20 Minute Spicy Carrot Soup with Yogurt + Sesame

This spicy carrot soup has only 6 ingredients, takes 20 minutes to make, is naturally gluten free, vegan friendly, and makes a satisfying winter meal!

This post may contain affiliate links.

This soup was inspired by a habanero carrot sauce that Chef David Banks prepared on a recent episode of The Chef's KitchenAround the 50-second mark in the video, Chef Banks talks about the sauce, which he says is almost like a "mother sauce" to him, since he uses it in so many different applications. The moment I tasted it, I was in love. It's so simple, yet has such a unique and complex flavor.

I've had the pleasure of working with Chef Banks many times on The Chef's Kitchen, and I've always been impressed by his cooking skills and the flavor of his food. He showed me how to prepare the sauce and I couldn't get over how few ingredients were used and how downright easy it was to make. Sure, it makes a lovely sauce for fish and meat, but I just wanted to eat it with a spoon. So, naturally, I turned it into a soup!

Close up of a bowl of pureed carrot soup garnished with yogurt swirl and sesame seeds.Close up of a spoon that has scooped up some spicy carrot soup.

To make this spicy carrot soup, all it takes is a whole bunch of carrots, a bit of brown sugar, salt, a few cups of water and some butter. The butter adds depth and silkiness, but without it, the soup tastes like it's missing something. If you're butter averse, I really don't recommend skipping it. You can, however, make this recipe dairy free by using a vegan butter substitute such as Earth Balance instead.

"But wait, you said this is a spicy carrot soup, right?"

There's one more ingredient I didn't mention: the habanero pepper. Now, listen, what I'm about to tell you might sound counterintuitive, but I need you to trust me here. Despite having two whole habanero peppers in the recipe, this soup is by no means hot or overly spicy. It has a nice, gentle warmth that hits you in the back of your throat and doesn't linger at all. It's pleasant, not aggressive. In fact, when I had a friend taste it, she said, "I don't really taste any spice at all."

Close up of four whole carrots and two habanero peppers.Vertical shot of a bowl of spicy pureed carrot soup garnished with cilantro, sesame seeds, and a yogurt swirl.

When most people think of habanero peppers, they think of fire, and they're not incorrect in that notion. Habaneros are very spicy, but they also have an incredibly unique and fruity flavor that just can't be replicated with any other chili pepper. That flavor pairs beautifully with carrots and is essential to making this carrot soup taste unlike any other carrot soup you've ever tried.

Most of the heat in habaneros - actually, all chili peppers - is found within the seeds and "ribs," which are the white pithy membranes that the seeds are attached to. If you remove all of the seeds and membranes before adding the chilies to the pot, the heat is lessened significantly. That said, if you want more heat, all you have to do is leave some of the seeds and ribs in.

A stick blender pureeing carrot soup in a large pot.20 Minute Spicy Carrot Soup with Yogurt + Sesame! It's gluten free, vegan friendly, mildly spiced, smooth, creamy and totally delicious! A warming winter soup perfect for snow days! #spicy #easy #carrot #soup #habanero #recipe #yogurt #sesame #glutenfree #vegan #plantbased | ColeyCooks.com

This spicy carrot soup really is wonderful on it's own, but I wanted to add a few extra finishing touches to bump up the flavor and add a bit of texture. A swirl of plain, whole milk yogurt adds creaminess, but also gives it a nice pop of acidity. If you're trying to keep this vegan, a dairy free sour cream makes a nice substitute, or even a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. You can also just omit it altogether. It's nice, but by no means necessary.

For crunch, I sprinkled a few toasted sesame seeds on top. They add a little bit of a toasty flavor but also give a nice textural contrast to the otherwise silky smooth soup. Although I call this a "spicy carrot soup," it's far from being 5-alarm hot, unless, of course, you want it to be. It makes a quick and easy lunch or dinner, and will warm you up from the inside out.

20 Minute Spicy Carrot Soup with Yogurt + Sesame! It's gluten free, vegan friendly, mildly spiced, smooth, creamy and totally delicious! A warming winter soup perfect for snow days! #spicy #easy #carrot #soup #habanero #recipe #yogurt #sesame #glutenfree #vegan #plantbased | ColeyCooks.com

One Year Ago: Croissant Morning Buns
Two Years Ago: Cauliflower Crust Pizzas with Lemony Kale + Fresh Mozz | Brussels Sprouts with Anchovy Caper Butter
Three Years Ago: Truffled Popcorn with Parmesan + Prosciutto | Meyer Lemon Marmalade | Lasagne Bolognese
Four Years Ago: Bacon Dip |  Celery Root + Parsnip Gratin

Want to Save This Recipe?

Enter your email & I'll send it to your inbox.

Save Post

By submitting this form, you consent to receive emails from Coley Cooks.

A spoon that has dipped into a bowl of spicy carrot soup.
Print Pin

20 Minute Spicy Carrot Soup with Yogurt + Sesame (gluten free and vegan friendly!)

This spicy carrot soup has only 6 ingredients, takes 20 minutes to make, is naturally gluten free, vegan friendly, and makes a satisfying winter meal!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 298kcal


  • 2 lbs carrots scrubbed, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 habanero peppers - seeds and ribs removed* see note
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter OR a vegan butter substitute such as Earth Balance
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more to taste ** (see note)
  • ¼ cup raw sesame seeds
  • plain whole milk yogurt OR vegan sour cream, for serving *** (see note)
  • cilantro sprigs for garnish (optional)


  1. Add the carrots, brown sugar, habanero peppers, salt, butter and water to a medium pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Cover and bring up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the carrots are completely tender, about 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree until very smooth. Alternatively, you can puree in a regular blender in batches, but use caution whenever blending a hot liquid.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. 
  5. Add sesame seeds to a dry pan over medium heat and toss around until they start to pop, turn light golden brown and smell nutty, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  6. Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, then dollop or drizzle (see note) yogurt on top. Garnish with cilantro if desired, then serve immediately. 


