One of our all-time favorite side dishes is making Roasted Butternut Squash in the oven. It’s the true picture of Fall when you see that bright orange glowing in your oven. Butternut squash is a beautiful and healthy Autumn vegetable and there are so many ways to make it.
It’s really easy to cook butternut squash and delicious to eat and it has a nutty, buttery flavor. You can roast it and then cut it into cubes, mash it, and do so many yummy things with it.
Butternut squash is one vegetable that you will enjoy making and eating. It’s considered a Winter squash but it becomes available in the Autumn and it fits so nicely with the Fall theme of squashes, pumpkins, apples, sweet potatoes, cinnamon, etc.
When you roast butternut squash you can eat it whole, cut into cubes, mashed like potatoes, or use it to make Butternut Squash Soup or a Butternut Squash Casserole. There are so many recipes to try making for a variety of diets, you’ll have a hard time choosing.
What is Butternut Squash?
Butternut squash is a pear-shaped Winter variety of squash and it comes out in the Autumn time. It grows on a vine and it has a nutty, sweet taste which is similar to a pumpkin. It is tan in color and has a flesh that is orange with seeds at the round end of the bell shape.
We all think of butternut squash as a vegetable but botanically it is actually a fruit. However, culinarily it is used as a vegetable and is commonly roasted, sauteed, or pureed.
What Does Butternut Squash Taste Like?
Roasted butternut squash tastes sweet with a nutty flavor. Some people think that it tastes like carrots, turnips and sweet potatoes. It is popular as soon as Autumn comes because it makes great purees and soups.
Is Butternut Squash Healthy?
Butternut squash is a very healthy vegetable. It’s high in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B, C, E, potassium, fiber, and beta-carotene like most orange/yellow vegetables. It’s high in antioxidants, loaded with nutrients, and has good benefits for many aspects of your body.
A 1 cup serving of butternut squash has 63 calories.
Is Butternut Squash a Bad Carb?
Butternut squash is referred to as a starchy vegetable, just like potatoes, because it’s higher in carbs than other ones like broccoli and cauliflower.
However, butternut squash is not a bad carb, like bread, pasta or cake. It’s a good carb just like some other veggies are. Since it is so nutritious, it helps to outway the carb count.
Is Roasting Butternut Squash the Healthiest Way to Eat It?
In my opinion, baked butternut squash is one of the healthiest ways to eat it as it retains most of the nutrients, unlike other preparation methods.
When we roast butternut squash we roast it in a very simple way with just a touch of olive oil brushed on with a little salt and pepper sprinkled on top. You can eat it just like that right out of the oven or use it in a bunch of great recipes for a healthy side dish or one dish meal.
How Many Ways Can You Cook Butternut Squash?
There are six ways to cook butternut squash and we are going to show you each one in detail.
Roasted in the Oven in Halves – To roast butternut squash just cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds, season the top with a little olive oil and some spices.
Roasted in the Oven in Cubes – For baked butternut squash I like to peel the squash first, cut it in half, and then into cubes. see our site for recipe how to cut it
Roasted Whole (No Cutting) – If you are afraid to use a knife to cut the squash in half, cooking it whole is certainly an option. You can just put it on a baking sheet and roast it at 425 for 45 minutes. After the timer goes off, check to see if it’s cooked or still hard and put it back in the oven, checking it every 10 minutes.
Microwave – Cooking butternut squash in the microwave is easy. Peel it, take the seeds out and cut it into cubes. Cover it and microwave it for 4 minutes. Stir it up and cook for another 2 minutes. But all microwaves are different so test it out with a fork.
Instant Pot – Whats nice about cooking butternut squash in the instant pot is that you can just place it right in on top of the trivet, add 1 cup of water and cook on high for about 20-25 minutes. You can either mash it or make it into cubes.
Slow Cooker – Using a slow cooker when cooking butternut squash is another method to use. You don’t have to peel it or take the seeds out. Just wash it off and toss it into the crock pot. Cover and cook for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Poke it with a fork to see if it’s done.
