Copycat Panera Squash Soup Recipe – Vegetarian

This Copycat Panera Squash Soup tastes just like the original, but I made it a bit healthier!

This Copycat Panera Bread Squash Soup tastes just like the original, but I made it a bit healthier! Get the easy fall soup recipe on!

Remember last week when I was talking about my homemade mild curry powder and I said I really truly made it for this soup? Well, here it is!

We were at a church event not too long ago and my pastor’s wife asked me if I had a squash soup recipe on my site. I said yes, I have three: A shortcut squash soup (ready in twenty minutes!), a creamy butternut squash soup with smoked paprika, and a really old post about squash soup with sage with terrible photos. But she was looking specifically for a copycat Panera squash soup. I don’t blame her – it is delicious! It’s also not the greatest for you, calorie-wise, considering it’s squash soup…which most people may automatically assume is healthy.

This Copycat Panera Bread Squash Soup tastes just like the original, but I made it a bit healthier! Get the easy fall soup recipe on!

I made efforts to reduce the calorie content a bit while still keeping the flavors rich and slightly indulgent. I think I found a good balance, but if you’re looking for an exact replica, feel free to add more butter, cream, and sugar. I won’t judge. Your skinny jeans might but we’re coming up to winter so it’s nothing a big comfy sweater can’t fix, right? RIGHT?

This Copycat Panera Bread Squash Soup tastes just like the original, but I made it a bit healthier! Get the easy fall soup recipe on!

If you read the recipe closely, you’ll see this squash soup also contains carrots and pumpkin. They give it extra sweetness and depth of flavor. If you don’t have pumpkin or don’t want to add pumpkin, just use a little less vegetable broth. Remember you can always add more at the end to make it thinner but it’s more difficult to make it thicker. I’d recommend using carrots with the squash because they really do add great natural sweetness, and they help achieve the beautiful color of the soup. Plus, Panera squash soup also has carrots in it.

This Copycat Panera Bread Squash Soup tastes just like the original, but I made it a bit healthier! Get the easy fall soup recipe on!

Important note: This soup calls for two cups of apple cider, NOT APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. If you can’t find apple cider (sometimes it’s hard to find if it’s not fall), use a natural (100% juice) apple juice. If you use vinegar by accident, your soup will NOT turn out and will definitely NOT taste like Panera’s.

Copycat Panera Squash Soup Recipe

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

This Copycat Panera Squash Soup tastes just like the original, but I made it a bit healthier!


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 pounds chopped butternut squash (about 6 heaping cups)
  • 3 small carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups apple cider or apple juice (do NOT use apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces low-fat (neufchatel) cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, more to taste
  • salt to taste
  • heavy cream, optional


  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, stirring frequently.
  2. Add squash, carrots, vegetable broth, apple cider and spices.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until squash and carrots are soft. Remove from heat and add pumpkin puree, butter, cream cheese and brown sugar. Puree with a hand (stick) blender or in batches in a normal blender. Blend until very smooth.
  4. Taste soup and add salt as desired. You may also add extra brown sugar or honey to achieve a taste closer that of Panera’s. You can also add a little heavy cream if you want a more decadent soup. If desired, add more vegetable broth to thin soup.
  5. Return to burner over  medium-low heat if needed to heat the soup back up and then serve immediately.


Note: If you want it to be just like Panera squash soup - add more brown sugar and/or honey to taste.

Note: This soup calls for two cups of apple cider, NOT APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. If you can't find apple cider (sometimes it's hard to find if it's not fall), use a natural (100% juice) apple juice. If you use vinegar by accident, your soup will NOT turn out and will definitely NOT taste like Panera's.

Verdict: I’m totally obsessed with this copycat Panera squash soup. I love that I can have it all year round now and not just on Panera’s schedule.
Husband’s take: He never tried this. Squash soup isn’t really his thing.
Changes I would make: None are necessary.
Difficulty: Easy.

copycat panera squash soup nutrition label

Actual nutrition may vary depending on how recipe is prepared. Does not include optional heavy cream.

PS: This isn’t my first rodeo with making a Panera copycat – make sure to check out my Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese! People LOVE it!

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese on

This Copycat Panera Bread Squash Soup tastes just like the original, but I made it a bit healthier! Get the easy fall soup recipe on!
When you make a recipe from my site tag it with #RachelCooks!
I love to see what you're creating!


  1. I had the Panera soup a week ago, so this is perfect!

    • How can you make this dairy free? If i omit the cream cheese would that make or break the recipe? is there a substitute?

      • It would change the flavor, but it would work! You could try a few pureed white beans to add creaminess without dairy or just omit completely. Let me know how it works out!

