Roasted Butternut Squash

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH IS a QUICK and EASY side WITH BEAUTIFUL CARAMELIZED EDGES AND NUTTY, MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH FLAVOR.

This Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe will have you craving more.  It’s healthy, versatile and delicious with just olive oil, salt and pepper or I’ve also included recipes for Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash, Maple Roasted Butternut Squash, Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash, Asian Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Roasted Butternut Squash.  Every butternut squash recipe boasts a sightly different flavor profile to suite your mood and cuisine BUT every recipe just requires one pan and 25-ish minutes of roasting. YAY for minimal, effort, HUGE flavor and no dishes to clean up!

top view of oven roasted butternut squash

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ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH RECIPE

I posted a snapshot of Asian Roasted Butternut Squash and Cashews that I was munching on to instagram my 2nd month of blogging and everyone went crazy clamoring for the recipe.  So this Roasted Butternut Squash post started with an Asian influenced recipe and morphed into an updated EVERYTHING Roasted Butternut Squash because I love squash any way I can get it!

I love Roasted Butternut Squash in salads, risotto, with eggs, etc. (and I have shared a recipe for each below) – but how about good old roasted butternut quash?

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash boasts a rich, earthy flavor with golden caramelization which enhances its inherent sweetness and nuttiness.  To make, all you do is peel and chop your squash, toss it with olive oil, salt, pepper, add any additional desired seasonings then roast.

While my butternut squash is roasting, I like to prep the rest of my dinner – so you get an easy side without any babysitting.  Don’t you love it when you crave food that is simple, healthy and delicious?!

WHY I LOVE OVEN ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH:

  • No specialty tools required: you can purchase cubed butternut squash all ready to go, otherwise, you just need a peeler, knife, sheet pan and some spices.
  • One pan: once you prep your squash, toss it with olive oil and spices ON the baking sheet with foil so there is literally no clean up!
  • Quick cooking time:  oven roasted butternut squash only requires about 25 minutes in the oven.
  • Hands off:  while the squash is cooking, you can prepare the rest of your meal without worrying about what sides to serve with it.
  • HEALTHY! Butternut squash is super good for you AND delicious –  winning!
  • Versatile:  You can mix up the flavor profile by adding any number of seasonings as well as brown sugar, maple, browned butter, etc.
  • Multiple uses: You can serve oven roasted butternut squash fresh out of the oven, or add it to tacos burritos or enchiladas, to rice, quinoa or couscous, to soups, salads etc.  The options are endless how to use this healthy cravalicious squash!
showing how to serve roasted butternut squash recipe in a serving bowl

HOW DO I CHOOSE A GOOD BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

The best oven Roasted Butternut Squash, starts with a healthy, ripe squash.  Here is what to look for:

  • Look for a squash that feels heavier than its size.
  • Find a squash with skin that has a matte finish. If the skin looks shiny, it was picked early and is not ripe.
  • Touch the stem. It should look and feel dry where it was separated from the vine.
  • Check for blemishes like cuts or dark spots. You don’t want any of those on your squash.

HOW DO I STORE FRESH BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

Once you select fresh butternut squash, you will want to keep it fresh.  It’s a sad day when you’re giddy to bake butternut squash and your squash is bad.

  • To prolong the life of your squash, store fresh, uncut squash in a cool, dark place, such as a dark pantry, basement or closet, where sunlight won’t quicken its ripening.
  • Make sure to keep it away from moisture to prevent mold and rotting.
  • Proper conditions will keep your store-bought butternut squash fresh for two to three months.
  • If you grow your own butternut squash or purchase it from a farmers market, it can last up to 4 months.
  • Whole raw squash also keeps well in the refrigerator although it spoils more quickly than in a cool, dry place. Refrigeration is ideal for warmer times of the year.  Butternut squash will keep in the refrigerator for one to two weeks.

DOES BUTTERNUT SQUASH GO BAD?

Although butternut squash can keep for months, it will eventually go bad if not used.  You will know your squash is bad if there are soft, mushy spots or if once cut open, the color is extremely dull or if the flesh is spotty, mushy or dry to the point it is pulling away from the skin, then toss it.

up close of butternut squash with brown sugar in a bowl

HOW DO YOU CUT BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

Butternut squash comes in a fun shape and size with a tough outer skin, which can make it intimidating to cut up. While you can roast it in halves,  I prefer cubing my butternut squash because then you get FOUR sides of caramelized goodness and more surface area for seasonings.

