How to roast butternut squash
October 28th, 2010
08:30 AM ET
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Yup - we read the comments, and noted this while we were perusing yesterday's Five Tips on Cooking Fall Squash:

"Can you post how to roast an butternut squash, I have only every cooked in a pan of water until the meat is soft. Roasting sounds yummy." - ksbradley21

It is, indeed, and we're nothing if not helpful. As Chef Tony Conte says, "The heat brings out the natural sugars, makes the color more intense and makes the flesh much easier to work with or to make into a purée."

Here's how.

Halved butternut squash

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

2. On a cutting board, carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. Make sure to trim off any hard stem parts.

*Update – A Twitter follower asks, "It is cutting it that is always the tricky part.....ideas?"

Yes. Slice off the top and the bottom so it sits flat on a secured cutting board. Rest it on the widest end, and using a heavy knife, slice down vertically. If you face resistance, use a mallet - ideally rubber - to tap gently on the tops of both sides of the blade. Work as slowly as you need to.

3. Use a spoon to scrape out innards. Guts and seeds can be composted or discarded, but butternut and acorn squash seeds are delicious roasted on a cooking sheet with a little oil and salt.

4. Prick the flesh with a fork, brush or spray all surfaces lightly with oil, sprinkle the cut side with a little salt and place face-down on a cookie sheet.

5. Roast for 40-50 minutes until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork.

6. Once it's cook enough to handle, peel off the skin, then chop, cube or mash and serve.

Hint: We like ours with a little bit of melted butter, Kosher salt, brown sugar and coriander. We also add grated Parmesan if we're feeling wacky.

Cubed butternut squash

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

2. Peel the squash using a vegetable peeler. For stubborn spots, stabilize the squash on a cutting board and carefully remove with a paring knife.

3. Cut the squash into 1" thick rounds, remove guts and seeds with a spoon, and then stack slices to cut into cubes of even thickness.

4. Brush or spray cubes with oil, or toss in a bag with oil to evenly coat all sides.

5. Place cubes on a cookie sheet, sprinkle lightly with salt and roast 20-25 minutes until fork-tender and the edges are brown, then serve immediately.

Got any other cooking queries? We're here to help. Post them in the comments and we'll do our best to delicious up your kitchen life.

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Filed under: Cooking • Fall Vegetables • From the Comments • Help Desk • How To • Make • Roasting • Squash • Techniques & Tips • Vegetables

soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

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    November 26, 2013 at 2:51 am |
  2. Jean

    Just put the whole squash on a baking sheet, and let it bake until it's all browned and soft. No need to cut it in half first - it's easier to cut it after it's cooked. Takes a little longer, but so much easier (and safer, considering how hard it is to cut when raw).

    October 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • realcheapfood

      That's how I do it, too, Jean! Super easy! Safer than cutting a hard, raw squash, too.

      July 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
  3. nike tn

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    July 26, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  4. anthony joseph lucchese

    I am getting some smoke from the oil that is on the cookie sheet, so my wife said to put the butter nut squash in a pan with some water on the bottom. It seems better now, I followed the instructions but the oil is smoking like I said at 400 degrees oven temp. It should be ok now I hope otherwise with the oil on the cookie sheet the smoke alarm will go off!

    June 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  5. Mama Peggy

    Squash is a great addition to a veggie medley. I try to serve veggies with every family dinner, and the kids won't always go for it unless I make them look more like a dish than a veggie. Try something yummy like this:

    November 13, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  6. carrie

    I want to add pureed butternut squash to cupcakes. Do I need to cook is as long since it'll get cooked a bit more once it's mixed in with the batter?

    November 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  7. Susan at Prana Wellness

    i am so loving butternut squash this season. check out my soup recipe, with apples and coconut added in for a delicate, subtly sweetness and hearty good flavor:

    November 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  8. Christina

    I like to peel and cut my butternut squash into chunks and toss it with olive oil, curry powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread out the chunks on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees until tender.

    November 8, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
  9. Jenn

    I love roasting mine as described above but I will fill the "bowl" with apples that I've peeled, cored and chopped and tossed in cinnamon and nutmeg. The apple and squash is amazing! I've also added apple juice to my butternut squash soup for something different!

    November 8, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  10. Allie

    Peel the squash with a peeler, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and cube the flesh. Cube other fall veggies like sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, carrots, garlic, etc. Toss them all in a roaster with melted butter or olive oil, salt & pepper, and thyme. Cook on stove top for a little bit and then put in the oven for about 45 minutes at 425. Shake occasionally. The edges will carmelize and the middles will be soft and velvety. Perfection!!!! Just made it yesterday, as a matter of fact!

