Roasted Whole Butternut Squash

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This easy roasted whole butternut squash comes out perfectly tender with delicious browned edges without any complicated prep work.

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If you are looking for an easy way to make butternut squash, this whole roasted squash is the recipe for you! No peeling, no difficult chopping, just 5 minutes of prep work and it’s ready for the oven.

It comes out caramelized on the edges and perfectly tender. Serve it as a side dish right out of the oven with a delicious butter and brown sugar glaze. Or use the squash flesh for baked goods, oatmeal, pasta sauce, and more.

Trust me, once you make butternut squash this way, there is no turning back. It is so much better than boiling the squash or using frozen mashed butternut squash.

Why We Love Whole Roasted Butternut Squash

  • Versatile: Serve it plain as a side dish, mash it, make soup, stuff it, or make pasta sauce
  • Easy: No peeling, no chopping, only 3 ingredients needed
  • Cozy fall flavors: Roasted squash is the perfect fall side dish for weeknights and holiday dinners

Looking for more ways to enjoy butternut squash? Try this Roasted Squash Salad, Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash, or amazing Butternut Squash Tacos.

Roasted whole butternut squash drizzled with olive oil, brown sugar, salt, and pepper on a serving plate.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

  • Butternut squash: Look for butternut squash that is heavy for its size. It should be light orange-beige in color without any soft spots. It’s normal for it to have some imperfections or scratches. This recipe and glaze would also work for acorn squash, delicata squash, or honey nut squash. Just adjust the baking time.
  • Olive oil: In order to get brown and caramelized, the squash needs to be coated with some kind of fat. Olive oil is the most common but you could also use melted butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, or another oil of your choice.
  • Salt and pepper: To bring out the natural flavors of the squash, kosher or sea salt is a must. Black pepper is a nice contrast to the sweetness of the butternut squash.
  • Optional glaze: For holiday meals, we always make a sweeter roasted squash with a glaze made of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Flip the squash over during the last ten minutes of cooking and add the glaze.

Cooking Tips

Follow these cooking tips to make perfect squash every time.

  • Roasting time: Keep in mind that roasting time can vary depending on the size of the squash. Start checking the squash at the 45-minute mark but know that large squash can take around 75 minutes.
  • Wrapping in foil: Some people wrap the squash halves in foil when roasting. This will actually steam the squash. Only wrap the butternut squash in foil if you do not want any browning or caramelization. Even if I am using the squash in soup or mashed, I still like the extra flavor it gets from roasting it on a baking sheet.
  • Save the seeds: Butternut squash seeds can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds. Wash and dry the seeds. Toss with oil and seasoning. Then roast at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes. Use it for snacks, salad toppers, or with oatmeal.

Seasoning Ideas

Think of this recipe as a blueprint for making perfectly roasted butternut squash halves. Then you can season it any way you like. Here are some favorites:

  • Herbs: Fresh herbs pair really well with butternut squash. Add fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, or oregano.
  • Spices and seasoning: The sweet flavor of the squash works really well with smoky and earthy spices like cumin, curry powder, coriander, cinnamon, smoked paprika, or chili powder. It also works with warm spices like cinnamon, ground ginger, and allspice.
  • Garnishes: When I am serving this for holidays, I love to get creative by adding garnishes including toasted pumpkin seeds, creamy goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, or candied pecans.
  • Glaze: Finish the squash with a glaze using maple syrup or honey, butter, and spices. Add balsamic vinegar for some acidity to balance the sweetness.

How to Cut Butternut Squash

The hardest part of this recipe is cutting the squash in half, which actually isn’t that hard with the right technique.

  1. Trim the stem: Start by trimming the stem side (small end) by holding the squash and trimming about ½ inch off the top of the squash. You can also trim the bottom end, but it isn’t necessary.
  2. Cut the squash in half: Cut the squash in half vertically using a sharp knife. You will have to apply some pressure and sometimes using a rocking motion can help. Go slowly and apply pressure as you cut.
  3. Scoop out the seeds: Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and squash bits attached to the seeds. Discard them or clean them and save them for roasting.

