Want to bake squash to tender, caramelized perfection? Here’s how to make roasted butternut squash — and exactly how to cut it!
Butternut squash is the poster child for fall. And once the air gets a chill, it’s all we can do not to immediately buy loads of it and make all the soups and mac and cheese. If there’s a contender to pumpkin spice, this could be it (right?). But one of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook this ubiquitous orange squash is simply roasting it in a hot oven. It comes out tender and caramelized, its sweet flavor perfectly developed. And you don’t even need a recipe, really. Here’s a quick primer on how to roast butternut squash.
How to make roasted butternut squash (without a recipe!)
This method for making roasted butternut squash is easy enough that you can memorize it! Once you understand the basic concept, it’s easy to make without a recipe. You’ll feel like Julia Child with your kitchen knowledge! Here’s what to do:
- Preheat the oven (425 degrees). The top thing to remember about squash is you’ll use a very hot oven. This is how it gets a little browned and caramelized.
- Cut the squash into 1/2-inch cubes. This is indeed the part of the method where you’ll need the most skill. Head to the section below for full instructions.
- Toss the squash with olive oil (1 tablespoon for every 2 cups cubed squash). Place the squash in a bowl and drizzle in a bit of the olive oil. You can eyeball it, or use our formula.
- Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper (1/4 teaspoon per 2 cups). Sprinkle in salt and fresh ground pepper. (Again, eyeball it or use this formula.)
- Bake until tender (about 30 minutes). And now, you wait! Just bake until it’s tender. The timing will depend on the size of the squash cubes, so keep an eye out towards the end of the bake time.
Video: How to cut butternut squash
The hardest part of roasted butternut squash is actually cutting the squash! Have you ever struggled with cutting this infamously challenging vegetable? The best way we’ve found to explain it is to show you. So above is a video that shows all the steps you need to peel and cut a butternut squash!
How to chop butternut squash (basic steps)
Quick tip: Using a serrated peeler makes peeling squash a breeze! We did a test and it’s MUCH easier than a normal peeler. Here are our favorite vegetable peelers.
- Cut apart the neck and the base: Using a large chef’s knife, cut off the stem of the butternut squash. Cut off the neck of the butternut squash, right where the neck meets the base.
- Peel: Use a serrated vegetable peeler to peel off the skin of the neck and the base.
- Scoop out the seeds: Slice the base in half, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
- Chop the neck into cubes: Cut a flat edge on the side of the neck, then flip it onto that flat edge. Cut the neck into roughly 1/4″ slices. Cut the slices into strips, then turn the strips and chop them crosswise to create cubes.
- Cut the base into cubes: Slice off the end of the base and slice it into roughly 1/4″ slices. Then chop the slices crosswise to create cubes.
Ways to serve it!
This roasted butternut squash is so tasty, it’s hard to find a bad way to eat it. Here are a few ideas on how to serve it:
- As a side dish: You could serve this as is as a tasty side dish for a main like baked or broiled salmon. It would be a great for a holiday meal, like a Thanksgiving side dish.
- In a grain bowl: Try it with a whole grain like in our Roasted Vegetable Bowl, or with Tahini Sauce in our Vegan Buddha Bowl.
- In risotto: It’s a part of our new butternut squash risotto with sage (coming soon!). Or use it in place of cauliflower in our Roasted Cauliflower Risotto.
This recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.Print
Want to bake squash to tender, caramelized perfection? Here’s how to make roasted butternut squash—and exactly how to cut it!
- 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.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keywords: 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.