Tips and tricks for cutting butternut squash:

  • Wash your squash. You don’t know what conditions the surface of your squash has encountered.  Some might say, “we aren’t eating the outside,” BUT our knife is going to be passing through the outside of the squash into the inside of the squash, so it is important that it is free from bacteria.
  • Microwave to soften skin. Butternut squash skin can be quite difficult to peel so you will need a sharp peeler. If you don’t have a sharp peeler in your kitchen, you can microwave the squash for about 2 minutes to aid in the peeling process.  Make sure you poke the outside of the squash all over with a fork and don’t microwave it any longer or it could explode!
  • Peel squash.  Cut a small slice off the bottom of your squash to give a flat, sturdy end then place your squash on the cutting board on the flat end.  Peel straight down from the top neck of the squash to the base. The squash will first reveal white and then green layers as you peel. Peel away all color layers until only orange flesh remains.
showing how to roast butternut squash by peeling squash
  • Cut Squash. Slice the squash down the middle, from top to bottom to create two even halves. Next, place the flat surface of the squash on the cutting board and cut into 2 pieces right where the neck meets the bulb. You should now have four pieces total.
showing how to roast butternut squash by cutting squash in half
  • Remove seeds.  Use a large scoop with a serrated edge- like a grapefruit spoon and scoop out the seeds and the fibrous strings.
showing how to roast butternut squash by removing seeds
  • Chop into cubes.  Lay your neck halves flat side down on your cutting board and slice length wise. Lastly, cube all your slices by cutting the other direction and you’re done!
showing how to roast butternut squash by slicing

CAN I USE PRE-CUT BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

Absolutely!  Purchasing pre-cut butternut squash makes this oven Roasted Butternut Squash a breeze with less than 5 minutes of prep work!  Just make sure the cubes are uniform size so the squash roasts evenly.

WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED FOR ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash is SO easy with just four ingredients, from there you can add in all sorts of seasonings, flavorings and ingredients.  Here are a few different options, but don’t limit yourself to these alone!

BASIC ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

  • Butternut Squash: the star of the show!  To me, squash taste like a cross between carrots and sweet potatoes when roasted.  You can use any size squash and adjust the olive oil accordingly.
  • Olive oil: use extra virgin olive oil for more flavor.  You can also use any of your favorite baking oils such as avocado oil or grape seed oil.  You will want 2 tablespoons olive oil for a medium butternut squash and 3 tablespoons for a large butternut squash (3 pounds). You can also swap some of the olive oil with melted butter – YUM!
  • Salt: salt is a MUST otherwise your squash will taste bland.
  • Pepper: use more or less to taste.  You can always add more salt and pepper to taste after you taste your roasted squash.

Classic Roasted BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Classic Roasted Butternut Squash is the recipe I’ve included in the recipe card and in the photos. It boasts a well rounded flavor profile vs emphasizing one particular ingredient. It’s infused with hints of cinnamon, brown sugar, maple, balsamic, thyme, rosemary, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. I also like to use a combinatoric of both butter and olive.

  • Melt butter in a medium bowl in the microwave.  Add all remaining ingredient and whisk to combine.  Drizzle 2/3 butter mixture over squash then mix until evenly coated.
  • Spread squash in a single layer so it isn’t touching.
  • Roast for 15 minutes, stir and spread back into an even layer.  Continue to roast an additional 10-15 minutes, or until squash is fork tender.  Broil 1-2 minutes if desired.  Toss with remaining butter mixture. Serve warm.
showing how to roast butternut squash by whisking spices together

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH SAGE

Sage pairs particularly well with roasted butternut squash. You can toss the squash with 12 sage leaves before roasting or 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage.  You can also choose to toss sage with browned butter before adding to the squash.  To do this:

  • Roast squash according to basic squash ingredients/instructions.
  • In a separate small pan, melt 2 tablespoon butter over medium heat until the foam subsides.
  • Add 20 sage leaves and cook just for 30 seconds, or until the butter is light brown and the sage is crisp.
  • Immediately pour over roasted squash and toss to coat.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH BALSAMIC

Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash is one of my favorite combinations.  Whisk together 2 tablespoons balsamic and 2 teaspoons either honey or pure maple syrup.  Toss squash with a third of the mixture along with 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper.  After roasting, toss squash with remaining mixture.

CINNAMON ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Toss butternut squash cubes with 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup and 1/2-¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon along with olive oil, salt and pepper.  You can also add a dash of cayenne pepper.  Roast according to directions.  The recipe I’ve included in the recipe card is an amped up version of Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash.

up close of roasted butternut squash cubes

BROWN SUGAR ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Toss butternut squash cubes with 2 tablespoons brown sugar optional 1/2-¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, rosemary or sage along with olive oil, salt and pepper.  You may also substitute the olive oil with 3 tablespoons melted butter like I’ve done in the recipe card. 

Asian Roasted Butternut Squash

This is the Roasted Butternut Squash recipe I posted years ago and it is glorious!  AKA Roasted Butternut Squash and caramelized cashews infused with brown sugar and loaded with Asian spices for deliciousness in every bite.

