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This Instant Pot pumpkin soup is a delicious vegan recipe for chilly days

pumpkin soup final

While I’ll be the first to lament the end of beach-day barbecues and 8:30 p.m. sunsets, the advent of autumn flavors is making my taste buds want to do a little dance. Fall brings us the complexity of rich, developed, slow-cooked flavors like warming soups, hearty stews, flavorful curries and tender pot roasts. Plus, ingredients such as pumpkin and squash are pretty and festive. So, today, we have a recipe for, you guessed it, pumpkin soup. And this flavorful twist on a classic is guaranteed to knock your socks off.

I have a thing about pumpkin soup — more specifically, “pumpkin spice.” It’s used far too often, and frankly, it’s a little basic for my tastes. I have never understood why typical pumpkin soup always tastes like a salted liquid pumpkin pie. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love pumpkin pie and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. But there’s a time and place for those spices to be mixed with pumpkin, and in my humble opinion, that’s dessert.

This recipe for pumpkin soup pulls inspiration from Thai cuisine, with flavors like ginger, lemongrass and turmeric to enhance the simplicity of the pumpkin flavor. The mix of vegetable broth and coconut milk make this soup extra-creamy and decadent. Some soups can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, often calling for long simmer times. Lucky for us, we’re using an Insta-Pot for this recipe, so it’s quick, easy and ready in less than 30 minutes.

MORE: Sweet potato pecan rolls give the cinnamon roll a much-needed fall makeover

Instant Pot pumpkin soup ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon light oil (vegetable, canola, grapeseed or sunflower)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (roughly chopped)
  • 2 large shallots (roughly chopped)
  • 3 inches ginger root (roughly chopped)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
  • 1 lower end of lemongrass stalk (roughly chopped) (optional)
  • 1-2 Thai chilis (also known as bird’s eye chilis) (optional, if you prefer a little heat)
  • 1 can pumpkin purée
  • 2 large carrots (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk (for garnish)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Chopped Thai chilis, pepitas and cilantro for garnish

pumpkins soup ingredients

First, a few notes: You can use light coconut milk for the soup broth, but I recommend full-fat coconut milk for the garnish. The swirls will look more defined. Make sure you buy regular pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix that is already premixed with pumpkin pie spices.

Start by chopping all of your vegetables. You can chop everything roughly because, in the end, we are just going to blend it all together. Pressing the Sauté button on Instant Pot, adjust it to normal heat, and wait until the display says “Hot.” Add the light oil and sesame oil to the pan, and sauté the onions and shallots until softened. Next, add the garlic, lemongrass, ginger and chilis; and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.

Pumpkin Soup sauteed vegetables

Next, add the pumpkin, carrots, salt, pepper and turmeric; mix thoroughly and cook until warm. Press the Keep Warm/Cancel button. Add 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 can coconut milk, and the juice of one lime. Close the Instant Pot, turn the vent to the Sealing position, press Manual, and adjust time to 5 minutes. The Instant Pot will indicate that it is on and will take a few minutes to reach the correct pressure.

MORE: How to make a healthier pumpkin spice latte at home

Once it reaches the right pressure, the display will show the 5-minute countdown. Then, allow the pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes before turning the vent to release the remaining pressure. When the pressure is fully released, open the lid, and stir the contents, making sure nothing is stuck to the pan. If you have an immersion blender, stick it in the Instant Pot and blend until smooth.

pumpkin soup in blender

If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour the content of the pumpkin soup into a regular blender and blend until smooth. The soup has quite a bit of volume, so you might need to blend the soup in batches if your blender is small.

pumpkin soup assembly

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Next, pour a spiral of chilled full-fat coconut milk over the bowl, starting at the center and swirling outward. Chilling the coconut milk helps the spirals stay in place without immediately melting into the soup. The swirl can be a bit messy, but it adds to the look and makes the soup look fun and festive. Lastly, top with your desired garnishes. Thai chilis add extra heat, while cilantro adds color and brightness of flavor. The pepitas are just a cute touch!

pumpkin soup spiderweb how to

For a Halloween styling of this pumpkin soup, make a coconut milk spider web. To do this, carefully pour a spiral of coconut milk, starting at the center and spiraling outward. Then, drag a chopstick or toothpick from the center of the spiral toward the outer edge of the bowl in a straight line.

pumpkin soup final with spiderweb

Repeat this around the entire bowl for a spooky spider web that looks amazing at a Halloween feast!

MORE: See 6 of the best vegan recipes to try

Instant Pot pumpkin soup

Yield 4-6 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon light oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (roughly chopped)
  • 2 large shallots (roughly chopped)
  • 3 inches ginger root (roughly chopped)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
  • 1 lower end of lemongrass stalk (roughly chopped) (optional)
  • 1-2 thai chilis (also known as bird’s eye chilis) (optional, but add these if you like it spicy)
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 2 large carrots (roughly chopped)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 can coconut milk + 1 cup coconut milk (for garnish)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Chopped thai chilis, pepitas, and cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop vegetables.
  2. On Instant Pot, press Sauté. Adjust to Normal heat, and wait until display says, "Hot." 
  3. Add light oil and sesame oil to pan. Sauté onions and shallots until softened.
  4. Add garlic, lemongrass, ginger and chilies, and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.
  5. Add pumpkin, carrots, salt, pepper and turmeric. Mix thoroughly, and cook until warm.
  6. Press Keep Warm/Cancel button. Add 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 can coconut milk, and juice of 1 lime.
  7. Close Instant Pot, turn vent to Sealing position, press Manual, and adjust time to 5 minutes.
  8. When cooking is complete, allow pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes before turning vent to release remaining pressure.
  9. Open lid and stir contents, making sure nothing is stuck to pan.
  10. Use immersion blender or regular blender to purée the soup.
  11. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and pour spiral of chilled full-fat coconut milk over bowl, starting at center and swirling outward. Garnish with desired toppings and serve.

This pumpkin soup might not have pumpkin spice in it, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love to get #basic every once in a while. Check out our step-by-step tutorial on making fresh pumpkin spice at home.

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