Polish pumpkin soup is made using fresh pumpkin, stock and a handful of spices. It is light but also filling, packed full of goodness, simple to make and ready in 30 minutes. A delicious way to enjoy seasonal pumpkin!
You might also like pumpkin carrot soup!
Polish pumpkin soup (zupa z dyni in Polish) is not as well-known as some of the other traditional Polish soups such as rosół or barszcz but is just as delicious. Traditionally pumpkin soup in Poland was cooked with milk and sugar and contained thick homemade noodles (a robust variety of egg drop noodles).
While my version does include some sugar, I used vegetable stock instead of the milk for more flavour. My pumpkin soup is also quite thick and doesn’t require noodles.
Polish pumpkin soup is made simply by cooking cubed pumpkin in stock with a few spices, the main one being nutmeg. This soup can be served either pureed or semi-chunky. For me the latter makes for a more appealing dish – cooked pumpkin has a lovely texture! The finishing touches are very important in this recipe ensuring the soup isn’t bland (it’s pumpkin after all!). See Instructions below for details.
Polish pumpkin soup ingredients and substitutions
- Pumpkin: use fresh pumpkin, not pumpkin puree (see details below).
- Stock: use either vegetable or chicken stock.
- Spices: a combination of nutmeg, paprika (these 2 are essential), and onion granules.
- Sugar: I recommend using light brown sugar (it has better flavour than regular sugar).
- Vinegar: essential in ensuring your soup isn’t bland or too sweet, but don’t use too much. Use either white wine vinegar or malt vinegar.
- Cream: use light cream (half-and-half/single cream). A good non-dairy alternative is coconut milk.
- Salt and pepper: you may not need to use very much salt (stock is normally salty) but don’t forget to add pepper to taste.
- *Soy sauce: optional. Not a traditional ingredient in Polish cuisine, but you can add a small amount for more depth of flavour (once the soup is cooked).
What pumpkin to use
To make Polish pumpkin soup I recommend using culinary, sugar pumpkin (it’s round and orange, just like a carving Halloween pumpkin, but a lot smaller). It has a delicate, soft texture, and mild flavour, perfect to pair with autumnal spices, such as nutmeg. I do not recommend using pumpkin puree instead. Pumpkin puree (although fantastic in brownies and pancakes) is a ready-to-eat cooked product and doesn’t work as well as fresh pumpkin in this recipe (it’s also not available in Poland).
How to prepare the pumpkin
1)Wash the pumpkin then wipe thoroughly before cutting. Cut in half through the base then using a melon baller or large spoon scoop out the innards and seeds.
2) Peel the pumpkin then cut into cubes. You are now ready to make the soup.
TIP: To save time you can prepare the pumpkin in advance, cover and refrigerate overnight and make the soup the following day.
Step-by-step recipe instructions
1.Place the cubed pumpkin in the pot.
2. Add flavour: Add the stock, spices and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is very soft.
3. Mash: Remove from the heat and mash the pumpkin using a potato masher until the soup has a thick consistency and there are no large lumps of pumpkin left (for a creamy, smooth texture puree the soup using a blender).
4. Adjust flavour: Stir in the sugar, vinegar and cream. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as necessary (add the soy sauce at this point if using).
Polish-style pumpkin soup can be served on its own, but is also delicious with croutons, buttered sourdough bread or cheese breadsticks. If you want to turn it into a more substantial meal you can serve it with meatballs (as in this chicken meatball soup recipe).
- Pumpkin: Use culinary (sugar) pumpkin, not carving pumpkin. Culinary pumpkins are much smaller and have more flavour than carving pumpkins.
- You can peel and cube the pumpkin in advance, cover and refrigerate overnight, and make the soup the following day.
- Flavour: Nutmeg has an intense flavour (especially freshly grated) so make sure you don’t add too much (you can always add a little more after the soup is cooked).
- Texture: You can either create a semi-chunky texture by using a potato masher or puree the soup until creamy and smooth.
- Storing: Leftover Polish pumpkin soup can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- Freezing: Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
More Polish autumnal soups to try next
Polish Pumpkin Soup (Zupa z Dyni)
- 3 pounds (1350 g) pumpkin approx. 1 small culinary pumpkin
- 3 cups (720 ml) vegetable/chicken stock hot
- ½ teaspoon paprika plus hot paprika to taste
- ⅓ teaspoon nutmeg or to taste
- ⅓ teaspoon onion granules or to taste
- 3 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) light cream half-and-half/single cream, or coconut milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon *soy sauce optional, see Instructions
- Prepare pumpkin: Wash the pumpkin then wipe thoroughly before cutting. Cut in half through the base then using a melon baller or large spoon scoop out the innards and seeds. Peel the pumpkin then cut into cubes.
- Combine pumpkin and stock: Place the cubed pumpkin in the pot and add the stock.
- Add flavour: Add the spices and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is very soft.
- Mash: Remove from the heat and mash the pumpkin using a potato masher until the soup has a thick consistency and there are no large lumps of pumpkin left (for a creamy, smooth texture puree the soup using a blender).
- Adjust flavour: Stir in the sugar, vinegar and cream. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as necessary (add the soy sauce at this point if using).
*Nutritional information is automatically generated and should be considered as an estimate.
**A note about baking: If using a fan-assisted oven refer to your appliance's instructions and adjust the temperature accordingly.
If you make this Polish-inspired pumpkin soup I'd love to know how it turned out for you. Did you have it as a child? Let me know in the comments below, thanks:)