Thomas Keller’s Butternut Squash Soup With Brown Butter Recipe (2024)

By Amanda Hesser

Thomas Keller’s Butternut Squash Soup With Brown Butter Recipe (1)

Total Time
2 hours 15 minutes, plus refrigeration
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This soup, an adaptation of one found in Thomas Keller's "Bouchon," should be approached as a labor of love; it requires several steps (including making vegetable stock) and four hours of cooking, but the result is astonishingly flavorful and complex. Sizzling brown butter is swirled in at the very end, giving the soup a rich toasted flavor.

Featured in: THE WAY WE EAT; Labor Party

Learn: How to Make Soup

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Yield:Serves 6

  • 13-to-3½-pound butternut squash
  • 2tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2sprigs sage
  • 1cup thinly sliced leeks
  • ½cup thinly sliced carrots
  • ½cup thinly sliced shallots
  • ½cup thinly sliced onions
  • 6garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2tablespoons honey
  • 6cups vegetable stock, more if needed
  • Bouquet Garni made of 8 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs Italian parsley, 2 bay leaves and ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, all wrapped in a packet made of 2 green leek leaves
  • ¼cup crème fraîche
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1tablespoon minced chives
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

355 calories; 23 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 11 grams monounsaturated fat; 3 grams polyunsaturated fat; 40 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 13 grams sugars; 4 grams protein; 1318 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Thomas Keller’s Butternut Squash Soup With Brown Butter Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the neck off the squash and set it aside. Cut the bulb in half and scoop out and discard seeds. Brush each half inside and out with about 1½ teaspoons of the canola oil. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper and tuck a sprig of sage into each. Place cut-side-down on the baking sheet and roast until completely tender, about 1 hour. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool, then scoop out and reserve the flesh (discard sage).

  2. Step


    Meanwhile, using a paring knife, peel away the skin from the neck of the squash until you reach the bright orange flesh. Cut the flesh into ½-inch pieces (you should have about 4 cups).

  3. Put the remaining canola oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat, add the leeks, carrots, shallots and onions and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes. Add the diced squash, garlic, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook gently for 3 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to keep the garlic and squash from coloring. Stir in the honey and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and bouquet garni, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.

  4. Step


    Add the roasted squash and simmer gently for about 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni. Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches, and purée. Strain the soup through a fine sieve into a bowl. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Let the soup cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

  5. Step


    Place the crème fraîche in a small chilled bowl and stir in nutmeg to taste. Whisk until the crème fraîche holds a shape. Cover and refrigerate.

  6. Step


    Gently reheat the soup until just hot. If it is too thick, add a little more vegetable stock. Heat a medium skillet over high heat. When it is very hot, add the butter and rotate the skillet over the heat as necessary to brown the butter evenly, scraping up any bits that settle in the bottom. As soon as the butter is a hazelnut brown, pour it into the pot of soup -- keep a safe distance, it may sputter -- then stir.

  7. Step


    Ladle the soup into six serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of crème fraîche. Grind some black pepper over the top and sprinkle on the chives. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.



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Cooking Notes

P. Howard

Finally, after many misadventures, here is a recipe for a delicious butternut squash soup! Thank you. The only change I made was in how I prepared the squash. I poked the squash with a knife then baked it at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, I cut open the squash, removed the seeds and peel, then baked with sage etc. per instructions. The squash is much easier to cut open and peel after the short pre-baking step.


In the first step you cut the neck off the squash and only roast the bottom bulb.
The second step you are cutting the un-roasted neck bit.
(I agree, this was difficult to understand)


I love this soup!! Pro tip: save the thick paste that comes out of straining the soup! I refrigerated it for a day or two, then mixed it with some Parmesan to make ravioli filling, and the raviolis were fantastic.


I've made a version of this soup for 25 years. All due respect to Thomas Keller, I suggest that you just split the squash lengthwise and roast the whole thing. Roasting carmelizes the squash beautifully, and when it's done and cooled, scoop out and discard the seeds, then scoop out the flesh with a spoon right into your pot of simmering stock. An immersion blender finishes it to perfection and simplifies cleanup. Eager to try it with browned butter and sage instead of my usual thyme.


Speed it up and use canned, organic butternut squash.
Same flavor, less time.

Rock on. I mean, soup's on!


This is by far the best recipe I've ever cooked from the NYT. Serve with warm crusty bread and beer brats for one of the best meals you'll ever have.

Susan Sage

I make vegetable stock with scraps I have accumulated. Put a large ziploc bag in the freezer & store all your excess veggie scraps, especially carrots, celery, onions, leeks, garlic, fennel. Other options that will distinguish each batch include tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, spinach & kale. DO NOT use Crucifious veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage. When you have 2 gals veggies, cover with water, add herbs, boil, simmer about 2hrs & strain. Try roasting some veggies first.

Diane Kay

I never remove seeds from the bulb of the squash before roasting. I place both halved on parchment with a little oil, salt and pepper. The seeds-and-strings come out in one swoop of a spoon after roasting. You just plop them along with the parchment into the compost bucket.


