Want to know something cool about roasted butternut squash? You don’t have to peel it before roasting. That’s right. You do not have to suffer through peeling an entire slippery butternut squash if you’re going to roast it. The skin is perfectly safe to eat, and it’s hardly noticeable after a nice roast in a hot oven. You can see proof here and here.
Butternut squash is technically a winter squash, and it is indeed hearty and wonderful on a chilly day. Spring zucchini hasn’t arrived yet, so let’s use up the butternut in the pantry while it’s still good.
Butternut squash is naturally quite sweet. Roasted butternut squash is my favorite preparation because the edges caramelize against the pan, yielding delicious savory bits that help balance the sweetness.
Roasted butternut makes a great side dish with a few garnishes on top, but it’s more versatile than that. Over the years, I’ve used it in risotto and soup, hearty fall and winter salads, and even tacos. Again, I love to contrast the sweetness with spicy and savory ingredients, and you’ll find a list of suggestions below.
Roasted Butternut Squash Tips
There’s no wrong way to slice butternut squash
Which is to say that no matter how you slice a butternut squash into “cubes,” the cubes won’t be perfectly even. We’re dealing with an irregularly-shaped vegetable here.
In these photos, I sliced my butternut the way you’d learn to cut butternut squash in culinary school. I often slice it in half lengthwise instead, scoop out the seeds, and go from there. Either way works, or you can always buy pre-cut butternut squash to save time.
…but do slice it safely
Make sure your squash and your hands are thoroughly dry. Use a sharp chef’s knife on a sturdy cutting surface. Place your cutting board on a lightly damp towel to prevent the board from slipping around. However you slice the squash, start by creating a flat side that you can then turn against the cutting board to keep the squash stable for subsequent slices.
Your hands might feel or look funny afterward
“Squash hands” is a thing, and I’ve experienced it myself. When my skin comes into contact with cut squash, it feels tight with a weird orangey film that seems impossible to wash off. It’s a common occurrence with generally mild symptoms. You can wear disposable gloves to prevent it altogether. If only I could remember.
Temperature and timing notes
Roast butternut squash in a relatively hot oven. As with most other roasted vegetables, 425 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect.
Butternut squash varies considerably in size and moisture content, so timing can vary! One cubed butternut squash could need as little as 35 minutes or as long as 55 minutes in the oven. I’ve written the recipe below accordingly.
Watch How to Roast Butternut Squash
Complimentary Flavors for Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is at home on a Thanksgiving table and is always welcome with traditional meals along those lines. For these photos, I garnished the roasted squash with toasted pepitas, cranberries, chopped parsley and finely grated Parmesan for a simple side dish.
Butternut squash is also a fantastic sweet contrast in spicy dishes, including Mexican meals and curries. Here’s a list of flavors that work well with butternut. A few might surprise you!
- Beans: Black beans, chickpeas, white beans
- Dairy: Butter or browned butter, cheddar cheese, Fontina cheese, goat cheese, Parmesan, ricotta, yogurt
- Herbs: Cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, pecans, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), pine nuts, walnuts
- Produce: Apples, arugula, celery, garlic, ginger, onions of all kinds including leeks, mushrooms, orange, pomegranate
- Seasonings and accents: Allspice, balsamic vinegar, chili powder or red pepper flakes, cinnamon, cloves, coconut milk, coriander, cumin, curry powder or Thai curry paste, dried cranberries, ginger, honey or maple syrup, lemon or lime, nutmeg, tamari (soy sauce), vanilla
Recipes Featuring Roasted Butternut Squash
From soup to tacos, roasted butternut squash is a versatile and flavorful component.
- Hearty Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad
- Balsamic Butternut, Kale and Cranberry Panzanella
- Roasted Butternut Squash, Pomegranate and Wild Rice “Stuffing”
- Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos
More Roasted Winter Vegetables to Try
These seasonal roasted vegetables are perfect for chilly days:
- Roasted Acorn Squash
- Roasted Beets
- Roasted Broccoli (Plus Four Variations)
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Carrots (Three Ways)
- Roasted Cauliflower (Four Ways)
- Roasted Potatoes
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Please let me know how your roasted butternut turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Perfect Roasted Butternut Squash
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Side dish
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
With this simple recipe, your roasted butternut squash will turn out perfectly tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside. Recipe yields 4 servings.
- 1 small-to-medium (2 to 2 ½ pounds) butternut squash, cut into ¾-inch cubes
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Place the cubed butternut squash on your rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle it with the olive oil and sprinkle it with the salt. Toss until the cubes are lightly and evenly coated in oil, then arrange them in a single layer
- Roast for 35 to 55 minutes, tossing after 20 minutes, until they are starting to turn golden on the edges and tender when pierced through with a fork. Use as desired.