Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Red Chile

A mildly spicy butternut squash soup with apples and red chile powder

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It used to be that I loved the onset of cooler weather, and winters – I relished them!  Cross-country skiing in the winter, especially under a full moon was pure joy and COLD.  Now, just thinking about it makes me shiver.  The only thing I relish about cold weather now a days are comfort foods, afternoon Chai lattes, my winter blankets, and hot soups.  This Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Red Chile is one of my favorites and just screams FALL and cold nights. It’s hot, it’s spicy, it’s a touch sweet (determined by the sweetness of the apples), it’s savory, and it’s hearty.  It’s a great soup to serve in a cup and sit by a warm fire.

For this butternut squash soup I used the same process that I used with my Calabacitas Chowder – created a soup base with puréed squash.  It’s a thinner purée than most butternut squash soups, because this isn’t a traditional butternut soup.  This soup uses a generous amount of diced onion and apple, some finely grated cheese and select toppings to create a crunchy, cheesy, comforting dish.  For a little kick, I added some red chile powder, but you already knew that.

Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Red Chile

A mildly spicy butternut squash soup with apples and red chile powder

Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Red Chile Recipe
30 mins
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
A different types of butternut squash soup with chunks of sweet apples and a bit of spiciness from New Mexico red chile powder.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: soups & stews
Cuisine: New Mexico
Yields: 6 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
Squash Puree’
  • 1.5 to 2 pound butternut squash*, peeled, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups stock (chicken stock or vegetable stock)
  • ½ tsp. salt
Additional Soup Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 small, crisp, tart apples*, cored and diced
  • 1 tsp. mild to medium red chile powder*
  • ½ tsp. dried Mexican oregano*
  • 1 tsp. rice or cider vinegar
  • 1 cup finely grated, aged cheddar cheese*
  • Fried Corn tortilla strips - 1 tortilla per person + 1 to nibble on while waiting
  • 3 tbsp. Toasted Pepitas - pumpkin seeds
  1. In a large soup pot, bring the 6 cups of liquid with the squash and the salt to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the squash is cooked.
  2. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, purée the butternut squash. It will be a rather thin purée and should yield about 6 cups. Transfer to a large bowl or pitcher. Set aside.
  3. In the soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and apple. Reduce heat to medium low and slowly cook until the onion is translucent. If the onion starts to brown, reduce the heat. Once the onion is cooked, the apple should still be firm, but not crispy.
  4. Add the chile powder and oregano. Cook for about 1 minute.
  5. Add 6 cups of the butternut puree to the soup pot along with the vinegar. *
  6. Increase the heat to medium and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. If you have a wide whisk, use it to better blend in the cheese.
  8. Taste for salt and heat (spice). Adjust to your personnel taste.
  9. Serve into soup bowls and top with toasted pepitas and crumbled tortilla strips.
Toasted Pepitas
  1. If you're a multi-tasker, you can toast up the seeds and fry the corn tortillas while the squash is cooking or after the soup is done and is "resting".
  2. To toast the pepitas, heat a small, heavy skillet over a medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds.
  3. Toast the seeds by flipping them in the pan about every minute or so until toasted. Be aware that pumpkin seeds will swell and pop. Some get so excited that they pop right out of the pan.
  4. Once toasted transfer to a glass dish.
Fried tortilla strips* (great use of stale corn tortillas)
Kitchen Notes

Fried Tortilla Strips


Butternut Purée – This recipe is designed for 6 cups of purée.  If you end up with a little more or a little less than that, not to worry.  Just use what you have.  However, if you have more than 7 cups, save the extra for another use.  If you have less than 5 cups, then cut back proportionally on the soup ingredients.  If you find your purée too thick (more like a traditional puréed soup), then add a little more liquid.  Hopefully you can see from the pictures, that this soup is really not that thick.


Apples – The apples must be crisp apples (e.g., cameo, fugi, Granny Smith).  A crisp, tart apple works best. 


Chile Powder – Remember red chile powder with an “e”, not an “i”.  Any pure red chile works – New Mexico red chile powder, Ancho, Paprika (but not smoked paprika).  Do NOT substitute a smoked chile powder or chili powder blend.  They would overpower the other flavors and just not work in this soup.  I normally use medium heat chile powder which adds a spicy finish, but doesn’t make the soup a “mouth on fire” hot.  If all you have it a HOT chile powder, then cut the amount in half.