  2. I’m thrilled to see this soup recipe! I love love squash soup and you rated it easy on the difficult scale which is great news for me as well. We live in southeast Texas so it is barely cool outdoors yet but i’m lovin all the great soup recipes that signal this awful heat will soon be gone. Thanks a million, will let you know my family’s review.

  3. I am sure your homemade version is so much better than the one at panera, love it and can’t wait to try it!

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  5. Love a good squash soup for this time of year!

  6. Oh goodness, this looks great. It’s finally chilly here and I’m so ready for a big giant bowl of this.

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  8. I got so excited when I saw this! This is my favorite thing at Panera, and I can’t wait to make it at home. Yay!

  9. I just made this recipe to a T and it tastes nothing like the one from Panera….it’s still good, but even with the added sugar and cream it can’t come close.

    Just to let anyone who wants to make a copy of Panera’s soup, this isn’t what you’re looking for, but even still it’s delicious

    • Thank you . That’s good to know .

    • I felt the same way. I’m eating it now, and while it’s good, it isn’t the same as the Panera Autumn Squash soup.

      • I reduced the calorie count significantly which does slightly alter the taste (Panera’s has 230 calories per cup and twice as much fat as this recipe). If you added additional cream, butter, and sugar to this recipe it would taste more like Panera’s version. I’m glad you still like it. :)

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  11. This was an amazing recipe!!! Way better than Panera’s in my opinion. The best butternut squash recipe ever. Thank you!!!

  12. I’ve never had Panera’s squash soup, but this is a great recipe. I tweaked the amount of spices to my tastes (used more) and didn’t use the pumpkin, butter or heavy cream. I also just used an apple juice box we happened to have instead of cider so there wasn’t 2 cups worth. All that and still yummy. So, if you are a cook who’s afraid to deviate from a recipe, don’t be! This is a great base to play around with.

  13. I’m going for the optional heavy cream:) Yum!

  14. This is great. Love the candor. Haven’t tried it yet, but definitely worth it. Question: What about those seeds Panera puts into the squash soup? What are those? How can we do the same?

  15. Panera’s soup is way too sweet for me. This recipe is WAY better!

  16. Love how creamy and amazing this looks.

  17. Oh, Rachel, squash soup is one of my weaknesses! I cannot wait to make this! bookmarked, pinned, yummed and tweeted!

  18. I was so excited about this recipe! I’m glad to report that it was super easy and tasted delicious. If I were to change one thing I would maybe give an option for less apple cider and then add to taste. It was too acidic for the babies and although he had 2 servings the husband says next time I make this he would prefer less vinegar. I on the other hand loved it!

    • Hi Valerie! I’m glad you tried the recipe. It calls for actual apple cider (the kind you drink), not apple cider vinegar. The apple cider gives a nice sweetness. I’m surprised you could stomach it with 2 cups of apple cider vinegar in it!

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  20. I just had a little bowl of this soup that I bought at my local grocery store. It was the original one from Panera. The ingredients also list ginger, tomato paste, and garlic. What an interesting combination of spices.

  21. I’ve never had butternut squash soup, what does it taste like, is it sweet or savory?? I want to try some but I don’t know if I would like it. I’m not a picky eater, so I’m up for anything

    • It definitely depends on what you season it with (I have a few different recipes on my site if you google squash soup). This particular recipe has a mix of both savory and of course the natural sweetness of the butternut squash shines through as well. I think you’ll love it!

  22. Had  the squash soup at panera bread yesterday.what a great soup! Loved it.will try to make my panera bread menu.they a are top notch place to eat. 

  23. Oh my goodness I’m such a dumb dumb !  I Am sleep deprived with a newborn and three other kiddos to keep up with and I thought I read apple cider vinegar I just finished cooking this and doubled the recipe bc a friend of mine wanted a batch.  I’m terrified to taste it now. 

    • Oh no! That’s a hard one to recover from, unfortunately! Did you have to dump it? :( Hang in there…we’ve all been there!

    • Don’t worry Jessica, I thought I read the same thing. I caught it though AFTER I just got back from he grocery store with my missing ingredients. Had to go BACK for the apple cider! We didn’t eat till late. And of course I loved it, but my picky eaters didn’t. Too bad for them! Sharing with my neighbors ;) 

  24. Just made this tonight, and followed your recipe to a T. I can honestly say that this soup is even better than Panera’s. I cannot wait to have a bowl of this every night this week. I’m so happy I found your recipe!

  25. Tried this recipe last night as part of our Octoberfest Dinner Party. It was fantastic!  It took much more time to cook the squash to soften. Regardless the soup was excellent.

