If you go crazy for the butternut squash soup at Panera Bread every autumn, then make this copycat Panera Squash Soup at home! It’s slightly sweetened with apples, coconut milk, and has a savory, caramelized flavor from roasted squash.
copycat panera butternut squash soup made easy!
I consider myself a professional butternut squash soup taster. If it’s on a menu, I’m ordering it, and Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup is the true winner.
It has the perfect balance of sweet, savory, ultra creamy, with a hint of curry and spice. This soup nails all the essential flavors!
A caramelized, concentrated taste comes from roasting the squash rather than boiling it. It’s all blended together with apple cider, sautéed apples, spices, and coconut milk.
Roasting butternut squash gives the soup a deeper flavor. As the squash roasts in the oven, moisture evaporates and the flavor concentrates. The apple cider and hint of sweet apple adds to the autumn flavor, while coconut milk gives an ultra velvety finish.
I guarantee this will be your new go-to squash soup recipe!
The most essential part of nailing a copycat recipe is getting all the ingredient components right. Panera squash soup uses a combination of butternut squash, pumpkin puree, carrots, apple juice concentrate, honey, and brown sugar for the sweetness.
Since autumn is also the optimal time for apples (Hello, fall favorites’ apple cake and pork apple meatloaf!), I replaced the carrots with sauteed apples. Cooking with cider is a technique I also use in Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe, which always gets rave reviews!
- Butternut Squash – You will need 4 pounds, which is approximately two small. A combination of butternut, pumpkin, or acorn squash may also be used.
- Apples – One is peeled, chopped, and sauteed to blend in the soup, and if desired, saute another for a topping.
- Spices – Curry powder, cinnamon, ginger, sage, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper
- Broth – For vegetarian soup use vegetable broth or chicken broth also works.
- Butter / Oil – To make a vegan recipe, use olive oil or coconut oil. However, I prefer the taste of butter in the recipe.
- Coconut Milk – Also a great option for vegan squash soup, which I prefer over heavy cream or cream cheese. Be sure to use canned coconut milk found in the international foods section of the grocery store, not refrigerated coconut milk.
- Apple Cider or Juice – Another way to incorporate butternut apple flavor into the soup. If you follow a gluten-free diet, be sure to check if the cider is gluten-free.
How to Make panera squash soup
- Cut squash in half and lay on foil-lined baking sheet. Season cut side of butternut squash with melted butter (or olive oil), salt, and black pepper. Roast for about 1 hour or until fork-tender.
- While the squash is roasting, sauté the apples and onions over medium heat. Add the spices and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Scoop out roasted butternut squash and add to a blender with apples, onions, apple cider, and water. Blend until smooth and thick.
- Transfer the contents from the blender to large saucepan. Add an additional cup of vegetable stock and coconut milk. If desired, add additional salt and pepper to taste. Heat over low heat until hot and ready to serve.
How Long to Roast Squash for Soup
Roasted butternut squash needs to cook for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes in a 425ºF oven to be soft enough for the soup. Use a fork to check if it’s tender, then set aside to cool.
To prepare the squash for roasting, halve and scoop out seeds. Lay on a foil-lined baking sheet and season with melted butter, salt, and pepper.
If you want to save time on roasting, the squash can also be peeled and cubed first. This is a great tutorial on preparing butternut squash.
- Sautéed Apples – chop up an apple and sauté in butter
- Sprinkle on Cinnamon
- Dollop with yogurt or sour cream
- Crispy bacon or prosciutto
- Nuts such as candied pecans, walnuts, or pepitas
- Cheese – try sharp cheddar, feta, or goat cheese
What to Serve with Butternut squash soup
Even though autumn squash soup recipe is healthy and good for you, it is a filling, comforting dish. These recipes would be make a great accompaniment with your soup.
- Gluten Free Biscuits
- Grain salad
- Apple Pecan Salad
- Socca Flatbread
- Sandwich or Quesadillas
- Quick Cheese Bread
- Roasted vegetables
frequently asked questions
Store in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the fridge. To reheat, place in a sauce pan and warm over low heat on the stove top. It may also be heated in the microwave, stopping every 30 seconds to stir until warmed through.
Yes, it can. However, when it thaws I find the soup to be thinner than when it was first made. To avoid this, omit the cream before freezing. When you are ready to serve, thaw, reheat and add the coconut milk to reach desired thickness.
Yes! For a vegetarian recipe simply use vegetable broth. To make a vegan soup, use veggie broth, and replace the butter with olive oil or coconut oil in the recipe. All the remaining ingredients are both vegetarian and vegan.
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step-by-step web story instructions for this recipe!
More fall Favorite Recipes
- Sweet Potato Spoon Bread
- Pumpkin Pie Cake
- Pumpkin Lush
- Baked Brie With Cranberries
- Pumpkin Sausage Soup
- Gluten-Free Pie Crust
- Sparkling Cranberry Orange Cocktail
SAVE THIS recipe for panera squash soup TO YOUR PINTEREST BOARD!
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Panera Squash Soup
- 4 pounds (about 2 small) butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided (see recipe notes for vegan)
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup apple cider, or apple juice
- 1 cup water
- ½ tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
- 1-2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ¾ cup canned coconut milk
- For topping: (optional) sauteed apples, pepitas, coconut milk, or yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place the halved squash on a foil-lined baking sheet. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and brush all over the cut sides of the squash. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Roast for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender all the way through. Set aside to cool enough to handle.