How to Serve Whole Roasted Butternut Squash

There are so many ways to serve and use whole roasted squash.

  • As a side dish: This squash, especially with the glaze, is a perfect side dish on all its own. We serve it at almost every holiday and it is always a hit.
  • Stuff the squash halves: Whenever I make roasted squash, I always cook some extra halves to stuff for another meal. Normally I just add a simple combination of cooked brown rice, ground turkey sausage, and spinach. It’s filling and delicious.
  • Make soup: When it comes to fall soups, this slow cooker butternut squash soup is a favorite. Use your roasted butternut squash soup to cut the cooking time down to less than one hour.
  • Make pasta sauce: Scoop out the roasted squash and blend it with milk or cream, Parmesan cheese, and lots of black pepper for a rich and creamy pasta sauce. For a lighter option, use vegetable broth or the pasta cooking liquid to thin the squash into a sauce.
  • Use it for desserts and baking: Use the roasted squash in place of “pumpkin” in any of your favorite fall desserts and baked goods including pies, breads, muffins, brownies, and cakes. It is also delicious in oatmeal instead of pumpkin.
  • Make grain bowls: Roasted squash is delicious in grain bowls like these Roasted Vegetable Bowls and Polenta Bowls.

Roasted butternut squash cut in half and roasted whole on a white plate with brown sugar and garlic on the side.

Main Dish Ideas

This roasted squash is great for a special occasion dinner and also easy enough to make for a weeknight family meal. Here are some main dishes that work really well with butternut squash.

Make Ahead and Storage

This dish is great for prepping in advance. The butternut squash can be roasted up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge once it has cooled. You can also cut and prep the squash up to 3 days in advance.

Reheat the squash in a baking dish in the oven. Set the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes until heated through.

If you are storing the flesh of the squash, it will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about roasting a whole butternut squash in the oven.

When you are roasting whole butternut squash, there is no need to peel the squash first. Once the squash is cooked, it easily separates from the skin. 

If you are roasting cubed butternut squash, it is best to peel it first. 

If you are roasting a whole squash for baking or making butternut squash puree, you can roast it without slicing it in half. Start by piercing the squash all over with a knife or fork. This is super important because the steam needs to escape.

Then wrap the squash in foil and bake it at 425 degrees for 60-80 minutes until it is tender when you press on it. Let it cool and then carefully slice it in half and remove the seeds. 

At 400 degrees, it will take 45-60 minutes to roast butternut squash halves. 

Whole butternut squash that is roasted on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
The Recipe
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Roasted Whole Butternut Squash

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  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or melted butter)
  • Salt and pepper

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the squash on a sturdy cutting board. Cut off the stem and bottom end of the squash. Then carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out all of the seeds and stringy bits.

Seeds being scooped out of a butternut sqaush.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the squash with olive oil on the cut side. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, not using too much salt since it can prevent it from caramelizing.

Olive oil being drizzled over butternut squash halves.

Place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes until it is fork tender. For less browning, roast the squash cut-side up. Don't worry about the darkened edges on the skin, that's where all the deep flavor develops. It isn't burnt.

Roasted butternut squash halves with browned edges on a baking sheet.

Remove and season well with salt and pepper. Scoop the squash out with a spoon or slice into individual servings.

Roasted butternut squash with salt and pepper on a baking sheet.

Optional: During the last 10 minutes of roasting, flip the squash so the flesh side is up. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (or honey or maple syrup) and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Whole roasted butternut squash being drizzled with butter and brown sugar to make a glaze.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 squash
Amount Per Serving
Calories 86
Calories from Fat 32
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 5mg
Total Carbohydrate 15g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 3g
Protein 1g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On Roasted Whole Butternut Squash
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M Sheehy
January 16, 2024 - 07:41
Add a Rating:
Love this easy but versatile recipe. I make a double and season each one with different spices so I’m ready to go from my freezer with whatever I need!
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