A delicious, healthy recipe for roasted spiced butternut squash! Cubed butternut squash tossed with herbs, a pinch of cinnamon and olive oil for an easy, healthy side dish!
I make this recipe for Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash at least once a week in the winter. This and my healthy roasted acorn squash are on repeat from November to March! You can’t beat the mixture of chopped fresh rosemary, sage and thyme with a pinch of cinnamon. Roasting butternut squash concentrates the flavor and brings out its natural sweetness.
I like to make a big batch and then use the leftovers to make this Roasted Squash Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette for lunch the next day! You could even substitute this butternut squash for the sweet potatoes on my Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad.
Table of Contents
- What spices go well with roasted butternut squash?
- How to cut butternut squash?
- Why isn’t my roasted butternut squash brown?
- How do you know when butternut squash is cooked?
- Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash Ingredients
- What happens when you overcook butternut squash?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Chef Lindsey's Recipe Tips
What spices go well with roasted butternut squash?
Cinnamon and nutmeg are fabulous on butternut squash but try a pinch of pumpkin pie spice to change it up! This recipe uses cinnamon and fresh, chopped herbs for a flavor boost.
How to cut butternut squash?
Time needed: 10 minutes.
Cut your butternut squash into cubes perfect for roasting!
- Slice the squash
On a sturdy cutting board cut the top and the bottom off of the squash. Slice the squash in half (short ways) just above the bulbous part.
- Peel the squash
Using a vegetable peeler (I use a Y-peeler), peel both halves of the squash. Be careful, because they get a bit slippery when the flesh is exposed to air.
- Cut in half and scoop the seeds
Cut the round half in half lengthwise exposing the seeds. Scoop out the seeds with a large spoon and discard or save to roast!
- Slice round part of squash into cubes
Slice vertically into strips about 1 cm wide, then turn and cut each strip into cubes.
- Slice long part into cubes
Set the long half upright on the cutting board. Carefully cut into 1 cm sections. Take each section and slice into 1 cm strips. Turn and cut each strip into 1 cm cubes. Place all the cubes in a large bowl.
Why isn’t my roasted butternut squash brown?
If your roasted butternut squash isn’t brown it could be because the oven temperature was too low, it isn’t full cooked, or the pieces of squash are too crowded on the baking sheet. Browning is due to the sugars in the squash caramelizing and they need heat, space and airflow to do this. Using a darker baking sheet, baking on convection or placing the sheet on the top or bottom rack in the oven can help.
How do you know when butternut squash is cooked?
Butternut squash is cooked when it is soft and tender. You can pierce it with a paring knife, fork or cake tester. They should slide right in with no resistance. Ideally the squash is also a nice golden brown but that isn’t really an indicator of doneness.
Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash Ingredients
- Butternut Squash: When picking a butternut squash, choose one that does not have any green and feels heavy for its size.
- Fresh Rosemary: Prepare fresh rosemary by picking the leaves of the stems. I run my thumb and pointer-finger down the thick stem from the top to bottom. This removes most of the leaves. Then pick the remaining leaves off. Gather and chop!
- Fresh Sage: Prepare fresh sage by picking the leaves off the stems. Gather a few together and roll into a spiral as you would basil. Slice with a sharp knife using a rocking motion to chiffonade then run your knife through the other way for a fine mince.
- Kosher Salt: Not only does the salt heighten the flavor but it helps keep the butternut tender. Don’t omit completely.
- Cinnamon: I use Saigon cinnamon but any cinnamon will do.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil goes through the least amount of processing of the olive oils, so it keeps some of its nutritional values! It has a gentle taste and helps veggies retain their moisture.
What happens when you overcook butternut squash?
When you overcook butternut squash they get soft and mushy. If you find that texture to be off-putting, I suggest putting the overcooked squash in a blender with some chicken stock and making a quick soup instead! Problem solved.
- Herbs: You can use any spices or herbs that you like. Woody herbs like sage, rosemary and thyme are the best because their flavors improve upon heating. But you can add more delicate herbs like chives, cilantro or parsley after baking.
- Cinnamon: I use a generous pinch of cinnamon in this recipe because it adds just a little depth and warmth to the dish. It also brings out the natural sweetness in the butternut squash. You can also add a pinch of my pumpkin pie spice or even my speculoos spice mix! It can also be omitted if desired.
- EVOO: I use extra virgin olive oil in this recipe but you could use any cooking oil of choice or omit it completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store roasted butternut squash in a sealed, air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Roasted spiced butternut squash will last one week when refrigerated or one month frozen. The faster the cooked squash was cooled and stored properly, the longer it will stay fresh.
You can roast butternut squash ahead of time but I prefer to roast right before serving and then use the leftovers in salads and lunch the next day.
Yes! This recipe for roasted spiced butternut squash is excellent in the airfryer! You can follow the exact same recipe or you can use half the oil. Using even just a spritz of cooking spray will help the squash brown in the airfryer. Air fry at 350°F for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to cut the squash small enough or they will burn before they cook inside.
Chef Lindsey's Recipe Tips
Roast butternut squash on parchment paper lined baking sheets for easy cleanup! You will get the same roasty-toasty browned bits but none of the mess.
Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash
- Preheat the oven to 350°F convection or 375°F standard.
- Line one to two baking sheets with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
Peel the butternut squash:
- On a sturdy cutting board cut the top and the bottom off of the squash. Slice the squash in half (short ways) just above the bulbous part. Using a vegetable peeler (I use a Y-peeler), peel both halves of the squash. Be careful, because they get a bit slippery when the flesh is exposed to air.
- Cut the round half in half lengthwise exposing the seeds. Scoop out the seeds with a large spoon and discard or save to roast! Slice vertically into strips about 1 cm wide, then turn and cut each strip into cubes.
- Set the long half upright on the cutting board. Carefully cut into 1 cm sections. Take each section and slice into 1 cm strips. Turn and cut each strip into 1 cm cubes. Place all the cubes in a large bowl.
- Add rosemary, sage, half the salt, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of cinnamon. Toss to coat the squash, then pick one up and inspect it. This is the easiest way to tell if it is properly seasoned. They should have a slight glisten (not be wet with oil) and you should be able to see some salt crystals. Add more salt and oil if desired.
- Spread out on prepared baking sheets and bake in preheated oven 20-30 minutes. Give them a toss and rotate the baking sheets after about 10 minutes. To promote browning, make sure the squash cubes are spread out on the sheets and place them on the top and bottom racks of the oven. Baking on convection also helps. Do note that baking on convection will reduce the baking time by 8-10 minutes!
Before You Go!
Check out our other delicious, chef-developed recipes for Side Dishes!