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Panera Bread has been one of my favorite quick places to eat for many years. (In fact, my popular 5-ingredient easy broccoli cheese soup recipe was an easier, healthier take on theirs.) So when I tried their squash soup, I knew I had to make a homemade version of the Panera autumn squash soup recipe! This copycat dish comes together fast, captures all the fall flavor, and has a creamy texture like pumpkin soup and butternut squash soup.
Why You’ll Love This Panera Autumn Squash Soup Recipe
- Blend of butternut squash and pumpkin flavors, with a hint of apple
- Warm fall spices
- Thick, creamy texture
- Simple, natural ingredients
- Easy to make
- No refined sugar or artificial preservatives
- Healthy and naturally gluten-free
- Tastes like Panera autumn soup
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose Panera autumn squash soup ingredients, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
The Panera squash soup ingredients are publicly available on their website. I based my version on theirs, but simplified it with fewer, more natural ingredients. It’s a bit longer than my usual ingredient lists, but they are all easy to find:
- Olive Oil – Used for sauteing. You can substitute avocado oil, coconut oil, or even melted butter for added richness and flavor.
- Onion – Use a large chopped onion. I used a yellow onion, but you can also use white or sweet onions as well. If you want your soup to taste closer to Panera’s, add a diced carrot or two as well.
- Garlic – I like to use fresh garlic cloves, but 1 teaspoon of jarred minced garlic would also work.
- Butternut Squash – Panera autumn squash soup uses butternut squash, but you can also use other types of winter squash, such as acorn squash, kabocha squash, or even delicata squash. Look for squash that feels heavy for its size, which means it’s fresh and ripe, and cut it into cubes. Alternatively, you can also use roasted butternut squash for a deeper, caramelized flavor in the soup. (This will reduce the cook time.)
- Pumpkin Puree – Adds a rich and creamy texture, and pumpkin flavor. If you like, you can substitute it with canned sweet potato puree for a similar taste and consistency.
- Vegetable Broth – This makes the soup vegetarian if that matters to you, but you can also use chicken broth or make your own homemade bone broth.
- Apple Juice – Adds sweetness and subtle apple flavor. I recommend using one with no added sugar, as extra sugar is totally unnecessary and it’s sweet enough without it.
- Fall Spices – Including cumin, cinnamon, sea salt, and black pepper. You could also add nutmeg, ground ginger, or even a pinch of cayenne pepper or curry powder for a subtle kick.
- Heavy Cream – Makes it rich and creamy. You can substitute coconut milk or coconut cream for a dairy free option. For a closer copycat recipe, melt some plain cream cheese into the soup instead, which is what Panera does.
- Honey – This is optional, for a sweeter autumn squash soup — Panera Bread does include this in theirs. I prefer to use natural sugar-free honey, but regular honey also works. They also add brown sugar to theirs, but I skipped this to avoid the refined sugar.
- Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) – Optional for garnish!
How To Make Panera Autumn Squash Soup
This section shows how to make copycat Panera autumn squash soup, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Saute the aromatics. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Then, add garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Simmer the Panera squash soup. Add butternut squash, pumpkin puree, broth, apple juice, honey (if using), cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the butternut squash is fork tender.
- Puree. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or carefully transfer to a blender in batches and blend until smooth.
- Stir in heavy cream. If needed, add more salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy a warm cup of soup with a sprinkle of cinnamon and pumpkin seeds, if you like.
- Store: Transfer to an airtight container (or multiple containers to meal prep for busy days) and keep in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- Reheat: For best results, heat on the stovetop until warmed through, stirring occasionally. Or, reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals until warm.
- Freeze: To freeze copycat Panera autumn squash soup, let it cool completely first. Then, transfer it to freezer-safe containers or zip lock bags, leaving some room for expansion. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What To Serve With Autumn Squash Soup
This recipe for squash soup makes a great starter to almost any dinner in the fall, or serve it with a healthy salad or sandwich for lunch. Try a sweet kale salad, crisp broccoli cranberry salad, or if you have more squash to use up, butternut squash salad.
More Autumn Soup Recipes
Looking for more comforting fall soups? Here are some of my favorite fall-themed recipes:
Panera Autumn Squash Soup
Panera Autumn Squash Soup
This easy copycat Panera autumn squash soup recipe is the perfect blend of butternut squash, pumpkin, apple, warm spices, & a splash of cream.
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
Add the butternut squash, pumpkin puree, broth, apple juice, honey (if using), cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
Increase heat to bring the soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the butternut squash is tender.
Stir in heavy cream. If needed, add more salt and pepper to taste.
If desired, serve with pumpkin seeds on top.
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Serving size: 1 cup
Nutrition info does not include optional honey or pumpkin seeds.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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