The sweet flavor and brilliant orange of butternut squash make it a fall favorite. Here are the best butternut squash recipes you need for the season!
What signals the coming of the season more than brilliant butternut squash? The orange color and tender, sweet flesh make it a frequent favorite in fall recipes. But how to cut it without endangering your finger tips? And what are the best ways to use it? Here we’ve rounded up all our favorite ways: roasted, in soups, and of course…in mac and cheese. Ready to get started?
How to cut butternut squash
The one stumbling block with butternut squash is this: how to cut it! It’s notoriously difficult to saw open. And if you’re not confident, there can be safety risks! To help you learn exactly how to do it, we made you a video! Here’s a quick video instruction on the right way to cut butternut squash:
Video: The right way to butternut squash (2 minutes)
- Using a large chef’s knife, cut off the top and stem of the butternut squash. Then cut off the neck of the butternut squash, right where the neck meets the base.
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin of the neck and the round base.
- Slice the round base in half, then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
- Cut a flat edge on the side of the neck. Then cut it into roughly 1/4″ slices. Cut the slices into strips, then turn the strips and chop them crosswise to create cubes.
- Slice off the end of the base and slice it into roughly 1/4″ slices. Then chop the slices crosswise to create cubes.
For more, go to How to Cut Butternut Squash.
Butternut squash nutrition
As you might guess from its orange color, butternut squash is full of nutrients. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, squash is full of beta carotene, protein, Vitamin C & B6, potassium, and fiber. While there are no studies to cite on specific health benefits of butternut 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.
Ready to get cooking?
Best butternut squash recipes
Our top butternut squash recipe? Let's hear it for risotto! The smell alone of this butternut squash risotto bubbling away is reason enough to cancel all your plans and make this recipe! 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.
Ready for the coziest, most comforting soup? This curried butternut squash soup tastes like a bowl of sunshine. It’s chock full of beautiful, colorful healthy ingredients, and because it's pureed with chickpeas, it's heartier than most butternut squash soups. The Thai flavors of coconut, ginger and curry are the perfect match to this lightly sweet orange squash! Pair with grilled cheese or fancy quesadilla to make it a meal.
Roasting butternut squash cubes in a very hot oven turns the squash irresistibly sweet and caramelized. This is our base recipe for how to roast butternut squash, and you can use it in so many ways. It's a total fall treat.
Dress it up: make our Healthy Butternut Squash Recipe by topping with a dollop of Greek yogurt for a creamy counterpoint! (For vegan, use Cashew Cream). Throw on a handful of Quick Pickled Onions to add a crunch and tang.
Here's a dose of sunshine in a bowl! This is one of our top butternut squash recipes because of the massive flavor that comes out of these humble vegetables. This bowl features the squash, carrots, kale, and leeks, simmered in an herb-scented broth with brown lentils. It's hard to explain how cozy it turns out! If you're looking for a delicious way to eat your superfoods, this is it.
Ready for the quickest, coziest fall recipe? This Instant Pot butternut squash soup! It's spiced with sage, with a hint of cinnamon and a smoky undertone. The squash and carrot give it an electric orange hue, and it's rounded out with potato and apple for sweetness. Really, it's pure gold in a bowl! It's a star in our comforting butternut squash recipes.
Also try: Easy Butternut Squash Soup
OF course, no list of butternut squash recipes is complete without the classic: butternut squash soup! This soup will amaze you because unlike most recipes, there's no heavy cream needed! The creaminess comes simply from the pureed squash along with a humble potato. That's all that's required to make a sweet, dreamy orange puree that will have you hooked.
Why not add butternut squash to...mac and cheese? Yes, mac and cheese is made more perfect with a little dose of squash. This healthy spin calls for adding the squash right to the pasta without pureeing it into the sauce, making it very easy to make. And the cheese sauce is made with smoked Gouda cheese and Greek yogurt, which covers the penne is a creamy, gooey coating.
In the mood for a project? This butternut squash recipe is a kitchen DIY to make your own squash chips! You don't even need a dehydratror: they're baked in the oven! It's helpful to have a mandoline to slice the squash into evenly thin slices. Brush them 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 up in our butternut squash recipes: quinoa with roasted fall vegetables! This is one of the easiest ways to make roasted butternut squash into a meal: combine it with a whole grain like quinoa and roast it along with a few other veggies! Here it's roasted up with fingerling potatoes, cauliflower, red onion, garlic and rosemary: and it makes your kitchen smell absolutely incredible! Serve it as a healthy vegetarian bowl meal or a fall side dish.
Note: Several of these Acorn Squash Recipes can also be made with butternut squash!
More with squash?
Love acorn squash? Got a spaghetti squash instead? Found a delicata and not sure how to use it? Here are some resources for other types of squash:
- Best Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
- Spaghetti Squash Mac and Cheese
- Roasted Delicata Squash Fries
- Stuffed Delicata Squash Recipe
- Delicata Squash Recipe with Black Bean Stuffing
- Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Curried Acorn Squash Soup
- Easy Spaghetti Squash Recipe with Pesto
- Top Spaghetti Squash Recipes
This roasted butternut squash is baked in a hot oven and turns out irresistibly sweet and caramelized. Serve as a healthy side dish or part of Butternut Squash Risotto!
- 1 small to medium butternut squash (1 1/2 pounds, about 4 cups diced)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
- Peel and cut the butternut squash into small cubes (about 1/2-inch thick). Follow the video tutorial or go to How to Cut Butternut Squash.
- In a medium bowl, toss with the olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then pour the squash on top in an even layer. Roast 30 to 35 minutes until tender and browned, turning once. Serve as a side dish, or part of Butternut Squash Risotto.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: Fall
Keywords: Butternut squash recipes, Roasted butternut squash
About the Authors
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.