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Curried Butternut Squash Soup brings exotic Thai flavors to a healthy and aromatic twist traditional comfort food. This velvety smooth curried soup recipe will warm you from the inside out, plus it is naturally gluten free and vegan.
Originally published March 9, 2014. Updated with new photos and more helpful information about the recipe.
My family has always been pretty big meat and cheese eaters. Our staple dinners were often very similar to Cheesy Ground Beef Skillet. And even out vegetarian meals most certainly had dairy – pizza, grilled cheese, pierogies. Even spaghetti was usually covered with a mountain of parmesan.
So the first day of Lent, when we don’t eat meat and dairy, was always a little tricky for us. Seafood is allowed, but you’d never catch my mom cooking or eating something like, say, broiled salmon.
As I got older and learned more about cooking, I realized I didn’t have to stick to a diet of Pop Tarts, Jello, and bananas with peanut butter on those two days of the year. I started branching out, making shrimp stir fries, Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas for my pasta, and even Vegan Cauliflower Chili with Quinoa.
As well as vegan soups like this Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup recipe!
While many butternut squash soup recipes tend to be on the sweet side, with that sweetness only enhanced by adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, I’ve always preferred a more savory version. Whether I make my butternut soup with sage and thyme, or make a veggie-packed version of cheddar cheese soup, I don’t want mint to taste like pie.
But I had the idea for this spices and sassy version in my head for like a year and a half before I actually made it. Why I waited so long I’ll never know because now I want to keep eating it.
Thai Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Butternut squash simmered in coconut milk and pureed makes it rich and creamy, peanut butter also adds to the smooth, luxurious texture. Thai red curry paste brings in the exotic flavor and a bit of warmth. But the spice is not overwhelming since it is balanced by the natural sweetness of the squash.
A steaming bowl of this Curry Butternut Squash Soup is so satisfying and comforting. I know I’ll be making it over and over!
Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!
About the ingredients
You’ll need one large butternut squash, about 3 pounds. This does not have to be exact as you can always add more water or broth to adjust the thickness of the soup depending on the size of your squash.
Do you have to peel butternut squash?
Yes, while newly harvested butternut squash can have tender skin, typically it is too tough and tender. In some recipes that call for roasted butternut squash, you can roast it in the skin and scrape out the flesh.
Thai red curry paste
Thai red curry paste is a blend of flavorful ingredients like chilis, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and spices that are blended to form a paste. You can make your own with a Thai red curry paste recipe, or you can buy it from a brand such as Thai Kitchen, which is gluten free.
This is canned coconut milk not the kind from a carton. Light coconut milk works fine to save calories. Full fat coconut milk will make it richer and thicker, so you may need to add a little more liquid at the end.
Soy sauce or tamari
You can use your favorite soy sauce, but if you ned to make this gluten free, just be sure to use a brand that does not include wheat or use tamari. Coconut aminos would also work, but you may need an extra pinch of salt.
The rest of the ingredients are pantry staples that you may already have in your kitchen.
- Coconut or olive oil
- Fresh ginger
- Water or vegetable broth
- Creamy peanut butter
- Salt and pepper
Taking inspiration from the soup ingredients, you can set aside a little of the coconut milk and drizzle it on top, give it an extra squeeze of lime, or sprinkle on some shredded coconut or chopped peanuts for texture.
Is butternut squash soup healthy?
Yes, butternut squash is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants for relatively few calories. It is loaded with Vitamins A and C, and that orange color is a great indicator that it has high levels of beta-carotene. The fiber and antioxidants also make this one of the best heart-healthy recipes. (source)
Plus this soup is naturally gluten free and vegan.
How do you thicken butternut squash soup?
One of the best things about butternut squash soup is that you don’t need anything else to thicken it. After you simmer the squash in whatever liquid you choose, it purees into a beautifully smooth texture.
I always recommend cooking it in a little less liquid, then adding more after you puree it so that you can get the texture you enjoy.
