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Cozy Autumn Squash Soup (Panera Copycat)

Autumn Squash Soup – We recreated the Panera squash soup recipe so you can make it at home! This creamy squash soup has the perfect blend of spices and is sure to warm you up on a chilly day. (Paleo, Vegan-Friendly)

Overhead view of Panera Autumn Squash Soup Copycat in white bowls

I know it’s not super cool to say you love chain restaurants, but….I don’t hate chain restaurants.

As a gluten-free eater, it’s actually really helpful for me to have a set menu I can count on and often chains have more resources to dedicate to developing gluten-free recipes and training employees about cross-contamination procedures.

Which is a really long-winded way of telling you that every year I REALLY look forward to the return of Panera Bread’s autumn squash soup. It’s got this gorgeous flavor profile with a delightful blend of spices and a velvety smooth texture that warms you with every bite. I LOVE it.

Since I can’t get it year-round, and I never know when the craving will strike, I’ve spent the last few falls and winters perfecting my Panera autumn squash soup copycat recipe. To me, it’s delightfully, truly like the real thing. There are a few little flavor tricks that make it different from our other butternut squash soup recipes, but it’s really super easy to put together.

Here’s all you’ll need to make our Panera copycat autumn squash soup recipe…

Ingredients For Panera Copycat Autumn Squash Soup:

  • Butternut Squash. The foundation of a good squash soup recipe is definitely squash! Feel free to buy pre-cut squash to save time. Otherwise, this is how I usually cut and prepare mine (though I use a sharp knife instead of a vegetable peeler.)
  • Carrots. The flavor and color gets deeper and sweeter with the addition of some carrots. I love what they bring to the soup!
  • Onion. And for some aromatics, you’ll need an onion. Sweet onion or white onions work best for autumn squash soup.
  • Salt & Pepper. Really, these are to taste. Use your best judgement here based on how salty your broth is and your own preferences, but consider my measurement a guideline.
  • Spices & Seasonings. The Panera squash soup recipe uses a unique blend of warm spices, including curry, nutmeg, cinnamon, a hint of cayenne, and brown sugar. It might sound like it won’t work together, but I PROMISE it does and it’s DELICIOUS.
  • Pumpkin Purée. Pumpkin is another magic add-in I was missing for a while, but I love what it adds in creaminess and flavor. Don’t skip it!
  • Apple Cider or Apple Juice. Here’s one of the magic secrets to a Panera squash soup copycat! The original Panera recipe uses apple juice concentrate, but I’ve found that apple cider or a good-quality apple juice gets me that same delicious flavor. It adds a balance to the savory and sweet flavors in this soup that really hits the spot!
  • Vegetable Broth. Then, you’ll use some good-quality vegetable broth or vegetable stock to carry the flavors. I really love and recommend Imagine brand vegetable broth. The flavor is exceptional. (Not sponsored!)
  • Coconut Milk (or Milk). One difference here is that we’ve used coconut milk instead of cream in our recipe. You can absolutely use milk or cream if those work with your dietary needs. (If you’re dairy-free and using coconut milk, just know it will NOT make your soup taste coconut-y.)
Overhead view of Panera Autumn Squash Soup Copycat in white bowls
Front view of Panera Autumn Squash Soup Copycat in white bowls

Make It a Meal! Here Are Some Of Our Favorite Sides To Serve With Autumn Squash Soup:

  • Bread or Toast. Keep things easy with some yummy bread, baguettes, rolls, or slices of toast on the side. My kids love ALL of these things, and it usually makes them a bit more excited about the soup.
  • Sandwiches. Or, serve grilled sandwiches or set out sandwich fixings and let everyone build a sandwich to go with their soup. Another big hit with my kids. (Plus, soup + a sandwich is a classic!)
  • Side Salads. A yummy salad is a great pairing next to autumn squash soup. Go small with a simple side salad or serve your soup as a side to a more substantial main dish salad, like our Wild Rice Kale Salad, Fall Chopped Salad, or Pear and Pomegranate Salad.
  • Fruit. And I always love some fruit at dinner. (My kids do, too!) Ripe apples, pears, or grapes can go nicely!
Overhead view of Panera Autumn Squash Soup Copycat in white bowls