*The peppers don't add nearly as much spice as you'd think, but you can lessen the amount if you are concerned about the heat level. Wear gloves and be very careful while handling habanero peppers. I find the easiest way to trim them is to hold each one upright by the stem, then run your knife down the sides to cut off the flesh, leaving the seeds and ribs remaining. The soup will have a very mild spice if you remove all of the ribs and seeds, so if you want more heat feel free to leave a few of them in. 
** Because this soup is made with water, it needs a lot of salt to bring out the flavor. I used a total of 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, which seems like a lot, but it wasn't overly salty at all. Start with 1 tablespoon, taste, and add more until it's just right. If you use salted butter or a vegan substitute, you may need less salt. 
***To create the swirls, whisk the yogurt or vegan sour cream with a little bit of water to make a looser consistency for easy drizzling. 


Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 1925mg | Potassium: 766mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 38461IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 1mg

20 Minute Spicy Carrot Soup with Yogurt + Sesame! It's gluten free, vegan friendly, mildly spiced, smooth, creamy and totally delicious! A warming winter soup perfect for snow days! #spicy #easy #carrot #soup #habanero #recipe #yogurt #sesame #glutenfree #vegan #plantbased | ColeyCooks.com 20 Minute Spicy Carrot Soup with Yogurt + Sesame! It's gluten free, vegan friendly, mildly spiced, smooth, creamy and totally delicious! A warming winter soup perfect for snow days! #spicy #easy #carrot #soup #habanero #recipe #yogurt #sesame #glutenfree #vegan #plantbased | ColeyCooks.com

5 from 3 votes

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ rating and review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    1. Absolutely!! This recipe doubles beautifully. You may want to use less habanero depending on how much spice you prefer, but that's your call. Otherwise doubling all ingredients will work out great. Let me know how you like it!

  1. 5 stars
    Sorry, Chef - I haven't made it yet but I'll rate it after tonight when I serve it as a a first course. Full disclosure: I am a complete and unapologetic sucker for those cheap-o bags of "baby carrots" (which are neither 'baby' or sometimes - I think - even actually carrots) that are almost always on sale at most supermarkets. Problem is - I tend to never use them as a side dish and they wind up getting used for soup more often then not before they get tossed into the trash. Thus - I have made LOTS of carrot soup. With ginger, with curry, with sweated onions or sweated onions and garlic and celery. I've make it Vegan, I have made it with cream and even tried it once with dry Vermouth. Point is - I've made a whole lot of carrot soups but never with Habaneros and brown sugar. But I'm gonna - but mostly because I have learned to trust your good cooking sense.

    One question however: what is that " Mother Sauce" that you spoke of? How does it differ from the soup? Sounds interesting to use carrots which are naturally sweet as a base for a sauce for fish and I'd like to know more about it.

    1. I think you're going to love the soup Bruno!! You'll be very surprised by the depth of flavor considering the few ingredients. Chef Banks mentions this sauce being "almost like a mother sauce" to him in his kitchen because he uses it so frequently and in so many different applications - I'm assuming with several different variations as well - just like a traditional "mother sauce" in French cooking. Check out the video to see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwOsW-nfFeM

      Let me know how you like the soup once you've made it!

      1. 5 stars
        Coley - just like your recipe for French Eggs and Cream you continue to prove that great cooking must be honest and well conceived - not necessarily complex. The flavors in the soup were clean, refreshing and mellow without being overly rich. The fresh carrot flavor popped and we loved it. And my wife - who abhors overly spicy foods - had no idea that a whole habanero was part of it. Great flavor enhancer. The toasted sesame seeds, yogurt/sour cream and cilantro topping added just the right touch. And made it gorgeous, of course. Tell your readers to not skip those important steps! We eat with our eyes before our stomachs ever get involved.

        I must admit that I halved the recipe (it is only the two of us and I cannot bear to waste food) so I'm not sure if that had an impact on the consistency. Before I blended it - as I normally do with broth based soups - I reserved a half cup of broth before pureeing. I did add half of it back after checking the result. I'll prepare it for a party of four next time at the full recipe size and see if I get a different result.

        Thanks again for another great new take on a tired old recipe. I'm sure that my compulsion for picking up bags of cheap baby carrots will require that I make this again (and again). And since we have a week of unusually cold weather here in the Las Vegas Valley it just might get another shot at the menu sooner rather than later!

        ps: thanks also for the link to Chef's Kitchen and the 'mother sauce' explanation. I'm certain that it is going to be a beautiful addition to a simply prepared piece of cod or tile fish. I just made a cilantro-lime glaze that I was planning on using Friday and a 'schmear' of this puree will compliment the look and flavor when the glaze is drizzled on the plate. (I admit that I love to embellish my plates before bringing them to the table each night- it is hard to break old restaurant Sous Chef habits...)

        1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Bruno! I'm curious what you mean about the consistency, did you find it to be too thick or thin? I suppose it's a matter of preference, really. Puree with less liquid and it would make a WONDERFUL accompaniment to fish, as you mentioned, and as the chef intended. Thanks for your glowing and descriptive comments, as always 🙂