For pureeing the soup, you’ll need one of the following:
- Immersion blender – also called a hand blender or stick blender, an immersion blender allows you to puree the soup right in the pot without transferring it to a blender. This makes it easier, with less mess to clean up.
- Blender – you can use any blender you have, but for the smoothest, most silky soup, I love to use my Blendtec Designer 725. The Wildside+ Jar is nice and big, so you don’t have to blend it in batches, as you would with a smaller blender, and it gets perfectly smooth in seconds. You can even use the “Soup” setting to keep it hot while you blend it. I am a Blendtec ambassador. Should you make any purchases through that link, I will receive a small commission. But that also means you can use the code CUPCAKESANDKALECHIPS to receive 20% off.
Make it a meal
While this soup is rich and satisfying all on its own, you can always round out the meal by serving it with one of these dishes.
- Shrimp Rice Paper Rolls
- Sesame Zoodles
- Thai Larb Chicken Lettuce Cups
- Banh Mi Salad
- Thai Style Ribs
- Mini Thai Burgers with Sriracha Lime Cream Sauce
- Thai Peanut Sauce with veggies for dipping or drizzled on a salad
- Vegetarian Pad Thai from Pinch of Yum
More healthy soup recipes
- Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Greek Chicken Soup with Zoodles
- Antiviral Vegetable Soup
- Chicken and Corn Chowder
- Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Quinoa Soup from Simple Quinoa
Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil
- half of a medium onion, chopped
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon minced or grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
- 13.5 oz. can coconut milk (you can use light)
- 1 cup water or vegetable broth, or more if needed to adjust thickness
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lime
- Additional coconut milk shredded unsweeted coconut, chopped peanuts, etc. for garnish, if desired
- In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the squash, onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion and squash are starting to get tender.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and curry paste, and saute for another minute or two, until fragrant.
- Add the coconut milk, cover, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until squash is tender.
- Puree with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender or food processor.
- Return soup to the pot, return to a simmer and stir in the vegetable broth or water, peanut butter, soy sauce or tamari, and the juice of one lime.
- If thicker than you desire, add additional water or vegetable broth to thin it out.
My son is allergic to peanuts. Do you think sunflower butter would work as a substitute??? This sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to make it!
I’ve never used sunflower butter, but if it has the same consistency as peanut butter, it’s certainly worth a try. Good luck!
Very nice recipe, and quite tasty. I think it’s worth mentioning, however, that most store bought Thai curry pastes are not vegan… not even vegetarian. Many have shrimp paste in them, and vegans should seek out vegan brands, or make their own.
That is interesting to know. I used Thai Kitchen, which according to their website is vegan – http://www.thaikitchen.com/products/sauces-and-pastes/red-curry-paste.aspx
I recently made a similar soup with sweet potatoes, but I love that you added peanut butter! Fabulous idea! This looks so rich and filling. Perfect for a meatless meal.
The peanut butter adds a little rich texture. I have to try sweet potatoes. Someone else mentioned that.
I make something similar that has an Indian spice spin …. it is SO good–can’t wait to try your version!
I was actually thinking of going with more of an Indian curry, but wanted to try the Thai version. I’ll have to try the Indian spices.
My daughter loves Thai flavors she would go crazy over this!
Haha my mom is far from a picky eater, but one thing she won’t touch is curry. When we tell her we went to dinner and got Thai red curry for dinner we hear eww. She is convinced that all “curries” – Thai, Indian, everything have curry powder in them and therefore she hates them. One day we will change her mind…
Your soup looks delicious. I can’t wait to give it a try.
That’s my mom. She doesn’t realize all curries are different!
I love your thai twist to this classic dish. We love butternut squash soup so this is definitely going to be making an appearance at our table.
Thanks! Give it a try. I love butternut squash soup, but needed to shake it up a bit!
I love Thai food and this delicious soup is right up my alley 🙂 Love the butternut squash and can totally imagine the balance of flavors in this!
Thanks Soni, it does complement nicely!
I have some Thai red curry paste I’ve been meaning to use up. I’m thinking this delish soup is the way to do it!
Give it a try!