What Ingredients Do You Need to Roast Butternut Squash?
- Butternut squash – This is, obviously, the key ingredient in baked butternut squash and is loaded with so many nutrients that make this a good choice in your diet.
- Olive Oil – This gets brushed on the squash after you cut it in half or in cubes for roasting. A little oil goes a long way.
- Salt – A basic spice that enhances the flavor of the squash.
- Pepper – a little bit of black pepper added to the salt will give just enough kick to the baked butternut squash.
Can I Use Pre-Cut Butternut Squash?
If you are trying to save some time by buying the butternut squash already cut into cubes, feel free to do so, it’s the easiest way. We used to do that until we learned how to cut it in half, peel it, and cut it into cubes ourselves.
Just be aware that like anything else, when the store puts the work into it it only makes sense that they are going to charge you a lot more money than if you bought the butternut squash whole and cut it yourself.
Stephanie used to buy the squash precut to make her roasted butternut squash recipe and it used to cost her about $20-25 dollars for the cubed squash. Instead now she buys the same amount of whole butternut squash for about $7-8 dollars.
When you buy pre-cut squash to make baked butternut squash it doesn’t last too many days in your refrigerator so you need to use it up pretty quickly. If you buy the squash whole it can last for a few weeks in your refrigerator so we tend to buy it when it’s on sale and keep it on hand. Or if you have a local farm that carries fresh vegetables, we recommend buying it from there.
Roasted Butternut Squash Variations
There are so many different things that you can put on your roasted butternut squash for variation in flavor.
- Maple syrup or brown sugar for a sweet taste, and if you are watching your carbs there are low carb versions of both of these. Swerve makes a brown sugar replacement sweetener and there is also a maple syrup made by lakanto that is low carb too.
- You could also season the squash with warm autumn spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Garlic and onion powder are always good flavors for vegetables.
- You could always dress up the roasted butternut squash with similar toppings to a baked potato such as butter, sour cream, bacon bits, chives, cheddar cheese….etc
- Chopped parsley or rosemary will dress up the look of the squash and are both quite delicious.
What Can You Make with Butternut Squash?
Butternut squash is a very versatile vegetable and can be used in a lot of different foods. Once you learn how to cook butternut squash, try it in these recipes:
- In stuffed pasta like ravioli or tortellini.
- In risotto, mac, and cheese, veggie lasagna.
- As a soup or in soups.
- As a stand-alone veggie or side dish.
- In casseroles.
- Mashed butternut squash.
- Roasted butternut squash soup.
- Butternut squash casserole.
- As a pie like a pumpkin pie.
Picking Out a Good Butternut Squash
It’s easy to pick out a good butternut squash. Just make sure that the squash is firm in texture and it’s best when there are no soft spots, bruises or scrapes on it.
Make sure that the color is all beige, not partially green or brown. Also a more matte finish instead of a shiny skin which is a sign that it will soon start to go bad.
I also like to get one with a good stem on it because the longer the stem the better the squash. If the squash is heavy that’s good. If it’s too light it means it’s so full of seeds and not enough meat.
If you get a good one it can last for a couple of months in your refrigerator until you get around to cooking butternut squash.
When is Butternut Squash in Season?
Butternut squash is considered a winter squash, but it is available in our stores for about ¾ of the year, and commonly found in the fall, winter, and spring. I don’t see it in the summer because the store’s focus is more on summer squash, like zucchini…etc.
How to Tell When It’s Ripe?
It’s pretty easy to tell if your squash is ripe and ready to use to make roasted butternut squash, just look at the color and texture of the outer skin.
If there are any green spots on the outside then the squash is not ripe yet for sure. The skin should be hard but not glossy and an even creamy tan color. When it’s glossy it means that it is soon going to spoil.
If it is young and not ripe it is still edible, but the flavor will be dull and not as sweet and tasty as it is when the squash is ripe. Think of a peach for instance. When it’s not ripe it is hard and almost tasteless. But let that same peach ripen up and the flavor is more pronounced, sweet and juicy.