    November 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  11. Squash Nut

    I halved an acorn squash, scooped out seeds and drizzled olive oil, salt and pepper on it. Put flat side down on sheet pan in 500 degree oven for one hour or until easily poked with fork. After done, I filled the open bowl portion with a nutty rice and then covered it with an Indian creamed spinach/daal as a topping. This was fantastic, and very filling.

    November 1, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  12. Colleen

    I roast it in cubes with olive oil, curry powder, sage, a dash of allspice and cracked black pepper...45 minutes at 375. Delicious just like that or pureed with some chicken stock and skim milk for soup.

    November 1, 2010 at 7:09 am |
  13. anabel

    Definitely microwave is the way to go. Cut a butternut into quarters, clean out the inside, put it on a microwave safe disy, cover with saran wrap and cook for 5 minutes. Then mash it with brown sugar, nutmeg, whatever you like to use to enhance the flavor. This can be done earl in the day, even the day before, and reheated in the microwave. faster thana the oven method. I was glad to see the suggestion about heating it for a short time to soften it before cutting. It is really hard – I nearly broke my wrist on one squash!

    November 1, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  14. KJ

    A great way to make butternut is to cube it, then put it in a pan - about two cups butternut and 3/4 cup water - and steam it 7 – 8 minutes. You know when it's one because you can put a fork in it easily. Put some butter on top, cinnamon and sugar if you'd like...and Yum!!! ENJOY!! (makes two servings, just double it if you want more!)

    October 31, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
  15. SquashNerd

    A melonballer works great for removing the seeds and guts. Also, if you can find one, there are pumpkin carving kits that include a tracing wheel for transferring patterns to the surface of a pumpkin by poking holes in the skin. I find it's easier than using a fork in preping the skin of a squash before roasting.

    October 31, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
  16. Leslie

    A wonderful butternut soup recipe

    October 31, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  17. Dennis Magnuson

    As a single retiree, I find that using the microwave to cook squash works quite well and speeds things up, without sacrificing the flavor that my family used to savor when the squash were baked for more than an hour in an oven.

    I take a half acorn/butternut, scrape out the innards (with a serrated grapefruit spoon) and put this half cut side down with about a half inch of water in an uncovered microwave safe container, cooking in the microwave for 6 mins. Then I turn it over, and put in squash cavity a table spoon of brown sugar, a dollop of butter, maybe a teaspoon of chopped walnuts (or pecans or something similar), and then another tea- or table spoon of raisins. Pop this back in for another two minutes and you are about to ascend to heaven at the table! (BTW, the use of real maple syrup mentioned in several other postings sounds like a super substitute for the brown sugar, thanks!) If this is too sweet for some, then make it your dessert!

    October 30, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
  18. Doug Roberts

    I like to roast acorn squash by cutting into quarters and simmering, cut side down in about an inch of water for 30 mins. @ 350F. Then place in a shallow dish, cut side up. Put about a teaspoon of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a couple of strips of bacon in the cavity. Finish roasting another 30 mins. @ 350F. One quarter of an acorn squash is just right for one person.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  19. The_Mick

    You can also cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, and after scooping out the seeds, fill the hollow area with peas and butter/margarine halfway through roasting. A great non-roasted use of it is in Martha Stewart's "Savory Fall Stew", which I have to make in double batches and send "care packages" in plastic tubs to my siblings' families.

    October 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  20. UmptySquat

    One thing I haven't noticed mentioned is that some people, myself included, are sensitive to the peeled flesh. I get contact dermititus if I don't wear nitrile/latex gloves while peeling them. I love butternut squash roasted but it tears up my hands if I don't protect them. I know your wondering so I'm a male with calloused hands from work.

    October 30, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • Black Beauty...yum!

      That's unique – never heard of allergy to squash before. Presumably you don't react to contact with the cooked squash. Are your reactions only to this variety, or others as well?