This recipe looks so good and it’s so simple. i’m going to have to try and make this for dinner tonight 🙂
Hope you enjoy it!
This reminds me of the sweet potato one I made my mom. I’m pinning this for later nosh!
Oooh, sweet potato would be awesome!
I really want a big bowl of this soup right now! YUM!
I have a friend whose husband is Orthodox Catholic and they don’t eat meat or dairy for the whole 40 days. A few years ago she was in the hospital for surgery so a few of us volunteered to make meals for the family. Of course, it was lent! I know you won’t be surprised to hear how many vegetarian recipes include cheese, so that was a big challenge. But I persevered and found a few great recipes online – some I still make! – while researching what we could cook.
I love the flavors of your delicious, creamy soup, Brianne, and there’s a butternut squash in my vegetable bin calling its name!
Wow, for someone very NOT vegan, 40 days would be tough. That is so great that you helped out the family, despite the dietary challenges!
I love just about anything with butternut squash. I’m not sure about curry, or anything too spicy. Is this very spicy? If it is, is there any way I can reduce the spice volume so that I can try it, it looks yummy. HUGS
I actually started with 1-2 tablespoons of the curry paste and thought it needed more. You can always step it up, but Thai curry is not so much spicy as just very flavorful. Try adding a little at a time.
I’ve experimented with pureed soups all winter, I’m a pro now, this is a great dish! Love curry!
WOW this looks and sounds so good! I have really been into Thai flavors lately so I will definitely have to give this a try!
It is a great way to get in lots of veggies!
So funny because my mom wouldn’t touch it either because of “Thai” and “curry”. That’s okay, it would be more for me. And what a beautiful color of this soup. It’s making me hungry just looking at it.
Oh those silly mothers! Thanks, I loved the bright orange too!
It’s always so interesting to me to learn how different faiths observe Lent. Thanks for sharing that with us! Your soup looks heavenly to me. I make a similar soup with carrots, but butternut squash would be so much better. Pinning!!
Ooh, I bet carrots would be interesting as well!
Thai soups are so delicious! I can’t wait to try yours with butternut squash.
I actually have been on a kick with adding Thai flavors to soup! It is so good.
Coconut curry and butternut squash — perfect combination…. this looks so yummy…:)
Thanks, it is really good together.
Silky soup…mmm…all those flavors. I can smell it over here!
It did have a wonderful aroma in the kitchen!
As a Catholic, I will love enjoying this soup on Fridays during Lent. Anything with “Thai” in the name is guaranteed to be devoured by me . . . my second favorite cuisine after Italian! Thank you for sharing!
Thai and Italian are both wonderful cuisines for finding meatless inspiration.
I’ve never heard of abstaining from dairy, but we always had to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday… blech! This soup looks fantastic for any day of the week though!
Yep, I could eat this any night, too!
This could be my new favorite squash soup! I adore Thai flavors and this must be a winner!
Gotta have a change from the traditional squash soup sometimes.
your Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup looks fabulous! I can see myself and my family just diving into that! yum!!
Thanks Alice! Yes, I think it’s even a good one for the kids!
Yum! Your soup is so me! I love butternut squash and all of the flavors you have going on in it, is perfect!!
That’s exactly what I thought – combined some of my favorites that I had never seen together before!
OMG yet another fabulous vegetarian dish from you. I have leftover butternut squash and now I know exactly what I’ll be making 🙂
Thanks Shaina! Funny you say that, I think it’s easier to photograph vegetarian dishes since I usually have to wait till I have leftovers the next day, and meat doesn’t look so good then.
What a great spin on Butternut Squash Soup!
Gotta change it up sometimes!
WOW! What a fantastic recipe! I am bookmarking this, now that we are going into winter down here, I’d love to try it!
Thanks Manu. It is really good.
So interesting to learn that dairy is given up for Lent by those of the Byzantine Catholic faith. That is a sacrifice!…Unless you’ve got someone’s special Thai Coconut Curry Soup =)
Only on the first day and Good Friday, but it still takes effort when you live on cheese and Greek yogurt like I do.