Quick and Easy Air Fryer Butternut Squash

published Aug 15, 2022
Air Fryer Butternut Squash Recipe

For crispy and tender butternut squash in a fraction of the time, use your air fryer.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes to 12 minutes

Cook24 minutes to 32 minutes

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Credit: Kelli Foster

Cook butternut squash in the air fryer once, and there’s a very good chance you may never roast it in the oven again. In just a fraction of the time, you’ll get soft, tender centers concentrated with a naturally sweet flavor, and crisp, caramelized edges with toasty notes. It’s an excellent fall and winter side dish that you can pair with anything you’re cooking — even if it’s a special holiday meal.

How to Make Butternut Squash in an Air Fryer

Air fryer butternut squash is a cinch to make — especially if you start with a package of pre-cut squash.

  • Prep the squash. If necessary, peel and cut the butternut squash into 1/2-inch cubes. If you’re starting with pre-cut squash, trim the pieces to 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Season the squash. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil and your choice of seasonings.
  • Air-fry the squash. Be sure to shake the basket or toss the squash halfway through air frying to prevent any sticking.
Credit: Kelli Foster

What’s the Best Way to Season Air Fryer Butternut Squash?

Between the naturally sweet flavor (which intensifies after air frying!) and the caramelized flavor around the edges, butternut squash doesn’t need more than a simple seasoning. But if you’re someone else who likes to pack in more big flavor, the mild-mannered nature of butternut squash means it’s easy to partner with an array of savory or sweet seasonings. These are our three favorite ways to season air fryer butternut squash.

  • Simple seasoning: A sprinkle of kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder makes for a versatile side you can pair with any meal.
  • Savory variation: In addition to the simple seasoning, ground cumin and paprika give air fryer butternut squash a warm, smoky flavor.
  • Sweet variation: Along with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, ground cinnamon and maple syrup make for a sweet and savory side.

Air Fryer Butternut Squash Recipe

For crispy and tender butternut squash in a fraction of the time, use your air fryer.

Prep time 10 minutes to 12 minutes

Cook time 24 minutes to 32 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds

    butternut squash (1 small)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Savory variation (optional):

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon

    paprika

Sweet variation (optional):

  • 2 tablespoons

    maple syrup

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Heat an air fryer to 400°F. Meanwhile, if needed, peel 1 small butternut squash, halve and remove the seeds, and cut the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes (about 5 cups). Transfer the squash to a large bowl.

  2. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to the squash. If making the savory variation, also add 2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1 teaspoon paprika. If making the sweet variation, also add 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Toss to coat.

  3. Working in batches, add the butternut squash to the air fryer basket in a single layer. Air fry until the butternut squash is tender with browned and crispy edges, shaking the basket or tossing halfway through, 12 to 16 minutes total.

  4. Transfer to a bowl and loosely tent with aluminum foil to keep warm while you air fry the remaining squash.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The butternut squash can be cut up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.