Love butternut squash? You’re not alone.
Butternut squash is a go-to comfort food for a reason: it’s delicious, versatile, and full of flavor.
Whether you’re looking to whip up a cozy fall evening meal or just trying to make your weekly grocery run a little bit more interesting, butternut squash is the perfect way to add warmth and depth to any dish.
Butternut squash is so good, you don’t have to do much to it at all—but we all know that the right herb can really take whatever you’re cooking to the next level.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 11 herbs that pair perfectly with butternut squash, no matter what kind of dish you’re making!
What Herbs Go with Butternut Squash?
Cooking doesn’t always have to be a battle.
Whether you’re looking for simple, feel-good meals or trying to level up your culinary skills, the trick is to start with what’s tried and true.
Herbs are one of the easiest ways to add flavor to a dish, so when you’re looking for something that complements butternut squash, you can get started right away with these 11 herbs that pair well with butternut squash:
One herb that pairs particularly well with butternut squash is thyme.
Thyme has a very mild flavor, so it will not overpower or clash with the taste of your butternut squash.
You can add it to your recipe early on—just add about 1 teaspoon of thyme per pound of squash when you season your dish with salt and pepper.
Thyme really shines when it’s roasted alongside vegetables in the oven; heat at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes per pound of butternut squash, adding more time if you have a large squash or are roasting other vegetables at the same time.
Thyme’s flavor is most potent when fresh; if you’re working with dried thyme, use twice as much (2 teaspoons per pound), and add it right at the beginning of cooking along with salt and pepper.
Oregano is a wonderful herb for butternut squash, and it’s readily available in most kitchens.
If you don’t have any, check out your local grocery store—they’re bound to have some!
- How much should I use? About 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano is a good place to start. But if you like more flavor, you can try up to 1 teaspoon without overwhelming the butternut squash.
- When should I add it? Oregano works best when it’s added in the middle of cooking. This allows its flavor to really shine!
- How do I prepare it? Oregano leaves are pretty soft, so they can be used as-is. If you’re using fresh oregano, add it about two hours after cooking begins (do this by sprinkling it over the top of the butternut squash). If you’re using dried oregano, just crush the leaves between your fingers before adding them.
Rosemary is a herb from the mint family that has a woodsy, pine-like aroma and sharp flavor.
It lends itself well to soups and stews, and it pairs particularly well with butternut squash.
- When should I add it? Rosemary shines when added at the beginning of the cooking process. You need to give it time to infuse into your dish—it doesn’t taste as good if you just throw it in at the end.
- How much should I use? When using fresh rosemary, use a ratio of one teaspoon of chopped leaves per pound of food being seasoned. If you’re using dried rosemary, use half the amount of fresh (so 1/2 teaspoon per pound).
- How do I prepare it? Rosemary is usually sold in sprigs—but don’t worry, we’ll show you how easy it is to chop!
First things first:
- Pick off the leaves and discard the stem.
- Then gather them together in little piles on your cutting board.
- Now chop away!
You want your herbs to be small enough so they’re easier to mix into your dish.
Chives are easy to add to soups, salads, and dips.
They add a lovely splash of color and the taste of onions to your food.
They’re also easy to grow, so you can have them on hand whenever you need them.
- How much should I use? The recommended serving size is around 1 cup per person. It’s important not to overdo it, as too much can be overpowering.
- When should I add it? You can add chives at any time during cooking—try adding some right at the beginning and letting them soften in the soup or at the end just before serving so they keep their crunch.
- How do I prepare it? Chop finely with a sharp knife or use scissors to snip off pieces while they’re growing in your garden!
With a flavor profile that hits all the right notes—woodsy, slightly earthy, with a hint of pepper and citrus—sage will make you wonder how you ever lived without it!
- When should I use it? You can add sage anytime in the cooking process, but we recommend adding it near the end, along with your salt and pepper. It’s best not to cook sage too long, just until its aroma fills your kitchen.
- How much should I use? Don’t be afraid to use plenty of sage in your butternut squash soup. While some herbs lend themselves well to a heavy hand (we’re looking at you, rosemary!) there is nothing wrong with adding a ton of sage for maximum flavor impact.
- How do I prepare it? Sage is one of those easy herbs that doesn’t really need any special preparation before you add it to your butternut squash soup—unless you want to get fancy and give it a quick chop with your knife.
But honestly, if we were making butternut squash soup, we’d probably just tear up our sage leaves by hand and toss them in!
Basil is a versatile herb that can be used to accompany many different dishes, but it’s particularly good with butternut squash because of its sweet and aromatic qualities.
When prepared correctly, basil will bring out the flavor of your butternut squash dish without overpowering it.
- How to use it: A little bit of basil goes a long way. One tablespoon should be more than enough for a whole dish. If you want to add extra flavor, chop a few leaves into fine pieces and sprinkle them on top of your cooked squash.
