change the color of the soup as they thicken it. And sweet, earthy carrots are a tasty side flavor for pumpkin soup.
Add chopped, shredded, canned, or frozen carrots. Any of these choices will do the job.
You may also be interested in this yummy baked brown sugar carrots recipe.
The flavor of cauliflower is neutral and prone to absorb the flavors of the ingredients around it. This makes it a wonderful choice as a pumpkin soup thickener.
Chop or shred fresh cauliflower. Use frozen cauliflower or cauliflower rice.
4. Thicken with a Starch
A little potato can go a long way to thicken soup. I recommend thoroughly rinsing any raw potato cubes you add to the soup to keep the soup from getting too gummy.
Raw, mashed, or baked potatoes all work as thickeners.
Sweet potatoes and pumpkin have similar colors and flavors. Adding raw or frozen sweet potatoes to thicken the soup is an excellent choice.
Thicken with cooked white or brown rice. Learn how to cook brown rice using the pasta method for perfect grains every time.
Add a couple of tablespoons and puree the soup with a powerful blender (like a Vitamix). Alternately, use an immersion blender, although the soup may not end up as smooth.
Do you have leftover oatmeal? Use it to thicken your pumpkin soup. Oatmeal blends very smoothly and will absorb the flavor of the soup.
Cooked quinoa is another starchy soup thickener. If you know your recipe produces a thin soup, cook the quinoa along with the soup.
However, if you need to thicken the soup after it cooks, add a couple of tablespoons of cooked quinoa and process the soup in a blender. Learn how to cook light, fluffy quinoa.
5. Thicken with Protein
Ready to add some protein to your pumpkin soup? It will thicken it too. Be prepared to add more seasonings because some of these protein thickeners can be bland.
You will love the mild nutty flavor of garbanzo beans when you use these beans as a soup thickener.
Don’t add raw beans unless you plan on cooking the soup for an extra long time. Use canned beans or even leftover hummus. Yum!
See the best ways to cook garbanzo beans so they are soft and creamy.
White beans, like navy or Boston beans, are effective as a soup thickener. A few tablespoons may be all you need to get the right soup thickness.
Add canned or cooked beans. They won't add much flavor, so be prepared with your arsenal of seasonings.
Red lentils have a mild, earthy flavor that will pair deliciously with pumpkin soup. The best part of using red lentils is that they can cook in as quickly as five minutes when added to the soup.
They don’t need to be presoaked, and the flavor blends quite nicely with pumpkin.
Vegans know all about the creamy texture soaked and blended cashews bring to recipes. Whether your pumpkin soup is vegan or not, blending cashews into the soup will help thicken it.
And the soup will be richer and creamier. Presoaking or cooking the cashews with the soup will produce the smoothest texture.
However, blending the cashews with a Vitamix blender will give you a smooth texture too. Read up on how to use a Vitamix blender for more information. You may also like this article about Vitamix customer service.
Tofu is made from the curds of soy milk. It has a creamy texture and mild flavor that often takes on the flavors of surrounding ingredients.
This makes it a perfect soup thickener. A thick, creamy pumpkin soup flavor-imitator.
Egg yolks have natural thickening qualities. The yolks will also add richness to the soup you may find appealing.
Ladle out a cup of soup. Then stir the yolks into this small amount of soup to temper them. Pour the egg soup mixture back into the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes to thicken.
Tempering is a technique that is also used to make pudding.
Limit the yolks to one or two. Otherwise, the soup may start to taste eggy.
6. Thicken with Dairy
Dairy doesn’t always have as much thickening power as you may like. But the rich flavor it brings to the pumpkin soup will make you drool.
If your soup is still not thick enough after adding the dairy, pair it with another thickening agent.
Cream is a liquid, but it can still thicken slightly. You will love the rich creaminess it brings to pumpkin soup. But don’t add too much, or it may thin the soup instead of thickening it.
Use it to thicken slightly thin soup. Then use reduction to thicken to your desired texture.
You will love every soup you add cream cheese to. Its unparalleled flavor and richness will make you wonder why every recipe doesn’t call for it.
Add up to 8 ounces for a full soup recipe. But be sure to soften the cream cheese before adding it to the soup.
The best way to add cream cheese to pumpkin soup is to pull out a cup or two of soup and whisk it with softened cream cheese. When the mixture is smooth, return the soup to the pan and mix the soup to combine everything.
If you like the idea of cream cheese but want to go lighter, you may be interested in my post on healthy alternatives to cream cheese.
When you want to thicken softly, add sour cream. It is an excellent choice if you want to thicken and reduce the heat level of a spicy pumpkin soup.
Cottage cheese is one of the healthier options to cream cheese that can also thicken the soup. Blend it with the soup for a thick, creamy texture.
Like cottage cheese, blending ricotta into pumpkin soup is a great way to thicken the texture. It is also a wonderful use of leftover ricotta cheese.
Greek yogurt can also thicken the soup and give it a creamy, tangy flavor. Beware of adding too much because it can get tangy pretty quickly.
7. Thicken by Cooling
Most pumpkin soup recipes will naturally thicken as they cool. You may find that leftover soup needs some broth added before reheating it.
Let the soup cool for 15 or 20 minutes after pureeing it and before serving it. You may find that it thickens on its own. If it doesn’t thicken enough, try one of the other methods above.
When your soup is cool, grab the best toppings for pumpkin soup. Now your meal is complete.
Craving More Pumpkin?
There are lots of ways to eat pumpkin. Almost the whole thing can be eaten.
- Pumpkin snickerdoodles. A twist on the classic, try thick, soft, fluffy pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies.
- Roasted pumpkin seeds. Don't throw out those pumpkin seeds. Make a crunchy, healthy toasted pumpkin seed snack.