Butternut Squash Soup with Cornbread Croutons

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Welcome fall with a nourishing bowl of velvety butternut squash soup topped with crunchy, savory jalapeño cornbread croutons.

Aerial view of bowl of butternut squash soup, cornbread croutons, and garnish of creme fraiche, pepitas, and crispy sage leaves.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably noticed that I mostly write about traditional and modern Asian recipes.

Today I temporarily digress, and share my recipe for butternut squash soup. This nourishing soup celebrates rich fall flavors in a cozy, simple yet flavorful meal. Other vegetables such as fennel, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms are also cooked in for some earthy complexity that enhances the nutty and buttery squash flavor.

To be quite honest though, it’s the combination with jalapeño cornbread croutons that brings this soup together for me. The croutons add texture and crunch and a savory, peppery kick that rounds out the mild sweetness of the soup.

It’s great for a lighter yet nourishing meal, but can also be enjoyed as a starter or side at your next Thanksgiving dinner or fall gathering.

If you are looking for other fall recipes, don’t forget to check out my recipes for Korean Pumpkin Porridge and Taiwanese Fried Chicken & Pumpkin Waffles.

I also use most of the leftover ingredients to make my easy Pumpkin Brioche French Toast.

Side view of bowl of butternut squash soup, cornbread croutons, and garnish of creme fraiche, pepitas, and crispy sage leaves.

Butternut Squash

Rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, butternut squash tastes very much like a cross between a pumpkin and sweet potato. When cooked, it is moist, nutty and mildly sweet in flavor.

How to choose a ripe butternut squash

  • It should have a darker tan color, and no green patches.
  • The skin should be matte, not shiny.
  • It should feel firm and heavy from the moisture inside.
  • It will sound more hollow than full when tapped.

Tray with roasted, halved butternut squash.

Roasting butternut squash

Some recipes cook chopped pieces of raw butternut squash directly in the pot with the other ingredients.

However, I always like to prep my butternut squash by roasting it first.

By roasting the squash:

  • You get a deeper nutty and toasted flavor.
  • It caramelizes the natural sugars and intensifies the natural sweetness of the squash.
  • It’s easier to scoop out the roasted squash flesh. Trust me when I say it’s not particularly fun to cut and peel raw butternut squash.

Butternut squash soup ingredients in a large pot ready to be pureed with immersion blender.
Butternut squash soup ingredients in a large pot being pureed with immersion blender.

Stand Blender or Immersion Blender

After simmering the roasted butternut squash with the vegetable broth and other ingredients, you could use a stand blender or an immersion blender to puree the soup.

I find the immersion blender a bit more convenient to use since you can use it when the soup is still warm in the pot. Clean up is also easier. If you use a stand blender, you will have to wait for the soup to cool and then puree them in the blender in batches.

You’ll get a smoother soup if you use a stand blender, but I’m fine using the immersion blender for a more “rustic” soup consistency.

Close up shot of jalapeno cornbread croutons in bowl of butternut squash soup.

Jalapeño Cornbread Croutons

Some people like to enjoy their butternut squash soup with grilled cheese. I like to have mine with jalapeño cornbread croutons. They’re crunchy, savory, and mildly sweet. There’s also a subtle kick of peppery heat from the minced jalapeños. This spicy and savory flavor helps to round out the sweetness of the soup and adds more layers of delicious flavor and texture.

If you’re short on time, you can also buy pre-made cornbread from your local grocery store and proceed to the toasting step.

Cubed pieces of jalapeno cornbread on baking tray.
Baked, cubed pieces of jalapeno cornbread croutons on baking tray.

Tip for making cornbread croutons

If you can, I would recommend preparing the jalapeño cornbread the day before. It is easier to cut the cornbread into smaller cubes for croutons when the bread is older, a bit drier, and stale.

However, I’ve prepared these croutons the same day of baking before and it can still work. They’ll just be a bit more crumbly!

Other garnishes

I do feel that the soup tastes great with just the jalapeño cornbread croutons. However, if you want to go a bit extra in flavor and presentation I recommend the following toppings:

  • Pepitas – for some nutty crunch
  • Fried sage leaves – for its earthy, fall flavor and airy, crispy texture
  • Crème fraîche – for added creamy richness
  • Crispy bacon bits – for a salty, savory, and crunchy element

You may also like:

Mise en place

Butternut squash soup mise en place

If you make this Butternut Squash Soup with Cornbread Croutons, I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag @chrisseenplace on Instagram!

Butternut Squash Soup with Cornbread Croutons

Welcome fall with a nourishing bowl of velvety butternut squash soup topped with crunchy, savory jalapeño cornbread croutons.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cornbread, Fennel, Soup, Squash
Servings: 6


Jalapeño Cornbread Croutons (or buy premade cornbread and skip to step #5)

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • cup cane sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • tsp baking powder
  • ½ egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • tbsp cooking oil (e.g., canola, sunflower seed, avocado oil)
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (about 3 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise, cored, seeded (about 4 lb)
  • 1-2 tbsp cooking oil (e.g., sunflower seed, canola, or avocado oil)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, white part thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or TT)
  • ½ tsp salt (or TT)
  • 1-1½ cup water


Jalapeño Cornbread Croutons (or buy premade cornbread and skip to step #5)

  • Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk in the egg, milk, and oil just until the ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the minced jalapeño.
  • Pour the batter in a bread pan lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake in the oven for about 22 minutes or until
  • It would be best to make croutons with day old cornbread. However, if you are short on time, let the bread cool before cutting it into 1" cubes. It will be crumbly.
  • Toss the cubed cornbread in 2 batches. Add a batch to a large bowl, toss with 1 tbsp of EVOO, and add them to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat this with the 2nd batch.
  • Bake in the oven at 400°F for about 14 minutes, flipping them halfway through, or until they are golden-brown and crisped.

Butternut Squash Soup

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil the flesh of the butternut squash halves and bake them cut side face down for about 1 h or until fork tender. Scoop out the the flesh into a large bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, leek, and fennel and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the scooped, roasted butternut squash, bay leaf and vegetable broth. Let it simmer for 30 minutes, adding the shiitake mushrooms in the last 7 minutes.
  • Puree the soup using an immersion blender or in batches using a stand blender (allow the soup to cool first if you are using a stand blender).
  • Season the soup with coconut sugar and salt. Add more water to your desired soup thickness and consistency.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the cornbread croutons. (Optional toppings: add a dollop of crème fraîche, crisped sage leaves, and pepitas). Serve immediately.


How to make fried sage leaves:
  1. Add a thin layer of canola or sunflower seed oil to a small skillet over medium low heat.
  2. Add fresh sage leaves in a single layer, and let them fry for about 30 seconds or until they crisp up making sure to flip them halfway through.
  3. Transfer them to a cooling rack or over some paper towels on a plate.

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