Tools to Use
It doesn’t take a lot of tools in order to make this roasted butternut squash recipe, which is always a nice thing when making something is a simple process.
In this article we will show you how to roast butternut squash and what tools that you will need to do so:
- Large cutting board
- Large sharp knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Baking sheet
NOTE: PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN USING A SHARP KNIFE. I like to put an anchor underneath the cutting board to hold it in its place so it doesn’t slide while you are trying to cut on it. For instance, use a towel or flat pot holder to keep the board still.
How to Peel and Cut a Butternut Squash
When you need to peel your butternut squash, it’s not hard at all if you have the right tools. To cook butternut squash there are two ways to cut it, one is in half lengthwise and the other is in cubes. We will show you both ways.
Do You Have to Peel a Butternut Squash Before Roasting It?
When you are cooking butternut squash you can roast it either with the outer skin or without it. In this recipe we roasted it both ways. It’s really a preference.
We roasted it with the skin on just cut in half, and then we peeled one and cut it into cubes before roasting it.
Let’s show you how to roast butternut squash, with the skin on and with the skin off.
Cutting Butternut Squash In Half:
- Anchor your cutting board with a towel underneath so that the board will not move when you are trying to cut your squash in half.
- Carefully using your sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise leaving the stem on one side.
- Now lay it on a cookie sheet flesh side up, remove the seeds and get ready to season it.
Cutting Butternut Squash In Cubes:
- First, cut both ends of the squash off.
- After cutting off both ends take the squash in one hand and the peeler in the other and peel it downwards all the way around the squash until all of the skin is peeled off.
- Then cut it in half lengthwise and then begin to cut it into cubes.
TIP: For best results roasting, cut butternut squash into 1” cubes.
For more detailed instructions, read our Guide to Peeling and Cutting Butternut Squash.
Can You Eat the Skin of a Butternut Squash?
You may wonder if you can eat the skin of the butternut squash or if you should discard it? The skin is edible if you really want to eat it, but you may find it a bit too hard and tough to eat it, especially if your butternut squash is larger in size.
If you have a young, tender squash then you may find eating it more pleasurable.
What to Do with the Seeds?
Butternut squash seeds can also be roasted and can be eaten as a tasty, low calorie and ow carb snack. If you have ever taken the seeds out of a pumpkin then you know what to do with the seeds in a butternut squash.
- When you are preparing to roast butternut squash, take them out of the center and rinse them off.
- Spread them out on a baking sheet, season them and bake them.
How to Roast Butternut Squash in Halves
Let’s look at step-by-step instructions on how to roast butternut squash in half.
Can You Bake Butternut Squash with the Skin On?
Baking your butternut squash with the skin on is what we do all of the time when we bake it in halves.
Cutting and Seeding
STEP 1: Wash the squash and dry thoroughly so that it’s not slippery.
STEP 2: Place it on a sturdy cutting board with a flat towel underneath to anchor it to avoid the cutting board slipping out while you are trying to cut it.
STEP 3: Stand it on end and cut it just off-center, in half, keeping the stem on one half only.
We like to leave the stem on when roasting butternut squash in half, but if it’s easier, you can cut off the top and bottom ends before cutting it in half.
STEP 4: Place it skin side down and flesh side up on the cutting board or a cookie sheet.
STEP 5: Take out the seeds and put them in a bowl aside.
STEP 6: Brush it with olive oil.
STEP 7: Choose the type of seasonings that you prefer to use. To keep it simple just use a little salt and pepper. You could add some garlic or onion powder. Also some cayenne if you like it spicy.
TIP: If you want a whole different flavor it an be seasoned with cinnamon sugar, maple syrup,…etc.
STEP 8: Place the butternut squash in the oven at 425 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes.
How Long to Roast a Butternut Squash in Half?
