Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup

My version of Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup gets some extra heat from red pepper flakes and hot peppers and great depth of flavor from cumin and turmeric. 

Bowl of squash soup with pepita seeds

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I actually love cold weather. Breathing in chilly air, wearing cozy sweaters, and expanding my scarf collection are some of my favorite things. Colder weather means it’s also time for soup season! 

Plain and simple, soup season is made easier with an Instant Pot. I’ve used it for making batches quick chicken stock, Moroccan-style stews, and now this super easy butternut squash soup.

This Instant Pot Butternut Squash soup is a little different from the classic version. I added some Cherry Bomb peppers to give it some heat! These fun little peppers have the spice level of a jalapeño, but have a gorgeous red color and some great fruity flavors. They might be a little hard to find, so feel free to swap in any kind of pepper you like, including the trusty jalapeño or a serrano pepper. 

One of the things I love most about the Instant Pot is that you don’t have to abandon cooking best practices in order to have convenience. The “Sauté” function lets you get a good sear on a piece of meat, or in this case, some caramelization on some vegetables. This helps to build layers of flavor and add complexity to your dish. When using only a few ingredients, like in this recipe, this technique is especially important.

Of course, not everyone has an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, so I’ve also included stovetop instructions for this butternut squash soup recipe. The technique remains the same — get a slight caramelization on the vegetables before adding the stock. Don’t stir too much, or you won’t get the little brown bits of flavor. But, keep an eye on it for a few minutes so it doesn’t go from slightly browned to burnt.

Helpful Tools

  • Instant Pot: This versatile pot makes this recipe a snap. While the soup is cooking away, I’m cleaning up the kitchen and preparing my toppings.
  • Immersion Blender: This makes blending the butternut squash soup a snap! Easy cleanup + safer pureeing = win.
  • Y-Peeler: The butternut squash can be a tricky thing to peel. I have this peeler, and it’s the perfect tool for the job.

Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup

Course: Soup
Type: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 120 kcal

My version of Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup gets some extra heat from red pepper flakes and a great spice from cumin and turmeric. 

Print

What You’ll Need

  • 2 lb butternut squash peeled, seeded, and large diced
  • 3 large carrots peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 2 shallots peeled and roughly diced
  • 2-3 hot peppers roughly chopped (optional)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Spice Blend:

  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes optional

Optional toppings:

  • Croutons
  • Toasted Pepitas

What to Do

Instant Pot Instructions:

  1. In an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker, turn on the “Sauté” function. When the Instant pot reads “hot” on the display, add the olive oil.

  2. Add the carrots, shallots, and peppers (if using). Sauté in olive oil 4-6 minutes, until slightly softened and some of the edges are slightly caramelized. Stir occasionally, but not too much – caramelization happens when veggies sit still!

  3. Add the spice blend and stir to coat. Saute for 2-4 minutes more, allowing the spice blend to toast slightly and giving time for more caramelization happens. This builds flavor!
  4. Add the squash and the stock, stirring up any browned bits from the bottom of the Instant Pot.

  5. Press the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button, and set the timer to 8 minutes. Put the lid on, and make sure the valve is set to “sealing”. When the timer is done, manually release the pressure. Turn the Instant Pot off.
  6. Using an immersion blender or (carefully!) working in batches with a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you’re using an immersion blender, this step can be done directly in the pot. Test the soup and adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. Serve in bowls with your favorite toppings, like croutons or pepitas. 

Stovetop Instructions:

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  2. Add the carrots, shallots, and peppers (if using). Sauté in olive oil 4-6 minutes, until slightly softened and some of the edges are slightly caramelized. Stir occasionally, but not too much – caramelization happens when veggies sit still!

  3. Add the spice blend and stir to coat. Saute for 2-4 minutes more, allowing the spice blend to toast slightly and giving time for more caramelization happens. This builds flavor!
  4. Add the squash and the stock, stirring up any browned bits from the bottom of the Instant Pot.

  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer, covered, for 25-35 minutes, until the vegetables are very soft. Turn off the heat.
  6. Using an immersion blender or (carefully!) working in batches with a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you’re using an immersion blender, this step can be done directly in the pot. Test the soup and adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. Serve in bowls with your favorite toppings, like croutons or pepitas.

This post was originally published in January 2018 and was updated and republished in September 2018. 

6 Comments

  1. Like the spice on this!

  2. tis the season for comforting soups like this one! love the beautiful vibrant colors!

  3. Cindy Gordon

    This sounds delicious! I have been growing butternut squash in my garden this year! They are ready! I think it is time for soup!

  4. Soups are really my favorite dish to enjoy and this butternut squash soup looks creamy and just delish! And I’m loving the spices you’ve added!

  5. Butternut squash soup is one of my favourites. It’s so comforting and reminds me of autumn time.

  6. This butternut squash soup looks so scrumptious! It’s creamy and I love the spice you added to it. Oh, and that you are using an IP. I can’t wait to try it!

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