Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
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This slow-cooker butternut squash and apple soup couldn’t be simpler. It’s a matter of throwing a bunch of vegetables into a slow cooker with some water and letting it cook for 4 to 8 hours. When it’s time to serve, plunge in your immersion blender and purée with some coconut milk. Healthy and delicious!
Last week my Aunt Vicki was in town from California. Predictably, I took her to Riverview Orchards for cider donuts and to Mrs. London’s for almond croissants. When we weren’t out and about, we sat at home, sipping lemon-ginger tea, flipping through cookbooks at the kitchen table.
One night Vicki spotted this recipe in the new SkinnyTaste cookbook, and we then made it three times before she left.
It couldn’t be simpler: chop up an apple (no need to peel), a few carrots (no need to peel), an onion or a leek, and a peeled butternut squash. You throw all of these vegetables in a slow cooker with some water (or stock) and let it cook for 4 to 8 hours. When it’s time to serve, plunge in your immersion blender and purée with some coconut milk. That’s it!
I’m always tempted to add curry powder or curry paste to squash soups, but I find the flavors here so pure—the apple and carrots provide a touch of sweetness, the coconut milk a hint of richness. I’ve yet to try making the soup with stock, because it doesn’t seem necessary—after 4 or 8 hours of simmering, the water essentially becomes a vegetable stock.
We served the soup with bread, of course, and simple salads: one night this black bean and sweet potato salad, another a shaved Brussels sprout salad with an anchovy dressing, and another night Swiss chard with lemon and breadcrumbs.
There’s no need to expound the virtues of a slow cooker, but sometimes using one really feels like a miracle. Three times last week, dinner was nearly done before the kids had left for school. This made the days relaxed and the evenings leisurely. Last Friday night before heading out to the Union hockey game, we all sat down for soup and salad. There was no scramble, no stress, and we still arrived with 5 minutes to spare—the biggest miracle of all.
PS: ALL the Soup Recipes here
PPS: How To Be a More Efficient Soup Maker.
Here’s the play-by-play:
How to Make Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
First, gather your vegetables:
Add the coarsely chopped, unpeeled apples and carrots to a slow cooker. Peel the butternut squash and onion, and add them, too:
Simmer for 4 to 8 hours; then purée with a bit of coconut milk:
Serve with lots of bread on the side.
A crispy leek garnish is a nice touch, too:Print
Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
- Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 quarts
From SkinnyTaste Fast and Slow
Notes: I’ve made this with as much as 2.5 lbs. of butternut squash post peeling. I’ve never made this with chicken or vegetable stock—I’ve only used water—but I imagine either of those stocks would add even more flavor. The leek garnish is delicious but totally optional—confession: I never actually made it until it was time to take photos.
If you don’t have a slow-cooker, I think you could make this stovetop—simmer everything until the squash and carrots are cooked through. With a faster cooking time, I would suggest using vegetable or chicken stock.
- 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped or 1 leek (white part only, rinsed and roughly chopped)
- 1 apple, any kind you like, roughly chopped, no need to peel (I’ve been using Honey Crisp or Fuji)
- 1 medium (or a couple small) carrots, roughly chopped
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 2 1/2 cups water or low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, plus more to tastefor the garnish:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced leeks, white part only, rinsed if necessary
- pinch sea salt
- Place the squash, onion or leek, apple, carrot, and water or stock in a slow cooker. If using water, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. If using stock, add a pinch of salt, then adjust at the end. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours, until the squash and carrots are cooked through.
- Stir in the coconut milk. Puree the soup in the slow cooker with an immersion blender until smooth (or in a stand blender in batches.) Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. I consistently add 3/4 cup coconut milk (total) and another teaspoon of kosher salt, but make your adjustments to taste.
- For the garnish, which is optional: Heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the oil and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.
- To serve, pour the soup into 6 serving bowls and garnish with the crispy leeks. Drizzle with more coconut milk if desired. I like lots of cracked black pepper over top.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Category: Soup
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: butternut, squash, apple, soup, vegan, coconut, milk, carrot
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48 Comments on “Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash and Apple Soup”
How long would I cook the veggies if I use a regular soup pot. I don’t have a slow cooker.
Hi Barbara — I think it wouldn’t take much more than 45 minutes to an hour for the squash and carrots to be tender. You may want to use chicken stock or vegetable stock as opposed to water to compensate for the shorter simmer time — they’ll provide more flavor.
Anymore, I’m never sure if coconut milk is the canned variety or the now popular almond milk that we pour into our cereals. Can you help me out? It sounds delicious and easy!
Good question, Nancy! It’s canned, unsweetened coconut milk. I’ll clarify in the recipe. Hope you are well!
Oops. Meant coconut milk in the dairy aisle or the canned coconut milk often used in curries.
Hi Nancy! It’s the canned coconut milk often used in curries. I just placed an order on Amazon because it costs about half as much as what I pay for at any grocery store. I’ve been buying this brand: Native Forest.
Wow – thanks for the tip! Just bought a case. SOOOOOO much cheaper!!!
I know, crazy, right?!
Thank you for the beautiful post! What kind of crockpot do you use/recommend?
I recently bought the Crock Pot brand slow cooker from Target. It was about $20 and it has been working great. It’s 4.5 qts, model# SRC450-S Before that I had an All-Clad one, but I gave it to my mother-in-law because she LOVED its big size, when she borrowed it once. I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a lot of money on a crock pot. Hope that helps!
Chopping up a hard winter squash is always difficult for me. Any tips to make it easier?
I know, Valerie, it’s true! Do you have a good peeler? Butternut squash is unique in that its skin can be peeled with a peeler. Otherwise, I but off each of its ends, then cut it in half. Once in half, I use a sharp knife and run it down the sides, keeping as much of the flesh in place as possible. I’ll try to make a video for guidance.