      October 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • guest

      Thanks for the tip on using latex or rubber gloves when peeling the squash.
      I too have a strange reaction on my fingers to the liquidish silky area between the peeled skin and the flesh..but not the cooked squash. I also get contact dermatitis if I touch the squash leaves in the garden and they do scratch my hands to "shreds". I have sensitive skin and found that an allergy tablet helps after gardening.
      Try a little molasses in the brown suger/maple syrup concoctions on this website....YUMMY..Thanks again

      October 31, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  21. Jill

    My husband has the most amazing garden. This is the first time he is growing butternut squash and they are soooo good! I just roasted mine with olive oil, fresh garlic, pepper and a little season salt. At the end of the roasting time I put them on broil to brown the top. Incredible. My husband also uses parm. cheese.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  22. CrazyCannuk

    Poke the squash about 20-30 times with a knife and put it in the microwave for about 15 minutes..Cut the squash in half, scoop out the insides, add butter mash and serve. Just like turnups but much tastier.

    October 30, 2010 at 2:44 am |
  23. Wallaby

    Roast 'em whole – Knock off the stem with a heavy pin or the edge of the counter top, wash, leave wet, poke a paring knife into the blossom end to allow steam to escape. Place directly on the oven rack with a cookie sheet or baking pan below to catch (minimal) drips. Roast at 350 for an hour or more (Depending on size – we grow our own and they can get really big in good soil) turning over once about halfway thru. When the thickest part of the neck is tender all the way thru when poked with a fork, it is done. When roasted well there are no 'tough' parts. The seeds are edible too. (But not as good as pumpkin seeds) Scoop them out, wash them to remove the stringy gunk, allow to dry and use as snack food. The flesh is tender and easily scooped out of the thin rind. Drizzled with honey and butter is really good. Also makes the nicest pumpkin pie you've ever made. Use in pie just like solid pack canned pumpkin. This dry, whole roasting seems to develope the richest flavor and is just too easy.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:15 am |
    • Katie

      This is how I do it too. I'm always shocked that people don't know you can do this and that people waste so much time cutting the hard as a rock raw squash!

      November 2, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  24. Aerianna

    Better Homes and Gardens published a great recipe. Butternut squash with marscapone, parmesan cheese, onion and egg noodles. Roast the squash (EVOO and cubed) then mix all ingredients together and bake. Make a topping of parmesan and panko (or whatever breadcrumbs you have). Its fabulous! I add a few spices like pepper, majoram, parsley and salt with some smokey salt I picked up at Whole Foods. Its a great veggie option!

    October 29, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  25. Shrike

    How about butternut squash "fondue"? :) Cut the squash lenghtwise, scoop out the guts and fill that cavity with butter, a bit of creme fraiche and finely shredded gruyere (salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste). Score the flesh a bit, sprinkly with pepper, salt, oregano and some cumin. Bake until tender and the cheese is bubbly. Dip the lovely roasted squash into the fondue and you will be in love.

    October 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  26. Sally

    Roast the squash whole. Put about 1" of water in a baking dish, place the squash in it and roast until tender-usually an hour or longer. Leaving the seeds and guts in while roasting increases the flavor. Much easier to peel after it's cooked.

    October 29, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  27. guy

    try eating a big juicy steak. it's like a bajillion times better than a stinky old gourd

    October 29, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • Gwynne

      Awww. TRY it. You'll like it.

      October 29, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
    • riverrat

      had roasted butternut squash with grilled 11/2 inch thick pork chops last night, fantastic

      October 31, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  28. Gwynne

    Split the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side up in a baking dish. Pour a couple tablespoons of REAL Vermont maple syrup and a pat of butter in the "bowl" of each squash. Sprinkle a bit of ground clove over the surface of the squash and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until soft. Scoop out meat and "juice" into a bowl, mash and serve. I also use this recipe with acorn squash. But I purchase small squashes and serve the halves one per person. (It makes the meal very "fancy") My sons loved to dip their chicken pieces in the maple sugar/buttter squash bowl. Then scooped out the sweetened veggie to finish their meal.

    October 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  29. rdk

    I recommend drizzling a little maple syrup over the cubes before roasting instead of the brown sugar.

    October 29, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  30. ahatfl

    For years I have chopped up butternut squash into cubes and fried it in butter and ginger like homefries. Everyone who eats it falls in love with this dish in seconds.

    October 29, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  31. Nancy

    Try slicing the solid neck portion of the squash into 1/4 in thick rounds. Trim off skin (before or after slicing). Fry slowly over low heat in a little bit of butter (spray butter works too), turning often until squash is soft and golden. Dust with a whisper of cinnamon and sugar and serve. This is a lot faster than baking and kids love it!

