Spicy Pumpkin and Red Chile Soup

Pumpkin red chile soup with roasted pumpkin, New Mexico red chile and pinon. #soup mjskitchen.com


This soup was inspired by a beautiful little pumpkin and some dried red chiles that I picked up from a roadside stand in northern New Mexico.  When Bobby asked what I was going to do with the pumpkin I told him that I had been thinking about a pumpkin and red chile soup. He agreed that it was a great idea but then added “You should top it with toasted pinons.”  He was so right. The flavors of the pumpkin, the red chile, and the pinon nuts (pine nuts) make a delicious soup. This is a recipe that requires a little more work than most of my recipes; however, it only takes a few ingredients to yield a whole lot of taste!  It’s like a bite of New Mexico in your mouth.


Pumpkin red chile soup with roasted pumpkin, New Mexico red chile and pinon. #soup mjskitchen.com

Kitchen Notes

Roasting Pumpkin – In my opinion, the hardest part of roasting any winter squash is scrapping the seeds and fibers from the inside when the squash is raw; therefore, I always roast the squash first with the seeds intact. I find it much easier to remove the fibers and seeds once the squash is cooked.  Just use a fork and separate the fibers from the pulp and remove.

The chile – I used both dried chiles and chile sauce because I had both.  However, using just one or the other would work fine.  The amount of chile sauce that you use depends on how hot your sauce is and how hot you like your soup.  If you don’t have chile sauce or time to make it, just tear up 3 or more pods (depending on the heat of the chile) and cook down with the pumpkin pulp.  The chile pods will be pureed with the pulp when you blend.

As far as what type of dried red chile, well you know which type I used – New Mexico red chile.  However, if you can’t find these, then use your favorite red chile or red chile sauce. I haven’t found a spicy chile that I didn’t like. Just be sure to adjust the amount of chile sauce to the heat level and flavor of the chile.  For example, if you use chipotle, cut way back to one or at the most two peppers.  Chipotle peppers have a pretty powerful flavor and can easily overpower the pumpkin. You want the chile to complement the pumpkin, not drown it out.

If you purchase a chile sauce, be sure it’s “chile” sauce, not “chili” sauce. There’s a huge difference. Chile sauce is primarily chile peppers, water and salt. Chili sauce is a blend of peppers, vinegar,water, lots of seasoning, and who knows what else.  For more on this topic, check out my page “Chile or Chili?“.

The cooking process – This does look like a rather laborious soup to make with the roasting of the pumpkin, the toasting of the spice mix, and the making of the red chile sauce.  However, if you are like me, you already have a lot of this on hand. Periodically I make up a batch of spice mix so it’s available when I need it (see recipe below.)  One can always find little containers of red chile sauce in my freezer. I couldn’t call myself a New Mexican if that wasn’t true. 🙂  So really, with a well-stocked spice rack and freezer, the only thing one needs to do is roast the pumpkin and that can be done on the weekend when you have the time.  Once you have the roasted pumpkin and the red chile sauce, the making of this soup is easy breezy.

The soup’s thickness – When you originally make the soup, add water, broth or stock to whatever your desired thickness.  After the soup sits in the refrigerator for a day or two, it will thicken up, so when you reheat it, be prepared to have to add more liquid.

The spice mix – You can make up a small jar of spice mix (below), or just toast 1/2 tsp. each of cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a skillet, grind, and use what you need.

Cumin Coriander Spice Mix


A spice mix of toasted cumin and coriander seeds



Recipes that use a mix of toasted cumin and coriander:


This Pumpkin and Red chile soup recipe has been shared with the following blog hops. Click on the link for more delicious recipes.  Katherine Martenelli’s Comfort Food Hop (Food Bloggers Support for Sandy), Gallery of Favorites, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Hearth and SoulWhole Foods Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Gluten-Free Fridays, Foodie Friday Recipes, Foodtastic Friday , My Meatless Monday, Clever Chicks, Meatless Monday, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Keep It Real Thursday, Creative Thursday, Made From Scratch Monday

This pumpkin and red chile soup was featured in the Gallery of Favorites – Pumpkin Edition.


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83 Responses to “Spicy Pumpkin and Red Chile Soup”

  1. Jodee Weiland September 10, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    I love this…pumpkin and red chile (pods and sauce)…awesome! What a delicious flavor this soup must have and the texture looks so creamy and smooth. MJ, you have such wonderful recipes…delicious, delicious, spicy delicious!

    • mj September 10, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

      You are so sweet Jodee!! It really is a very creamy soup and the perfect combination of sweet and spicy!

