In this article, I’ve gathered together 18 of the best herbs and spices for butternut squash soup.
Whether you’re cooking up a batch of soup from scratch or looking to put a new twist on an old favorite, these spices will add flavor and depth to your soup.
From classic herbs like parsley and thyme to unique flavors like chile flakes and smoked paprika, these 18 must-try herbs and spices will help you create a butternut squash soup that’s sure to please.
18 Best Herbs And Spices for Butternut Squash Soup
I’m not saying that you have to try all of these herbs and spices, but these are some of the best options for adding flavor to your butternut squash soup.
Rosemary is an herb that exudes cozy, familiar flavors when used in cooking.
It has a woodsy scent and warm flavor that pairs perfectly with earthy ingredients like butternut squash.
When adding rosemary to your soup, the key is balance — you don’t want it to overpower the other flavors of the soup.
Generally speaking, one teaspoon per quart of stock should be enough for most soups.
When adding rosemary to your butternut squash soup recipe, definitely include garlic and onion as part of its flavor profile (one tablespoon each should do).
Thyme complements both rosemary and earthy winter vegetables nicely — just start with a half teaspoon of this dried herb.
If you’d like more spice, consider adding a pinch or two of red pepper flakes for depth and heat.
Cayenne pepper is a great way to kick up the flavor of butternut squash soup.
It adds nice heat and a little bit of complexity to the otherwise mild flavors of the dish.
When using cayenne pepper in your soup, it’s best to pair it with other complementary ingredients like onion, garlic, and ginger; these will all help bring out the spiciness of cayenne without overwhelming it.
You can also add some diced tomatoes for even more depth of flavor.
As for how much cayenne pepper you should use in your butternut squash soup—start small!
A ¼ teaspoon should be plenty to add a subtle kick while still keeping the focus on the delightfully sweet taste of butternut squash itself.
3. Dried Chili Peppers
Dried chili peppers are an excellent choice for butternut squash soup, as they add a certain depth of flavor and subtle heat.
They won’t overpower the delicate sweetness of the squash if used judiciously, plus they offer some additional nutrients.
When pairing dried chili peppers with your butternut squash soup, it’s important to consider which other ingredients you plan on using in order to not overwhelm or clash with the flavor profile.
This could include ginger (for a zesty twist), leeks (for subtle earthiness), garlic (for balance), and/or coconut milk (for creaminess).
As for how much dried chili pepper to use in your butternut soup, start off slow by adding just 1/2 teaspoon at a time – preferably ground – until you reach your desired level of heat.
That way you can add more if needed without ruining the dish!
Using salt to season butternut squash soup is a good idea because it brings out the sweetness and highlights other flavors.
Salt can also help bring together the various elements of a dish, like vegetables and herbs.
When pairing salt with butternut squash soup, consider using ingredients that will complement its sweet flavor such as sage, rosemary, thyme, or garlic.
To balance out these herbs use about 1/4 teaspoon for every 4 servings for an optimal taste without being overpowering in one spoonful.
5. Black Pepper
Black pepper is best complemented by other spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, or garlic powder.
Adding just 1/2 teaspoon of each should do the trick without overpowering your soup.
A bit of butter can add creaminess and richness to your dish without taking away from the flavor of the squash itself, while some cumin could bring out more depth in its natural sweetness.
A pinch of salt will help bring out all these flavors even further for a savory yet sweet finishing touch!
Thyme is a great herb for butternut squash soup because it complements the sweet flavor of the squash.
The herb adds warmth and depth without overpowering other flavors in the dish.
Try pairing thyme with onions, garlic, sage, nutmeg, and smoked paprika for a really flavorful combination.
Use about two teaspoons of fresh or one teaspoon ground/dried thyme per four servings of soup – any more than that can overpower the delicate flavors you want from your ingredients!
Sage is a great way to add robust flavor to your soup.
This herb has an earthy, slightly peppery taste that pairs well with the sweetness of the squash.
Other flavorful ingredients work beautifully in this dish too; thyme, cinnamon, garlic, nutmeg, and bay leaves all make excellent additions.
To round out your flavors and boost its creaminess, feel free to pair the sage with potatoes or coconut milk.
Remember, a small quantity of sage goes a long way – think 1 teaspoon per quart of liquid – especially since dried herbs are much more powerful than fresh herbs (dried being two or three times as strong).
Start by adding just ¼ teaspoon of sage per quart of soup and work up from there until you hit your desired taste note.
Adding cilantro to your soup can balance the mild sweetness of the butternut squash with a deeper, herbal note.
For optimal flavor, pair this herb with onions or garlic for an aromatic base; orange or apple for the sweet tones; and nutmeg for gentle warmth.
Chicken broth or cream can help bring all these flavors together without overpowering them.
Use no more than one tablespoon per 4 cups of soup so that you don’t overwhelm its delicate flavors.
You also want to add your cilantro at the end of cooking unless you’d like it wilted in your finished product.