Oregano – Mexican oregano works best, but regular oregano is just fine.


Cheese – A hard, aged cheese is best to complement the other flavors in the soup.  However, regular cheddar and Monterey Jack work as well.  To test the cheese flavor with the soup to make sure it is to your liking, scoop out some of the soup into a spoon.  Add a little bit of the cheese you want to use and taste.  If you like the flavor, then go for it!  You could also eliminate the cheese if you don’t do dairy.  The soup is still delicious without it.


Cutting the Recipe in Half – If you don’t want to make such a big pot of soup, then cut the recipe in half.  It works just fine.  What I have done before is split the butternut squash purée between two different soups, making a half batch of this soup and then another soup.



A mildly spicy butternut squash soup with apples and red chile powder


If you like this Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Red Chile then you’ll probably like my Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples and Manchego cheese from last year.  It was actually this dish that inspired this soup.





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87 Responses to “Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Red Chile”

  1. Miz Helen October 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    This is a great soup, MJ! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday and have a fabulous day!
    Hope to see you soon,
    Miz Helen

    • mj October 14, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

      You are most welcome Miz Helen! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Diane Balch November 15, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    Just wanted you to know that your recipe is being featured today on Foodie Friday. I will be pinning and tweeting it this week too.

  3. Diane Balch November 10, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Sorry to hear your not into winter anymore… I run hot so winter is great for me and I am new to cross country skiing I’m finding it to be gentler on the old body than down hill. Love your soup… great combination of ingredients. Thanks for sharing it with us on foodie friday.

    • mj November 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      Thanks Diane! Cross-country is a lot easy on the body I would assume. Never was a fan of downhill, but that’s o.k. I love cross-country. Wish I had some of your body heat! Winters would be easier. 🙂 Have a great week!

  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook November 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    My son really loves butternut squash that I keep buying them. I make soup similar to this but I never tried one with cider/rice vinegar and oregano and chiles. Those are easy addition and I’ll certainly remember to try this. Probably this week!

  5. Randy November 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    This looks delectable. I just happen to have all of these ingredients in my kitchen and as it is only 35 degrees out today…this would be great for supper.

    I was on my twitter page and seen the “Peach” off on the left side. It caught my attention. I am glad it did. Great recipe and food creation.

    Thanks for sharing!! I look forward to more from MJ’s Kitchen!!


    • mj November 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

      Thanks so much Randy! Glad the peach caught your eye! 🙂 Hope to see you again.

  6. Reese November 5, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Coming from the tropics, winter used to hold a magical place in my mind. The wintery nights, the snow and the winter clothing…BUT after experiencing the long harsh winter last year, my interpretation of winter has changed. Like you, it is the warm lattes, hot soups and winter blankets that make the best company! Your soup sounds incredibly delicious, MJ. What an ingenious idea to add apples into the soup! I need to try very soon.

    • mj November 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Thanks Reese! I don’t know how you can stand the winters where you are. It’s cold enough here. How you have a milder winter this year, but just in case, I hope you give this soup a try to keep you warm. 🙂

  7. Soni November 1, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Love the addition of apples in this soup and seems to pair nicely with the sweetness of butternut squash!Would love a big bowlful right now for my lunch 🙂

  8. Helene D'Souza November 1, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    You do cross country skiing? Me too, well at least I used to. My grandmother would come down from france and she loved it. I hated the cold but because she loved it I used to go with her.
    Again I am ready to run into the kitchen to make one of your dishes. We don’t get butternut squash here. Do you think I could use pumpkin?

    • mj November 1, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      Helene, yes, I’m sure pumpkin would work, just a little different flavor. I wish I stilled skied, but I had to stop about 10 years ago. I’ve replaced it with warmer activities. 🙂

  9. fati's recipes October 31, 2013 at 3:58 am #

    I have never before seen this combo of apples and squash.. And in a soup! Wow! I think I’ll be tempted to try this once the cooler months set in again, I hope I can create a crowd of devouring fans with me! I’m sure I will!!

