Butternut squash makes a great stand-in for pumpkin for full meals. When roasted, butternut squash takes on a lovely texture and has a beautifully subtle flavor that makes it a joy to work in the kitchen.
I usually use it in place of pumpkins when pumpkins are really expensive in the grocery or difficult to find. While there are tons of great butternut squash recipes out there that use the gourd in interesting and complex ways, I wanted to write a very basic and simple blog post on how to roast butternut squash and what you can do with it.
I think sometimes cooks can go crazy with an ingredient they have used many times before and just overlook some of the basic benefits and cooking methods that first-time cooks may be interested in learning about. If you’ve not used butternut squash before or you’ve had trouble working it into recipes and meals, then this blog post is for you.
How Long to Roast Butternut Squash?
It’ll take about 45 minutes to cook a butternut squash in the oven. That’s taking into account a roasting temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit and factoring for regular size butternut squash. These can come in all different sizes, so if you’re cooking a large one, it’ll take longer, and if you’re cooking several at once, that will extend your cook time as well.
If you have cut the squash into small pieces, however, like cubes, the cooking time won’t be as lengthy. It may be less than half an hour, if you are working with small cubes.
What Temperature to Roast Butternut Squash
Whether you’re roasting cubes, squash halves, or a whole butternut squash, I think 375 degrees Fahrenheit is a pretty good temperature to work with. You may want to up the temperature a little bit for a whole squash or if you’re cooking several squashes at once.
Because butternut squash can be a bit dense, it needs to cook at a temperature that allows the heat to permeate through the skin and into the center of the squash. This can take some time, so a high cooking temperature can burn the outside of the squash and not cook the interior adequately.
By the time the outside looks done, the inside won’t have cooked all the way through, so keeping the temperature to about 375 allows all of the squash to cook thoroughly without burning any one part.
How to Roast Butternut Squash Cubes
Butternut squash cubes can make for a great side or be mixed into a medley. Here’s how to make them.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut off the ends of the butternut squash and then peel off the skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut the squash in half, cutting the long way.
- Then, remove the seeds and the stringy looking parts from the two halves of the squash.
- Turn the squash so that the cut part of the halves is facing downward. Then, cut the halves into slices, and from there, cut the slices into small pieces, about 1-inch cubed.
- Mix in the seasonings you want to use, like salt, pepper, various herbs, and then some cooking oil (preferably olive oil).
- Bake in the oven (on a lined baking sheet) for about 25 minutes, until the cubes darken a bit and are tender when pierced with a fork.
How long to roast butternut squash cubes? You’ll have to cook them until they become tender. They should change color as they cook, and you want them a bit darker than when you put them into the oven but not blackened. That should take about 25 minges, if you are cooking a single squash at once.
How to Roast Butternut Squash Seeds
The seeds of the butternut squash don’t have to be discarded if you want to roast them and make a tasty, healthy treat. You can eat them on their own or mix them with other seeds or crunchy foods to make a trail mix.
Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and season the seeds as the oven preheats. You can use salt and some cooking oil, and then spread out the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cook them in the oven for about 15 minutes, giving them a stir halfway through the cooking time. They should brown slightly and start to pop at that point.
How to Roast Butternut Squash Halves
If you just cut the squash into halves and roast it in the oven, the cooking time is a bit different from these other methods. How long do you roast butternut squash that is halved? It can cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes. It should be tender and lightly browned at that point. Poke it with a fork to check if it is done.
How to Roast Frozen Butternut Squash
What about if the butternut squash is frozen? Do you need to change up the cooking time at all or do anything different with it to ensure that it cooks all the way through?
What I like to do to ensure I have great tasting butternut squash all year long is buy it fresh when it is in season and then cut it up into cubes the same way I showed you up above. The cubed pieces store really well in the freezer.
You can put them into a freezer safe resealable bag and store them for months that way. Then, when you want to cook them up, they can be cooked straight from frozen.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and place your empty baking tray in the oven as it preheats. This warms the sheet.
Once the oven has heated, add your frozen pieces onto the tray and cook for 18-20 minutes. You can do this with pieces you have chopped yourself or with a bag of frozen butternut squash you buy from the grocery.
Now you know how to roast a butternut squash in a few different ways. I hope you put all that knowledge to good use and try some of these methods for yourself.