How To Roast Butternut Squash

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

From purées and sauces to soups and slow-simmered stews, there’s a whole lot you can do with butternut squash, but I’d argue the simplest and most delicious way to cook it is simply roasting it. A simple trip to a hot oven gives the naturally sweet winter squash gently charred, caramelized edges and a soft center — and there are so many ways to use it.

We’ve told you all about how you can roast butternut squash straight from the freezer, but now here’s everything you need to know when you’re starting with a whole, fresh squash (or that convenient package of pre-cut squash from the produce section).

4 Key Steps to the Best Roasted Butternut Squash

1. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes. One-inch cubes are the ideal size when cutting up the peeled winter squash. These bite-sized chunks aren’t too big or too small and work just as well for a side dish as they do as an addition to salads, tacos, grain bowls, and wraps. Also remember that cutting evenly sized pieces ensures they all take the same time to cook.

2. Roast at 400°F. Temperature is an important factor in getting roasted butternut squash just right. Four-hundred degrees is hot enough to deliver the tender, creamy centers and the charred, caramelized surface you expect. Setting the dial at 400°F, rather than 425°F or 450°F, also means a slightly longer cook time, which helps coax out even more of this squash’s natural sweetness.

3. Use plenty of oil. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of fat when roasting butternut squash. A generous slick of olive oil helps give the cubes of squash those caramelized, crispy edges that makes them so irresistible.

4. Use your hands to coat the squash evenly. You’re going to want to make sure all the butternut squash cubes are well-coated with oil, and the best way to get the job done is with your hands. I know it’s a bit messier than using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, but those tools simply don’t work as well.

All the Ways to Eat Roasted Butternut Squash

First, it’s so hard to resist popping a few cubes of squash into your mouth right after they come out of the oven. I say don’t fight it — just go with it. Roasted butternut squash is versatile enough to pair with just about anything you’re cooking up for dinner, from chicken or pork, to fish or steak, or even some tacos. In fact, if you’re going for a meat-free meal, they can also serve as the base for enchiladas. Use roasted butternut squash as a topping for salads and grain bowls, or a mix-in for soup, orzo salad, and pasta.

31 Ratings

Roasted Butternut Squash

Serves4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

Equipment

  • Cutting board

  • Vegetable peeler

  • Chef's knife

  • Rimmed baking sheet

  • Measuring spoons

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F.

  2. Prep and cut butternut squash. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut into 1-inch cubes.

  3. Toss the squash with oil. Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to coat. Arrange the squash in a single layer.

  4. Roast the squash. Roast for 15 minutes. Use a thin spatula to flip the squash. Return to the oven and roast until the squash is tender and browned all over, 20 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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