This Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup is perfect for chilly weather – tender squash roasted with plenty of spices, garlic, and onions, then blended with stock until smooth, and finished with a bit of cream. Topped with toasted pepitas for the perfect crunch.
What is kabocha squash?
Kabocha squash is a Japanese variety of winter squash (also referred to as a Japanese pumpkin in America, although “kabocha” in Japan simply means “squash”) with dark green skin and bright orange flesh. The flavor is similar to other squash varieties – earthy, nutty, and a little sweet – and not super overpowering. The texture is buttery when roasted thoroughly, somewhere between the texture of a pumpkin and a sweet potato.
Ingredients needed to make this kabocha squash soup can be found below, with full quantities listed in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Kabocha squash: as mentioned above, a very delicious winter squash that has a nutty sweet flavor and gets super tender when roasted.
- Onion: a yellow onion gets very roughly chopped and roasted with the squash then blended too.
- Garlic: a whole head of garlic gets roasted alongside the squash. It becomes soft, a little sweet, and full of so much flavor. It squeezes right out of its wrapping and gets blended with the onion and squash.
- Nutmeg: a hint of warm nutmeg brings out the sweetness in the squash and adds a great depth of flavor.
- Smoked paprika: a little smoky spice pairs so nicely with the natural sweetness of the squash.
- Vegetable stock: used to blend the roasted ingredients together to get the perfect soup consistency. Vegetable broth and vegetable stock are interchangeable.
- Heavy cream: adds a creamy decadence to the roasted squash soup. Vegetable stock and vegetable broth are interchangeable.
- Toasted pumpkin seeds: (also known as pepitas) are the perfect crunchy topping for this soup. Buy them pre-toasted, or do it yourself by tossing them in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes.
- Sage: optional topping!
Step by step instructions
This roasted squash soup is as easy as can be – honestly, the hardest part is prepping the squash!
1. Prep the veggies to be roasted. Cut the kabocha squash, onion, and the top off the head of garlic. Place the garlic in foil and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, close up the foil. Transfer the cut veggies and wrapped garlic to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then drizzle the remaining oil over the squash and onion, and season with 2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.
2. Roast the veggies. Roast in a 425°F oven for 30-40 minutes until very tender and slightly browned. You should be able to very easily insert a fork into the squash.
3. Blend. Let the veggies cool slightly. Once cooled a bit, peel the skins off the squash and squeeze the cloves out of the roasted garlic. Add the squash flesh, garlic, and onion to a blender with the vegetable stock. Blend until smooth.
4. Finish with cream. Transfer the squash puree to a large pot and warm over medium-low heat. When warmed through, stir in the heavy cream. Season with additional kosher salt to taste.
How to cut a kabocha squash
kabocha squash is one of the more difficult squashes to cut, so you want to make sure you have a sharp knife and a stable surface.
- Start by turning it on its side and cutting off the stem.
- Then sit it back upright and carefully cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds.
- From there, cut the halves in half, then into quarters. You should be left with 8 large ish pieces!
Tips and tricks
One of my favorite things about this roasted kabocha squash soup is how intuitive it is, but checking out the below tips and tricks will hopefully help guide you even further.
- Leave the skin on: To make things easy for yourself, roast the squash with the skin on. Once it’s cooked, the skin easily peels off! You can cut off the skin before roasting, but as mentioned above this is a relatively tough squash, so it’s not a fun task.
- Wait to add the cream. If you add the cream right into the blender with the stock, it’ll likely curdle a bit from the heat. The best way to add it is as mentioned in the directions – blend the soup, add it to a pot, then warm it over medium low. Then once warmed, stir in the cream until incorporated.
- Customize your consistency:
- If you like a thinner soup, add more stock!
- If you like a chunkier soup, blend it less!
- Don’t blend hot things: you never want to blend scalding hot things in the blender because pressure from the heat can form and it can explode. Make sure you cool the vegetables down a little before adding. Even then, I like to keep the little vent open and cover it with a cloth to let any steam escape.
- If you don't have a high speed blender, you could add the roasted vegetables and stock to a pot and then use an immersion blender (hand blender) to carefully puree it all together.
- Dairy free: If you want to make this squash soup dairy free you can either skip the heavy cream all together and use more stock, or substitute in coconut cream, coconut milk, or cashew cream in place of the heavy cream.
- Non-vegetarian: This soup is naturally vegetarian, but if that’s not something you are necessarily watching out for, you can use chicken broth or chicken bone broth instead of vegetable stock.
- Other squashes: While this is a kabocha squash soup recipe, if you can’t find them (check your farmers markets!), some other squashes that work great in this recipe are butternut squash, honeynut squash, or any kind of pumpkin.
Squash soup toppings
Squash soup is delicious on its own, but I love to add fun flavorful toppings (such as the toasted pepitas I recommend above). A few ideas below!
- Toasted sourdough croutons
- Chili crunch oil
- Crispy shallots
Storage and reheating
- Storage: let it cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container. Keep in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 4 months.
- If from the fridge, warm in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium low heat.
- If frozen, warm on the stovetop over medium low heat, stirring rather often to help break it up.
Yes! The outer skin on kabocha squash is edible. But for the purposes of this soup recipe, it won’t blend well, so I recommend removing it.
They are, but a little work needs to go into them before you eat them. This recipe here has good guidance.
Like most squash, kabocha is relatively good for you! It’s high in fiber, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C.
More squash recipes
Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating and review below and tag me on social!
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
- 1 kabocha squash cut into 8ths
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 yellow onion chopped into chunks
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 ½ cups vegetable stock
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Place the garlic in foil and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, close up the foil.
- Transfer the cut veggies and wrapped garlic to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then drizzle the remaining oil over the squash and onion, and season with 2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.
- Roast the vegetables in a 425°F oven for 30-40 minutes until very tender and slightly browned. You should be able to very easily insert a fork into the squash.
- Let the veggies cool slightly. Once cooled a bit, peel the skins off the squash and squeeze the cloves out of the roasted garlic. Add the squash flesh, garlic, and onion to a blender with the vegetable stock. Blend until smooth.
- Transfer the squash puree to a large pot and warm over medium-low heat. When warmed through, stir in the heavy cream. Season with additional kosher salt to taste.