Here are the best winter squash recipes starring butternut, spaghetti, acorn, & delicata! Easy, delicious, and certain to become favorites.
Got squash? Winter squashes make for some of the tastiest fall and winter meals. Roast up butternut cubes and throw them into creamy risotto, or puree them into a zesty Thai curried soup. Scoop out spaghetti squash into long, luxurious noodles and serve it with marinara sauce or as pad Thai. Or slice delicata squash into half-moons and serve it as fries with dipping sauce. There are so many incredible ways to eat squash, you can eat off all of these until spring! Want to get cooking?
Everyone's favorite squash recipe: stuffed acorn squash! You know that scent of onions, celery and leeks cooking in butter? Well, this recipe delivers it in spades. Squash is roasted until tender, then it’s draped in a toasted pecan rice stuffing that makes your kitchen smell like paradise! Everyone we’ve served it to becomes a believer…and then immediately asks for the recipe. (Got an Instant Pot? Go to Instant Pot Acorn Squash.)
Next up in our best winter squash recipes: soup! Creamy curried butternut squash soup, that is. It’s chock full of beautiful, colorful healthy ingredients. Thai flavors of coconut, ginger and curry are the perfect match to this lightly sweet orange squash! And because it's pureed with chickpeas, it's heartier than most butternut squash soups.
Meet your new favorite dream-boat squash recipe: baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna! This delicious no-noodle spin on the classic so satisfying, you’ll find yourself dreaming about the next time you get to eat it. It’s naturally gluten-free yet cheesy enough that you won’t miss the noodles. Mix those squash noodles with ricotta and Parmesan, then bake them with marinara and gooey mozzarella on top.
Another fantastic winter squash recipe? The smell alone of this butternut squash risotto bubbling away is reason enough to cancel all your plans! The tender, caramelized roasted squash makes sweet pockets in the creamy Parmesan rice dotted with sage. And that smell of shallots sauteing in butter, with a splash of white wine? DIVINE. It’s a perfect stunning dinner recipe for entertaining.
Here's a favorite squash recipe: butternut squash mac and cheese! Why add this mighty squash to pasta? Three reasons. The first is simply to have an excuse to use this fall ingredient! Butternut squash also lets you use less cheese and adds fiber to this traditionally starchy dish. But most of all…it’s just delicious. Squash gives the cheese sauce a sweet undertone and makes it extraordinarily creamy.
A fresh and colorful squash recipe: delicata squash salad! Here, delicata squash is roasted until caramelized and tender. It's served over a bed of baby greens with pistachios, pepitas, goat cheese crumbles and pomegranate seeds. Toss it with a honey mustard vinaigrette, and it's a healthy side dish everyone will love!
This squash casserole recipe is an Italian style spin! It features basil pesto, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese. It’s seriously hearty and satisfying. Serve it as a vegetarian main dish with a few sides (like these?), or as a showy side dish when entertaining or for a pitch in.
Here’s a unique pairing that works like a charm: butternut squash and Thai curry paste! There’s something about the sweetness of squash and the spicy aromatic flavors of curry paste that go hand in hand. Try them together in this Butternut Squash Curry recipe! It’s easy to make, full of colorful vegetables and bursting with Thai curry flavor. Serve it as is or with tofu, shrimp or chickpeas for a tasty plant-based dinner.
Delicata squash is extraordinarily sweet and cooks quickly. The skin is edible, so you don't even need to peel! It's an oblong shape that makes it perfect for cutting into half moon-shapes. Roast them in a hot oven, and they come out sweet and tender: in just 20 minutes! Call them “fries” and serve with dipping sauce! They’re great with ketchup, honey mustard sauce, tahini sauce, sour cream, or buffalo sauce.
Here's a unique squash recipe that makes a seriously tasty dinner! This squash pad Thai It's just like your favorite Thai takeout, but using spaghetti squash for the noodles! It's got a tangy, zesty sauce, lots of crunchy veggies, and is topped with peanuts and lots of cilantro.
This squash mac and cheese recipe is just as comforting and homey as it sounds. Mix squash noodles with a creamy cheesy Béchamel sauce made of Gruyere cheese, a pinch of nutmeg and a dash of white wine vinegar. At its core, it's comfort food at its finest. Roasting or pressure cooking spaghetti squash transforms its interior into long, slender "noodles." You can even use the squash shell as a serving dish!
Another favorite squash recipe: roasted squash with wild rice stuffing! One of the best ways to "stuff" acorn squash is to cut it into wedges and drape the stuffing over the top. It's easier to serve and eat! Here the squash is roasted until sweet and tender, and then covered with nutty, chewy wild rice, crunchy pistachios, and salty feta cheese. It tastes like fall on a plate.
Roasting butternut squash cubes in a very hot oven turns this winter squash irresistibly sweet and caramelized. This is our base recipe for how to roast butternut squash. You can use it in so many ways, from a side dish to adding it into a grain bowl or hearty salad. It's a total fall treat.
Another way to eat delicata squash: stuffed! This squash recipe becomes a filling fall dinner by stuffing it with rice, salsa, and black beans. Then, you'll paint on a chipotle glaze. You’re going to want to try this one ASAP.
Here's an easy squash recipe that makes for a tasty side dish! The tender spaghetti squash noodles are swirled with basil pesto and doused with fluffy grated Parmesan. WOW! I announced after my first bite. (Side note: Kids love it too.) You can make this in the oven or pressure cooker: and you’re going to want to make it all the time.
This squash recipe is a kitchen DIY for when you're in the mood for a project! You can make your own squash chips, and you don't even need a dehydratror! These chips are baked in the oven! Brush thin squash slices with olive oil and top with salt and a little Parmesan cheese, then bake until they're crispy. They make the perfect alternative to potato chips!
Last but certainly not least in our best winter squash recipes: lentil stew! This hearty butternut squash lentil stew tastes like sunshine! It comes together in about an hour and is perfect for serving on colder winter days. It’s filled with nutrient-rich foods like lentils, butternut squash, leeks, and chard: and a splash of white wine to round out the flavors.
Winter squash nutrition
As you might guess, squash is full of nutrients, and it’s one of the 20 best vegetables you can eat. According to Harvard School of Public Health, winter squashes of all types are full of beta carotene, protein, Vitamin C & B6, potassium, and fiber. While there are no studies to cite on specific health benefits of squash, here’s what we can say:
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, and have a positive effect on blood sugar to keep your appetite in check. Eating squash is not only delicious, it’s part of a healthy diet! Read more about the benefits of eating veggies here: 20 Best Vegetables to Eat Today
The best squash recipe? Roasted acorn squash! It’s roasted until tender and draped in a fall-scented stuffing of rice, pecans, and herbs.
1 cup white basmati rice*
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoonkosher salt, divided, plus more for sprinkling
2 small acorn squash*
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or substitute olive oil or coconut oil for vegan)
3/4 cup raw pecan pieces
Feta or goat cheese crumbles, optional
Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
Cook the rice: Add rice and 2 cups water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the heat and allow to steam with the cover on for 5 minutes. Stir in the dried sage and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
Roast the squash: Meanwhile, chop each of the acorn squash in half and then into quarters. (You can also leave it in halves if you prefer that look.) Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the squash on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil on the cut sides, then sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Turn cut side down on the sheet and roast until tender, about 40 minutes.
Toast the pecans: In a dry skillet over low heat, toast the pecans for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
Make the stuffing: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and celery 5 to 7 minutes until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, thyme, and oregano, and saute for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant. When the rice is cooked, stir it into the skillet. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, the fresh ground black pepper, butter, and pecans.
Serve: Spoon the stuffing over the squash quarters and serve immediately.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.