    • mj October 31, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      Thanks so much Fati! I use the combination of squash and apples quite a bit. I love it!

  10. Terra October 30, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    I was just saying to someone, apples are delicious in anything! What a lovely soup, and love your addition of red chile with the apples! Perfect cozy soup on a chilly day:-) Hugs, Terra

    • mj October 31, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

      Thanks Terra! You’re absolutely right! Apples ARE good in anything.

  11. Katerina October 30, 2013 at 3:01 am #

    What a delicious soup! Here the weather has gone crazy! The temperatures are those of early summer! Nevertheless, at nights a thin chill falls and that makes it perfect for this type of soup!

    • mj October 30, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      Thanks Katerina! I wish it felt like summer here. 🙂 Actually, we’re having gorgeous fall weather. Relatively warm days, but rather chilly evenings through mornings.

  12. Biren @ Roti n Rice October 29, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    I think I am beginning to feel the same way about the cold. Just thinking about it makes me shiver. Good thing you made this delicious and comforting soup. I’ll have to give it a try. It sounds delicious! Love the color of the soup as well. 🙂

    • mj October 30, 2013 at 10:29 am #

      Thanks Biren! As one tea lover to another, if it’s cold – we’re pulling out the tea of the soups. 🙂

  13. Yi @ Yi Reservation October 29, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    What a seasonal and hearty soup! The use of apples is such a clever addition. It’s getting cold here in NYC and I can definitely have a big bowl of this soup for dinner any day! Thanks for sharing!

    • mj October 30, 2013 at 10:28 am #

      Thanks so much Yi! I can imagine that you eat a lot of soup in NYC. I know I would. 🙂

  14. Hotly Spiced October 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Pumpkin and chile are a perfect combination and I’m sure the apples add a little touch of sweetness. Soup is certainly comforting during the cooler months xx

    • mj October 30, 2013 at 10:27 am #

      Thanks Charlie! Yep – I do love that combination!

  15. Viviane Bauquet Farre - Food and Style October 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    This sounds (and looks!) like an amazing fall soup, MJ. I agree completely on your notes on the chile powder. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

    • mj October 30, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks Viviane! It does scream fall, doesn’t it? 🙂

  16. Valerie | From Valerie's Kitchen October 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    This is just a gorgeous recipe, MJ! I have a recipe for butternut squash soup but have never tried adding apple. And with the red chile, mmmm. Sounds wonderful!

    • mj October 30, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks Valerie! The red chile does make it. 🙂

  17. Anne@FromMySweetHeart October 29, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    GORGEOUS soup MJ! And the only thing I like about the cold weather are beautiful soups like this! Butternut squash is my favorite soup. I’ve never had it with apples, but I bet that is an awesome addition! And of course….a little heat for good measure! I try to make a pot of soup every weekend in the fall and winter….bumping this one up on the list! : )

    • mj October 30, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks so much Anne! I could never live where you do. It’s just TOO cold! I don’t see how people live in such a cold environment, but I guess there was a time when I would have relished it. 🙂

  18. Bill October 29, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    The perfect autumn soup. I love the southwestern spin you put on your recipes! We’re getting some cooler nights in Atlanta now, so this soup by a fire might be coming to my house soon!

    • mj October 30, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      Thanks so much Bill! Living in the southwest all of these years, I have found plenty of great ingredients to play with. 🙂

  19. Bam's Kitchen October 29, 2013 at 3:38 am #

    This soup has everything going on for it. It is cozy, spicy, sweet and even has little crunchy nibbles to dip. I am with you regarding the cold weather. My blood has gone thin living here in Hong Kong. It is 78 degrees here and I had to break down and put on a light sweater… LOL Have a great day.

    • mj October 30, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks Bam! My husband always laughs because I too break out the sweaters once it hits about 75. 🙂

  20. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies October 28, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    I love that you added red chile to this–perfect! I like a little bit of heat in my butternut squash soup. 🙂

    • mj October 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks Kiersten! Chile and winter squash is a great combination!

