Bowls of butternut squash and cider soup aside herbed flatbreads.

The trouble with the butternut squash soup I make again and again every winter is that it takes so much time: 45 minutes to roast the squash, 30 minutes to simmer it with the stock, and 15 minutes here and there for prepping. Although much of the time is hands off, I never feel I can whip it up on a weeknight.

So when I saw this recipe for butternut squash soup with cider and sour cream, which apparently could be “made in a flash,” a few things caught my eye:

  1. In step 1, onion and garlic simmer in a small amount of water — not butter or oil — for about five minutes.
  2. In step 2, the squash cubes steam in stock (or water) for 20 minutes.
  3. In step 3, the soup is puréed with apple cider and sour cream, and then it’s done.

I followed the recipe to a T and was pleased to discover that a completely flavorful soup had materialized in 30 minutes start to finish. As the onions and garlic cooked down in the water, I was able to peel, seed and cube the squash. And the puréed soup needed nothing more than a pinch of salt and a splash of stock before it was ready for serving.

I’ve made this soup, which is at once light and comforting, three times in a week, and the past few evenings, I’ve been serving it with flatbread topped with olive oil, sea salt, and minced sage and rosemary, two of butternut squash’s best pals.

With Lahey dough stored in the fridge, this meal comes together in a flash and couldn’t taste more like fall, the fragrant herbs so nicely complementing the squash and the subtle sweetness of the apple, the tangy sour cream balancing it all out.

PS: ALL the soups right here → Soup

Just-baked herbed flat bread on a board.
A butternut squash, onion, and garlic head on a board.
A peeled butternut squash and all the trimmings.

This soup begins with simmering minced onions or shallots and garlic in water…

A soup pot with onions and garlic in water.

…until they are soft and the liquid has nearly evaporated:

A soup pot with onions and garlic, softened.

Eight cups of cubed butternut squash…

A soup pot with cubed butternut squash in it.

…steam for 20 minutes in a cup of chicken stock:

A soup pot with steamed squash.

After the soup is partially puréed, apple cider and sour cream enter the pot:

A measuring cup filled with cider aside a cup filled with sour cream.

Sometimes I have to add a bit more stock at the end to thin it out, but most of the time, it purées into a silky smooth consistency that needs little doctoring:

A soup pot with puréed butternut squash soup aside an immersion blender.

Last week a friend dropped off the most fragrant rosemary and sage from her garden. We have been sprinkling it over flatbreads for the past three days:

A few sprigs rosemary and sage on a board.

Another great use for these quart storage containers: Lahey pizza dough. A quart container might feel unnecessarily large for one round of dough, but I’ve had lids of pint containers pushed off by expanding dough after a day or two in the fridge.

A quart container with stored Lahey pizza dough in it.

Olive oil, sage, rosemary, sea salt:

An herbed unbaked flatbread on a sheet of parchment on a baking peel.

Five minutes on the Baking Steel:

Just-baked herbed flatbread cut into slices on a board.


Bowls of butternut squash and cider soup aside herbed flatbreads.

Oven spring:

Side view of herbed flatbread.
A bowl of butternut squash and cider soup with a spoon.
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Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Soup

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Adapted from Food52 and The Essential New York Times Cookbook. I have made a double quantity here and have made a few minor adjustments: onion for shallot, no garnish, a bit more chicken stock…that’s about it.

Find the Herbed Flatbread Recipe Here


  • 1/2 large white or yellow onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 8 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or water), preferably homemade, plus more for thinning out as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Bread for serving


  1. Heat a medium-size saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, garlic, and 1/2 cup water. Cook until the shallot and garlic are softened, being careful not to let them burn, 5 to 7 minutes — the water will be nearly evaporated.
  2. Add the squash and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender, purée until roughly smooth. (Alternatively, carefully pour the mixture into a blender. Holding the top down with a towel, blend until smooth.) Add the cider, 1/2 cup of the sour cream, and salt. Continue blending until well combined. Taste, add more salt if necessary. (I often add another teaspoon of kosher salt.) Add more sour cream if desired (I always do.). Thin out with more stock — you may need as much as another cup of stock. Taste, adjust seasoning again as necessary. Serve immediately with good bread.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American