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How to Roast Butternut Squash

roasted butternut squash recipe

Butternut squash is a superfood –high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Butternut squash is a superfood. That’s not why it’s one of my all time favorite vegetables though. I simply love the rich sweet taste of this incredibly flavorful squash. It’s quick and easy to prepare and takes little effort to “gussy up.” When serving it as a side dish, I put butternut squash on the table hot out of the oven with a smear of coconut oil, a big shake of ground cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt.

Butternut squash is a winter squash (like pumpkin), and a member of the gourd family. Winter squash is generally in season from later summer through mid-winter, though can be grown year round in some locales. I find that I am able to obtain the best (tastiest) winter squash in my area from mid-September until sometime in March, depending on the weather each year.

Here is how I roast my butternut squash. If you wish you can line the baking sheet with parchment paper –that will work just fine. Or, roast the squash sans parchment to get the edges just a bit more browned.

How to Roast Butternut Squash


  1. Using a big hefty knife, cut the squash in half
  2. Scoop out the seeds and discard, or save for later use
  3. Rub inside and out of squash with coconut oil
  4. Place face down on a metal baking sheet
  5. Bake at 350° for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tender
  6. Serve

In my experience, butternut squash works incredibly well in recipes that call for pumpkin; I use these two members of the gourd family interchangeably in my recipes. In my experience it is often easier to find a ripe sugary butternut squash than it is to find a sweet pumpkin –though I do have great success with hokkaido pumpkins quite often.

Speaking of pumpkin, I’m often asked why canned pumpkin does not work in my recipes. Unfortunately, numerous readers have reported that using canned pumpkin in my pumpkin dishes (I’ve created all of these recipes using fresh baked squash or pumpkin) yields an extremely watery, soupy result. So best to stick with the exact recipe, or consider making an adapted version as a complete experiment, with an unpredictable result.

Use butternut squash in the following recipes that call for pumpkin –it will work very well!

posted on October 21, 2013, 18 comments

  1. MamaCassi

    i usually just wrap the whole thing in foil and cut it afterwards! making a pumpkin cake this weekend w butternut squash b/c i have discovered them to be totally and wonderfully interchangeable. 4 roasted squash in my fridge to be transformed into various dishes throughout the week!

    • Andrea

      I made this, it was a good flavor with the coconut oil but, I added butter in the end, sprinkled with garlic salt. The roasted seeds are delicious, don’t waist them! Just separate them from pulp, place them in a bowl. Add olive oil and toss, add garlic salt and toss. Lay them out flat on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 min at 350. Stir once in between. Healthy and delicious!! Crispy and flavorful!

  2. Maria

    I subbed butternut squash for pumpkin in the pumpkin pie recipe from your Almond Flour Cookbook. It worked wonderfully well and was a big hit with the kids. I’ve never roasted the squash this way before… I just cut it, scoop it, turn it upside down in a 9X13 pan and put it in the oven. I guess everyone has their own way.

    • Anne

      That’s what I do too, I don’t bother oiling the squash, I just put cut-side down on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Glad I’m not the only one!

    • Deb Dyson

      @MamaCassi @Karen-can you please tell me approximately how long you cook the whole squash and at what temperature? Thank you so much!

      Elana-Thank you for your wonderful website and terrific easy recipes. Most people seem to enjoy making things complicated but your recipes are straight forward and delicious. Thank you for the time and effort you take to make my life easier.

      • Deborah Wilson

        You may know this already but I do it at 425F for one hour. I also like to cut the top off a full bulb of garlic, drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, wrap in foil and bake along with the squash. Take it out of the oven after 45 min. and continue cooking the squash. Roasted garlic gives a wonderful flavor to soups or mashed squash, mashed cauliflower or mashed potatoes (if you use them).

  3. Rebecca Joy Gabriel


    I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your talk in Winston-Salem, NC Bookmarks Festival.

    I am looking forward to your created recipe for Pumpkin waffles!

    Thanks again,

    Rebecca Joy

  4. Angel tucker

    Little trick I learned from my local farmer. Bake whole for about …eh I think 10 -20 mins then cut open and discard seeds. Makes it super easy to cut.

    • Andrea

      The roasted seeds are delicious, don’t waist them! Just separate them from pulp, place them in a bowl. You don’t even have to wash them. Add olive oil and toss, add garlic salt and toss. Lay them out flat on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 min at 350. Stir once… inbetween. Healthy and delicious!! Crispy and flavorful!

  5. Karen

    I roast mine whole and then cut. So much easier and you don’t need to borrow a 15 year old to have enough strength to cut them.

  6. Yes you are right “butternut squash works incredibly well in recipes that call for pumpkin”. I like the butternut.

  7. Christine Rossi @ christinerossiart.com

    Love winter squash of all types, using coconut oil to roast gives an amazing taste!
    I mixed fresh pumpkin or squash with the canned pumpkin in your soup recipes and that works quite well, creamy and chunky and very tasty!

  8. Francilia Ehrig

    Great tip.
    I like to cut the butternut squash in little cubs, salt, pepper, olive oil and bake until is soft on the inside and crispy in the outside. My baby boy lives it. :)

    • Debbie

      I love roasting the butternut squash cubes with cinnamon, some salt and for hubby, a tiny bit of brown sugar. (I can do without the brown sugar.) The cubes are definitely best when crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Costco has precut cubes (probably not organic), but practical with the arthritis that is starting to take over my hands as I can’t cut as I used to and have no kids left at home to help.

      Yummy, I wish I had some right now!

  9. Cynthia Niernberger

    This time of year you can usually find Kabocha Squash, many times organic, so you can roast it and eat the very nutritious skin! Just cut apart into smallish pieces and douse with olive oil or coconut oil and roast…unbelievable!!!

  10. Sarah

    I’ve seen a recipe for pumpkin pie where you cook the moisture out of the canned pumpkin before making other additions (spices, milk/milk sub.) Might that work with your recipes?

  11. MLR

    Hey elana!

    first off-I love checking up and seeing whats new here!

    Second-I’d like to make a request and don’t know where to post…

    Can u work on a sugar-less alcohol-free Baileys Smoothie?


  12. This looks a lot easier than I thought. Thanks for sharing your tips. We use parchment paper with fish… if we skip that in cooking fish, will it brown our fish as well?

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