To roast your butternut squash in halves, after preparing them on the baking sheet, bake them uncovered at about 425 degrees for about 30-45 minutes.
How to Tell When It’s Done?
You can check to see if your butternut squash is done roasting by sticking a small paring knife or a fork inside the flesh. By doing that you can see if it’s still crunchy, or partially crunchy, or cooked all the way through.
Roasting Butternut Squash Whole (Without Cutting It)
Have you ever wondered if there is an easier way to roast your butternut squash besides cutting it in half? If you’re like me I get a little nervous about cutting it, even though I know how to.
Good thing it’s also possible to roast butternut squash whole without cutting it. It’s so easy and there is no cutting, no knife required.
- After washing and drying off the squash, place it whole on a baking tray.
- You can poke a few holes in it with a knife to let out the steam but you don’t have to….either way will work.
- Bake it at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes, check it with a small knife or fork. Usually you need to continue to bake it longer for up to as much as another 45 minutes depending on the size of the squash.
How to Roast Butternut Squash in Cubes
Now we will show you the necessary steps needed in order to roast your butternut squash in cubes. This involves cutting it, seasoning it and then roasting it.
STEP 1: The first step to cutting the squash is to peel it. We spoke about that earlier in the article, but just place the squash on a secured cutting board and just cut off the top and bottom.
STEP 2: Then holding the squash on end in one hand and the peeler in the other hand peel downwards until all of the skin is off.
STEP 3: Next, lay it on its side on the cutting board, (or the bottom if it has a wide base) and cut it in half lengthwise.
STEP 4: Scoop out the seeds and put them in a bowl aside.
STEP 5: Cut the two halves in half again. Then cut the butternut squash in strips about 1 inch wide so that you will be able to make 1-inch cubes from that. Cut again across the strips to make cubes.
STEP 6: Pour olive oil over your butternut squash cubes, making sure to coat all of the pieces thoroughly.
STEP 7: Once you have made your cubes then lay them on the cookie sheet, spacing them out so that they will caramelize better.
STEP 8: Add salt and pepper to the butternut squash and mix. Add more spices according to taste.
STEP 9: Set the oven to 425 degrees to roast butternut squash cubes and bake them for about 20-25 minutes or until desired tenderness.
How Long to Roast a Butternut Squash in Cubes?
When you roast butternut squash in 1” cubes, here is a chart of times and temperatures that will help to guide you:
- 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes
- 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes
- 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes
How to Tell When It’s Done?
STEP 10: To see if your roasted butternut squash cubes are done baking, just stick a paring knife into one of them. If the flesh is soft then it’s done roasting. If it’s still crunchy and firm then it needs to roast longer.
When they are done you want it to be done on the inside but also caramelized on the outside.
How to Cook Butternut Squash in the Microwave
Let me share with you how to cook butternut squash in the microwave and how quick and easy it is.
- After washing it, use your peeler to remove the skin. Hold it on one end and peel downwards until all of the skin is off.
- Take the seeds out.
- Next cut it into cubes.
- Place it in a microwave safe dish, cover it, and cook for about 4 minutes.
- Take it out and stir it up.
- Cook for another 2 minutes.
- Since microwaves all vary, test it during the cooking process so that it does not overcook.
NOTE: If you are looking for a quick way to peel the skin off your squash, just stick in the microwave for a minute or so and the skin will loosen up which will enable you to peel it off without the use of a knife.
How to Cook Butternut Squash in an Instant Pot
If you have an instant pot they can be wonderful for cooking things quickly and making them tender, perfect for making butternut squash.
- To cook it in the instant pot you don’t even have to cut it or peel it.
- Just place it on the trivet and add 1 cup of water.
- Cook on high for about 20-25 minutes.
- Time will vary depending on the size of the squash.
- When you take it out you can peel off the skin and mash it or cut it into cubes.
How to Cook Butternut Squash in a Slow Cooker
The slow cooker is another tool to use, so let me share with you how to cook butternut squash in a crock pot.
