As fall settles in I am craving all the warm and comforting soups and stews. This creamy hazelnut soup ticks all the boxes for autumn comfort. Fragrant flavors of roasted hazelnuts blend with rich parsnip, potato and cream scented with fresh thyme for a bowl that's perfect for cozying up to on a cold night.
This is a popular soup in the fall and winter season. In Spain and France, where hazelnuts grow well as they do here, there are many versions of hazelnut soup.
I'll admit, I'm a sucker for creamy soups and this is right up there with my favorite mushroom soup. This rich and nutty soup is delicious as an appetizer or a main course when paired with some rustic crusty bread and a crisp salad.
This was inspired by some of my other seasonal recipes like Roasted Cauliflower Soup With Hazelnuts and Wild Mushroom Soup. For a luxurious pairing, serve it alongside this Brie and Apple Grilled Cheese.
How To Video
An easy and comforting soup with simple yet luxurious ingredients. Subtle sweet flavor with a grounding earthiness makes a unique soup that will delight and surprise your guests.
Raw Hazelnuts - Also known as filberts, these luxurious nuts are crunchy when toasted but turn smooth and creamy when simmered in this soup. This soup can use the whole hazelnut but if you prefer, you can remove the hazelnut skins first.
To remove papery skins, roast hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet (cookie sheet) for 10 minutes at 350'F. Remove from oven and let cool on a tea towel. Once cool enough to handle, roll the nuts in the tea towel to rub off any extra husks/skins. It can be helpful to shake the nuts in a colander to try and separate the husks from the nuts.
Hazelnut Tips: 1. Taste your nuts before using to be sure they are fresh and not rancid. 2. You can buy skinless hazelnuts from the grocery store if you prefer.
Parsnips -These naturally sweet root vegetables add big flavor and richness to this soup. Peel them and trim any woody stem ends off with a paring knife.
Thyme - Sprigs of thyme are the perfect compliment to this soup. Thyme is a classic French herb that really pairs well with the earthy and sweet flavors of parsnips and hazelnuts.
Be sure to use only the leaves and trim off any woody stems or put the whole sprig in the soup and remove before pureeing.
Fresh thyme is best but ½ teaspoon dried thyme is a fine substitute if needed.
Green Onions - 1 bunch of green onions will give you about 2 cups sliced. Also known as scallions or spring onions, these are milder that large round bulb onions. Using these mild alliums helps keep the focus on the nutty flavors.
See recipe card for quantities.
Chop and slice all ingredients as shown here.
Melt butter in a large saucepan, pot or Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add green onions, and shallots and sauté until translucent.
Add chopped hazelnuts to the softened onion mixture and stir.
Next add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring for about 2-3 more minutes.
Add parsnips and potatoes.
Pour broth into the pot and give the soup a good stir. Cover and bring to a boil on medium high, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and blend using an immersion blender until it is a smooth puree.
Alternatively you can use a high-speed blender. To do so, carefully pour half of soup into blender, remove center of lid and cover with a tea towel so steam can escape and puree. Pour into a pot or soup tureen and repeat with remaining half of soup.
Season to taste with salt and black or white pepper. Stir in half and half and heat just until hot. This recipe calls for a cup of cream but you can lighten it up a bit by using a half cup of heavy cream or omit it altogether for a low fat soup.
*Always use extra caution when cooking and blending hot liquids. Keep pot and pan handles turned inward towards the stove so they don't get accidentally bumped. Keep small children and animals a safe distance away.
Serve while hot in bowls, garnishing with extra herbs, hazelnuts, homemade croutons or a dollop of sour cream on top of the soup as desired.
Hint: Using a blender will result in smoother soup (the immersion blender has a harder time pureeing the hazelnuts. Either method is fine, it just depends on the finished texture you prefer.
- Onion - If you don’t have green onions or shallots, you can use white or yellow onion. Regular onion tastes a bit stronger, so only use 1 cup of chopped regular onion.
- Thyme - I love the French influence of fresh thyme but if needed, you can swap ½ teaspoon of dried thyme. Alternatively, you can use an equal amount of chopped parsley or ½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or any of the French fines herbes (parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon).
- Vegetarian - Trade veggie stock for the chicken stock to make this a vegetarian soup. To make it vegan, use an unsweetened almond milk or nut based cream or omit it entirely.
Want to change it up? Here are a few delicious ideas!
- Cauliflower Hazelnut Soup - Use an equal amount of cauliflower in place of the parsnips for a more savory nutty flavor.
- Apple Parsnip Soup With Hazelnuts - Use one peeled, cored and chopped apple in place of one of the potatoes. Add the apple at the same time as the potatoes.
For this smooth and creamy soup, a blender is required. I love using my immersion blender because it's easier and safer than pouring scalding hot soup into a regular blender.
But...of course a regular, high speed blender works great as long as you are careful while pouring. You will need to do this in 2 batches, being sure to take the center of the lid off to let steam escape. (Shown below) Cover the top opening with a clean kitchen towel to prevent splattering while blending and then pour back into a pot to finish.
Creamy hazelnut soup can be made up to 4 days ahead and stored, covered in an airtight container in the fridge. Be sure to refrigerate leftovers promptly.
This soup freezes well for up to 3 months if kept in an airtight container. Although it can be frozen as is, it is better to add the cream after thawing, while reheating. Thaw soup in the fridge in it's container overnight.
To reheat this soup, put it in a saucepan set to low heat and gently cook just until heated through. Try not to let it boil or the cream may curdle.
If you're like me and love ALL the soup recipes, check out some of my other favorites here.
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Enjoy soup season and let me know what you think! I'd love it if you could give this soup a rating by tapping on the stars in the recipe card.
- 2 tablespoon Butter
- 2 c Sliced Green Onions about 1 large bunch
- 3 Shallots, Sliced
- 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme, Minced
- 3 Parsnips, Peeled + Roughly Chopped
- 2 Potatoes, Peeled + Cubed
- 1 cup Hazelnuts, Roughly Chopped
- 6 cups Chicken Broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian soup
- 1 cup Half and Half Cream
- Salt + Pepper To Taste I use ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, and add green onions, and shallots and sauté until translucent.
- Add garlic, thyme, hazelnuts, salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring for about 2 more minutes.
- Add parsnips, potatoes, and chicken broth and stir together well. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Once potatoes and parsnips are cooked through, remove from heat. Blend to desired consistency using an immersion blender. (See notes below to use a regular blender.)
- Stir in half and half and heat through. Serve while hot, garnishing with extra chopped herbs and hazelnuts.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove