Roasted Butternut Squash is one of those simple pleasures that I look forward to every Fall and Winter. Come and find out how to roast butternut squash in various ways along with 7 flavor combinations that are seriously SO good!
Roasting butternut squash caramelizes the sugars in the squash and deepens its flavor. Slow roasting the squash is the key to great flavor with a smooth, creamy interior. But how do you achieve these results? Well, there are quite a few ways to roast butternut squash. Let’s get started.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Common Roasted Butternut Squash Questions Answered:
I’ve compiled a list of the most common butternut squash questions to help you on your journey to the best-roasted butternut squash!
Is roasted butternut squash healthy?
YES! Butternut squash is a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin A.
Can you eat the skin of roasted butternut squash?
Technically, yes. But you’re not going to want to. Let me explain.
Yes, you can eat the skin of roasted butternut squash, it’s not going to harm you BUT it is rather unpleasant. No matter how much you roast the sucker, the skin will be tough, needing some extra chewing and it won’t exactly taste good. It can also be stringy and very difficult to cut.
If you’re looking for a shortcut in prepping butternut squash, then I suggest you follow my directions for roasting whole or sliced butternut squash below.
*DID YOU KNOW? The thick skin of butternut squash helps keep the interior of the squash firm for 3-4 months after it’s harvested. Yes, the skin is a pain to deal with BUT it’s a great produce item to have in your pantry for the fall and winter months without it going bad! So stock up when you see them go on sale at the grocery store. (HINT: the price usually gets slashed drastically right after Thanksgiving).
How long do you cook butternut squash in the oven?
It depends on how the squash is prepared, how it’s cut (or not cut), what you’re cooking the squash in, and the level of browning that you’re going for all come into play here.
How long does it take to roast butternut squash cubes?
When the squash is cut into 1/2-inch cubes, it takes the butternut squash approximately 20 minutes to become tender. This is a good point if you’re going to use the squash in a salad (like my fabulous Thanksgiving Salad).
If you want the butternut squash cubes to be soft and the edges browned, then you will need to roast the squash for about 45-50 minutes, tossing the cubes halfway through roasting.
How to Roast Butternut Squash – The Ultimate Guide:
Below you’ll find all of the various ways to roast/cook butternut squash. Let me know if I missed anything!
Roasted Whole Butternut Squash:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F, and lightly spray a baking dish that’s big enough to hold the squash with nonstick cooking spray. Place the squash in the dish and poke the squash 8-10 times with a sharp knife. Roast until a knife the is inserted into the squash cuts like it’s going through butter, about 60-70 minutes. Let the squash cool for about 15 minutes, and then use a sharp knife to cut it in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds, and then scoop the flesh into a serving bowl. Use the spoon to break apart some of the chunks. After that, sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with a pad of butter. Serve.
Roasted Cubed Butternut Squash:
Just follow the recipe card at the bottom of this post for my simple recipe!
Roasted Sliced Butternut Squash:
I think this is my favorite way to serve butternut squash because there isn’t as much cutting involved and the slices look so pretty on the plate. Fist, cut off the ends of the squash and peel the entire squash with a strong vegetable peeler. Next, slice the squash in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch slices. Spread the squash slices out onto a baking sheet covered in foil. Toss the slices in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Finally, arrange the squash into an even layer and bake for 30 minutes in a 400 degree F oven, turning the squash once after 15 minutes of roasting.
You can dress up the butternut squash as I did in the picture below by sprinkling the roasted slices with red pepper flakes (optional), roasted pumpkin seeds, freshly cracked pepper, flaky sea salt, and fresh chopped herbs like parsley and thyme.
Roasted Butternut Squash Halves:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray and lay the squash halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Bake until the squash is easily pierced with a fork, about 50-60 minutes. Let the squash cool for at least 15 minutes before handling. Next, use a fork to remove the skin. Finally, place the squash into a serving dish and use the fork to break the squash apart into smaller pieces. After that, sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with a pad of butter.
OPTIONAL: You can brush the squash with melted butter, salt, pepper, and a little bit of brown sugar right before baking.
Convection Oven Roasted Butternut Squash:
Preheat the convection oven to 375 degrees F. Cut, peel, and dice the squash into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil, and salt and pepper. Bake on a baking sheet brushed with 1-tablespoon of olive oil for 10-20 minutes or until tender and the desired browning has been reached.
Slow Cooker Roasted Butternut Squash:
This is by far the easiest way to roast the squash as no peeling or cutting is needed until after the squash is cooked, and good and soft! Simply place the washed whole squash in a slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3-5 hours or on LOW for 6-8 hours or until tender. Remove the squash from the slow cooker and let it cool down for 15 minutes. Then, cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and scoop out the flesh. This is a great cooking method for when you want to make a puree.
