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Butternut Bisque

Your guests don't need to know you whipped up this elegant autumnal soup in a blender and stashed it in the freezer.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12
Butternut Bisque

Source: Everyday Food, 2008


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper plus more for garnish (optional)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sour cream, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

  2. Add squash, broth, half-and-half, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

  3. Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt. Serve bisque with sour cream, garnished with cayenne, if desired.

Cook's Note

For a different flavor, use ground nutmeg or cloves instead of cinnamon, or add a Southwestern touch with a small amount of chili powder.

Reviews (20)

  • martak555 20 Nov, 2014

    Excellent soup! Skipped the half-and-half, substituted apple cider+ more chicken stock for the water, little maple syrup and served it with a splash of cognac. Made it many times... also olive oil instead of butter

  • mrs junn0404 15 Oct, 2014

    Fantastic!! I added one butternut squash and it didn't appear to be enough, so I weighed it's "sister" squash I had and it was only 2lbs! This recipe calls for a 4lbs squash, so measure accordingly and don't be like me! I quickly cut up the other one and added it so it turned out fine. Flavor is delicious, especially with the mixture of salty/sweet/spicy. Don't add too much sour cream, it will overpower the soup, but the taste is divine, highly recommend this recipe!! :D Will be freezing some!

  • Bethschena 30 Oct, 2013

    Awesome flavors and I haven't even added the half and half. I might even leave it out!

  • kristajenn21 10 Jan, 2013

    Delish! I used a 16oz frozen bag of butternut squash because i'm always worried I might cut my hand off cutting winter squash ha :) 2 C broth, only 2 C water and used my immersion blender to blend it. I added the half and half after it was blended. It was a bit thin for my liking so I added a mixture of 2 Tbsp cornstarch/2 Tbsp water to thicken it up a bit. I'm in love with all of Martha's soups and this one is no exception!

  • Daggert49 14 Nov, 2012

    This is hands down my favorite soup. You have to try it! You won't be disappointed!

  • joshinchicago 22 Oct, 2012

    Wow! I just made this and it is absolutely delicious! I substituted the butternut for delicata squash I had left over from my CSA. I also used ground chipotle pepper in place of the cayenne. I had hoped it wouldn't overpower the taste, but you can't even taste it. It just leaves a very slight heat in the back of your throat. I also added some fresh sage leaves, as well as the dried thyme, and in place of the half and half I used a half cup of heavy cream and a half cup of non fat milk. YUM!!!!!

  • CindyKM 19 Oct, 2011

    The flavor is much more complex than the preparation of this wonderful Autumn soup. So easy and so delicious. It became an instant favorite in my house!

  • cynat 18 Oct, 2011

    I cut the squash croswise then lengthwise, scoop the seeds with a spoon then peel with a vegetable peeler until I see bright orange. It is easier to cut into cubes with the cut side down. Also, I use a stick blender right in the pot and don't get too picky if there are a few small lumps. Just keep the blender submerged so the soup doesn't splash. The soup stays hotter and I don't have to use or wash a stand up blender.

  • schoodlepie 1 Oct, 2011

    Love this. I had half of a sweet potato left over from something else, so I included it with the squash -- and I garnished with very thin slices of chorizo sausage that I crisped in a saute pan. Love the salty sweet savory flavors of this combo of ingredients (I substituted sage for thyme). Great recipe and easily adaptable to your tastes. Might try it with sauted or bbq shrimp next time!

  • momthebomb 21 Nov, 2010

    Delicious, delicious, delicious. I pierced the squash, then cooked in the microwave with the skin on for 12 minutes. Then I just scooped out the cooked flesh. I also didn't have half and half, so I just used milk. Still yummy and less fat.

  • LWolfgram 14 Nov, 2010

    Trader Joe's sells the squash already peeled and cubed, which makes making this super easy! I bought 2 packages and it seemed like the right quantity.

  • AngLR 18 Oct, 2010


  • smd1227 12 Jan, 2010

    Check your market for frozen, cubed squash. No one will have a clue.

  • lwsourpatch 24 Dec, 2009

    This was definitely creamy and smooth. However, it took me over 2 hours to make this. I had to halve the recipe because I only had a 2 lb. squash. The peeling and cutting of the squash, along with the pureeing in batches took up most of my time. I'm not a very experienced cook. Otherwise, recipe was pretty easy to follow.

  • SusieShrimp 28 Nov, 2008

    I have made this 3 times this fall and I save alot of time by cooking the squash in the crockpot all day. Wrap it in foil and cook on low for 8 hours. By the time you're ready to cook dinner, all you have to do is scoop out the squash and heat with the rest of the ingredients then blend it!

  • Redshoes56 23 Nov, 2008

    This time of year, the Wegmans market in my area sells already peeled and cubed butternut squash -- this was so simple to make because of it! Worth the extra cost to just have to peel back the plastic and dump the squash in the pot.

  • tifscatku 19 Nov, 2008

    This is the creamiest soup I have ever made. I added freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon. Time consuming, but once you eat it, the results are well worth the effort!

  • SueMackay 17 Nov, 2008

    Here's a way to avoid the time consuming peeling of raw butternut squash. I have always sliced the butternut squash into 1 inch rings, place in a glass baking dish with water, cover with foil and baked it at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Afterward, the rind peels off effortlessly and you just add the cooked squash to the recipe!

  • niftynoodle 15 Nov, 2008

    I agree with Fabulous_In_The_Kitchen. I did have a huge 4 lb squash and it was very, very exhausting peeling that sucker! Took me far too long, and even after peeling thought there was too much rind. But once all in the pot, smelled great and pureed quickly. Speaking of the pot, a "large saucepan" was not large enough, I had to transfer to a large pot. Wonderfuly creamy and made a lot so I can freeze some!

  • Fabulous_In_The_Kitchen 13 Nov, 2008

    I recommend this soup for a cold night! Peeling the squash (actually about 2 good sized squashes to make the lbs.) was labour intensive and took me about 20 minutes just for that step. I didn't expect the work. However, once the ingredients got going in the pot cooking, easy. Used 5% cream too. Go light on cayenne pepper, but do include as it gives a Zing! Puree is very small batches and ladle to large bowl. Ends very creamy consistency; nice. Serve with the sour cream (fat free) - lovely.

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