  21. wok with ray October 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Butternut squash and apples are such a great combination and something I wouldn’t think of making. What a great idea? I’m sure the crunchy tortillas add more fun in having this soup. Have a good week, MJ! 🙂

    • mj October 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      Thanks Ray! You guessed it – the chips are just fun! The biggest challenge is keeping Bobby from eating them all before I’m ready to serve the soup. 🙂

  22. swathi October 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    I love that you made butternut squash soup with apples, as it is slightly sweets my kids will love it.

    • mj October 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      Thanks Swathi! This is definitely a kid friendly soup in flavor and they’ll love the chips as well. 🙂

  23. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles October 28, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Mj… your autumn lineup has been mouth-watering and I’m all in favour of some warming foods this time of year as well. The mornings and evenings are especially chilly in northern California (in a relative way of course ;-)) and I’m thinking the heat from the soup and those red chiles will no doubt shake any residual chills away! 🙂 Beautiful looking butternut squash soup. Apple and onion…agreed… a perfect union. Did you make your own tortilla chips or do you buy them that way? (yes, definitely extra for the chef, naturellement ;-)).

    • mj October 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! Northern CA can be cold even in the middle of summer, especially along the coast, but it’s so pretty there! You certainly have embraced your new home. 🙂 I buy corn tortillas, but then cut them into strips, then fry them up in a little skillet. It doesn’t take long. There are instructions for doing it at the end of the recipe. I actually prefer making my own chips.

  24. Giulietta | Alterkitchen October 28, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Ohhh, MJ, I love this combination of tastes… it’s amazing! And very comfy 🙂

    • mj October 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      Thanks Giulia! It is very comfy. 🙂

  25. Abbe @ Abbe's Cooking Antics October 28, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    I am always looking for new recipes to use butternut squash – it’s never occurred to me to add apple to it in a soup though – I have a ton of both at the moment. I know what I’ll be having for my lunch tomorrow, MJ! x

    • mj October 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      Thanks Abbe! I hope you enjoy it!

  26. Evelyne@cheapethniceatz October 28, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Oh butternut squash is a favorite, this looks like a delicious soup. The apples are a great touch, and of course the chili (yes we already knew lol)

    • mj October 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

      Thanks Evelyne! Sometimes I feel redundant with “and of course, chile powder…” 🙂

  27. Ramona October 28, 2013 at 5:12 am #

    This is such an amazing looking soup. I have never had apples in soup like this… but I love the balance of spicy and sweet. 🙂

    I dread winter too! The only good thing is all the delicious comfort food we can eat since we cover up under the blankets to hibernate.

    • mj October 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

      thanks Ramona! I’m under one of my blankies right now as I’m typing this. 🙂

  28. Angie@Angie's Recipes October 28, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    I am going to make some pumpkin soup for the dinner too! I wish I could find some butternut squash here.. The soup looks so comforting and warming with chilli!

    • mj October 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

      Thanks Angie! You can easily make the same soup with pumpkin rather than butternut. A little bit different flavor, but the same goodness. 🙂

  29. Zsuzsa October 28, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Minus the hot stuff for me, but I LOVE squash soup. Adding apple intrigues me, I will have to give it a try Peach Lady.

    • mj October 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      Thanks Cake Lady! I hope you give it a try. I use a medium chile powder so it’s really not that hot. Just a little kick. 🙂

  30. Sissi October 27, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    MJ, I am one of these rare people who dislike pumpkin, butternut squash and other orangey autumn vegetables, but I always say that the only thing that makes these edible for me is chilli/chile! You have certainly added this magical ingredient and moreover made the soup look gorgeous!

    • mj October 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

      To be honest Sissi – I not that much of a fan of winter squashes either. But I do love them with chile! 🙂 Last year I posted my pumpkin and red chile soup and it’s still one of our favorites. Thanks as always for your visits and comments!

  31. Jodee Weiland October 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    MJ, this looks so delicious and by now you know, it’s the red chile that is taking it over the top for me! This looks fantastic. You really know how to make soup a delight! Once again, thanks!

    • mj October 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Thanks so much Jodee!

