This homemade version of Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup is made in less than 30 minutes using an Instant Pot. It’s a flavorful, curry butternut squash soup that’s perfect for cool weather!
Before starting a migraine diet I used to love going to Panera for lunches. Their soup and salad combo was my life. One of my favorites every fall was this Autumn Squash Soup. It’s kinda creamy and sweet with a little bit of curry flavor and pepitas on the top. Unfortunately their ingredients contain MSG, probably from the broth, as well as onions. So I wanted to do my own copycat version that has cleaned up ingredients. And since you can make this at home in the same time it would take you to drive to Panera, it’s a winning soup!
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
One of the biggest issues I find with making butternut squash soup is how long it takes. Usually recipes have you roasting the butternut squash to soften it before blending. And that can take almost an hour. Although roasting does give squash such a beautiful flavor that has more depth, using an instant pot just makes life so easy.
You basically put all your ingredients in the instant pot and set to pressure cook for 10 minutes. I find that allowing it to heat up on the “saute” function while you add ingredients and cook your shallots and carrots heats everything up so it doesn’t take as long for your instant pot to pressurize.
From there, I tend to do a natural release for another 10 minutes or so while I make a sandwich or side salad to accompany my soup. Any extra steam gets released if it hasn’t already by pushing the valve open and the sweet curry smell hits you when you open the lid. Obviously you can also do this in a slow cooker or on a stovetop as well, it will just take much longer. But your house will smell lovely!
An immersion blender makes easy work of blending it into a creamy, smooth texture because you can use it directly in your instant pot so you don’t have to dirty another dish. If you don’t have an immersion blender, a regular blender will work fine.
Gluten and Dairy Free Options
This Autumn Squash Soup is naturally gluten free, but if you wanted to make this dairy free or even vegan, use the following substitutions.
- Replace the butter with olive oil or ghee, if tolerated.
- Leave out the optional cream, or use your favorite non-dairy creamer.
Replacing the butter and omitting any cream would also make this paleo and Whole30 friendly as well.
For this recipe, a 3 pound butternut squash will be perfect. Just peel, slice in half, and remove the seeds, then chop into rough cubes. Fresh or dried ginger would work, whatever you have on hand.
If you’re following a migraine diet, most curry powders are safe, but you can always use one with listed ingredients to double check. I do find using a full tablespoon adds a bit of spiciness to the dish, depending on how hot your curry powder is. If you don’t like anything spicy, maybe start with cutting the curry in half and then adjust after cooking.
For broth, I used my homemade vegetable broth from my cookbook. Chicken stock would also work if that’s what you have on hand and having a vegetarian option isn’t essential.
Fall Soup Ideas
If you’re craving some hearty, fall soups check out these other recipes:
Inspired by the curry butternut squash soup from Panera, this recipe is super flavorful and cooks quickly in the instant pot.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 large shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded cut into large cubes
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (OPTIONAL)
- toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for topping
Turn your instant pot to the "saute" function and add butter, shallot, and carrots. Stir, cooking till shallots have just softened, about 1-2 minutes. Add in butternut squash cubes, broth, juice, honey, curry powder, ginger, and start with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add the instant pot lid, making sure the vent is closed, and set to pressure cook for 10 minutes.
I like to do a natural release, where I wait to open the vent at least 10-15 minutes once the timer is up. You can do this at your own pace, just be careful to avoid the steam when you open the vent so you don't burn yourself. Release any leftover steam and open the lid. If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend the soup till smooth and creamy, or blend in a heat-safe blender.
Add cream (if using) and more salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm topped with toasted pepitas.
- To make dairy free/vegan, substitute olive oil for the butter and omit the heavy cream or use your favorite dairy-free substitute.
- The curry powder I used was mildly spicy at 1 tablespoon (I am a Texan so I like a little heat), but not overwhelming. If you don't like spicy food, cut the amount of curry powder in half and then taste and adjust after cooking.
- Sodium content can also be lowered if using a homemade vegetable broth, like the one I used from my cookbook.