    October 29, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  32. Katie

    Roast it in chunks and puree it with a can or two of cooked black beans. Add some cumin and maybe some sauteed jalepenos and onions and you've got an awesome mexican soup. Serve with corn chips and sour cream. Yummy!

    October 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • frank

      that sounds absolutely fabulous. how'd you come up with the recipe?

      December 19, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  33. JAS

    I bought butternut squash for the first time (I am 68) this week. I cut it in half lengthwise and of course scooped out the seeds, etc. I cooked it for 21 minutes in the microwave oven. It was nice and soft. I put butter and brown sugar on it and it was absolutely delicious. I will definitely be adding it to my meals from now on.

    October 29, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
    • Joan R.

      I cook mine in a microwave, using the "baked potato" setting to determine the cooking time.
      I clean out the seeds, then weigh it. I peel and chop it, and add a few tablespoons of butter and brown sugar, plus a teaspoon of flour.
      Microwave it, stirring once after about a minute to blend the flour with the melted butter.
      For variety, you can add a small amount of ground cloves, and a small sliced apple. Just weigh the apple with the squash.

      October 30, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  34. Peggy

    I peel and cube the butternut and cook it in chicken broth with a little fresh ground pepper. I then cup up 8 or so slices of bacon and dice up one medium onion and sautee that with the bacon. When the bacon is done and the onions are translucent, I add that to the cooked butternut. When dished up in a bowl I add a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese. Enjoy.

    October 29, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  35. Carolyn

    Try wrapping halves of squash in foil after adding butter, brown sugar etc and then cook it on the grill.

    October 29, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  36. Randy Fromm

    Cut lengthwise, scoop out guts. Put 1/4 cup Maple Syrup in baking disk. Add 1/4 cup water. Place squash face-down, cover and bake @ 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Scoop out flesh into bowl, add maple syrup from pan (enriched with squash flavor) and butter.

    October 29, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  37. Stacy

    I like to peel and cut my butternut squash into chunks and toss it with a little maple syrup. Not too much. Then I spread out the chunks on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a little salt and roast it at 400 degrees until it is tender. It makes a perfect fall complement to any meal.

    October 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  38. Jon

    I roast mine exactly as described. I tend to make soup with butternut and acorn squash. Roast the squash as described above, when it's finished and separated from the skin, I put in the food processor and puree, adding broth (usually beef, but could be whatever you like or have on hand), meanwhile in a separate pan I will sautee some thinly slided onions and a clove or two of garlic until the onions are translucent. Combine the onion and garlic with the soup and bring to a simmer. At this point you can either make it a cream soup or not by adding some cream. I add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a little cinnamon, reserving a little fresh ground cinnamon and nutmeg for when it is plated and ready to serve.

    October 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • Jon

      Meant "sliced" onions, also can serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream.

      October 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  39. BNut4Life

    Cutting them is definitely the hardest part. If you prick it all over and microwave for a few minutes, it'll soften just enough to cut with ease, then continue to roast as directed. So good!

    October 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm |

    I find it a bit hard to believe that anyone did not know this......"boil it in a bit of water"...WHAT?

    October 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • frank

      condescend much?

      December 19, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  41. Robert

    Try sprinkling lightly with cayenne pepper. It is awesome.

    October 29, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  42. Janet

    I typically peel the squash, cut up into chunks (after removing the seeds) and place in a covered baking dish. I coat with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and then bake covered at 350-375 for about 45 minutes to an hour. At that point I remove the lid and stir, then let it remain baking for another 10 or so minutes. It turns out perfectly every time and it's super easy. I'm sure you could probably do this with acorn squash as well although I've never tried it this way.

    October 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  43. Caroline

    Sounds great...I've always wanted to buy and make my own, but never really knew what to do. Thanks!

    October 28, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  44. Diane

    Yummy! I've never purchased butternut squash at the grocery – how do you know when it's ripe?

    October 28, 2010 at 9:23 am |
    • Gwynne

      If the stem is dry, it is ripe. You can be assured that when you buy it from the store, it is ready to eat. (They are also very easy to store for a long time if you keep them in a basket or crate in a cool dark place.) I like to start the fall/winter with a basketfull in my cellar. Leftover butternut squash also makes wonderful soup: Chop and brown a medium onion and a bit of garlic in butter until soft and translucent. Add the mashed leftover butternut squash and some (canned) chicken broth to the consistency you like. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a bit of ground clove. Heat gently and voila! A hearty and delicious soup.

      October 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
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