Grandmother’s Traditional Polish Pumpkin Soup

by Jan Vasil
Grandmother's Traditional Polish Pumpkin Soup

As the leaves turn golden and the air gets crisp, nothing warms the heart and soul more than a bowl of traditional Polish pumpkin soup. This recipe, passed down from my grandmother, is a timeless classic that brings together the essence of autumn and cherished family memories.

What to Serve with Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup, with its rich and velvety texture, pairs beautifully with a variety of side dishes. Many people love coupling it with crusty bread, as it acts as the perfect sponge to soak up the soup’s flavors. For those looking for a more hearty meal, a side of roasted or grilled chicken or fish complements the soup’s mild sweetness. A fresh green salad with a tangy vinaigrette can also be a refreshing contrast. Finally, for a touch of comfort, consider a side of cheesy garlic bread or a light, flaky pastry.

How to Cook Pumpkin for Soup?

Preparing pumpkin for soup is a straightforward process:

  1. Begin by washing the pumpkin thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Slice the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp using a spoon.
  3. If boiling, cut the pumpkin into chunks and place them in a pot of boiling water. Cook until they are soft, which usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
  4. If steaming, cut the pumpkin into pieces and steam them in a steamer or over a pot of simmering water until tender.
  5. Once cooked, the pumpkin should be easy to mash or blend, making it perfect for a creamy soup.

What Does Pumpkin Soup Taste Like?

Pumpkin soup has a distinct, mildly sweet flavor, reminiscent of its close relatives, the squash and gourd. Its taste is earthy with a buttery undertone, and when cooked, it takes on a smooth, velvety texture. The soup’s flavor profile can be enhanced with spices and herbs, which can range from sweet to savory, allowing it to be quite versatile in its taste.

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How to Roast a Pumpkin for Soup?

Roasting a pumpkin for soup can enhance its flavors, providing a deeper, caramelized taste:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Clean the pumpkin and cut it in half, scooping out the seeds and stringy pulp.
  3. Slice the pumpkin into wedges or chunks, and place them on a baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
  5. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender and has a golden-brown edge.
  6. Once roasted, the pumpkin can be easily blended or mashed for the soup.

How to Make the Simplest Pumpkin Soup?

For a basic pumpkin soup:

  1. Start with a base of sautéed onions and garlic in a pot.
  2. Add boiled or roasted pumpkin chunks.
  3. Pour in vegetable or chicken broth.
  4. Let it simmer until all ingredients are soft.
  5. Blend until smooth, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

What Spices Can Be Added to Pumpkin Soup?

Pumpkin soup can be spiced up with a variety of seasonings:

  • Warm Spices: Nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves can add a comforting warmth.
  • Savory Spices: Cumin, coriander, and turmeric can give the soup a more earthy and savory depth.
  • Herbs: Fresh or dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage, or bay leaves can infuse the soup with aromatic flavors.

What to Add to Pumpkin Soup to Make It Not Bland?

If your pumpkin soup tastes a bit flat, consider these additions to elevate its flavor:

  • Acidity: A splash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar can brighten the soup.
  • Heat: Red pepper flakes, black pepper, or a dash of cayenne can introduce a spicy kick.
  • Umami: A spoonful of miso paste or a dash of soy sauce can deepen the flavor.
  • Creaminess: Coconut milk, heavy cream, or even yogurt can add richness and depth.
  • Garnish: Fresh herbs, roasted pumpkin seeds, or a dollop of sour cream can enhance both flavor and presentation.

Grandmother’s Traditional Polish Pumpkin Soup

5 from 3 votes
Recipe by Jan Vasil


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  • 1 medium 1 -sized pumpkin (about 2 kg), peeled, deseeded, and diced

  • 2 medium 2 -sized carrots, peeled and sliced

  • 1 large 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves 2 garlic, minced

  • 1 liter 1 chicken or vegetable broth

  • 200 ml 200 sour cream or heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons 2 butter or oil

  • 1 teaspoon 1 salt (or to taste)

  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper (or to taste)

  • 1 teaspoon 1 dried marjoram (or fresh if available)

  • A pinch of nutmeg

  • Fresh dill or parsley for garnish

  • Optional: croutons or roasted pumpkin seeds for serving


  • In a large pot, melt the butter or heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  • Incorporate the diced pumpkin and sliced carrots into the pot. Stir well.
  • Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, ensuring that the vegetables are well submerged.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Allow the soup to simmer until the pumpkin and carrots are tender, which should take about 20-25 minutes.
  • Once the vegetables are cooked, use a hand blender or a countertop blender (in batches) to puree the soup until smooth.
  • Return the soup to the pot (if using a countertop blender) and stir in the sour cream or heavy cream. Season with salt, pepper, marjoram, and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir well.
  • Let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes on low heat to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Serve hot, garnished with fresh dill or parsley. If desired, add croutons or roasted pumpkin seeds on top for added crunch.

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Can I use butternut squash instead of pumpkin?

Yes, butternut squash can be a great substitute for pumpkin and will give the soup a slightly sweeter flavor.

How do I store leftover soup?

Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.

Can I make this soup vegan?

Absolutely! Substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth and use plant-based cream or coconut milk instead of sour cream or heavy cream.

Is it necessary to use marjoram?

Marjoram adds a traditional Polish flavor to the soup. However, if you don’t have it, you can substitute it with oregano or simply skip it.

Can I add other vegetables to this soup?

Yes, you can customize the soup by adding vegetables like potatoes, celery, or leeks. Just ensure they are cooked thoroughly before blending.

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Dive into the rich tapestry of Central Eastern European culture with “Taste Is Yours,” a culinary journey that celebrates the region’s deep-rooted gastronomic traditions. From the hearty stews of Hungary to the iconic dumplings of Poland, our blog is a tribute to the authentic dishes that have graced family tables for generations.


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