This is confusing - it says to roast the squash in Step 1 and then to dice it in Step 2. Are there two squashes? If so, the recipe does not indicate that.

Nancy L

Delicious and good depth of flavor. I used a hand blender and I thought that worked well. I started to strain it, but it seemed like it would be too thin and all the good stuff left in the stainer. So I didn't stain it and it was still smooth. I liked the browned butter at the end, it adds a lot. I fiddled a lot with the bouquet garni wrapped in leek leaves...I will skip that next time. I didn't realize creme fraiche actually whips up, but it does. Everyone loved this special soup.


I didn't go through the trouble of making vegetable broth, used chicken broth instead. I would have left out the honey, too sweet for soup. All of the ingredients made a delicious soup. Loved the garlic.


Full confession: was multitasking and entertaining while making this and did not have time to chill, plus completely forgot the brown butter step AND it was still very good, with more depth than the usual butternut squash soup. Really try to caramelize the roasted squash for maximum tastiness.

Barbara Wheeler

Served this at a Christmas dinner that had family favorites (standing rib roast, individual Yorkshire puddings) but this was the big hit. The recipe is forgiving--I just made it again with extra leeks and no shallots, roasted the bulb whole with no oil or sage, and omitted the bouquet garni. Still it's one of the best soups I've ever made, and doesn't absolutely require either brown butter or creme fraiche. A not-too-fine mesh sieve comes in handy for this.

Sara G

Oh dear god, make this just the way it says. Off the hook!

Gina G

Does anyone have a stock recipe they recommend?


Fantastic soup! I made my own vegetable stock, and I got precut butternut squash from Trader Joe’s. I roasted the correct amount with salt, pepper, olive oil and sage and then covered it with foil so it didn’t brown. The soup was a lot of work - but it was an absolute showstopper.

MC Glass

Swap olive oil for canola to roast the squash and as much as I like sage- next time I prefer thyme. It will smell better.


This took more time than my usual butternut squash soup, but it was also more deeply flavored and velvety. Made as written, except for the fact that we were out of parsley for the bouquet garni and we had no chives. Will definitely make again. Very glad there wasn't a hidden camera filming me while I was making the bouquet garni out of a leek leaf. A more misshapen, unstable packet has never been created! Next time, cheesecloth, and I'll probably use a little less honey.

Juice N.

Used hot honey from Trader Joe’s and it was just the hint of spice I needed to balance out the sweet. Delicious all around!


Good, but maybe not good enough to be worth the effort. Next time I won’t bother making the homemade vegetable stock. I don’t see the point of dicing the squash “necks”. Why not just roast the entire squash? Easier and probably better.


I made this as written. It is absolutely delicious and worth the time. Follow the recipe the first and then add your flair (you may. It wasn’t to once you taste it). Cheers!


Excellent. Roasting the squash and adding the browned butter made it special. I used only 1 teaspoon honey, not sure any was necessary. Creme fraiche might not be necessary. I didn't chill, nor strain, used an immersion blender.


I've made this soup twice. 2nd time was a charm due to halving the amount of garlic (love garlic but 6 cloves was totally overpowering) and simplifying the recipe. I just halved and roasted the squash with sage and scooped out the flesh rather than the time consuming peeling and cutting of a raw squash. I also skipped the homemade veg stock and used "Better Than Bouillion" vegetable stock paste to season. It was just as good. Don't skip the brown butter; it's the best part!!


The broth I had was from a smoked turkey and I felt like it would over power the dish, so I just used water. The soup was still excellent. Next time I’llMake sure to have a simple broth.


Used two kabocha; omitted honey which was good - soup was very sweet; added about 3 cups water after using immersion blender. Delicious but sweet.


Delicious! No fresh thyme, so used dried thyme in the bouquet garni. Immersion blender instead of food processor saved some mess. Great flavor!

Absolutely worth the effort

This is not simply a butternut squash soup. This recipe was handed down by the gods and goddess to us mortals, so we may have a taste of heaven. It is surprising that it's not written better. I roasted the squash cut in half, face side down. Then I scooped it out and added it to the stock and veggies. The browned butter and creme fraiche takes the soup to the next level.


I want to try it exactly as written sometime, but even w/mods for a weeknight it received *rave* reviews from everyone, even squash soup haters. Mods: Didn’t make vegetable stock: used water + 1-2t "better than bouillon." Subbed in labne for crème fraiche. No chives. Bouquet garni was sage + thyme -- had no parsley. Didn’t drizzle with olive oil. Used a frosted something squash from the farmers mkt rather than butternut. Didn't strain -- totally smooth thx to Vitamix blender.


I’m making this for a party and need to make it a couple of days in advance. Do people think I can add the brown butter when I make the soup or does that have to be at the time of serving? I’m not too experienced with brown butter.


This is a fantastic soup. Though I’m not sure I understand putting the soup through a fine sieve after puree in the blender. I did that and (with a little effort with a spoon to keep things moving) everything went through except some larger pieces of ground pepper. I would just skip this step in the future.

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Thomas Keller’s Butternut Squash Soup With Brown Butter Recipe (2024)


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