Butternut Squash Fritters with Garlicky Yogurt

published Oct 23, 2022
Butternut Squash Fritters with Garlicky Yogurt Recipe

These fritters make the case that there are few things that the mighty butternut squash can’t do.

Serves6

Makes12 (3-inch) fritters

Prep30 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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Credit: Laura Rege

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When life hands you anything else, make a fritter! Or fritter it. Once you adopt fritter as a verb, you might find yourself free from the confines of any one recipe, and your options are seemingly endless (think: everything from broccoli fritters and corn fritters to Parmesan-laced zucchini fritters and avocado fritters).

Here, the concept of a fritter transitions from summer to fall, swapping classic zucchini for an autumnal celebrity: the butternut squash. Roasted on its own, blended into mac and cheese, folded into cheesecake — there are few things this hearty treasure can’t do. These butternut squash fritters prove the point. And just wait until you dollop on some garlicky yogurt sauce!

Key Flavors in these Butternut Squash Fritters

One of the reasons fritters are so easy to make at any time is because at their simplest, they just need some flour and an egg or two to bind them. Butternut squash can handle a strong blend of spices, so this recipe incorporates one of my favorites: a North African spice blend called ras el hanout. Although the exact contents change from region to region, ras el hanout typically consists of some combination of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, cardamom, paprika, turmeric, and more, and lends a rich, warm aroma.

In this recipe, I’ve also included raisins. These lend sweetness, and chopping them into smaller pieces makes for more even dispersal and a sweet treat in every bite.

How to Prepare Butternut Squash for Fritters

Think outside of the box (grater) in this recipe, and use the tool famous for cheese shredding in a whole new way. You’ll want to start with a whole butternut squash rather than pre-cut cubes here, as cutting it into large pieces is an easier size to hold onto and grate, as opposed to small chunks. Grating the squash gives you thin strands that fry up in mere minutes. While you’re at it, grate your onion, too, and save your knife skills for another day. 

What Kind of Oil Should I Use for Frying?

Any neutral oil, such as canola, vegetable, or peanut, will work best for frying these fritters to golden-brown perfection. Be sure to use a heavy cast iron skillet, if you have one; they retain heat amazingly well, helping to keep your oil at an even temperature. And be sure to save the bottle it comes in. Once the oil cools completely, scoop out any errant fritter bits, and use a funnel to pour it back into the bottle and save it for at least two to three more uses. 

Butternut Squash Fritters with Garlicky Yogurt Recipe

These fritters make the case that there are few things that the mighty butternut squash can’t do.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Makes 12 (3-inch) fritters

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the yogurt:

  • 2 large cloves

    garlic

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 1/2 medium bunch

    fresh parsley

  • 3/4 cup

    plain Greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons

    water

For the fritters:

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1/4 cup

    raisins

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    butternut squash (about 1/2 medium)

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 2 tablespoons

    finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    rase el hanout

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Pinch cayenne pepper

  • 3 cups

    neutral oil, such as vegetable

  • Flaky salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

Make the yogurt:

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same small bowl as it is completed: Finely grate 2 large garlic cloves. Finely grate the zest of 1/2 medium lemon until you have 1 teaspoon. Juice the lemon until you have 1 tablespoon.

  2. Pick the leaves from 1/3 bunch fresh parsley until you have 1/4 cup and finely chop (about 3 tablespoons). Add 1 tablespoon to the yogurt and save the remaining for the fritters.

  3. Add 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to the bowl and stir until combined. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water as needed to thin to a dippable consistency. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

Make the fritters:

  1. Place 1 large egg in a large bowl and whisk with a fork to break up.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of egg as it is completed: Finely chop 1/4 cup raisins. Peel and remove the seeds from 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, then grate on the large holes of a box grater until you have about 4 cups. Grate 1 small yellow onion on the large holes until you have 1/2 cup.

  3. Add the parsley, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon ras el hanout, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. Let sit for at least 5 minutes while the oil heats.

  4. Heat 3 cups neutral oil in a large cast iron or high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering (about 350ºF). Meanwhile, fit a wire rack onto a baking sheet.

  5. Working in batches of 3 to 4 fritters, scoop the batter into the oil by the 1/4 cup, making sure to tuck errant strands of squash into the cup. Flatten mounds gently with a fork into a rough 3-inch round. Fry until golden brown and crisp, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

  6. Transfer to the wire rack and sprinkle with flaky salt. Serve with the yogurt sauce for dipping.

Recipe Notes

Food processor grating: The peeled butternut squash can be grated on the shredding disc of a food processor instead of a box grater.

Make ahead: The yogurt sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Storage: Leftover fritters and yogurt sauce can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 4 days. Fritters can be reheated in a 400ºF air fryer or 400ºF oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until crispy and heated through.