how to roast butternut squash

How to Roast Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a superfood, high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, beta-carotene, and anti-inflammatory compounds. 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. Butternut squash is quick and easy to prepare, requiring little effort to prior to serving. When served as a side dish, I put butternut squash on the table hot out of the oven with a dollop of coconut oil, a big shake of ground cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt.

Like pumpkin, butternut squash is a winter squash, 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 tastiest winter squash in my area from mid-September until sometime in March, depending on the weather each year.

Here’s how to roast 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 a bit more browned.

Print Recipe
How to Roast Butternut Squash
  1. Using a big knife, cut the squash in half
  2. Scoop out 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. 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 pumpkin 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 it’s 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 easy paleo recipes that call for pumpkin, it will work very well!


  1. Bruce1369 says

    If you are having trouble with canned pumpkin/squash being too watery, cook the product in a saucepan for 15 min. Let cool a bit and continue with your recipe.

  2. Amy says

    What a helpful post, thanks Elana! I live in Italy and it’s terribly difficult to find pumpkin here (and spaghetti squash, for that matter) and sweet potato isn’t a given, either. But butternut squash I can get! Can’t wait to try it out, and please do keep these “substitutes” posts a comin’ for those of us who really *need* them!

  3. says

    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?

  4. MLR says

    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?


  5. Sarah says

    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?

  6. Cynthia Niernberger says

    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!!!

  7. Francilia Ehrig says

    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 says

      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!

  8. says

    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!

  9. Karen says

    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.

  10. Angel tucker says

    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 says

      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!

  11. Rebecca Joy Gabriel says


    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

  12. Maria says

    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 says

      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 says

      @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 says

        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).

  13. MamaCassi says

    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 says

      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!

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