- While the squash is roasting melt 1 tablespoon butter in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the apples, onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the sage, curry powder, cinnamon, ginger, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to the skillet. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- When squash is cool enough, take a large spoon and scoop the flesh from the skins. Add the squash to a blender with the cooked apples, apple cider, water, brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Blend until smooth and no chunks remain.
- Transfer the soup to a large saucepan. Add 1 cup broth and coconut milk. Cook and stir over medium heat, until heated through. Add additional broth to thin soup to desired consistency, and adjust seasoning with more salt, if necessary.
(Optional) Sautéed Apples:
- Core and chop one apple. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a nonstick skillet. Add the apple, cooking and stirring for 7-9 minutes, or until golden and soft. Garnish soup apples and pepitas.
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Original recipe:The recipe has been updated 10/27/21. The original recipe did not have any spices and added 8 fresh, chopped sage leaves sauteed with the apples (or add 1 tsp. dried to the soup). Instead of coconut milk, add 1/2 cup heavy cream
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I was dubious about this recipe. I had never used curry or coconut milk. Also the spice combination was beyond my own imagination. I used a Kabocha or buttercup squash. I tend to like the flavor of this particular squash variety best. My husband does not care for squash as much as I do so I knew the recipe needed to be a winner. I proceeded to make this with some fear. I must tell you, it is so delicious! My husband is so surprised at how much he likes it, too. The soup was garnished with some hot bacon pieces and toasted pumpkin seeds. The side that accompanied this meal was a toasted cheese on homemade bread using havarti cheese. It was a perfect dinner for these cold Pennsylvania evenings. We finished the leftovers two weeks after initially making the soup. The soup did thicken but I just added a few tablespoons of leftover coconut milk to the soup as I was reheating it. Thank you for this delicious recipe! I purchased another Kabocha squash at the farm today to make another bath of soup in a few weeks. I did alter the recipe just a bit. I decreased the 1 cup of water to 1/2 cup and increased the apple cider to 1 1/2 cups.
Melissa Erdelac says
Love this, Hetty! Thank you so much for sharing and I’m glad the soup was able to win over your husband!
Made this for dinner last night! Absolutely delicious!! We served the soup with dinner rolls and it was a hit. I can’t wait to make it again 🙂
Melissa Erdelac says
Thank you so much, Jenna! I really appreciate it!
charlene kinne says
Can I use this recipe for canning? I saw on another video (another recipe) where she said not to add the cream into the soup for canning. I like this recipe better and noticed that it uses coconut milk. Was wandering if I needed to leave it out and add after canning. Thanks!
Melissa Erdelac says
I have not tried canning this particular recipe, but some brief research I did seems to point that it wouldn’t be safe for canning. However, you can make it and freeze portions. For best results, I would suggest not adding the coconut milk before freezing, but I have frozen it with too.
charlene kinne says
Thank you! From what I’ve seen also, butternut soup is not safe to can. I do love this recipe, so I’ll either freeze the squash or make the soup and then freeze.
Can I use fresh butternut squash from my garden that I peeled and cubed then put in the freezer?
Yes you can. Roast them on a baking sheet without crowding the pan so they roast instead of steam. You will need about 3 cups cubed squash. Toss the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. You may have to split them between two pans so they have plenty of room. Roast until soft inside and edges are golden and then proceed with recipe.
I loved this soup! I substituted the 1/2 and 1/2 with coconut milk. I’ll keep this recipe!
I’m going to give that a try next time. Sounds fabulous!!!
Rita W Neher says
Delicious! I changed it up a bit! I left out the brown sugar and water and I used dry sage and 1/21/2. I think roasting the squash really enhanced the flavor. I also used a dollop of vanilla yogurt. My husband really enjoyed it as well and he claims he hates squash!
I think this would make an excellent first course for Thanksgiving or with a Pork Roast.
So glad you were able to win over your husband with this soup! I agree, it does make a beautiful first course! Thank you so much for taking the time to write.
Deliciousness! I sautéedsome apples to put on top and added pumpkin seeds and a dollop of yogurt — yummy! I will definitely be making again!
You have inspired me to put the ingredients for this on my upcoming grocery list. It’s been too long since I’ve enjoyed it. Thanks for writing!
My favorite butternut squash recipe. So amazingly good!
Yay! Thank you so much, Grace!
I love this soup!! Two of my three boys love it too. Comes out smooth and thick and perfe t for a cold winter evening.
Two out of three isn’t bad, especially when it comes to kids! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Penny Thomas says
I just made this recipe and it is delicious! I will keep it forever and make it over and over; however, my husband felt that it tasted too much like apple. Do you think I could just substitute more chicken broth in place of the apple cider?
Yes, you can definitely do that. If you prefer a more savory soup without the apple taste that is an easy adjustment! Thank you so much for writing!
Penny Thomas says
Melissa, the interesting thing is that when I tasted the soup the next day, that strong apple flavor was gone and the soup was perfect for our taste! I absolutely love this recipe!
Huh, good to know! Thanks for sharing Penny!
I loved this!! The apple cider added an amazing depth of flavor. Super rich tasting and filling!!
Thanks Kim! So glad you enjoyed it.
This is new to me. I want to try this, Thanks for sharing!
I like this. I am looking forward to trying this. Thanks for sharing!