  2. d August 29, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on recipes. Regards

  3. Javelin Warrior October 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    I love the combination of pumpkin with the red chile sauce in this recipe, MJ. And it sounds so warming for the fall and winter months – I would absolutely take a bowl of this!

  4. angela@spinachtiger May 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Wow. This sounds fantastic. Pumpkin is so healthy and I’m not waiting for Fall to try this.

  5. Lynn H @ Turnips 2 Tangerines May 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Dropping by from Carole’s Chatter~ This sounds wonderful~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  6. Carole May 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Just my sort of dish, MJ. Thanks for popping over and adding it to our collection. Cheers

  7. Mary Hudak-Collins December 5, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    I tried making a pumpkin soup this year and I loved it, but unfortunately, no one else in the family cared for it and I ended up eating it all 🙁 I may have to cut the recipe down some and give it a try, especially with the weather getting cold now.
    Thanks for participating in our recipe linky this month!

  8. Crystelle November 29, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Hi MJ,
    I pinned this recipe. I am thinking it might be pretty healthy. And that’s a good thing for me….!

  9. Vianney November 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Loving this bite of New Mexico and great tip on removing the seeds after roasting (need ot try this), thanks!

  10. Jessica November 20, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    This soup sounds absolutely amazing. Your husband must feel so spoiled to have you as his cook 😉 Have a nice holiday, and feel free to link this up at my Meatless Monday hop too, it’d be great to have you: http://jessica-healthymommyhealthybaby.blogspot.com/2012/11/meatless-monday-yummy-side-dishes.html.

  11. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) November 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Perfect for a chilly day! I love that it has a KICK! 🙂 Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    We have a great collection of recipes going to get us ready for menu planning! Hope to see you this Thursday for another Gluten Free Fridays link up! It will be live at 7:05 eastern US time. Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

  12. Terra November 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    I miss picking up delicious red chile at the roadside stands. When in Tucson AZ, it was everywhere, and it was delicious:-) Your soup sounds wonderful, and I love the addition of the coriander! Gorgeous, Hugs, Terra

  13. ChgoJohn November 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    I don’t know how I missed this post but it sure does look good, And I just happen to have about 6 cups of freshly roasted pumpkin purée in my freezer. Well, it looks like it won’t be there for long!

  14. Miz Helen November 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you soon!
    Miz Helen

  15. April @ The 21st Century Housewife November 15, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Some pumpkin soups I have had seem a little bland to me but yours is so flavourful!! The combination of spices you have used is just wonderful and your soup is such a gorgeous colour! I love the tip about taking the seeds out of squash after after cooking as well.

    • mj November 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

      Thanks April! If you’re like me you’ll kick yourself once you try roasting a winter squash with its seeds. When I first did it and saw how very easy it was, I couldn’t believe it took me so long to try it. Sometimes laziness leads to some excellent results. 🙂

  16. The Wimpy Vegetarian November 12, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    This looks WONDERFUL, MJ. I roast pumpkins most weeks this time of year, and I think I’ll use my harissa since I’ve got a bunch in the frig and the spices and chiles really complement your recipe so well. I’m making this hopefully this week. Love!

    • mj November 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      Thanks WV! I bet the harissa is wonderful in this! Any pepper or pepper sauce that is packed with flavor and a little heat would work great! Hope you get a chance to make it!

  17. Food Jaunts November 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    What a great mix of ingredients – you know you’re speaking my language. I’m loving the idea of making a meal out of this with apple sage cornbread. That soup ended up with such a rich color.

    • mj November 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

      Thanks FJ! The apple sage cornbread was an excellent accompaniment to this soup!

  18. cquek November 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    So yummy, my goodness..

  19. Rathai November 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I have wanted to make pumpkin soup for the longest time but have always chickened out at the store, thinking what to do with a whole or even half a pumpkin. But seeing this recipe, especially with the intriguing blend of spices and chile, I feel so tempted to give it a shot. I wont get any chances if I miss the pumpkin season now.

    • mj November 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

      Thanks Rathi! I have to agree that sometimes there is just too much pumpkin. That’s why I try to buy the small ones. This one was only 4 pounds. I still had about 2 cups of pulp left so it’s in the freezer for another dish in the future.

  20. cookingrookie November 10, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    One more delicious soup! I love adding cumin to soups and stews, but I am not using coriander that much. It’s sitting all alone and abandoned on my spice rack. I will try this mixture next time. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend, MJ!

