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This stuffed butternut squash recipe features a vegetable and rice stuffing flavored with sage and pecans. A delicious fall meal!

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Want a delicious dinner or stunning side to celebrate the season? Try stuffed butternut squash! Sure, it’s not as common to stuff this popular squash as its cousin the acorn squash. But baked until it’s tender and sweet, it comes out just as tasty (or even more!). This recipe stars a vegetable and rice stuffing with garlic, kale, sage and pecans: fall flavors that accentuate the orange squash perfectly. It’s perfect for a fall dinner, Thanksgiving, or anytime you need a cozy meal.

Ingredients in stuffed butternut squash

Stuffed butternut squash is a tasty dish that works as a fall main course, or a side dish for a festive gathering. It takes about 1 hour to complete, so make it when you’ve got time set aside or follow the make ahead tips below. While the squash roasts, make the simple rice and vegetable filling. Then you’ll hollow out the roasted squash, chop up that portion and mix it back into the filling: so there’s no waste at all! Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Butternut squash (small)
  • White basmati or long grain rice
  • Butter
  • Onion, garlic, celery, and kale
  • Dried sage, dried thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper
  • Cream cheese
  • Milk
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pecans
Stuffed Butternut Squash

Look for small butternut squash

The size of the butternut squash is important for this recipe. Each eater will get one half of the squash, and a large butternut squash is much too large of a portion. It’s nice to have small butternut squash because they make a portion sized-vessel, much like with stuffed acorn squash.

If all you can find is a large butternut squash, you can make four portions by slicing the squash in half length-wise. However, it doesn’t have the same look: so it’s nice to find small squashes if at all possible.

Alternative stuffing ideas

This stuffed butternut squash is vegetarian as written in the recipe below, and it’s easily made vegan. Want a meat-based stuffing, or some other ideas? Here are some alternative stuffing ideas:

  • Italian-style sausage stuffing (or plant-based): Make the stuffing from this Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe. You can also make this with plant-based sausage and it’s delicious.
  • Beef and rice stuffing (or plant-based): Make the stuffing from these Stuffed Green Peppers. It also works with plant-based beef crumbles.

In many of these cases you’ll likely have leftover filling, so you could roast another small butternut squash (if it fits on the tray!) or serve extras on the side.

How to bake butternut squash

Make ahead and serving tips

This stuffed butternut squash recipe takes 1 hour to prepare, so it’s not intended as a fast and easy meal. Here are a few tips for making this recipe in advance or scaling it up for large gatherings:

  • Make the filling in advance. Make the rice filling in advance, then refrigerate until serving. Before stuffing the squash, re-warm it on the stovetop.
  • Roast the butternut squash in advance. Even better, roast the squash in advance. Remove the inner portion, chop and add to the filling (if made in advance). Refrigerate the squash until serving. Before serving, re-warm the filling on the stovetop, stuff, top with Parmesan, and bake the squash for about 30 minutes until warmed through.
  • If serving for a crowd, roast the squash in advance. This recipe is great for smaller dinner parties or Thanksgiving gatherings. It’s tough to make in large quantities because the more butternut squash you have in the oven, the longer it takes. If you roast 4 small squashes, increase the baking time (it can take up to 1 hour depending on your oven and the squash size). Anything above 8 portions is best prepared in advance in batches.
Stuffed Butternut Squash

More butternut squash recipes

Love cooking with squash? Here are a few more tasty butternut squash recipes to enjoy this season:

This butternut squash recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan and dairy-free, use vegan butter in place of the butter and cream cheese (see below) and omit the Parmesan cheese.

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Stuffed Butternut Squash

Stuffed Butternut Squash

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 butternut squash halves 1x


This stuffed butternut squash recipe features a vegetable and rice stuffing flavored with sage and pecans. A delicious fall meal!


  • 2 small butternut squash*
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter (or vegan butter)
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chopped kale, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese (or 3 tablespoons vegan butter)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (omit for vegan)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Roast the squash: Slice each of the squash in half. 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 (test with a fork to assess doneness).
  3. Make the rice: Rinse the rice in cold water using a fine mesh strainer, then drain and shake it dry. Place the rice in a saucepan with 1 ½ cups water and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the water is completely absorbed (test by pulling back the rice with a fork). Remove from the heat. Cover and rest for 10 minutes.  Fluff the rice with a fork. 
  4. Toast the pecans: Place the pecans in a dry skillet (no oil) over medium heat. Heat, shaking the pan and stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the nuts are fragrant and slightly darker brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat and transfer to a plate to stop the cooking.
  5. Make the stuffing: Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, sage, thyme, and oregano, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the kale and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté for 2 min. Add the cream cheese and milk and stir until distributed and melted. Add the rice and and pecans. Taste and add additional salt to taste (we added ⅛ tsp). 
  6. Fill the squash: When the squash is finished roasting and tender, remove the sheet from the oven. Use a spoon to scoop out the center of the squash, leaving a 1/4-inch shell around the outside. Chop the removed squash into pieces (it will not be perfectly square but that’s ok!) and stir it into the rice filling. You can leave out some of the squash if it feels like it is too much for the rice quantity (since the amount depends on the squash size). Spoon the filling back into the hole in the squash and top with grated Parmesan cheese. There may be some extra filling, which you can serve on the side or reserve as leftovers.
  7. Roast: Return to the oven and bake 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately. Leftovers last refrigerated for 2 days (see make ahead tips above).


*Size is important here, since each eater will get one half of the squash. A large butternut squash is much too big! If all you can find is a large squash you can slice the squash in half length-wise, but it doesn’t have the same look.

**This recipe is tough to multiply because the more butternut squash you have in the oven, the longer it takes. If you roast 4 small squashes, increase the baking time (it can take up to 1 hour depending on your oven and the squash size). Anything above 8 portions is best prepared in advance in batches.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Fall
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Stuffed butternut squash, stuffed butternut squash recipes, butternut squash with stuffing, butternut stuffed squash

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Couldn’t wait to make this and had only one small to medium butternut that I baked and probably went too far in baking as it was super soft, and mashed consistenecy but carried on and scooped it out and used in the rice mix. Since only one butternut I saved back half the rice, nuts and cheeses, but used full amount of onion ( a cup) and probably one cup celery. The herbs very nice in this. Loved it, good practice for making it for company. This still would be serving for 4 in my book, very full squash. Will do again, loved it.

    1. We have not tried it, but I think that freezing leftovers would work! To defrost, place it in the refrigerator the night before. Then reheat in the oven at 375 or 400F until warmed through. The filling could come out a little dry but hopefully it would work!