The caramelized roasted squash melts in your mouth and the cashews add a satisfying crunch, all seeping with Chinese 5 Spice, garlic, ginger, Sriracha and brown sugar.

You will need:

  • 1 medium squash, peeled, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Sriracha/hot Asian chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup whole cashews

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Add butternut squash and all remaining ingredients except cashews and toss until evenly coated.
  3. Spread out in a single layer so the squash is not touching.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 12 minutes.
  5. After squash has cooked 12 minutes, add the cashews and stir to coat in some of the pan seasonings.
  6. Cook an additional 12-18 minutes or until squash is fork tender.

HOW TO ROAST BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash can be on your able in less than 30 minutes, and even sooner if you purchase pre-chopped butternut squash or chop it in advance.   Here are a few helpful tips and tricks for the BEST Oven Roasted Butternut Squash recipe:

  • Preheat oven: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  A hot oven heats the baking sheet so it’s hot enough to caramelize the natural sugars of the butternut squash and develop that tantalizing nutty roasted flavor.
  • Use foil:  You can roast your squash directly on the baking sheet, but I prefer to line it with foil for easy clean up, this way there are literally NO pans to wash!   Make sure your lightly grease the foil or baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray so you don’t lose any of your squash to stubborn sticking.
  • Chop squash:  chop squash into uniform size cubes.  It doesn’t matter the particular size, as long as they are relatively uniform so they bake evenly.  See above section on how to cut butternut squash.
showing how to roast butternut squash by chopping into cubes
  • Toss with olive oil and seasonings. Add butternut squash, olive oil (and/or butter), salt and pepper and other desired seasonings to prepared baking dish and toss to evenly combine.  At this point you can add any additional seasonings as well such as maple or brown sugar.
showing how to roast butternut squash by tossing with olive oil and seasonings
  • Spread in an even layer: Spread squash into an evenly layer so they are not touching.  We don’t want them touching or else they will steam instead of roast.  If you are cooking a lot of squash, you may need to separate the cubes between two baking sheets.
  • Oven roast: Roast butternut squash cubes at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes depending on size or until fork tender.
showing how to roast butternut squash by spreading into an even layer to roastt

WHAT TEMPERATURE DO YOU ROAST BUTTERNUT SQUASH AT?

Butternut squash should be roasted at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. You want your butternut squash to be fork tender but not mushy and slightly crisp on the outside due to caramelization.   We are looking for caramelized golden butternut squash cubes but not burned squash.

As far as temperature, lower oven temperatures create more steam.  Steam can thwart the caramelization process  – sad day – so instead, we roast squash at a relatively high temperature of 400 degrees F.

CAN I MAKE ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes!  The texture of oven roasted butternut squash keeps very well, unlike more temperamental vegetables like Roasted Asparagus.   You can bake your squash ahead of time and serve cold, room temperature or hot.

If you want to enjoy fresh, piping hot butternut squash right out of the oven, you can prepare it ahead of time.  The squash can be chopped a day in advance and either stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator OR tossed with olive oil and seasonings, spread out on the baking sheet, covering tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated.  When ready to serve, simply roast the butternut squash, adding an additional 5 minutes to roasting time.

a bowl of up butternut squash with brown sugar in a bowl

HOW LONG DO OVEN ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH LAST?

Roasted Butternut Squash should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

What Can I Make with Roasted BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

Roasted Butternut Squash is stand-alone delicious, or I love it in:

WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH LEFTOVER ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH CUBES?

Roasted Butternut Squash makes fantastic leftovers plain or it is delicious in the aforementioned recipe ideas, or add it to: Parmesan risotto. Greek rice, eggs, omelets, savory crepes, enchiladas, burritos, pizza, pasta, soups or salads.

 HOW DO I REHEAT COOKED BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

You can reheat cooked Butternut Squash in the microwave at 30-second intervals but be aware that you will end up with softer Butternut Squash.

For best results AKA crisp tender Butternut Squash, spread the cubes in an even layer on a baking sheet.   Bake Butternut Squash at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes, until warmed through.

WHAT CAN I SERVE WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

Roasted Butternut Squash go with EVERYTHING!  It pairs especially well with:

CAN I FREEZE ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

Yes, butternut squash freezes like a champion!

  1. Let butternut squash cubes cool completely on baking sheet.
  2. Place baking sheet in the freezer (make sure squash isn’t touching).
  3. Freeze until firm, about 1-2 hours (this will prevent the cubes from freezing together in a container).
  4. Transfer squash to a freezer container (leaving room for possible expansion) or a large freezer bag and squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  5. When ready to eat, the squash can be roasted straight from frozen without thawing first.

IS BUTTERNUT SQUASH HEALTHY?

