Your pressure cooker is the key to making the best harvest squash soup in only 30 minutes – with no roasting needed! This gluten free Instant Pot acorn squash soup recipe includes whole squash, apple, and heavy cream to create a hearty cold-weather dish that tastes simply delicious. It has the right balance of savory and sweet flavors with a rich, creamy texture that will have everyone going back for more!
Quick and Easy Acorn Squash Instant pot Soup
We love to enjoy large, warm bowls of rustic soups and stews in the fall and winter. And velvety smooth soups made with squash are some of our favorites to cozy up with!
Butternut squash and pumpkins are classic harvest soup ingredients. However, I feel like the acorn squash is often the forgotten squash. Or the one used for decor then tossed out because no one has any idea what to do with it. But truly, it is amazingly flavorful! So, I decided to share my delicious squash soup recipe for this often overlooked gem.
With a thick rind, acorn squash usually requires a long roast in the oven to soften it, making the Instant Pot ideal for cooking whole acorn squash.
From start to finish, including prep and pressure building, this easy acorn squash instant pot soup recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. It’s ideal for those busy weeknights when you want to feed the family something satisfying but don’t have a lot of time – or energy!
And, thanks to the secret ingredient – a sweet but tart apple – the recipe creates a rich and creamy soup with just a hint of sweetness. It is a gluten free soup that’s great to have by itself as a light dish or serve with warm bread or other sides for a comforting dinner.
In fact, I almost always keep a few squash on hand around the house… Not only are they festive to look at, but right there is nearly everything you need to make a scrumptious meal in a flash. Use squash for your decor, then toss them in the Instant Pot for a yummy soup that everyone will love!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Acorn squash – I recommend having it halved and the seeds removed.
- Apple – Used halved, peeled, and cored apples. This adds a natural sweetness to the soup.
- Butter – This also provides a rich, creamy flavor to the recipe. I suggest using unsalted butter to help the sodium content in the soup.
- Onion – This provides a rich and savory flavor to the dish. I suggest using chopped onions for the soup.
- Garlic – Crushed garlic adds pungent and depth of flavor to the soup.
- Chicken broth or stock – I prefer using low sodium so I can control the salt level in the soup. But if you prefer a stronger chicken flavor, you can use regular chicken broth or stock instead.
- Spices – Use salt, freshly ground cinnamon, and nutmeg for the best flavor. Be careful not to add too much as these spices can quickly overpower the soup.
- Heavy cream – You can use either heavy cream or half and half, depending on your preference.
- Fresh thyme – Used to garnish the dish.
You also need at least 1 cup of water to pressure cook the whole acorn squash.
Kitchen Tools Needed
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You can substitute butternut squash in this recipe when acorn squash is unavailable to make a butternut squash soup. Or use a mix of both acorn and butternut squash for a large batch of soup.
Swap the chicken broth or stock with vegetable broth to prepare as a vegetarian squash soup recipe.
To make this a dairy-free and vegan dish, use your preferred plant-based butter and vegetable stock. Substitute heavy cream with unsweetened full-fat coconut milk or cashew cream.
For 8-quart and 10-quart pressure cookers, this squash soup recipe can be doubled, just be sure not to exceed the FILL LINE on your pot.
Love soups? Try our Tortellini Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Pinto Beans with Bacon, Cheeseburger Soup, and Chicken Pozole.
How to cut an Acorn Squash
The best way to cut an acorn squash is to first cut off the top (underneath the stem) and bottom (at the tip) so you have a flat top and bottom.
Then, place the squash upright and cut the squash vertically into two halves using a sharp knife. See how it’s done in the video below:
Next, scoop out the seeds with a large spoon.
New to Instant Pot Cooking? Read How to Use the Instant Pot 101 first! And, then Tips & Hacks for the Instant Pot is terrific for new owners and seasoned IP-ers alike!
How to Make Squash Soup in the Instant Pot
Pour the water into the bottom of the pressure cooker pot. Add the steamer basket or the trivet or sling (optional) to the bottom and stack the cut acorn squash and apple inside the pot.
TIP: If using a silicone sling, like mine, fasten the straps before pressure cooking so it is easy to lift out afterward.
Set pressure cooker to high pressure for 6 minutes.
Quick-release the remaining pressure once the cooking cycle is complete. Carefully remove the acorn squash and apples with tongs and set them aside on a plate or bowl.
Drain and reserve the leftover water for later.
Set the pot to saute and melt the butter then add the onions. Cook until lightly golden and translucent. Add the garlic and saute.
Add the chicken broth, reserved water, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the pressure cooker pot. Let the mixture heat in the Instant Pot on saute while you prepare the squash.
Carefully scoop the softened squash meat from the skin using a large spoon or ice cream scoop. Or, peel the skin from the squash.
Add squash to the instant pot and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
Use the quick-release method. Add heavy cream to the soup. Use an immersion blender (see notes below on using a blender) to blend the squash soup until thick and creamy.
Garnish with thyme and a pinch of ground pepper before serving.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In fact, it’s a delicious part of the squash. The trick is that you need to roast it until it’s tender or it will be too tough to eat. However, once roasted and tender, acorn squash skin is totally edible and yummy so no need to peel!
In the summer, squash pairs well with zesty flavors from lemon, fresh herbs like basil and seasonal produce like bell peppers. “Autumnal squash pairs especially well with herbs and spices like sage, thyme, cumin, ginger and chili
Winter squash will last up to a month in a cool (50 to 55 F) dark cellar or storage area, but only about two weeks in the refrigerator. Ideally, only cut or cooked acorn squash should be refrigerated; they will suffer chill damage at temperatures below 50 F.
THE Best Recipe to Make Acorn Squash Soup in an Instant Pot
Instant Pot Acorn Squash Soup
- 2 whole acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
- 1 medium apple, halved, peeled, and cored (my preferred apples for this recipe are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, or Mcintosh)
- 1-1½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 3 cups chicken broth or stock, low sodium
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup heavy cream or half-n-half
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme for garnish (optional)
- Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the pressure cooker pot (1½ cups for 8-10 quart pots). Add the trivet or sling (optional) to the bottom and stack the cut acorn squash and apple inside the pot. Secure the Instant Pot lid by twisting it closed. Set pressure cooker to high pressure for 6 minutes.
- Use the quick-release method (twisting or pressing the pressure release lever or button) once the pressure cooking cycle is complete. Carefully remove the acorn squash and apples with tongs and set them aside on a plate or bowl. Drain and reserve the leftover water for later.
- Press cancel and set the Instant Pot to saute. Melt the butter until foamy, then add the onions. Cook 3-5 minutes, until lightly golden and translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Stir in chicken broth, reserved water, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the pressure cooker pot. Let the mixture heat on saute in the Instant Pot while you prepare the squash.
- Carefully scoop the softened squash meat from the skin using a large spoon or ice cream scoop or peel the skin off. Discard skins. Add squash to the pressure cooker pot. Press the cancel button, and set it to high pressure for 5 minutes.
- When the pressure cooking is complete, use the quick-release method. Stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream to the soup. Use an immersion blender (see notes below on using a blender) to blend the squash soup until thick and creamy. Garnish with thyme and a pinch of ground pepper before serving.
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