Made with rich spices, creamy butternut squash, and sweet apple cider, this easy Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup is a delicious copycat version of Panera's Butternut Squash Soup.
Copycat Panera Butternut Squash Soup
If you love Panera's Butternut Squash Soup, you must try this recipe for Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup.
The flavors of this soup mimic the flavors of Panera's Squash Soup perfectly. It is creamy and earthy thanks to the butternut squash, sweet from the apple cider, warming from the cinnamon and nutmeg, and distinctive in flavor from the addition of curry powder.
But let me tell you why this recipe for Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup is BETTER than Panera's version.
- Much less expensive. You can make this entire recipe for the cost of ONE bowl of Panera's soup. Talk about a HUGE savings!
- Lower in fat and calories. One bowl of Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup has just over 100 calories. The equivalent serving size of Panera's Squash Soup is over 300 calories.
- Customizable: Panera's Autumn Squash Soup is known for it's distinctive curry flavor. If you DON'T like curry, simply omit! You can also cut back on the sweetness of this recipe by omitting the apple cider and using all vegetable broth. Bottom line--you are in charge!
- Vegan-Friendly: You can omit the cream/yogurt for a perfectly creamy, delicious soup that is dairy-free and vegan-friendly.
- Super easy to make. This recipe comes together nearly effortlessly. You can have it on the table in less time than driving to Panera's, ordering the soup, and driving home.
This recipe of Instant Pot Butternut Squash is a knock-out and because it comes together effortlessly, you can enjoy it any time the craving strikes.
Notes on Ingredients
- Butternut Squash--For this recipe, you need squash that is peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks. I find it is often about the same price to buy pre-cut butternut squash and saves a lot of time when preparing butternut squash soup. But if you have a whole squash, check out this step-by-step tutorial for cutting the squash into cubes.
- Apple Cider--Be sure to use apple cider or 100% apple juice. Do NOT use apple cider vinegar, it will ruin your soup! If you want a less sweet soup, use vegetable broth in place of the apple cider.
- Curry Powder--To mimic the taste of Panera Butternut Squash Soup, curry powder is necessary. HOWEVER, I prefer this soup without the curry powder for a more mild squash and apple soup.
- Nutmeg--use fresh nutmeg and grate using a microplane. Do not use powdered ground nutmeg. If you don't have fresh nutmeg, just omit it.
- Ginger--do not use powdered ginger, only fresh ginger works to not overtake the flavors in the Butternut Squash Soup. Use a microplane to grate the ginger root right into the pressure cooker.
- Greek yogurt--Yogurt will add creaminess to the soup, yet keep the fat and calories on the lower side. Instead of yogurt, feel free to use half and half or heavy cream, or omit altogether.
How To Make Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Turn Instant Pot to Saute function, add in a bit of oil and let heat.
- Add the onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add in garlic and saute for 1 minute longer. You don't want to add the garlic when you add the onions, as the garlic can burn quickly.
- Once the onions and garlic are sauted, turn pressure cooker off.
- Add in the apple juice and use a spatula to scrape off any browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot. This will prevent a burn notice from happening.
- Add in the broth, squash, and spices and stir to combine.
- Close pressure cooker and seal vent knob. Set to cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes. This is CRUCIAL, as doing a quick release of pressure will result in hot liquid spewing all over the kitchen.
- After 10 minutes, you can do a quick release of remaining pressure, or allow the pressure to continue to release on its own. Then open the instant pot and puree soup until creamy, using an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, transfer soup to a blender to blend until smooth, just be sure to leave the lid on the blender cracked to let steam escape.
- If desired, add heavy cream or plain yogurt and blend again to incorporate.
- Serve with Italian bread and swirl of cream if desired.
To store leftover Butternut Squash Soup, allow the soup to cool slightly and transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
If you would like to freeze leftovers, it is best to do so ONLY if you did NOT add in cream or yogurt, as the cream/yogurt may separate after thawing. To freeze, place cooled soup in freezer-safe containers, leaving 1 inch of space for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before heating and serving. his squash soup will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Not at all! In fact, I prefer this soup myself without the addition of curry powder.
While technically, you can add the raw onions and garlic without sauteing them first, the flavor is superior if you take a few minutes to saute the onions and garlic before proceeding with the recipe.
Absolutely! Add frozen squash right to the soup without defrosting. You will need to plan to use 20 ounces of frozen cubed squash. No changes to the cooking time is needed.
It is on the sweeter side. If you would like a more savory squash soup, use all vegetable broth or chicken stock instead of adding apple juice/apple cider. You may also want to opt to omit the cinnamon and nutmeg.
More Healthy Instant Pot Soup Recipes
- Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup
- Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot Minestrone Soup
If you tried this Copycat Panera Squash Soup recipe, I would love to hear how you enjoyed this soup! Be sure to leave a review below!
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion minced
- 5 cups cubed butternut squash cubed into 1-inch cubes (about 1 butternut squash)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups apple cider or apple juice DO NOT USE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR!!!!
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon curry powder see note
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger root grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt or heavy cream optional
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute. Once the pressure cooker is heated, add the olive oil.
- Add onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic and saute for 1 minute longer.
- Add in stock and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
- Stir in cubed butternut squash, apple cider, and seasonings.
- Seal the lid on the Instant Pot and be sure the vent knob is sealed. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. (Hit the manual/pressure cook button and adjust the timer to 15 minutes by using + and - buttons.)
- Once pressure has released, allow for pressure to release for at least 10 minutes before manually releasing pressure.
- Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Alternatively, ladle the soup into a blender and carefully blend the soup in batches, leaving the lid cracked on the blender to allow steam to escape.
- Add in yogurt or cream if using and blend until well combined.