Yes!  Butternut Squash is not only is low in calories, but it is packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients such as magnesium, fiber, potassium, vitamins A & C. Butternut squash also contains many great antioxidants that help to lower and maintain sugar and insulin levels.

Looking for more Roasted Vegetable Recipes?

up close showing how to make roasted butternut squash recipe by stirring on baking sheet

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up close showing how to make roasted butternut squash recipe by stirring on baking sheet

Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash is a quick and easy side with beautiful caramelized edges and nutty, melt-in-your-mouth flavor. This Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe is healthy, versatile and delicious with just olive oil, salt and pepper or I’ve also included recipes for Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash, Maple Roasted Butternut Squash, Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash, Asian Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Roasted Butternut Squash.  Every butternut squash recipe boasts a sightly different flavor profile to suite your mood and cuisine BUT every recipe just requires one pan and 25-ish) minutes of roasting. YAY for minimal, effort, HUGE flavor and no dishes to clean up!
Servings: 6 -8
Total Time: 35 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins

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Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash (3 lbs) peeled, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (may sub olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH ground cinnamon, dried thyme, dried rosemary, garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp EACH pepper, paprika
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 15 x 20 jelly roll pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add squash to prepared pan.
  • Melt butter in a medium bowl in the microwave. Add all remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Drizzle 2/3 butter mixture over squash then mix until evenly coated.
  • Spread squash in a single layer so it isn’t touching.
  • Roast for 15 minutes, stir and spread back into an even layer. Continue to roast an additional 10-15 minutes, or until squash is fork tender. Broil 1-2 minutes if desired. Remove from oven and toss with remaining butter mixture (microwave if needed to thin butter). Serve warm.

Notes

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash is SO easy with just four ingredients, from there you can add in all sorts of seasonings, flavorings and ingredients.  Here are a few different options, but don’t limit yourself to the alone and keep in mind, the recipe variations all start with the Basic Roasted Butternut Squash recipe.

BASIC ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH 

  • 1 large butternut squash (3 lbs) peeled, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cocking spray..
  2. Add squash, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss until evenly coated. Spread squash out into a single layer so it’s not touching.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees R for 25-30 minutes or until squash is fork tender.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH SAGE

Sage pairs particularly well with roasted butternut squash. You can toss the squash with 12 sage leaves before roasting or 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage.  You can also choose to toss sage with browned butter before adding to the squash.  To do this:
  • Roast squash according to basic squash ingredients/instructions.
  • In a separate small pan, melt 2 tablespoon butter over medium heat until the foam subsides.
  • Add 20 sage leaves and cook just for 30 seconds, or until the butter is light brown and the sage is crisp.
  • Immediately pour over roasted squash and toss to coat.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH BALSAMIC

Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash is one of my favorite combinations.  Whisk together 2 tablespoons balsamic and 2 teaspoons either honey or pure maple syrup.  Toss squash with a third of the mixture along with 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper.  After roasting, toss squash with remaining mixture.

CINNAMON ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Toss butternut squash cubes with 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup and 1/2-¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon along with olive oil, salt and pepper.  You can also add a dash of cayenne pepper.  Roast according to directions. 

BROWN SUGAR ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Toss butternut squash cubes with 2 tablespoons brown sugar optional 1/2-¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, rosemary or sage along with olive oil, salt and pepper.  You may also substitute the olive oil with 3 tablespoons melted butter. 

Asian Roasted Butternut Squash 

Roasted Butternut Squash and caramelized cashews infused with brown sugar and loaded with Asian spices for deliciousness in every bite.  The caramelized roasted squash melts in your mouth and the cashews add a satisfying crunch, all seeping with Chinese 5 Spice, garlic, ginger, Sriracha and brown sugar. You will need:
  • 1 medium squash, peeled, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Sriracha/hot Asian chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup whole cashews
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Add butternut squash and all remaining ingredients except cashews and toss until evenly coated.
  3. Spread out in a single layer so the squash is not touching.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 12 minutes.
  5. After squash has cooked 12 minutes, add the cashews and stir to coat in some of the pan seasonings.
  6. Cook an additional 12-18 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
*If you aren’t familiar with  Chinese 5 Spice, I first introduced my readers to it with my Chinese 5 Spice Chicken Wings with Sticky Soy Balsamic Reduction Glaze (in case you needed a second delicious reason to buy the spice).  Its a powder spice mix of cinnamon, cloves, Szechwan pepper, ground fennel seeds, and star anise which creates an explosion of flavor and the perfect balance of spice and heat.  It is thought to have been created by ancient Chinese who were attempting to produce a perfectly balanced “wonder spice.”

MAKE AHEAD

The squash can be chopped a day in advance and either stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator OR tossed with olive oil and seasonings, spread out on the baking sheet, covering tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated.  When ready to serve, simply roast the butternut squash, adding an additional 5 minutes to roasting time.

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