Ali, you constantly taunt and tease me with tales of apple cider donuts and almond croissants. They are hands down my two favorite pastries, and the donuts are my favorite everything of all time…… 🙂 Clearly, I have a refined palate.
The soup looks like a tasty one to try! Since I have new(ish) squashes I’m going to add the peels to them for more flavor because Deborah Madison tells me to do so. 🙂 And if Debbie says…well then, I must try.
I loved your latest news letter. I think its the bomb-diggity. If I lived in NY I would totally take your salmon class…..if you ever have any classes in Hawaii, especially when you have a book tour…. 🙂 I’m your gal.
Thank you thank you sweet Dana!! Wish I could come to Hawaii. It is SO cold this morning here.
That garnish!!! I can’t wait to try this.
It’s so good, Becky!! xoxo
Made this for Friendsgiving. . Was a HUGE hit. I love the idea of throwing veggies in a slow cooker all day and then pureeing when done. Doesn’t get any easier than that! Also made the leek topping – looked nice. A crouton would also be fitting.
Thanks – AGAIN – for a great recipe.
SO happy to hear this, Anne!! Simple is so often best. There’s something to this I’m sure. And yes, a crouton would be perfect. Happy Friends/Thanksgiving!!
Butternut squash is one of my favorite foods but I have never been able to make a good version at home. This one sounds excellent, I can’t wait to give it a try!
It’s so good, Tracy!
Made this tonight and it is fantastic. I can’t wait to eat it all week. I’ve made so many of your recipes and they always turn out so well! Thank you!
So happy to hear this Sierra! Thanks for writing in!
What do you think of adding dry beans to this?
Good question, because that sounds nice. The only thing is that you purée it all at the end. So, the beans would get puréed, which would make it very thick, though you could thin it out with water or stock or coconut milk. What kind of beans are you thinking?
I love this recipe! I’m definitely going to add this to my list to make over this winter. Also, I’m loving this Apple Butternut Squash Soup recipe as well! https://ashleydiana.com/apple-butternut-squash-soup/
Do you use a 2 lb squash that you then cut up, or do you use 2 lbs of cut up squash?
Can this soup be canned for later? I like to make large batches and can some for later. I am courious if this recipe would lend itself to this application. I own a pressure canner and I think this would be an awesome food to have on hand.
Followed this recipe loosely this weekend – what a treat! I made it super easy by using Trader Joe’s cut up squash. I added a knob of ginger (which I didn’t fish out before blending but might rethink that next time) and instead of leeks, added pieces of very well cooked turkey bacon on top, to up the protein content. My husband suggested adding some chicken sausage next time which seems like a great idea too. So super easy and delicious!
So happy to hear this, Laura! Love your garnish ideas — the crisp turkey bacon on top sounds so good. Incidentally, I am writing from the airplane home from Paris, and I am still dreaming of my last meal at … PINK MAMMA. It was so much fun and soooo good.
I used veg stock and didn’t peel the apple or carrots, and the soup tasted bitter-savory the first day. But the next day the flavors had melded into slightly sweet deliciousness! Really good with a scoop of plain Greek yogurt swirled in, and even good like that cold. I’ll make it again, but overnight, so it has time to sit before lunch/dinner. Thanks!
So happy to hear this, Em!
Was wondering wondering if you’ve ever subbed anything for the coconut milk. High cholesterol family here so wondering if almond milk or even sour cream would work. Or even regular dairy milk. I know I can sub reduced fat coconut milk but still a bit high in saturated fat. Thanks for any recommendations.
Have the same question about substitutions for coconut milk. Any suggestions? Have all other ingredients and am about to start chopping!
Hi Robin and Julia!
Hi Julia! Sorry for the delay here. I think sour cream would be excellent as would something like creme fraiche or even yogurt. I use yogurt in this broccoli-cheddar soup recipe, and it’s so good: https://alexandracooks.com/2020/02/07/lighter-better-broccoli-cheddar-soup/
That said, I do think you could also use regular dairy milk as well. One final thought, though it is more effort, you can make “cashew cream”… my friend, Gena Hamshaw of the Full Helping, taught me how to make it, and I have used it successfully in soup, and I love it. Here is the recipe: https://www.thefullhelping.com/purpose-cashew-cream-recipe/
Made this to decide whether or not to invest in an immersion blender. Yes; the answer is YES. Was hungry when it was done, so I added a handful of peanuts rather than leeks as garnish/protein. So delicious, warming, and good for mind AND body on a dreary day!
Wonderful to hear this, Stacey! Thanks so much for writing. Peanuts sound delicious and perfect.
Could you use frozen squash instead? When would you add it?
Yes! Add it as directed. No need to thaw first.
I make this every autumn- so delicious! And when you use water, I think the soup creates its own vegetable stock in the slow cooker.
Yes, absolutely! You’re so right about that.
Super delicious!! We topped with roasted salted pumpkin seeds. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Oh I love this idea! Thanks so much for writing and sharing. So nice to hear, Andrea!
Made this recently on a low slow cooker setting and it was a hit! So easy and really good flavor. Thank you for a great soup recipe! Do you think this soup would freeze well?
So nice to hear this, Hina! And yes, the soup will freeze beautifully!
This was delicious and satisfying. Added some Aleppo pepper to the bowl.
Will definitely add to my soup colletion.
Great to hear, Gail! Thanks for writing 🙂
Stumbled across this recipe and site when looking for a new butternut squash soup recipe. I added a touch of nutmeg at the end, and garnished with some toasted pepitas. SO YUMMY! On a side note, we could be neighbors – I’m sad I didn’t get to go to Riverview Orchards this year!!!
I didn’t make it there either 😩😩😩😩 How does this happen?! So glad you like the soup. Thanks so much for writing!