This photo guide takes you through how to roast a whole butternut squash -- and you'll see how incredibly easy it is! Then you can use it in dozens of recipes!
The simple beauty of an ingredient can make me pause. Whether I'm peeling asparagus or an onion, slicing beets or citrus, or maybe simply swirling melted butter around a pan, I'm constantly struck at how beautiful food can be.
Every time I slice a roasted butternut squash in half, I love seeing the rich and deep orange color reveal itself, and I slow down, maybe even stop briefly -- and photograph.
What is Butternut Squash?
- Butternut is a type of winter squash that grows on a vine.
- It's medium to large in size and is shaped somewhat like a bell, with a long neck attached to a bulbous end.
- The neck portion of the squash contains solid orange, dense flesh, and the bulbous end has a hollow seed cavity that's a bit stringy.
- They have tan-colored skin that's fairly smooth and quite thin.
Why roast a whole butternut squash?
- It's so incredibly easy to roast a whole butternut squash! Seriously, all you do is pierce it s few times with a fork and put it in the oven!
- It's great to have the puréed squash at the ready. Not only is it delicious on its own, but it can be used in all sorts of recipes.
What does it taste like?
When cooked, the flesh of the Butternut squash is tender and creamy, with mild sweet, nut-like flavor. It's very similar to pumpkin.
When is Butternut Squash Season?
While you can likely find them throughout most of the year, peak season is fall through winter.
Roast a Whole Butternut Squash without Cutting it
- Put a whole butternut squash on a sheet pan, and pierce it a few times with a fork.
- Place it in a 400°F oven, and roast until it’s soft to the touch, about an hour and 45 minutes (for a approximately 4 pound squash). It should be turned over in the middle of the cooking time. The skin will be somewhat wrinkled with some charred areas.
- Once it's cool enough to touch, cut the stem end off.
- Slice the roasted squash in half lengthwise.
- Use a large spoon to gently scoop out the seeds and membranes.
They should come out quite easily.
Keep the seeds — just like those from a pumpkin, they can be roasted and seasoned. Just put them in a fine mesh strainer and rise them, removing any of the squash membranes that might be stuck.
(More detailed instructions are below.)
Delicious butternut squash recipes:
- Chai Spiced Butternut Squash Pie
- Roasted Butternut Squash Gingerbread
- Roasted Butternut Squash Sage Butter
- Spiced Chicken-Butternut Squash “Lasagna”
- Roasted Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili
Whole Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 approximately (4 pound) whole butternut squash
- Preheat the oven to 400°F, adjust a rack to the lower third, and place a whole butternut squash on a baking sheet. Pierce it just a few times with a fork. Don’t do anything else!
- Once the oven is preheated, place the baking sheet with the squash in the oven, and roast until it’s soft to the touch, about 1 hour, 45 minutes. After the first 45 minutes, turn it over and you should check on it every 20 minutes or so. When it’s done, the skin will be somewhat wrinkled with some charred areas, and some golden brown spots.
- Let the squash cool so you’re better able to handle it. Then cut the stem end off.
- Slice it in half lengthwise. Be careful because it’s still hot, a lot of steam will release at this point.
- Use a large spoon to gently scoop out the seeds and membranes. (Keep the seeds — just like those from a pumpkin, they can be roasted and seasoned. Just put them in a fine mesh strainer and rise them, removing any of the squash membranes that might be stuck.)
- Gently scoop the soft flesh out of the skin.
Cooking On The Weekends is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Good grief, did you see my Facebook comment? I always prepare for a visit to our local ER whenever I pick up my knife - but that was with an uncooked and peeled butternut squash. Thank you - and enjoy a lovely holiday with your family this Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours Liz! (And no visits to the ER please!) 😉
I don't know why it's never occurred to me to roast the whole butternut squash first. This is genius. I might eat more squash now.
Thanks, Kalinda! Hope you try it! xo
This method for roasting butternut squash is genius! It is so much easier than cubing the hard squash and then roasting. I'm making sauce for lasagna from butternut squash and can't wait to give this method a try.
Oh yes, Deb -- perfect to add to sauces like this! I'm making a compound butter with it tomorrow, to add to pasta. 🙂
Will this work with acorn and carnival squash too? I usually halve and then cook in glass pan with water, but now I'm wondering....
