Creamy and smooth, with no prep or pre-cooking required, this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup is a classic cool weather meal. Apples and a pinch of garam masala add an unexpected and totally comforting flavor to this soup that is freezer friendly, naturally gluten-free, and naturally vegan / vegetarian.
Butternut Squash Soup is its own food group at our house. My five-year-olds will turn their nose up at many vegetables, but love butternut squash soup. It has a natural sweetness and is thick and creamy (without the addition of any cream). My version is a twist on the way my mom makes this soup, which is her own twist on a long-ago version from Cooking Light.
Something about the tart apples and the pinch of garam masala really bring out the natural flavor of butternut squash. When you serve it, no one will be able to pinpoint the flavor of apple or garam masala, but they’ll know this is something special.
I’ve got two of these in the freezer and ready to transfer to the slow cooker (see below for instructions and a printable label if you want to freeze it!) and it’s like money in the bank. Here’s how to do it!
Why Make Butternut Squash Soup In the Slow Cooker
Butternut squash soup is a totally forgiving slow cooker meal. Cook it low 3 hours or 8 hours, and it will still be delicious. If you have an immersion blender, this is a true one-pot meal. Just blend the soup right in the blow of the slow cooker and serve!
- 2 pounds Butternut Squash Cubes – This is the weight of the squash after it has been peeled, seeds removed, and sliced into cubes. You can use pre-chopped fresh or frozen butternut squash, but I find the flavor is much better if you slice a fresh squash up yourself.
- Apple – Squash and apples are a great match. The flavors just work together. Any type of apple is good, but I like tart apples like Granny Smith here. The apples will start to turn brown once they’ve been sliced (this won’t affect the taste, just might give the finished soup a darker color), so you can combine them with the stock after slicing to help them retain their bright color.
- Fresh Ginger – Fresh ginger gives an additional layer of flavor that pairs well with the squash. In a pinch, it’s fine to skip it or use 1/4 tsp ground ginger.
- Garam Masala – This is a blend of spices that is used in many Indian dishes. It’s not spicy and has hints of cinnamon. Only a small amount goes into this soup, so the flavor is very subtle but helps add dimension to the soup. (Use the rest of the garam masala to make Chickpea Curry!)
- Brown Sugar, Salt, Bay Leaves – These pantry staples just help to balance the natural flavors of the soup.
- Vegetable or Chicken Stock – Use vegetarian stock / broth to keep this dish vegetarian. Chicken stock will work if you don’t need it to be strictly vegetarian. In a pinch, you can use water in place of the stock, but keep in mind that you will likely need to add a bit more salt, to taste, at the end of cooking (to make up for the salt in most versions of stock / broth).
Freeze This Meal
To Freeze This Meal: To freeze this meal, combine all ingredients in a freezer-safe bag or container. Seal tightly, pressing out as much air as possible. Freeze for 4 to 6 months.
To Cook the Meal: You can cook this soup straight from the freezer, defrost at room temperature for about 4 hours, or defrost in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. Transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours / high for 4 to 5 hours. (After cooking time is finished, the soup can hold on the warming function for up to 2 hours.)
Print the recipe below for a label with reheating instructions you can attach to the top of the meal!
Other Cozy Soups
- Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup – Another slow cooker favorite. No prep or pre-cooking needed for this cozy bowl of soup.
- Mini Italian Meatball and Orzo Soup – I call the meatballs in this soup “cheater meatballs” because they’re just Italian sausage rolled into balls. Easy, fast, and super flavorful.
- Instant Pot Baked Potato Soup – Pile these hearty bowls of soup high with bacon, chives, sour cream, and cheese.
- Immersion Blender – I love this little tool for making pureed soups and sauces. It’s so much easier to clean than using my standard blender.
- Slow Cooker – This recipe actually works well in a smaller slow cooker, so it’s a great use for that small version you save for dips or parties. I use either a 4-quart Slow Cooker (I use the Cuisinart version linked here) or a 6-quart Slow Cooker (this is a link to the KitchenAid version I have and love).
- A Good, Sharp Knife – Preparing a butternut squash is a true test of your knife. The absolute favorite thing in my kitchen is my 6-inch Global Knife. It’s the knife I use 99% of the time. 6 inches is fairly small and sits just right in my hand. When it comes to cutting up a butternut squash though, the quality of the knife isn’t as important as using a sharp knife. A sharp knife makes this job easy. A dull knife makes cutting a butternut squash downright dangerous. Get your knives sharpened! It’s cheap and many local hardware or kitchen stores can do it in just a few minutes.
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup
- 4-quart or 6-quart Slow Cooker
- 2 lbs Butternut Squash Cubes (frozen will work, but it always tastes better to use fresh)
- 1 Apple, peeled and cubed (a tart variety like Granny Smith is best)
- 2 tsp grated Fresh Ginger (optional; sub 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
- 1 tsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 3 cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
- Combine squash, apple, ginger, brown sugar, garam masala, salt, bay leaves, and stock in the bowl of a slow cooker. (To freeze: Combine all ingredients in a freezer-safe plastic bag or other freezer-safe container.)
- Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours. (After cooking time is finished, the soup can hold on the warming function for up to 2 hours.)
- Remove and discard bay leaves.
- Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. (Note: Depending on how your slow cooker works - how hot it gets and how much steam escapes during cooking - your soup may have reduced more than necessary. If the soup is very thick, add some water a bit at a time until it reaches the right thickness.)
- Taste the soup and season with some additional salt if needed.
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