Butternut squash soup is a delicious, creamy comfort food.
To take it to the next level, you need some fresh herbs.
Parsley has a bright lemon flavor and earthy aroma that will bring out the nutty sweetness of your butternut squash soup without overpowering it.
In terms of taste, this pairing is a match made in heaven!
For the best result, go with freshly chopped parsley leaves rather than powdered dry ones – you’ll get a more intense flavor this way.
To make sure your dish doesn’t become overly herbal-tasting, limit yourself to about 1 teaspoon per 2 servings (or 2 tablespoons for 4 servings).
Any combination of thyme and rosemary will also be amazing additions – just don’t forget to adjust their quantities accordingly!
10. Garlic Powder
Garlic powder can turn your soup from good to great with its intense flavor and aroma.
The subtle spiciness provides depth to the overall taste profile, which is something you could never get from plain butternut squash alone.
Though garlic is high in flavor, it should still be used sparingly since too much will overpower the delicately flavored bunted squash.
I suggest adding 1/2 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon at most as seasoning for every 4 cups of butternut squash pulps plus 2-3 cups of broth and any desired additional ingredients like coconut milk or shallots before blending everything until smooth.
11. Onion Powder
Onion powder has all of the flavor and aroma that you expect from fresh onions, without any of the time-consuming peeling or chopping involved—you can just measure out one teaspoon instead!
So why should you use it for making soups?
Well firstly, its distinctly onion-y flavor works wonders in creamy dishes like butternut squash soup.
It adds an extra level of depth that really enhances the sweetness of this type of dish.
Secondly, it pairs perfectly with ingredients like garlic salt (which notably lacks much garlicky kick) or nutmeg which helps warm up its natural sweetness even further.
Cloves are another perfect ingredient for adding an extra kick to this winter favorite.
Cloves have a distinctly sweet, spicy, and slightly smoky flavor that hits all the right notes in butternut squash soup.
The sweetness from the cloves helps balance out the other flavors in the dish and gives it depth without overpowering it entirely.
For maximum flavor, pair them with ingredients like onion powder, black pepper, sage leaves or dried thyme, garlic powder, or fresh garlic, and mushrooms (optional).
You can also add a cup of dry white wine for an unexpected hint of tartness.
Be careful not to use too much clove though—aim for 1 teaspoon per 4 cups of soup!
Cinnamon is subtle enough not to overpower the other flavors in your soup and just enough to provide something special and unique.
It’s a great way of highlighting certain notes while adding warmth and depth.
The best way to use this wonderful spice is by sprinkling it onto the top layer of your finished soup after it has been cooked and blended; if you’re looking for extra oomph, sprinkle some over the rest of the ingredients prior to cooking them too!
Here are some delicious ingredient pairings that go perfectly with a little bit of cinnamon-soaked butternut squash: garlic, ginger, turmeric, shallots or caramelized onion, nutmeg, or all-spice – either mixed in with the roasted/cooked vegetables before blending or stovetop as accompaniments alongside dishes served with your soup!
14. Dried Bay Leaf
Dried bay leaves make a great addition to almost any soup.
Not only do they add flavor, but they also bring out the sweet nutty flavor of the squash and give it an extra layer of warmth.
To ensure you don’t overpower your soup with too much bay leaf, start off using just 1 teaspoon per 4 cups (1 liter) of squash puree or broth.
You can always add more later if needed—bay leaves are very concentrated so a little goes a long way!
The best ingredients to pair with bay leaf in your soup are celery, carrots, garlic, onion, ginger, and herbs like thyme and sage.
Creating an herbed “bouquet garni” is easy: just bundle the ingredients together in cheesecloth or muslin cloth before adding them to the pot for cooking—that way they won’t get lost among all the vegetables while everything cooks together!
15. Star Anise
Star anise adds a wonderfully exotic flavor and aroma to butternut squash soup.
Its rich, sweet, yet spicy taste is the secret ingredient that makes this dish extra delicious.
Some of the best pairings for star anise are other winter spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.
Together they create a perfect sweet-savory balance in your soup.
Use between 1/4 teaspoon and 1 teaspoon depending on how strong you like it.
You can always taste it before adding more though – better safe than sorry!
One final tip: Star Anise pairs great with savory ingredients like onions & garlic too so don’t forget to include them!
Nutmeg is one of those underrated spices that makes all the difference in a dish.
If you’re looking to take your butternut squash soup up a notch, adding just the right amount of nutmeg may be exactly what it needs.
The earthiness and warm sweetness of nutmeg pairs magnificently with sweet vegetables like butternut squash.
While it can add subtle flavor on its own, it also has the potential to bring out other flavors as well.
In short, nutmeg helps make all-star recipes even tastier!
When integrating both ingredients into a recipe for butternut squash soup, find harmonious flavors to pair them with such as garlic cloves, thyme leaves, or an extra hint of brown sugar and cinnamon spice.