  32. Nancy/SpicieFoodie October 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    I smell the bounty and beauty of autumn in your soup, MJ. I’m not much of a winter person but I do love my soups, scarves and blankies;)

    • mj October 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Glad to know another soup, scarves and blankies person. 🙂 I have a blankie in every room in the house! Thanks!

  33. CCU October 26, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Squash and apples are a new thing, this looks like a delicious combination 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

    • mj October 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Thank Uru! I hope you get a chance to try this combination. It’s quite good!

  34. Raymund October 26, 2013 at 4:20 am #

    I never had imagined mixing squash, chillies and apples together. Must be an explosion of flavours.

    • mj October 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Thanks Raymund! You got it! It definitely is an explosion of flavors!

  35. ChgoJohn October 26, 2013 at 12:36 am #

    Squash soup graces my table several times every Fall but I’ve never made it with apples nor cheese. I do like the sound of this, MJ. It’s as if you upped the comfort ante. There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of soup on one of our crisp Fall days and this one, with a bit of chile, would certainly hit the spot.

    • mj October 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      Thanks so much John! The first time I made this soup I knew I would never make another butternut soup again without apples. 🙂

  36. Debra October 25, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    What great flavor combos. (I always think I look forward to cool weather and then in the heart of winter, I look forward to 70 degree spring days!). Really love this soup!

    • mj October 27, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

      Thanks Debra! I start looking forward to 70 degree days after about of week of highs in the 50’s. 🙂

  37. Karen (Back Road Journal) October 25, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    This sounds so good. I should still have apples on our trees in the orchard when we return from Europe and this sounds like a great recipe to try using some of them.

    • mj October 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      Thanks Karen! I remember your wonderful apple orchard! Hope you’re enjoying your vacation!

  38. john@kitchenriffs October 25, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    I love squash soups! The flavor of most winter squash is mild (yet distinct) enough that you can add so many different flavorings, and they work. Never tried squash and apples in soup – I need to do that. I have messed around with squash and chilies (and other spices) and that’s definitely a winner. This looks tremendous! Thanks so much.

    • mj October 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

      Thanks so much John! I discovered the combination of butternut and apples last year and loved it. The added chiles took it to another level though. 🙂

  39. Laura @ Family Spice October 25, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    What a great twist to a classic soup. Love the addition of apples, even the no name apples! Great story!

    • mj October 25, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks so much Laura! No names is a great story isn’t it? 🙂

  40. Vicki Bensinger October 25, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    I think butternut squash soup is probably one of my favorites. It’s smooth, soothing and so tasty. My version is similar but don’t use the same spices. I like that you’ve added chili powder but then you’re the chili queen! I think I will try that next time. Looks Delish!

    • mj October 25, 2013 at 8:26 am #

      Thanks Vicki! I’m with you – I just love butternut! 🙂

  41. Elizabeth Fitzmaurice October 25, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    Sounds delish! I have Ancho Powder and Chipotle Powder in the cupboard that I bought at some point for a recipe or two, but I don’t know the real differences between them. Which one of these two options would you use for this soup? Or do you think I should go buy some New Mexican Red? Thanks. Love your recipes.

    • mj October 25, 2013 at 7:22 am #

      Thanks so much for your comment Elizabeth! Definitely the Ancho. It would work great! The chipotle is a smoked jalapeno; therefore, it would overpower the delicate flavors of the butternut and apples. Hope you enjoy!

      • Elizabeth Fitzmaurice October 25, 2013 at 8:18 am #

        Thanks ~ Ancho it is! Would you go with 1 teaspoon if using Ancho, like you listed for the New Mexico Red?

        • mj October 25, 2013 at 8:24 am #

          Yes, Ancho is similar to a medium hot New Mexico chile so I would keep the amount the same. However, if you are afraid it might be too hot, you could start with 1/2 tsp. and add more to taste. Please let me know how you like the soup! So glad you’ll be making it. 🙂 Cheers!

  42. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef October 25, 2013 at 4:39 am #

    I’ve often added apple to pumpkin/squash soup but never the chile. Silly me. I’ve added curry but nothing hot. I’m going to try this.

    • mj October 25, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      I think butternut lends itself to a little spice, that’s why curry and chile work. 🙂 Thanks Maureen and hope you’re having a great weekend!


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