Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup

Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup - have you tried this soup at Panera? Oh my word, it's wonderful and I think this one's really close! www.thecafesucrefarine.com

Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup – have you tried this soup at Panera? Oh my word, it’s wonderful and I think this one’s really close!

I couldn’t stand it another day, I had to figure it out! Although I already posted a butternut squash soup this season, this one is quite different. It’s also crazy delicious. And honestly, I’m a bit obsessed with it. Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, you can’t have enough delicious, healthy soup recipes when the cold winds start to blow.

This recipe actually started a few weeks ago. Scott and I were running errands and decided to catch a quick lunch at our local Panera. It was a cloudy, cool day and their fall soup sounded delicious. I just wasn’t prepared for how delicious. “Oh my word.” I said as soon as I tasted it. “This is wonderful!”

After that day, I found lots of excuses to visit Panera again. And again. There are lots of new seasonal items on their menu at this time of year. Did I try anything else? Nope, I was an old stick in the mud, ordering the same thing over and over. It might have been because was so intrigued with the delicious flavor and just couldn’t put my finger on what made it so good. It’s creamy, silky smooth and full of flavor. But what was the flavor?

Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup - have you tried this soup at Panera? Oh my word, it's wonderful and I think this one's really close! www.thecafesucrefarine.com

After the third or fourth visit, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I wanted to be able to make it myself, serve it to family, enjoy it with friends, present it in small pretty bowls for dinner parties and warm up with it after bike rides on clear, cool autumn days. I knew I had to figure it out!

I went home and started googling, hoping to find some clues. I actually found several copycat recipes for Panera Autumn Squash Soup but when I visited the Panera Bread website and read their description of the soup, the pieces of the puzzle started coming together:

A rich blend of butternut squash and pumpkin simmered in vegetable broth with select ingredients including: honey, apple juice, cinnamon and a hint of curry, then finished with sweet cream and topped with roasted and salted pumpkin seeds. 

Cinnamon and a hint of curry? I would not have guessed curry but but I was beginning to see what gives the soup that depth of flavor. It was time to get to work.

I picked up butternut squash and a sugar pumpkin (see notes below for what kind of pumpkins are best for cooking and baking). I had everything else I needed. The squash and pumpkin were simply halved, then roasted till soft and tender. After that, it’s was easy. It took a few tries to get it just right but I realized it was the combination of curry and cinnamon, in small amounts that made this soup so uniquely delicious.

Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup - have you tried this soup at Panera? Oh my word, it's wonderful and I think this one's really close! www.thecafesucrefarine.com

I did add a few of my own touches. I love incorporating lots of veggies in my soups to bump up the nutrition so, in addition to onions and garlic (the usually base for many soups), I added shallots and carrots along with the roasted butternut squash and pumpkin. The veggies and spices are simmered with chicken stock while the pumpkin and squash roast, then everything is blended till silk smooth and gorgeous. I believe Panera uses cream in their soup, I just add a big scoop of Greek yogurt to keep the calories down and add a delicious creaminess.

Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup - have you tried this soup at Panera? Oh my word, it's wonderful and I think this one's really close! www.thecafesucrefarine.com

Panera tops their soup with a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds. I sautéed pumpkin seeds with a touch of butter and a sprinkle of paprika, curry and sea salt.

Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup - have you tried this soup at Panera? Oh my word, it's wonderful and I think this one's really close! www.thecafesucrefarine.com

I like adding a generous scoop of these flavorful seeds when I serve my soup.

Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup - have you tried this soup at Panera? Oh my word, it's wonderful and I think this one's really close! www.thecafesucrefarine.com

So there you have it. I pretty sure that I’m decently close to imitating the yummy Panera soup. I’m definitely sure this version will be repeated over and over again here at The Café. It’s so satisfying, it comes together in less than an hour, is perfect for home or work lunches, would make an elegant appetizer soup or a lovely light dinner served with warm crusty bread and a simple green salad.

Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup - have you tried this soup at Panera? Oh my word, it's wonderful and I think this one's really close! www.thecafesucrefarine.com

I have a feeling that once you try this Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup, it will be a frequent request at your house!