Microwave Roasted Butternut Squash:
While this method is technically cooked and not roasted, it’s great for when you are going to puree the squash. Peel and cut the butternut squash into 1/2-inch cubes and place them in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl very tightly with plastic wrap and cook on HIGH for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.
7 Roasted Butternut Squash Flavor Combinations:
NOTE: Most of the flavor combinations below use the roasted cubed butternut squash recipe at the bottom of this post as the base. All of these flavor combinations make for delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas side dishes!
- Brown Sugar and Butter: In the recipe below, use melted butter (you can also use browned butter, yum!) instead of olive oil and toss the squash cubes with 1/4 cup of brown sugar.
- Browned Butter and Nuts: Follow the recipe below, but use browned butter instead of olive oil. While the squash cooks, toast 1/3 cup of chopped nuts (think hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, pine nuts, or walnuts). Toss the toasted nuts with 1 tablespoon of melted butter, 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped herbs (think chives, parsley, thyme, etc). Finally, sprinkle the nut mixture over the squash right before serving.
- Goat cheese and maple: Make the roasted butternut squash as per the directions below. When the squash comes out of the oven sprinkle with 1/3 cup of crumbled goat cheese, 2 tablespoons of real maple syrup, and 1/4 cup of toasted nuts (think hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, pine nuts, or walnuts). If you want a bit of heat or flavor boost, then toss with a pinch or 2 of cayenne pepper, SO GOOD!
- Honey, Lime, and Cilantro: During the winter when I’m cooking up our favorite chicken tacos, I sometimes make this butternut squash flavor variation as a side dish. I roast the squash cubes are per the recipe below with the following additions: toss the cubes with 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder right before the squash goes into the oven. Once the squash is done roasting, whisk together a mixture of 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro. Finally, transfer the squash to a serving dish and toss with the honey mixture and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of crumbled cotija cheese.
- Shallots and Herbs: Prepare the squash as per the directions below, and toss the squash with 3 large sliced shallots right before roasting. Stir the squash and shallots every 15 minutes while they roast. Right before serving, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped herbs (think thyme or parsley).
- Apple, Fennel, and Cranberry: Prepare the squash as per the directions below, but right before roasting toss the squash with 2 peeled and cubed granny smith apples, 1 cubed fennel bulb, and 1/2 cup of dried cranberries. You’ll want the squash, apple, and fennel cubes to all be the same size. Finally, roast for about 50-60 minutes, and season with salt and pepper before serving.
- Puree with Sage and Nuts: Follow the roasting time for pureeing butternut squash in the recipe below. While the squash is roasting, melt 4 tablespoons of butter together with 1 teaspoon of freshly minced sage. Puree the squash in a blender or with an immersion blender with the butter and sage mixture. Transfer the puree to a serving bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Finally, top with 2 tablespoons of your favorite toasted nuts.
If you have a tried and true flavor combination that you love, leave me a comment below so I can try it out!
Cook’s Note – Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe:
- Peeling and cutting butternut squash can be a task! For more detailed directions on how to do so, check out my How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash Tutorial!
- Depending on the size of the squash that you use, you will have 2-3 cups of roasted butternut squash pieces.
- I find that the best way to scoop out the seeds from the butternut squash is to use a large metal spoon or an ice cream scoop.
Cook’s Tools – Oven Roasted Butternut Squash:
ONE YEAR AGO: Garlic Cheese Breadsticks
TWO YEARS AGO: Meatball Sub Bites
THREE YEARS AGO: Butternut Apple Soup
- 1 large butternut squash
- 3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs like thyme rosemary, or sage, (optional)
- honey or maple syrup for drizzling (optional)
First, move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Then, line a baking sheet with foil and brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside.
Next, cut off the top and bottom of the squash. With a strong vegetable peeler, peel off the squash’s skin and discard.
Then, using a long, strong chef’s knife, cut the butternut squash in half right down the middle. Remove and discard the seeds.
Next, cut the squash into 1/2-inch pieces, and place them on your prepared baking sheet.
Then, drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the squash. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the butternut squash, and use your hands to coat the squash pieces in the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Finally, if you’re using the squash for a salad (like my Thanksgiving Salad recipe), then roast the squash in the oven for 20-25 minutes (tossing the pieces at the 10-minute mark), or until the squash is tender. If you plan on pureeing the squash, then roast for 45-55 minutes, or until the butternut squash pieces are soft and beginning to brown on the edges.