Delicious Thai Chicken Butternut Squash Soup is loaded with tender chicken and Thai flavors of coconut milk, peanuts, lime and cilantro. It’s creamy and velvety yet dairy free!
Table of Contents
Chicken butternut squash soup is creamy, hearty and healthy. It has the richness of butternut squash and added protein from shredded chicken breasts. You can also add some cooked quinoa to keep you full longer.
This recipe for butternut squash soup with chicken was inspired by my small children years ago when I needed one meal quick and fast. Now with older children involved in sports, we need all meals to be one pot meals.
Butternut squash has great texture, sweet taste, and is quite versatile. And I love it in a soup! My dedication to sweet butternut shows in this stovetop butternut squash soup and Instant Pot butternut squash soup.
I decided to add Thai flavors like red curry paste, fresh ginger and coconut milk to this chicken butternut squash soup. And of course, roasted peanuts, fresh cilantro and lime juice at the end. It is the ultimate comfort food this time of year.
This hearty soup is creamy yet dairy free and packed with nutrient rich vegetable goodness! You will love making it during the soup season!
Ingredients and Notes
Sweet, savory and flavor packed chicken butternut squash soup recipe contains simple ingredients from the pantry. Although I understand the list might seem long. It is then topped with crunchy garnishes for additional texture and pleasing presentation.
- Butternut squash: Medium in size, about 2 lbs weight and about 8 cups of cubed butternut squash. If you want to skip cutting the squash all together, you can bake whole roasted butternut squash and use instead.
- Coconut milk: Make sure to use full fat coconut milk for a rich tasting soup. While you could use light coconut milk, I would advise against it as your butternut squash and chicken soup will be flat in taste.
- Chicken: I use uncooked chicken breasts but chicken thighs would work as well. Also shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken can be added.
- Chicken broth: I recommend to use low sodium chicken stock. Homemade chicken broth or Instant Pot chicken broth will work too. And in a pinch, even water is fine.
- Aromatics: Thai red curry paste, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, salt, kaffir lime leaves, maple syrup.
- Garnish: Red bell pepper, fresh cilantro, peanuts and fresh lime juice.
Add 2 cups of quinoa to make soup a complete meal. Make sure you add cooked quinoa to the soup. Swap the quinoa for cooked brown rice or jasmine rice.
How to Make Thai Chicken Butternut Squash Soup
Here is how to make this Thai inspired chicken butternut squash soup recipe.
- Saute veggies with spices: Preheat large Dutch oven or skillet on medium heat and add olive oil or avocado oil. Then add ginger, garlic, red curry paste and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
- Cook the soup: Add raw chicken breasts, butternut squash, coconut milk, chicken broth, maple syrup, salt and kaffir lime leaves. If used a skillet in previous step, transfer its contents to a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes until squash has softened.
- Shred the chicken: Remove chicken and shred using two forks. Discard lime leaves. You will return chicken pieces back into the pot after pureeing the soup.
- Puree the soup: With an immersion blender, blend the soup until creamy smooth. If you would like to blend it in a regular blender, do so in batches or wait until soup has cooled off to avoid splattering and “explosion”.
- Add the toppings: Add fresh sliced red bell peppers, peanuts, chopped cilantro and lime juice and stir.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could use a potato masher and mash it up to desired consistency.
What is the Best Way to Blend the Soup?
The best way to blend chicken butternut squash soup is right in the pot with an immersion blender. You can puree the soup in a regular blender as well with a few tips in mind because hot soup will explode on you. And that can hurt!
- Cool the soup: Wait until the soup has cooled down to room temperature and then blend.
- Use a towel: Remove the plastic piece in the center of the blender’s lid and cover it with a towel instead. Then when you blend, heat can escape.
- Work in small batches: Less soup inside the blender jug, less steam build up. Puree a few cups of soup at a time.
Best Toppings for This Chicken Butternut Squash Soup
This butternut squash chicken soup recipe calls for toppings like sliced red bell peppers, peanuts, chopped cilantro and lime juice. Alternatively, you can serve toppings separately. Here are a few suggestions:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Goat cheese crumbles
- Fresh herbs
- Sour cream or crème fraîche
Also don’t forget to serve a bowl of this comforting soup with a crusty bread.
How to Store and Freeze This Soup
Chicken butternut squash soup is great for freezing because there are no vegetables or pasta to go limp.
This delicious soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
It is the perfect soup for freezing! To freeze, fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Then just thaw on the stovetop covered on low heat.
Yes. Saute veggies and spices as per recipe, then transfer them along with remaining ingredients to an Instant Pot and pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. After wait another 10 minutes and release remaining pressure. Blend.
Yes, you can make this butternut squash chicken soup ahead of time! Just add squash, coconut milk, water, maple syrup, curry paste, ginger, garlic, salt and lime leaves into a covered container.
Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook but no more than 48 hours. And then, just follow the cooking instructions starting at Step 1. Voila!
Yes and no. There really is no close replacement for the bright floral and citrus notes that kaffir lime leaves add to the soup. However, fresh basil leaves or Thai basil leaves added before serving would mimic that taste. It is also OK to omit lime leaves.
More Healthy Soup Recipes to Try
- Instant Pot Thai chicken soup
- Instant Pot potato soup
- Vegetable chicken soup
- Buffalo cauliflower soup
Other Butternut Squash Recipes
Thai Chicken Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 medium butternut squash (8 cups) cubed
- 1 inch fresh ginger grated
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 1 tbsp red curry paste
- 2 tsp oil for frying
- 1.5 lbs boneless & skinless chicken breasts
- 14 oz can coconut milk full fat
- 2 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4-5 kaffir lime leaves optional
- 2 large red bell peppers thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup peanuts unsalted
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1/2 lime juice of
- Preheat large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven on medium heat and add oil. Add ginger, garlic, red curry paste and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
- Add chicken breasts, butternut squash, coconut milk, chicken broth, maple syrup, salt and kaffir lime leaves (if using). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes until squash has softened.
- Remove chicken and shred using two forks. Discard lime leaves. Using immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.
- Add chicken, bell peppers, peanuts, cilantro and lime juice. Stir and serve hot. Alternatively you can serve toppings separately.
- Slow cooker version: In a large slow cooker, add squash, coconut milk, broth, maple syrup, curry paste, ginger, garlic, salt, lime leaves and chicken. Cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours. Remove and shred chicken, discard lime leaves. Blend the soup, add shredded chicken, bell peppers, peanuts, cilantro and lime juice.
- Cooked quinoa (optional): Old recipe included 2 cups of cooked quinoa added at the end with toppings.
- Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.
- Coconut milk: You could use light coconut milk, but soup will be more flat.
- Kaffir lime leaves: I usually get kaffir lime leaves at an Asian store. You can freeze them tightly sealed in the freezer.