Nancy, I haven't done this with an acorn squash, but I'm pretty sure it would work the same way -- though probably with a shorter roasting time. I'll try it and report back. If you try it first, let me know how it goes. 🙂
I'm with Liz, this certainly brings the danger level in control. GREG
Danger is never a good word in the kitchen. 😉
Kelly @ Tasting Page
So smart. I've never roasted it whole, but definitely saves on the impossible squash cutting. Gorgeous pictures!
Thanks so much Kelly!
So funny that we roasted squash on the same day. I learned something from you today, though! No need to scoop the seeds in advance! that will save time and sliminess! Happy Thanskgiving!!
Great (chef) minds think alike. 😉
Hey Val, how about roasting a spaghetti squash? Would that work before adding your sauce? Or would that make the inside too soft for the sauce?
Hi Richard! I've never roasted a whole spaghetti squash, but I'm sure it would work. Most vegetables like this should be pricked with a fork before roasting (I've found the butternut doesn't need it), so just in case, you might want to prick it a few times before you put it in the oven. I'm thinking it might have a shorter roasting time, so keep an eye on it. Enjoy!
I completely agree with the no danger in the kitchen comments. For some reason the minute a knife is in my hands an accident, no matter how careful I am, is only minutes away. I love making butternut squash as well as so many dishes with zucchini. It is the thought of having to use a sharp knife which always scares me away from making it more than I do.
Laurie, I hope you try this method -- the knife slides right in with no effort. Easy. Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
I just used this method and it came out fabulous! SO much easier!! Thanks!!
That's awesome, Hilary! 🙂
Judy @My Well Seasoned Life
Just in time for the season. Now if it will only cool down enough in LA to turn on the oven.
Agreed. It's beautiful, but I'm ready for a sweater!
Thank you for the great tips on roasting one of my favorite winter squashes!
Thank you, for checking it out. 🙂 ~Valentina
David @ Spiced
What a great (and timely) how-to post, Valentina! I love roasting butternut squash for a simple side dish this time of the year, but I love how you took it one step further and turned it into puree. This would be so useful for all sorts of things! Off the top of my head, I'm wondering if we can make a butternut squash quickbread? Perhaps with some cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of ginger? Now I need to find out if that could work!
Great minds think alike. Check this out. 😀 Thanks for checking out my roasting method and I hope you have a fantastic week. ~Valentina
My mom and I are the only ones in our family who love this stuff, which makes me kinda sad, til I realize...MORE FOR US!
I love that, Colette. There's always a bright side. 😉 xo Hope you have a great week. ~Valentina
Geography as yet again ! In Australia we call this very popular vegetable butternut pumpkin and methinks most of us do use the baking method for ease. And pumpkin seeds are indeed very popular 🙂 ! When we talk of squash it usually means the small yellow button variety . . . . also the ever popular zucchini is regarded as part of the squash family. Interesting to see the size of your butternuts - I would guesstimate most of ours at the supermarket to weigh less than 2 kilos . . . lovely to be able to compare . . .
I love all of the culinary geography information. 😀 We love zucchini and the yellow buttons, too. We call those Patty Pan -- do you? They're quite cute. And tasty! Cheers! 🙂 ~ Valentina
Yes, being on line, I have picked up on what 'patty pans' means but the wording would be 'strange' to over 90% of Aussies 🙂 ! That we have to remember to say cilantro instead of coriander, shrimp instead of prawns and, away from food cannot blithely talk about thongs (on our feet) does make us smile . . . I believe there are over 4000 language differences . . . what fun !! And I have had personal 'difficulties' in ordering a tomah-to salad or asking the housekeeping to bring up a vah-se when friends brought flowers !
Yes, all of the language differences are so much fun and so interesting. My mom used to study this sort of thing. I think "prawns" sounds so much fancier than shrimp. 🙂 ~Valentina
John / Kitchen Riffs
Mmmm, squash. I love roasting it -- really makes the flavor pop, doesn't it? Terrific pictures, too. Thanks!
Indeed! Thank you so much, John. 🙂 ~Valentina
Roasted squash is the best! Can't wait to get my hands on some! Yum!
I love it too, Kim. Enjoy! Thanks for visiting. 🙂 ~Valentina
Kelly | Foodtasia
Roasting squash is such an easy way to prepare it! I substitute butternut squash puree for anything that calls for canned pumpkin. It's so much better! Great tip on not taking out the seeds before roasting!
Thanks, Kelly. I use it instead of pumpkin quite often, too. Soooo good! 🙂 ~Valentina