P.S. There are a few kitchenwares that I’d be hard pressed to live without. Well, I could for sure, but they do make my life in the kitchen much easier. Near the top of my list is my immersion blender. I love this thing. It’s reasonably priced and makes preparing a pot of soup like this so… simple and a lot less messy. It’s also has an attachment for a small chopper which comes in super handy.

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Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup

Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup - have you tried this soup at Panera? Oh my word, it's wonderful and I think this one's really close!

4.7 from 12 reviews

Have you ever tried this soup at Panera? Oh my word, it’s wonderful and I think this one’s really close! Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup

  • Author:
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, 2 1/2-3 pounds
  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin*, 2 1/2-3 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, peeled, halved and roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces carrots
  • ½ cup roughly chopped shallots
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt (I use full fat)
  • ¼ freshly ground black pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • For the pumpkin seeds:
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ½ cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoons mild curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a sheet pan will foil. Set aside.
  2. Cut squash and pumpkin in half. Scoop out seeds and stringy flesh. Drizzle a little olive oil on the prepared sheet pan. Place, cut side down, on sheet pan and roast for 30-40 minutes until very tender. Remove from oven and set aside till cool enough to handle.
  3. While squash and pumpkin are roasting, heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and shallots and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until slightly translucent and soft. Add minced garlic, curry and cinnamon and cook for another minute or until nice and fragrant.
  4. Add broth, apple juice and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside till squash and pumpkin are finished baking.
  5. When squash and pumpkin* are tender. (Pierce them with a small thin-bladed knife to tell – it should insert really easily.) Set aside till cool enough to handle, then scoop out flesh and add to Dutch oven.
  6. Return mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender or transfer mixture, in several batches to a regular blender**. Puree until very smooth and silky. Add Greek yogurt and pepper and stir to combine.Taste and add more salt if needed (There are a lot of veggies to season in this soup so don’t hesitate to add more salt if the taste is bland.) You also may want to add a tablespoon or two of honey. My squash was very sweet and it didn’t need any extra sweetness. The description of the Panera soup does include honey.
  7. Serve hot with a generous scoop of the pumpkin seeds.
  8. For the pumpkin seeds, melt butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds and stir to coat. Sprinkle with paprika, curry powder and salt. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously, or until pepitas begin to turn golden. Taste and add a bit more salt, if needed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Notes

* Those big pumpkins you see at the pumpkin patch are perfect for jack-o’-lanterns but they’re not good for cooking. Their flesh is stringy, bland, and watery. Instead look for the smaller pumpkins with a smooth-textured flesh. They are sweet, flavorful and “meaty”. Look for pumpkins labeled “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins”. Some specific names are Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, Ghost Rider, New England Pie Pumpkin, Lumina (which are white), Cinderella, and Fairy Tale.
** If using a regular blender, be careful. The steam from hot liquids can create pressure and actually blow the lid off and make a huge mess, if the center insert is in place. To prevent this, remove the center insert and cover the opening with a folded towel. Alternatively, you can insert a narrow tip funnel into the opening and hold it in place. This will also allow the steam to escape.

 

Panera Copycat Soup Label
Serving size is 1 cup. Recipe will yield 10-12 cups, depending on size of squash and pumpkins.


75 thoughts on “Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup”

  • I can’t wait to try this recipe! I am from Canada and don’t have a Panera here. My mom, sister and I go shopping in Seattle every fall, and last year came across this wonderful soup when we went there for lunch. We also went back to Panera this year as well… twice!! – just for this soup.
    I am going to give this recipe a whirl tomorrow. 🙂

  • Followed exactly. Tastes nothing like panera. Was so thick it was like mashed squash. I added lots more apple juice to try and sweeten and thin. Added 2 T honey. Still not close to Panera. I’ve used my immersion blender so long it became hot in my hands. Will go back in the kitchen and see if I have a can of chicken broth and add brown sugar, nutmeg and ginger as another reader did. Hope I can salvage as it was not a quick soup to make and it made a ton. Very disappointed. And I am not a new cook by a long shot. There’s a weight watchers recipe much better and half the calories

  • Can you offer advice for making this in advance and reheating? I would like to serve as first course on Thanksgiving but will find it difficult to prepare while cooking everything else.