- There is no reason to peel it or take out the seeds.
- Just wash it and toss it into the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook it for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
- Poke it with a knife or fork to see if it’s done.
- Take it out and peel off the skin and then prepare it as you want to.
Which Way is Best to Roast Butternut Squash?
It’s very hard to pick a favorite way to roast butternut squash, and there are a few factors that will help you decide.
I think the easiest way is to roast it whole because you don’t have to worry about using a knife. The only downside to this way is that it takes longer to cook.
Cutting butternut squash in half is also easy. Just season it, pop it in the oven, set the timer and take it out when it’s done.
My favorite way to make roasted butternut squash in cubes. It’s my favorite because it takes the least amount of time to cook and since there are exposed pieces on the tray they caramelize better.
It’s always good to have helpful hints if you have never made a dish before, so here are a few things that will help you make this roasted butternut squash recipe.
- If you throw your squash in the microwave for a minute it will help to loosen up the skin and make it easier to peel.
- If you have a dark cookie sheet then use it to make roasted butternut squash because the dark color will encourage the squash to brown easier.
- You can broil your roasted butternut squash the last couple minutes if it needs to brown up more.
- If you want the squash to brown up better ditch the parchment paper.
- If you want your roasted butternut squash to be spicy then toss some crushed red pepper in while roasting it.
- Do not overcrowd your baking sheet for better caramelizing results.
- Make sure when picking out your squash, to get one without cuts and scrapes and one with a matte, tan finish. If it’s heavy it means a good amount of flesh. If it’s light then it’s full of seeds and not as much flesh.
- When using a cutting board it is always best to anchor it on the counter to avoid it slipping while cutting on it. You can use a dish towel or flat pot holder under it to keep it still.
- If you want to save oven space then use an instant pot.
- If you are short on time then use the microwave.
- If you want it to cook while you are at work or sleeping then use a slow cooker.
My Squash is Too Mushy
Butternut squash can be mushy if you used a squash that was over ripe to start with. The mushy texture can also come from overcooking the squash too.
So follow the guidelines that we set out above in this recipe for buying the squash and cooking the squash to have the best results.
Why is My Butternut Squash Bitter?
Roasted butternut squash should have a sweet taste, so if your roasted butternut squash has a bitter taste it is probably due to what happened to it during the growing process, because of irrigation or temperature. It takes away from how the squash should really taste so throw it out and start over.
Diets This Recipe is Good For
This roasted butternut squash is a vegetable for a lot of different diets, especially if you keep the preparation simple.
- Gluten-free – There is no gluten in the squash or the toppings.
- Nut-free – Absolutely no nuts or nut flour in this recipe.
- Vegan – Vegans can feel free to eat this butternut squash.
- Vegetarian – Another good vegetable for our vegetarian readers.
- Paleo – Butternut squash is paleo approved.
- Keto – In moderation this is certainly a healthy vegetable for a low carb way of eating.
- Dairy-free – There is no dairy in our roasted butternut squash recipe.
Is Butternut Squash Low Carb?
If you are watching your carbs you can eat butternut squash but you need to watch your portion size and enjoy it as part of a well-balanced meal. One cup of Butternut Squash has roughly 13 NET Carbs.
It’s always a good choice, instead of eating it alone, to add it to soups or casseroles to use it as an accent added to your other veggies and protein. That way you can enjoy it without pushing you over the daily limit in carbs.
What to Serve with Roasted Butternut Squash?
Once you make this roasted butternut squash recipe, let’s see what foods we can serve with it.
- Serve it as a side dish with meats like a roast turkey, chicken, pork chops, ham, steak, etc.
- Serve it with your favorite fish for example like salmon…..etc.
- Eat it like a baked potato with baked potato toppings such as bacon, chives, cheddar cheese, sour cream…etc.
How to Store Roasted Butternut Squash
Just like any food that is left over, put cooked butternut squash in an airtight plastic container and stick it in the refrigerator. It will last about 5 days in the refrigerator.