    • mj November 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks CR! You really need to pull out that coriander. It’s a wonderful spice and great complement to cumin! Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

  21. Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings November 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    I can almost smell the spices going into the soup! I love the heady, exotic aroma of cumin and coriander…it’s perfect with pumpkin! This is the ultimate Fall dish – so full of warmth and so representative of the beautiful colours of the season!

  22. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb November 9, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Cumin and Coriander Seeds give the soup a nice undertone, oh and so true chilis and pumpkin are a great combi! I just wished you would have posted it much earlier when they would sell pumpkins in the market. Maybe I should check in that special shop here… Love the color of the soup MJ!

    • mj November 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      thanks Helene! We still have tons of pumpkin and winter squash here. Wish I could send you one!

  23. Nisa Homey November 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Beautiful bowl of soup…with my favorite spices….perfect for the weather here..and so comforting.

  24. France @ Beyond The Peel November 8, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Anything with ground coriander and ground cumin seed ( my favorite spice combination) is a winner in my books.

  25. Giulietta | Alterkitchen November 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    I looooove pumpkin soup, and yours looks delicious!
    I recently made a pumpkin soup with honey, chestnut, thyme and sage… delicious!!

    • mj November 8, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Thanks Giulia! Your soup sounds delicious as well! I love thyme and sage with pumpkin.

  26. Zsuzsa November 7, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    This is a lovely soup and a beautifully constructed post.

  27. Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin November 7, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    I love this recipe. I think it’s perfect that you’ve added flavor with red chile sauce and pine nuts instead of cream – so much healthier but it still sounds so delicious 🙂

  28. Treat and Trick November 7, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    Great photos and I really love this comforting soup with those spices and chile!

  29. Asmita November 7, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Hi MJ,
    This is such a beautiful soup! Warm and comforting! Thanks for sharing.

  30. Raymund November 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Roasted pumpkins and chillies, the flavours would be awesome

  31. Sanjeeta kk November 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Pumpkin soup is one recipe which I am running away from, everytime I see it online..I can’t imagine relishing pumpkin in a soup. But I think I am wrong..I need to give the due credits to this humble veggie with your recipe, MJ. Wish me luck my friend..What a lovely color and cute little pumpkin that is!

    • mj November 8, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Good luck Sanjeeta!!! I know you’ll love it! Let me know. It is a cute little pumpkin isn’t it? I always buy the small ones because that’s really all I need, but mostly because I love seeing them on the table for a few days before cooking them up. 🙂

  32. Dara November 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Beautiful soup! I love cumin and coriander. Looks spicy and warming.

  33. Eri November 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    What a lovely soup, soon to make!

  34. Soni November 6, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    Ooh this looks like a heart warming soup perfect for this cold weather!I love that you’ve made it spicy and that cumin/coriander combo is a staple in Indian cooking too :)Love it!!

  35. Amber @ The Cook's Sister November 6, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    What a great soup MJ! Very hearty and perfect for fall. Love the spice you’ve added with the red chiles! Pine nuts are very expensive around here, do you think some roasted pumpkin seeds would make a good substitute?

    • mj November 6, 2012 at 10:40 am #

      Thanks Amber! Actually, roasted pumpkin seed were my first thought, but then when Bobby came up with pinon I went with that. They were marvelous, but I do think the pumpkin seeds would work great as well!

  36. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles November 6, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Love the perspective of the first shot with the pine nuts swimming at eye level (great thought on the toasted pinons Bobby!). What a delicious idea to add warming red chile to this pumpkin soup. I not only appreciate warming dishes this time of year but also ones that have a little kick to them! Great thermogenic properties ;-). I like how you included the photo of your inspiration MJ… the lovely little pumpkin surrounded by the dried chiles… together, your photos really tell a story.

    • mj November 6, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Thanks Kelly for your comments about the soup and the pictures! I think I’m starting to have fun with photography although it is still frustrating at times. A stylist I am not! Great terminology for the red chile effect – thermogenic properties! Definitely! 🙂

      • Kelly @ Inspired Edibles November 7, 2012 at 11:19 am #

        I understand… The photography aspect is always the most challenging for me too… so many posts reside in purgatory for ages, others won’t see the light ;-). Oh well, we’re learning, right? (and yes, it’s often fun!).

  37. Charles November 6, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    What a gorgeous colour – so rich and hearty looking MJ, truly! I love the addition of the olive brine – what a great idea. It must give so much flavour to the soup… I’m really curious as to what it tastes like.

  38. fati's recipes November 6, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    Beautiful! Such delicious flavours, too!