  • 😀 Thank you for this recipe! I tried it tonight and it is a great start. We (my mom & I) didn’t care for the yogurt and will plan on using either cream or coconut milk instead. Otherwise, the next time I’ll try with frozen squash and canned pumpkin. It made a TON of soup, so much so that 3 adults ate it, mom took home a 1/2 gallon bag, and I filled 4 quart bags full! 😀 It was great, just need a bit of tweaking. 😀
    I may try a pinch of brown sugar next time, we also needed the honey. And I originally used 1/2 the curry as I’m not a big fan, but ended up adding it back! That surprised my mom and I. 🙂 Thank you again for the recipe! I’ll post again after I’ve made it with the frozen/canned squashes. 🙂

  • Absolutely delightful! I just made it. I added the honey as suggested and instead of Greek yogurt I used 3/4 of heavy cream. The taste is very similar to Panera….makes quite a large batch. Next time, I might make a half recipe. All in all….Delicious!

  • Thanks Chris for this recipe. I’ve been twice to Panera and loved this soup. Was so happy when I found your recipe. Thank you for all you share!

  • I made a squash soup last fall for a harvest fest taking place on an organic farm I volunteer on. It was absolutely amazing but I think I might have to give this recipe a try.

  • I just tried this soup at aPanera restaurant and fell in love with it. I live 300 miles from there so would love to make it at home. I would use almond or coconut milk since I have a dairy allergy. Thanks so much for sharing. I too wonder if it could be frozen. Also, I have never tried curry . What brand spice do you recommend?

  • Tried this tonight and followed the recipe exactly as written, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. It was good, it just didn’t taste enough like the Panera recipe I was hoping to recreate. Hope this review helps someone who was wondering the same thing. 🙂

    My husband did love the pumpkin seeds though! Thanks for sharing your recipe, Scott & Chris. Blessings.

  • I love the Autumn soup at Panera. So I decided to try and make it myself. I found this recipe and it’s very close to the original, though I found it to be a bit bland. I didn’t have a sugar pumpkin on hand, so I used pureed pumpkin and also didn’t roast my squash. I also added brown sugar, a bit of maple syrup, nutmeg, hot curry, garlic powder (along with fresh garlic), red pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, and rosemary. it was AWESOME! and tasted very similar to Panera!

    • Hi Nicole,

      It could definitely be added. I was actually going to add it, but when I tasted it, the squash was very sweet and it didn’t need it. I’m sure butternut squashes vary in their sweetness so I would wait until the soup is finished, then taste it and add honey, if needed.

  • Can’t wait to try this, I am making it for my family on Thanksgiving.
    Are you able to use canned pumpkin and if so how much would be equivalent to the amount of pumpkin you used?

    Thanks!

  • The pumpkin seeds in the pictures appear to have been taken out of the hard out hulls. Is this true? If so, how do you do that quickly? I cooked a large pumpkin today and saved all the seeds and would like to make this soup tomorrow.

  • I made the soup. Absolutely delicious and very close to Panera. It made a huge pot! I tasted as I cooked and added 1/4 tsp ginger, a dash of nutmeg and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. I also topped it with store bought candied pumpkin seeds from Trader Joes. It was a huge hit and I plan on serving it on Thanksgiving. Thanks so much!

  • I am “addicted” to Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup, and everytime I put a spoonful into my mouth I dream of making my own. This copycat recipe is my dream come true..THANKEW THANKEW THANKEW !

  • This is amazing comfort food! Panera’s is wonderful, but I believe this is better! So I wouldn’t say copy cat as much as “New & Improved Copy Cat”. I can’t wait to serve this at Thanksgiving with my family…if I can wait that long. It has such a smooth silky texture that it is almost addicting. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  • thanks for posting this recipe! I love the Panera version and I can’t wait to make this at home. Do you think this recipe would work in a slow cooker?

  • When we lived in Henderson, Nevada, there was a Panera down the street. I liked their kinda-healthy food. So this soup rings a nice bell for me. It snowed last night in Aspen so I need to pull up my soup file. Will definitely add this copycat to it.