FAQ + TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST AUTUMN SQUASH SOUP:

CAN YOU FREEZE SQUASH SOUP? Yes! Autumn squash soup freezes like a dream. Pour cooled soup into freezer-safe bags, containers, or even these individual soup portion ice molds and lay on a flat surface until frozen solid. (If freezing the soup in cubes, transfer to an airtight freezer safe bag to store once frozen.) Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

DO YOU USE AN IMMERSION BLENDER OR REGULAR BLENDER TO BLEND SOUP? An immersion blender is the easier option for sure as it can be placed directly in hot soup. However in my experience, it doesn’t puree the soup totally smooth. A regular blender can get this soup completely, totally smooth (my preference), but you do need to follow the safety tips above when working with hot liquids.

A GREAT AFFORDABLE DUTCH OVEN. If you’ve been looking for a sturdy dutch oven on a budget, I can’t recommend this one enough! It’s affordable, has seen me through 3 years of heavy use, and looks gorgeous to boot.

blender tips for blending hot soup:  

Please (PLEASE!) don’t blend boiling hot soup in your blender. It’s not safe! Here’s how to blend hot soup in a blender safely:

  • Work in batches to prevent overfilling your blender. Over-filled blenders of hot liquid can cause splatters/burns. Aim to fill it no more than about 1/2 full each batch.
  • Whenever you blend something warm, it’s important to make sure your blender lid is vented (if possible) to allow steam to escape. Make sure the lid is on securely, but open any stoppers in the lid when possible. (Blendtec and Vitamix blenders have a little stopper in the center of the lid that you can open at the top to release steam).
  • Cover your blender with a dish cloth for added protection from splatters.
Overhead view of Panera Autumn Squash Soup Copycat in white bowls
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Overhead view of Panera Autumn Squash Soup Copycat in white bowls

Autumn Squash Soup (Panera Copycat)


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: About 1 hour
  • Yield: 78 cups of soup 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

We recreated the Panera squash soup recipe so you can make it at home! This creamy squash soup has the perfect blend of spices and is sure to warm you up on a chilly day. (Paleo, Vegan-Friendly)


Ingredients

Scale

For the Autumn Squash Soup:

  • 3 Tbsp. Butter, ghee, vegan butter, or olive oil
  • 68 cups diced butternut squash (from 1 medium butternut squash—about 3 pounds before peeling/dicing)
  • 3 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. Brown sugar or pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. Curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (can sub heavy cream or half and half, if desired)

Instructions

  1. Heat butter or oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add squash, carrots, and onion and cook about 10 minutes, or until starting to soften.
  3. Add brown sugar, salt, curry powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cayenne. Stir and cook 1-2 minutes more, or until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Add pumpkin, apple cider, and broth. Stir to combine well, then bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Simmer at least 20-25 minutes, or until the squash is tender enough to mash easily with a fork. (fork tender)
  6. Stir in the coconut milk and remove from heat.
  7. Purée in the pot using an immersion (stick) blender (the easiest method), or work in batches to purée the soup in a traditional blender (which will give you the smoothest results). If blending in a regular blender, work carefully and slowly, letting the soup cool slightly and working in small batches to purée. (Do not fill the blender more than 1/2 full and cover the blender with a towel to prevent splatters).
  8. Garnish with fresh herbs, a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg, or some pumpkin seeds. 
  9. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge 4-5 days or in the freezer up to 2 months. 
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Autumn squash soup, Panera squash soup, squash soup recipe, Panera squash soup copycat, Panera copycat squash soup

10 Comments

  1. Thank you for this recipe! It really does taste just like the Panera version! I didn’t have apple juice or cider so I just used an apple and added an extra half cup of coconut milk and an extra half cup of broth. Delicious!

  2. This recipe is outstanding. My son said it was even better than Panera’s 🙂 This is going in our regular rotation.

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