This rich, creamy, spiced pumpkin bisque will be your new favorite seasonal and holiday soup. A perfect mix of sweet and savory, it features pumpkin puree, apple, orange zest, onion, and a flavor-packed blend of spices that will knock your socks off.
Whether you serve it with a salad and bread for dinner, as a special first course for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or in shot glasses as a unique holiday appetizer, I promise you’ll make it again and again.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
I recently retested and updated this recipe, and I have to say it’s a winner, especially if you’re looking for something new for your holiday table. Here’s why I think you’ll love this recipe as much as I do:
- It has the most delicious flavors from sweet apple, orange zest, and Chinese five-spice powder. Definitely not your average pumpkin spice-flavored soup.
- This is a multi-purpose recipe. It’s warm and satisfying for a fall or winter meal. It’s also perfect as a first course for Thanksgiving or served in small shot glasses as a fun holiday appetizer.
- It gets its rich creaminess from Greek yogurt, not cream, making it lower in fat and higher in protein than many other pumpkin bisque recipes.
- It’s ridiculously easy to make in less than 30 minutes. You can also make it ahead for a holiday dinner.
Here are some key ingredients needed to make spiced pumpkin bisque soup. I’ve listed a few substitutions and variations in the section below.
Pumpkin puree. Look for plain canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugar and spices.
Sweet apple. I love Gala, Fuji, or Honeycrisp apples for this soup. You'll only need one.
Chinese five-spice powder. Every spice rack needs a jar of this blend of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, Szechuan peppercorns, and ground fennel seeds. Look for it in the spice section at the grocery store.
Ginger. Fresh ginger is best, but I'll admit most of the time, I use the minced ginger in the jar. It lasts for a long time in the refrigerator and allows you to use a small amount without wasting a large knob of ginger. Fresh ginger has a more complex flavor than dried ginger.
Plain Greek yogurt. I prefer full-fat because it makes this soup velvety smooth, and it's less likely to curdle in the hot soup. If you prefer low or non-fat, make sure to read the Expert Tips below to avoid curdling.
Substitutions and Variations
For a vegan option, swap vegetable broth and dairy-free yogurt for the chicken stock and Greek yogurt.
If you don’t have fresh or jarred ginger, substitute ¼ teaspoon of dried ginger.
If serving this pumpkin bisque as an appetizer, add a few tablespoons of bourbon to the pot for an extra kick.
Step By Step Instructions
This delicious soup comes together in a few quick steps.
First, saute the onions, apple, and ginger for about 5 minutes or until lightly golden.
Second, add the orange zest and Chinese five-spice powder. Stir for about 20 seconds until the spices are fragrant.
Third, add the pumpkin and stock. Stir well to combine.
Fourth, bring the soup to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the apples are very tender.
Fifth, blend the soup until it’s smooth using an immersion blender.
Sixth, let the soup cool for at least 10 minutes. Add about one-half cup of the cooled soup to the Greek yogurt and stir to temper it. This helps warm the yogurt and reduces the risk of curdling. Add the tempered yogurt back to the pot of soup and stir well.
Cold yogurt (or any dairy) can curdle if you quickly add it to a hot liquid. Curdling is when the proteins in the dairy product denature and separate into lumps. It's safe to eat, but it doesn’t look appetizing.
To reduce the chance of curdling, let your yogurt come to room temperature as you prepare the soup, and cool the soup for 10-15 minutes before adding the yogurt. Temper (warm) your yogurt by slowly stirring some of the warm soup into the yogurt. Stir it together, and then add the tempered yogurt to the remainder of the soup.
I always recommend using an immersion blender to blend soups. It’s so much easier than a blender. However, if you prefer to use a regular blender, puree the soup in batches. Only fill your blender about halfway with the hot soup because hot liquids expand, and there’s a risk of the hot soup flying out of the top of the blender.
If you’re serving this bisque for the holidays, you can make it a day or two in advance up to the last step. Don’t add the yogurt until you are ready to serve it. Keep the soup (without the yogurt) in the refrigerator, and heat it in a saucepan before serving. Then, finish it with the yogurt as directed above before serving.
If serving this in shot glasses or tiny jars (jam or Oui French-style yogurt jars are great!), use a funnel to keep things neat. I transfer the soup to a large measuring cup and use these small silicone funnels to fill the glasses.
What to Eat With Spiced Pumpkin Bisque
This soup is a delicious first course for Thanksgiving or a holiday dinner. Serve it in small cups or glasses.
- Sweet potato cornbread
- Kale Apple Salad
- Roasted Fall Vegetables
- Air fryer Kale Chips With Garlic and Parmesan
Refrigerate any leftover bisque for up to three days in a covered container. Reheat it slowly over medium-low heat to prevent curdling. Once you add the yogurt, it won’t freeze well, but you can leave the yogurt out and freeze it in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for up to three months.
Bisque is a type of creamy strained or pureed soup. It’s often made from lobster, shrimp, or other shellfish but can also be made from vegetables. Bisque usually has cream or dairy added to make it velvety smooth.
Yes, canned pumpkin is high in potassium, magnesium, folic acid, other B vitamins, and beta-carotene. Research suggests that pumpkin benefits your heart, liver, blood sugar, and insulin. It may also reduce inflammation and reduce your risk of certain cancers.
Other Related Creamy Soups
Nothing goes better with fall and winter than a pot of rich, creamy soup. Don't miss these related recipes.
Spiced Pumpkin Bisque
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 large sweet apple peeled, cored and diced
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- ½ tablespoon fresh orange zest from ½ of a large orange
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ¾ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
- 15 ounces canned pumpkin puree
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ¾ cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
- Heat the oil in a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium high heat, and saute onion, apple, and ginger until slightly soft and they turn lightly golden.
- Add the orange zest, salt, and Chinese 5 Spice powder. Stir for about 20 seconds until the spices are fragrant.
- Add the pumpkin puree and chicken stock, and stir well to combine.
- Cover the soup, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for about 15 minutes until the onion and apples are very tender.
- Remove the soup from the heat, and with an immersion blender, blend soup until it is completely smooth. You can also use a regular blender if preferred.
- Let soup cool for 10-15 minutes.
- When the soup has cooled down, place the yogurt in a measuring cup, and add a full ladle of soup. Stir well to warm (temper) the yogurt. Add the warmed yogurt to the soup and stir well.
- Taste the soup and add more salt if necessary.