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

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

  • Author: Nicole Gaffney (
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: soup
  • Method: simmered
  • Cuisine: vegetarian


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!


  • 2 lbs carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 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)
  • 1/4 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. 

Keywords: spicy, carrot, soup, easy, habanero, yogurt, sesame, lunch, dinner, vegetarian, gluten free