- When to use it: It’s best to add basil after you’ve cooked your squash, so that the heat from cooking doesn’t burn off all of the aromatic oils that make basil so tasty. You can also slice a few leaves and mix them into your dish raw for an extra kick!
- How to prepare it: Basil is easy to prepare—just wash it under cold water before using!
With cinnamon, you can use as much or as little as you want.
If you have a milder dish, like butternut squash soup, you can even skip the cinnamon altogether.
But if you’re making something more complex and exciting, like butternut squash spaghetti, it’s best to add about 1/4 teaspoon per pound of butternut squash noodles to get the greatest flavor profile.
Once your butternut squash has been peeled, chopped (if needed), and cooked in your favorite way, sprinkle the cinnamon on top right before serving.
This will help prevent it from clumping up or getting lost in the mix while still infusing all of the flavors of your dish with a warm cinnamon taste—much better than added later!
The same goes for any other herb you might want to add: don’t put it in too early!
Cinnamon is really easy to prepare: just measure it out using whatever method works best for you (we find 1/4 teaspoons work well) and sprinkle it on top of your finished dish!
Nutmeg is a beautiful seasoning that can add a rich aromatic touch to any dish, including your butternut squash!
- How much should I use? A little goes a long way, so when it comes to nutmeg, you don’t need much. Start out with a pinch of grated or powdered nutmeg.
- When should I add it? The best time to add nutmeg depends on what kind of dish you’re cooking. If you’re making soup or roasting vegetables, you can add it at the beginning—it will dissolve into the liquid and enhance the flavor of the squash as it cooks. If you’re making muffins or pancakes, add it in at the end just before baking!
- How do I prepare it? You can buy nutmeg already ground up from most grocery stores. You can also buy whole nutmegs and grate them with a grater or zester; if you do this, make sure to store the extra in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for future use!
Parsley is a leafy green herb that pairs extremely well with sweet, savory foods like butternut squash.
It has a bright, peppery taste that adds a fragrant aroma and a pleasant crunch to dishes.
Parsley can be used in both raw and cooked form, and you can use it as a garnish or an ingredient in sauces.
- How much should I use? You can use parsley in any amount you like—just remember that the more you add, the stronger the flavor will be!
- When do I add it? Parsley is at its best when added at the end of cooking so that it retains its bright color and taste.
- How do I prepare it? To prepare parsley for cooking, wash it thoroughly (parsley tends to have dirt hiding between its leaves), then dry it off with a paper towel before using.
You know what goes really well with butternut squash?
- How much should I use? In general, you’ll want to use about 1/4 cup of cilantro for every pound of butternut squash. If you’re making a stew or soup that involves other ingredients, it might be best to err on the side of less cilantro and add more later if needed.
- When should I add it? Cilantro should be added at the end of cooking time to preserve its flavor. If you’re adding it as a garnish, do so just before serving.
- How do I prepare it? If you’re using pre-packaged cilantro, thoroughly rinse it under running water before chopping. Then chop the cilantro into small pieces to make sure the flavor is distributed evenly throughout the dish.
Dill is the perfect herb to pair with butternut squash because its flavor echoes that of the squash itself.
- How much should I use? For a single serving of soup, you only need a tablespoon of finely chopped dill.
- When should I add it? Use half of the dill for flavoring your base. Add it at the beginning of the cooking process so that it can permeate your stew and really infuse it with its essence. Save the other half to swirl into each individual bowl right before serving, so that every bite is bright and fresh.
- How do I prepare it? Make sure to chop your dill well! The best way to do this is with a very sharp chef’s knife or mezzaluna.
What Herbs Go with Butternut Squash Soup?
You can use any number of herbs with butternut squash soup, but some of the most popular are rosemary, sage, thyme, and mint.
The trick to cooking with herbs is to pair complementary flavors: spicy, savory, sweet, or bitter.
If you’re looking for a spicy addition to your soup, try adding rosemary and thyme.
Mint goes well with savory dishes and would also pair nicely with squash.
Sage is a very bitter herb that works well in soups but can be overpowering if added too early in the cooking process.
What Spices Go with Butternut Squash Soup?
Butternut squash soup is such a classic, and so versatile.
It’s also a great way to get your kids to eat vegetables, if you’re into that kind of thing (for the record: I’m totally into that).
The spices you use in your butternut squash soup are going to depend on how you want it to taste.
- Are you looking for something spicy?
- Something with some real kick?
- Or do you prefer a milder flavor that lets the natural sweetness of the squash show through?
If you want to tone down the sweetness, try adding some cumin or coriander.
To make it spicier, try adding chili powder or paprika.
If you want a more savory flavor, try dried thyme or rosemary.
Personally, I like my butternut squash soup with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon—it makes it feel a little bit more “autumnal” and cozy, if that’s the vibe you’re going for.
11 Herbs that Go with Butternut Squash
- Pick one or more of the herbs from this list to use with your butternut squash.
- Prepare the rest of your meal.
- Be ready to munch in no time!