  26. This soup is amazing!! Absolultely love it! I do have one question…I accidentally added too much salt…what can I do to counteract that?

  27. Do you think I can freeze this? I’m a vegetarian so I make different meals than my family but I don’t know if I should make a half of this recipe or not. Thanks!

  28. Im sorry but this was terrible. Way too much vinegar. It tasted like straight bread and butter pickles

  29. Ive made several varieties of butternut squash soup. I picked your recipe to try based on the ingredients that are most palatable to me. I varied it slightly. I doubled the recipe, so I could have leftovers. I cut the curry in half, I doubled or more the cinnamon. I used the pumpkin puree, grass-fed butter, light brown sugar, 1/2 the apple cider, added 1 granny smith apple.I added a favorite, fresh ginger, 1/2 approximately 1/2 teaspoon. (I often don’t measure, and I’ll modify to taste). I am dairy free and gluten free. I dI’d not use the heavy cream or cream cheese. I used 1/2 cup full fat (healthy) organic coconut milk. This will be my forever go to butternut squash soup recipe. Everyone complimented it. Thanks for sharing!

  30. How many servings does one batch make? 

  31. Hello! I just made up a big batch of butternut squash purée. Any idea/suggestions on how much purée to use in place of the fresh cubes? Thank you!

  32. Just made this recipe exactly as is and it is amazing! I loved it. Super delish!

  33. What is the serving size? I see the nutritional values and I want to figure up the Weight Watchers Points Plus. Sounds sooooo yummmm!

  34. Love this recipe, made it for a fall camping trip and it was a hit!! My friend is a vegetarian and she has just made two batches and froze them in mason jars, I plan on doing the same thing this weekend!!!

  35. Absolutely delicious — just made it and I think it will be better when it cools and the spices marry up but it’s awesome already!!

  36. Overall I thought it was pretty good. I think next time I’ll leave the carrots out though, I was unsure about adding them and now I wish I hadn’t. I feel like the carrot flavor overpowers the squash a little.

  37. This recipe looks very tasty. I’ve  never made butternut squash soup. Will one squash yield the four cups needed for this recipe?

  38. Amazing!! Exactly what I wanted!!

  39. How much heavy cream do use?

  40. Would chicken broth rather than vegetable broth be an option?

  41. Absolutely amazing!!!  I doubled it, but only used 4 C of the Swanson’s Vege Broth (Gluten Free :) 
    Used homegrown pumpkins, Yummy! (and it feels good to use the pumpkins we grew)

  42. This is a fantastic recipe. I think Panera’s version is too sweet, but I love the texture & flavors. I’ve made your recipe three times so far, to rave reviews from the family. Thanks so much for sharing!

  43. Hi, Rachel. Gonna definitely try this recipe! I was just wondering how many people does this recipe serve? Thanks.

    – Sharlene

  44. HI Rachel,
    Love this recipe! I will definitely be making this again (and again!) I started with your version and had to use pumpkin pie spice because I didn’t have cinnamon on hand, and it still was great! Thanks for doing the research to copy the Panera version and putting it out there for us.

  45. Made this for Thanksgiving tomorrow! Delish! I did add 1/4 cup half and half and some pink sea salt. Also added a pinch more nutmeg and cinnamon at the end!! Keeper recipe! Thank you!!!

  46. This came out horrible. All I tasted was the apple cider vibegar. Either scale back or don’t use it at all! It taste nothing like the soup from panera. I am trying tosalvage it so I don’t have to throw it away. Very disappointed with this recipe.

    • Hi, here’s the thing…this recipe does NOT contain apple cider vinegar, the recipe even states “(NOT vinegar)” after apple cider. I’m sorry you missed that on the recipe and I hope you’ll give it another go!

  47. I just made this and it is fantastic! Can’t wait to share it with friends. Such a great cold-weather treat. Thanks for the great recipe!

  48. Excellent recipe.  Thank you.

  49. Hi Rachel,
    This looks delicious!

    I am going to attempt this for dinner tonight. One question, I have never cooked with butternut squash (surprisingly as I am a vegetarian), do I leave the outer peal/skin on? 


  50. I made this last night and loved it! My hubby did also! It was even better today! I used an acorn squash because that is what I had on hand, omitted the cream cheese and added sliced apple. It was delicious! Thank you so much!

  51. The soup is excellent.. I had no apple juice or cider so I chopped up a couple of peeled apples.  Left out the pumpkin too.  Making it again today.  Thanks for the great recipe!

  52. I made and have enjoyed. Freezes well. Any idea how many weigh watcher weight watcherpoints in a serving 

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