  • Panera is out favorite ‘take out’ restaurant! I love their soup but so many times they are loaded with sodium and unwanted calories. I love how you’ve upped the veggies and cut the fat in this wonderful soup recipe! I have a love affair with butternut squash every fall 🙂

  • Perfect autumn soup! Picky Bill will actually eat squash soup (I was shocked!) and so this needs to be on our menu soon.I love the crunchy topping, too!

      • Chris, I am so excited to find this recipe! Can’t wait to try it! I haven’t ever eaten at Panera, as I’m sensitive to gluten, and our location doesn’t carry any gf options. If I may ask, could you be specific as to what curry you use? Since curry powder is a blend of spices, it can vary greatly. Some are red. Others yellow. Is there a brand that you personally prefer? I’m recovering from surgery, so I really don’t have time on my feet or energy to spare right now experimenting. I’d love to get it right the first time! And yours looks absolutely divine! I love that you add cultured dairy at the end. I can’t digest regular dairy well, so I can’t use the cream or yogurt, but I’ve found that I can digest my home cultured milk kefir well! So, I’ll pour a little drizzle of kefir over it instead! Yum! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • I’ve never been to Panera and we don’t have American cider here but I have always put curry in my butternut (pumpkin here) soup. I often put apple in it too. I’d love to visit Panera but until then I’ll make your soup and pretend. 🙂

  • This sounds fabulous. My girlfriend and I have been trying to get together and have lunch at Panera for this soup. It is so good. I believe I may have to surprise her with this recipe, It will be the perfect surprise. Ty

  • Hey Chris, Julie O. I have to stop in and tell you every once in a while that I am out here in the virtual world loving cafe sucre farine and all the stuff I make from it. I wondered if you thought canned pumpkin would work in this recipe?

  • Mother Nature has decided that it is definitely soup weather around here. Your soup looks velvety smooth and the pumpkin seeds are a great garnish. When I was in grade school a hundred years ago, we used to buy boxes of salted pumpkin seeds to munch on. Little did we know how unhealthy all that sodium was.

    • I can’t wait to make this soup! Sounds perfectly delicious! And I have some of the prepared pumpkin my freezer. I feel like I’d be doing you a great disservice by not sharing some things I’ve learned about salt. While refined salts are unhealthy, Pink Himalayan Salt and Unrefined Sea Salt (gray in color) are actually very healthy for us. They contain minerals that are often missing in the soil that our food is grown in. The minerals in these natural salts are balanced and help us greatly. They should not be a problem for those with hypertensive issues, if sufficient filtered water is also consumed daily. There’s no need to have to eat flavorless food. Another help for keeping minerals balanced would be consuming our grains in a traditionally prepared manner, such as genuine sourdough (made with a live culture). Rarely will true sourdough be found in a grocery, but usually you can find them in local bakeries. Or better yet, make it yourself! Sourdough starter makes amazing, fluffy pancakes that are quick and easy to prepare! Yum! And eat real grass fed butter! Please don’t consume the margarine type substitutions that are often literally one molecule away from plastic. Yuck! Blessings to all!

  • I bet it is delicious..one can never have too many butternut squash soup recipes..I collected them every fall when we used to eat a friends homes:)

    Then the internet..our family etc..I will add this one!
    I agree.. such a professional..well planned..beautifully photographed blog.

  • I haven’t tried Panera’s soup yet (it was still 95 here yesterday!), but I’ve heard great things about this one. I think I’ll just skip straight to your homemade version because it sounds fabulous! Love the pumpkin seed topping!

    • Thanks Laura! It’s so fun to play with fall bounty, and pumpkin seeds are an amazing, versatile and healthy little trick to have up your culinary sleeve! Panera did a great job on their version too!

  • This sounds really great. I can see handing a mug of it to my guests when they came in the door at Thanksgiving! Any thoughts on any of it being prepared ahead of time and freezing? Please, Chris, keep up all the hard work going into this site. I, for one, REALLY appreciate it. I have tried several of your recipes and they have all come out wonderful (even at 7500 feet!). I plan on trying your cherry chocolate chip cookies this Saturday since it’s going to be cold and rainy. Thanks again

    • Thanks so much Debbie, for your kind and encouraging comment. I really appreciate it. I haven’t tried freezing this soup but I think it should be fine. It might separate a bit when thawed but you should be able to whisk it back together. Hope you enjoy it!

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