How to Cook Kabocha Squash, 3 Ways

updated Nov 4, 2022
Kabocha Squash Recipe

If you reserve deep frying for special occasions, an easier way to enjoy kabocha in your kitchen is to roast it. Here's how it's done.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes to 12 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 27 minutes

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kabocha squash cooked on sheet tray
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

Squash options become more abundant upon autumn’s arrival, with sugar pie pumpkins and acorn squash ceding space to an expanding variety of hard squash, including the kabocha squash. Kabocha squash is squat and round with a dull green rind, but the inside hidden beneath that unassuming exterior is sweet, nutty, and pleasantly starchy.

The flavor of kabocha squash is a mixture of sweet potato and pumpkin — a little bit sweet and slightly starchy. The texture is drier and airier than butternut squash, and as a result it is often used in tempura. If you reserve deep frying for special occasions, an easier way to enjoy kabocha in your kitchen is to roast it.

How Do You Know When Kabocha Squash Is Ready?

Test the doneness of kabocha squash in the same way you would test delicata, butternut, or any other hard winter squash. Slide the tip of a thin, sharp knife into the center or thickest portion of the squash. The squash is ready when the knife meets no resistance, and slides easily into the vegetable.

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

Can You Eat the Skin of Kabocha Squash?

While the skin of kabocha squash is edible, it can be tough. There are instances where you should leave the skin intact (roasting halves) and other times where it should be removed prior to cooking (roasting cubes).

  • Leave peel on: Leave the peel intact when roasting kabocha squash halves or wedges. It’s easy to separate the tender squash from the rind after roasting.
  • Remove peel: Use a sturdy vegetable peeler to remove the outer rind of kabocha squash before roasting bite-sized cubes.

Kabocha Squash Recipe

If you reserve deep frying for special occasions, an easier way to enjoy kabocha in your kitchen is to roast it. Here's how it's done.

Prep time 10 minutes to 12 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 27 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium kabocha squash (1 to 1 1/4 pounds)

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

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  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Using a chef’s knife, carefully trim the stem and pointy ends off 1 medium kabocha. Arrange the squash on a cut side and cut in half. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and pulp.

  3. Option 1: Roast halves. Arrange the halves cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle evenly with 1 tablespoon olive oil and use your fingertips or a pastry brush to coat the flesh. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast until the squash is browned on the edges and fork or knife tender, 25 to 27 minutes.

  4. Option 2: Roast wedges. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick half moons. Place the pieces on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat and arrange in a single layer. Roast until lightly browned on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Use a thin spatula to flip the squash. Roast until tender and caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes more.

  5. Option 3: Roast cubes. Peel the tough outer skin, then cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat and arrange in a single layer. Roast until lightly browned on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Use a thin spatula to flip the squash. Roast until tender and caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.