  39. Kate@Diethood November 6, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    MJ, you make some amazing soups!! All I want right now is a big soup spoon and that bowl of deliciousness in my face. Thank you.
    I wish it was that easy!! 🙂

    • mj November 6, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      Thanks Kate! I agree! Sometimes I just feel like poking a fork into the computer screen to see if I can get a bite! 🙂

  40. Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats November 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    It has been raining cats and dogs here lately, and soup is seriously the perfect meal to a cool evening. I just want a bowl right now and some bread.. and I am definitely set for the day 😉

    • mj November 6, 2012 at 10:35 am #

      Thanks Joanna! Please send the rain my way! We’ve been over 70 days without it. 🙁

  41. Nami | Just One Cookbook November 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    Beautiful pumpkin color which is so appetizing, MJ! I love all kinds of pumpkin dishes, but I think the soup is my most favorite! You made it so delicious. I need to make your cumin & coriander spice mix. I love both spices and it is a very convenient that both are ready in one jar!

    • Nami | Just One Cookbook November 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

      I probably said it before, but I really love this bowl… love!!!

      • mj November 6, 2012 at 10:34 am #

        I wish it were my bowl!!! Unfortunately, it belongs to a friend of mine, but she lets me borrow it or both of them when I need them. Don’t ever let a food blogger in your kitchen. He or she will start going through all of your cabinets looking for dishes and props. 🙂

  42. Swathi November 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    I told you these are my kind of soup, love your spice mixture sure coriander and cumin makes difference in anything.

  43. john@kitchenriffs November 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Great flavor combo here. And a really good tip on roasting the pumpkin whole, then dealing with the seeds and such later – what a time saver! Pumpkin is great with spicy flavors – this soup must taste incredible. Really good stuff – thanks.

    • mj November 5, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      Thanks John! The baking with the seeds works for any winter squash. This was one of those tasks that as a cook I’ve always thought “There’s got to be an easier way!” Years ago I saw someone do it on the Food Network channel and have roasted my squash that way ever since. It works great!

  44. Ramona November 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    What a gorgeous color for soup!! You know I would love it with it’s spices. Tell your husband that he had a great idea with the pine nuts…lovely added texture. Well done. 🙂

  45. Adora's Box November 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    It is hard to find pumpkin here, except the carving one. I love this soup_so healthy yet rich in flavour. Squash would do for this, right?

    • mj November 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      Thanks Adora! Yes, butternut squash would definitely work. I actually find pumpkin and butternut squash interchangeable. I can’t imagine not being able to find pumpkin. Our growing season has been so long this year, that the vendors are practically giving them away. 🙂

  46. Carolyn Jung November 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Was just in Montreal and I could have used a big bowl of that to warm up with. Brrr! 😉

  47. Debra November 5, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    I am so trying this. I am envious about you being in northern NM.

  48. Sissi November 5, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    “A bite of New Mexico in your mouth”. You needn’t say more, MJ. This beautiful soup is probably one of the rare dishes I love with pumpkin/squash, namely very hot ones, especially if they contain also other spices. This soup is simply the perfect way to serve pumpkin!

    • mj November 5, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

      Thanks Sissi!! It definitely is hot and it got hotter! It make enough for two dinners and one lunch. The lunch was the bottom of the pot and man was it hot! But needless to say, we both finished off our bowls. 🙂

  49. CJ at Food Stories November 5, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    That Bobby’s one smart cookie 🙂

  50. Tessa November 5, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    Beautifully plated MJ! That soup is just gorgeous! I really like the pine nuts on top.

  51. Liz November 5, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Whoa, this looks soul warming, too! And the topping of pine nuts is the perfect finishing touch!

  52. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef November 5, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    What a lively soup that screams “Eat me!”

  53. Angie@Angie's Recipes November 5, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    What’s not to love this creamy, warming and delicious soup! I would love some now!

  54. Choc Chip Uru November 5, 2012 at 1:40 am #

    Yay for Bobby it definitely adds that little extra my friend – stunning soup 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  55. Donna November 5, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    Superlative body (and heart!) warming Autumn “opener”….This will be a marvelous entrée for this weekend’s dinner…And thank you ever so much for always going into “the specifics”…spice preparation….nuances between ingredients/terminology (i.e. chile/chili)…..it ALL helps so much…You really do take the question marks out of culinary endeavors…which makes one MUCH more likely to actually DO them….Avid follower and fan of your blog.

    • mj November 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

      Donna – thank you for such very nice comments! I’m blushing! With 30 years of teaching under my belt it’s hard not to give detailed instructions. 🙂 Hope to see you again soon! Have a wonderful week!


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