How to Reheat Butternut Squash
If you have leftover roasted butternut squash it’s easy to reheat.
- Just put it on a baking sheet and reheat it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
- You can put it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes to heat it up.
- A third way to reheat the squash is to put it in a non-stick frying pan and heat it on the stove on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Can You Freeze Roasted Butternut Squash?
If you choose to freeze your roasted butternut squash, you can freeze it in an air-tight plastic container. It can last in the freezer for 3-4 months if wrapped properly.
The first thing you need to do is place the cubes of butternut squash on a flat tray and freeze them for a few hours. Once they are solid, then transfer them into a plastic container or a ziploc bag and freeze them.
When you want to eat them, do not thaw them out or they may get mushy. The best way to eat them is right out of the freezer and onto a cookie sheet frozen. Heat for about 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
More Roasted Vegetable Recipes
If you’re in the mood for some other roasted vegetables then try our:
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
- Roasted Green Beans
- Roasted Broccoli with Cheese
- Best Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted Butternut Squash is an easy recipe to make and delicious to eat. You can use it in so many recipes and eat it so many ways. It is low in calories, and high in nutrients, like vitamins and minerals which provide your body with a very nutritious choice. Learn How to Roast Butternut Squash the best way.
- 1 Butternut Squash
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Halves in the Oven
- Get a large cutting board and anchor it down by putting a dish towel under it so that it won’t slip while you are cutting the squash.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise, using a sharp knife.
- Lay it on a cookie sheet with the skin side down on the tray and the flesh side up.
- Scoop out the seeds.
- Brush the olive on all over the flesh part of the squash.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until desired tenderness.
Whole in the Oven
- Put the whole squash on the cookie sheet. If you choose to you can pierce it with a knife to make a couple of holes to allow the steam to come out.
- Bake it at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Check it with a knife to see how hard it is. Put it back in the oven for possibly another 45 minutes, checking it periodically about every 10-15 minutes.
Cubes in the Oven
- Get a large cutting board and anchor it down to the counter with a dish towel underneath to secure it and keep it from moving while cutting the squash.
- Cut off the top and bottom.
- Hold the squash with one hand and a peeler with the other. From the top down peel downwards until all of the skin is off.
- Now cut the squash in half lengthwise and then cut it in one inch strips crosswise.
- Scoop out the seeds. Now you are ready to cut it in one inch squares.
- Spread them out on the cookie sheet, spaced apart for more even cooking. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until all the pieces are caramelized.
In the Microwave
- Using a secured cutting board and a sharp knife, cut off both ends.
- Hold the squash at one end and with the other end use a peeler to take off the skin. Keep peeling downward until all of the skin is off.
- Scoop out the seeds.
- Cut the squash into 1” cubes.
- Place the cubes in a microwave safe dish and cover it and cook for about 4 minutes.
- Take it out and stir. Cook for another 2 minutes if need be.
- Place the whole and unpeeled squash into the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
- Poke it with a knife to see if it is done.
- When it is done, peel it and serve your favorite way.
- Place the whole and unpeeled butternut squash into the trivet in the instant pot.
- Add 1 cup of water.
- Cook on high for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
- When it comes out then you can peel it and prepare it to eat.
6.8 NET CARBS PER SERVING
If you throw the squash in the microwave for a minute it will help to loosen up the skin to avoid having to cut it.
If you have a dark cookie sheet then use it to make your roasted butternut squash because the dark color will help it to brown up better. If you want to brown it more you could use the broiler for a couple minutes too.
If you like spicy foods then toss some crushed red pepper into it while roasting.
Do not overcrowd your pan for the best roasting results.
When picking out your squash, get one without cuts and scrapes. Also look for one that has a matte finish and is not shiny.
If it’s heavy that means there is a lot of good flesh inside. If it’s light it means there are more seeds.
Always anchor your cutting board with a towel under it to avoid slipping.
When using a sharp knife be careful!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Side Dishes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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