Roasted butternut squash is one of those great side dishes that comes together so easily. It’s a great dish for a crowd, too, because it keeps very well.
Here’s my basic recipe, along with some variations that are sure to turn heads.
If you’re looking for a simple, healthy side dish to accompany dinner tonight, or if you’re hosting this week, you’ll want to try this simple roasted butternut squash recipe.
I think it goes without saying that this is one of my favorite dishes. I love the warm sweetness of brown sugar and cinnamon in combination with roasted butternut squash. It’s comfort food at its finest!
How To Make The Best Roasted Butternut Squash
Making the best roasted butternut squash is an absolute essential if you’re planning to make the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner. It’s one of those dishes that people love or hate. You either think it’s perfect or you think it’s too sweet.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Peel and Cube Your Butternut Squash
Peeling butternut squash is a pain in the ass. Use a vegetable peeler or knife to carefully remove the outer skin. Cut off the ends of the squash, then halve it lengthwise and scrape out any seeds. You can leave them in or discard them.
2. Toss in Some Olive Oil
I used extra-virgin olive oil since it has a higher smoke point than regular olive oil.
3. Mix up Some Cinnamon
Don’t over-do it on the cinnamon, though. I used less than half a teaspoon because I wanted my squash to have a balance of flavor, not a giant cinnamon kick. If you use too much, your squash will be overpowered by cinnamon.
4. Bake Your Butternut Squash
After prepping your squash, simply toss it into a roasting pan and bake it for an hour. Stir it once halfway through so that all sides get nice and brown.
5. Sprinkle in Brown Sugar and Salt
The brown sugar and salt add a touch of sweetness and saltiness that balances the savory notes from the cinnamon.
6. Take It out Of the Oven and Enjoy!
This is when the true magic happens. My butternut squash was done baking, so I let it cool for a few minutes before cutting it into cubes and serving. It was so tender, with a great texture and a flavor that balanced the sweetness from the brown sugar.
How To Make It (Version 2)
- The first step in roasting a squash is to peel it. This can be done with a vegetable peeler, a fork, or your hands.
- Squash has a lot of moisture in it, which means it can burn easily. Make sure to keep an eye on your oven at all times.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it with butter or coconut oil.
- Slice the butternut squash in half, then remove the seeds.
- Once your squash is cut in half, place it on the baking sheet, cut-side down.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes. Depending on the size of the squash, this could take anywhere from 10-40 minutes. The longer it takes, the more tender the squash will be.
- Let the squash cool for 5-10 minutes before gently cutting it in half lengthwise. Then, slice the squash into thin slices.
- Next, you’ll want to mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and olive oil. Make sure to use all the ingredients!
- Spread the brown sugar mixture over the butternut squash.
- Bake for another 15-20 minutes. The squash should be caramelized and bubbly.
- Enjoy warm and topped with a bit of vanilla ice cream.
I’ve seen recipes for butternut squash that include everything from apples to bacon to even crumbled sausage. Here are my official favorite roasted butternut squash variations, shown from top to bottom.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Melt some vegan butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add your sliced onion, and saute for 5 minutes. Then add your roasted squash, and let cook for another 5 minutes. Add broth and spices, and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Serve topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and crumbled bacon.
Roasted Butternut Squash Puree
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butternut squash on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and season it generously with sea salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika. Roast for about 40 minutes, until soft. You’ll know when it’s ready when it easily comes off of the peel. Let cool completely, then use the fork to roughly mash it up (you can even use your hands if you prefer).
Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole
Mix 2 cups of roasted butternut squash puree with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread evenly into a baking dish or casserole dish. Sprinkle with some grated parmesan, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve topped with crumbled bacon and fresh basil.
Roasted Butternut with an Asian Spin
Lightly drizzle toasted sesame seed oil or teriyaki sauce over the warm squash. Finish it off with sesame seeds (white or black), and some red pepper flakes if you’d like a spicy kick.
Tips And Tricks for the Best Roasted Butternut Squash
- This roasted butternut squash recipe is so delicious and easy to make. The flavors are sweet and savory, and it’s loaded with vitamin A. I suggest serving it alongside some spicy Indian curries for the perfect healthy and flavorful meal!
- If you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to roast your squash, just throw it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and take it out before it gets mushy.
- You can also steam your squash in a pot. Just cut it in half and place in a steaming basket in a pan of water over medium heat. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, or until you can easily pierce it with a fork.
- For a more filling option, you can add extra vegetables or lean protein to this dish, such as chicken or turkey.
- Brown sugar makes everything better!
- To make this dish even more nutritious, swap out the butter for light sour cream or Greek yogurt.
- I like to use butternut squash in my recipes because it holds its shape better than other types of squash. You can use any kind of squash that you enjoy!
- If you are going to use butternut squash, try to buy one that is still on the stalk, with a nice round shape.
- You can roast this the day before you want to eat it. It keeps great in the fridge for a few days.
- The secret to this recipe is the brown sugar. You want it to get caramelized so you have that rich, sweet taste.
- Make sure you cut out the seeds from the squash before cooking. They are very bitter.
- Try to cook the squash at the same temperature as your protein.
- Add the brown sugar and cinnamon while the squash is still warm, otherwise the mixture will be too hard to scoop into the baking dish.
- Roasting brings out the sweet flavor of the squash, so you need to serve it with something that is a little bit sour or savory to counterbalance it.
- If you can’t find brown sugar, try using molasses instead. It will add a little extra sweetness to the dish, as well as a little bit of caramelized flavor.
How To Store Roasted Butternut Squash
Roasting butternut squash is the perfect way to prepare it in advance. If you’re a fan of the fall season, you’ll love this!
You can also refrigerate the roasted butternut squash, but the flavors will change over time. You can roast and store it for 3-4 days. Or, if you prefer, you can use the prepared squash right away. If so, just keep it in an airtight container and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop when you’re ready to serve it.
If you need to store roasted butternut squash in the refrigerator for more than 2 days, you should probably toss it with oil and place it in a sealed container. This will help the flavors retain their freshness.
Sides To Serve With Roasted Butternut Squash
The roasted butternut squash is sweet, creamy, and flavorful. It’s also a great vehicle for spices.
For something a little different, you can serve it with a spicy salsa. Or, opt for some sour cream instead of the cheese.
Serve it with cornbread to soak up all the yummy butter.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tsp unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 Celsius).
- Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon.
- Cut the rest of the butternut squash into cubes, place in large bowl.
- Add olive oil and brown sugar to the butternut squash cubes, sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon (to taste) – mix until all pieces are covered.
- Pour mixture onto baking pan, making sure to spread out the pieces evenly within the pan; roast for 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving; mix with sour cream and lime wedges if desired, serve immediately.