For better texture and added depth of flavor balance out the soup by including bacon strips too.
Cumin may seem simple, but it adds elevated flavor to the soup.
It has a pleasant aroma and earthy sweetness that pairs well with other flavors in the dish, such as onion, garlic, nutmeg, and paprika.
When making your soup with cumin, you want to avoid overpowering it.
A gentle touch goes a long way without diminishing its effectiveness in the recipe.
While this step varies depending on individual taste buds and ingredients used for seasoning, gastronomers generally agree on using about one teaspoon of ground cumin per quart of cooking soup—but feel free to adjust to find what works best for you!
Oregano is an aromatic herb that can add depth and complexity to a dish.
It’s particularly well-suited for butternut squash soup thanks to its earthy, slightly peppery flavor profile which complements the sweetness of the squash.
For best results, pair oregano with other subtle flavors like shallots, garlic, or leeks, as well as aromatics such as bay leaf and fresh herbs.
You can also try adding in some crushed red pepper flakes for extra heat and spice!
When it comes to how much oregano you should use: it’s all about achieving balance so start by adding a teaspoon at a time until your soup has the desired amount of flavor.
What flavors go well with butternut squash?
Butternut squash is so versatile that it pairs well with a wide variety of ingredients and spices.
First, try pairing this sweet vegetable with some savory flavors.
It goes great in soups, stir-fries, risottos, and more.
Try adding garlic or onion for an extra kick of flavor.
Or add some smoky BBQ sauce to give it a delicious smokey flavor.
Pairings like nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, maple syrup, or honey also bring out the sweetness in butternut squash dishes and make them extra special.
For example, try roasting cubes of butternut squash seasoned with 1 teaspoon each of ground allspice and ground cinnamon along with 2 tablespoons of melted butter for a truly unique treat!
Currants also pair nicely when added to stuffings alongside cooked butternut squash as they provide a tangy contrast to the sweetness.
Finally, complementing flavors like bacon, goat cheese, and toasted nuts are great options for adding a layer of complexity and texture to any butternut squash recipe.
How do you make butternut squash soup taste better?
Butternut squash soup is a cozy, comforting dish and can be made even better with the addition of spices and herbs.
Depending on your tastes, you can season the soup with anything from nutmeg to cumin.
For earthy flavors, try adding some thyme or rosemary.
If you are looking for more sweetness add cinnamon or ginger.
To make it spicy use paprika, chili flakes, or cayenne pepper.
Add creamy texture by stirring in Greek yogurt into individual servings or top off your bowl of soup with chunks of feta cheese and chopped fresh parsley before serving.
You could also toast pine nuts and pumpkin seeds in the oven ahead of time to sprinkle over your bowl as a delicious crunchy topping!
What brings out the flavor of butternut squash?
One of the most versatile vegetables out there, butternut squash is not only healthy but also quite tasty.
Here are some tips to help you bring out its unique flavor:
- Roast it: Arguably the best cooking method to make butternut squash more flavorful is roasting. Cut it into cubes and season with your favorite spices before throwing in a hot oven. The caramelization of the edges will amplify its flavor and sweetness organically!
- Add Onions or Garlic: Butternut squash pairs very well with onions and garlic as those are equally sweet ingredients that create harmony when cooked together in one dish like an accompanying side vegetable or even as part of a main dish.
- Spice It Up: Spices can take ordinary food to extraordinary levels and this rule applies just as much for butternut squash dishes! Use spices such as cumin, coriander powder, and smoked paprika to give depth let alone aroma to your dish.
- Add Herbs: Herbs are always a great addition to any dish and butternut squash is no different. Use fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or even sage to give it a unique twist.
- Use Sweeteners: A little bit of sweetness can really bring out the flavor in butternut squash. Add a tablespoon of maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, or even molasses to your dish. Combined with the right spices, this will create a delicious, complex flavor.
What spices go best with butternut squash?
Whether you roast it in cubes, mashed into a purée, or shredded in a salad, the sweet nutty flavor of butternut squash pairs perfectly with all sorts of spices and herbs.
- One obvious choice for seasoning butternut squash is cinnamon. A pinch adds depth to both savory and sweet dishes alike – try tossing diced squash with some melted butter, followed by some ground cinnamon before roasting. If you’d like to kick up the sweetness, try adding a bit of nutmeg as well.
- For more savory flavors on your roasted pieces of squash cubes, give Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence blend a spin — either on its own or mixed with Parmesan cheese (which also works great in mashed butternut recipes.) For something slightly different from the ordinary spice blends, reach for curry powder instead — it adds an exotic note to any squash dish.
- Finally, if you’d like to give your butternut squash an extra zing, try adding freshly chopped herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage.
18 Best Herbs And Spices for Butternut Squash Soup
- Dried Chili Peppers
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Dried Bay Leaf
- Star Anise
- Pick your favorite herbs or spices from this article to add to your soup.
- Prepare the rest of your tasty dish.
- Enjoy your meal in no time!