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Roasted Butternut Squash (Whole)

Making Roasted Butternut Squash is super easy and quick, especially if you bake it whole in the oven. It’s a great healthy and versatile side dish any time of the year!

2 halves of a baked butternut squash one is stuffed with rice and one plain

I know many people think of butternut squash as a fall or winter food, but why is that? These lovely squash are available in many grocery stores all year round, so I see absolutely no reason to limit when you eat them.

Baked pumpkin with spices and blackcurrent jam on wooden background

What is butternut squash?

Butternut squash is a winter squash which is interesting since it’s grown in the summer and harvested in the fall. It is long and oval in shape with a bell-bottom. The outer cover is usually a pale yellow-beige color, and the inside flesh is bright orange.

The taste is similar to sweet potatoes but nuttier in flavor, and it’s used in soups, stews, and other healthy side dishes.

This amazing vegetable is loaded with fiber and other nutrients and is very low in calories and fat. And, we know that eating plant foods like butternut squash can decrease the risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic medical conditions.

How to cook butternut squash whole

Most recipes for cooking butternut squash and other squash varieties tell you to cut them first and deseed them. The problem with this method is that they are so tough to cut. Their outer skin is thick and difficult to slice.

To me, it is much easier to just bake it whole in the oven and slice and deseed it once it’s nice and tender. Keeping it whole while it cooks also helps hold in the moister which I like.

To begin, make sure to wash the outside of your squash. You’re not going to eat the peelings, but just think about how many hands have touched it and where all it has been. It’s better to make sure it is clean.

baking pan lined with parchment paper with a whole butternut squash

Next, use a sharp knife to carefully poke about 5-6 holes in the squash. This is to make sure it doesn’t explode in the oven.

Place the squash on a baking sheet or pan. I line mine with parchment paper to keep from having to wash the pan. All of the juices fall on it and not my pan which means I only have to wipe it out when done.

Bake at 400°F for approximately 60-80 minutes or until it is tender when pierced with a knife. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your squash. Larger ones take longer to get tender.

baking pan with 2 halves of a butternut squash with a spoon removing the seeds

Once it is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.

You will notice how easy it can now be sliced, and only a spoon is needed to remove the seeds. There will be strings surrounding the seeds, and they will need to be scooped out as well.

Serving suggestions

  • Eat the cooked squash as is or sprinkle with a little cinnamon and salt and drizzle some maple syrup over the top.
  • Or, make a little bit of Wild Rice Stuffing, and fill it full to make a beautiful and filling dish during the holiday or any time of year.
baked butternut squash stuffed with wild rice

Other cooking methods

Though baking it whole is my favorite way to cook butternut squash, it can also be cooked using other methods.

  • Slice and Bake– Some people prefer to slice the raw squash and scoop out the seeds before cooking. Once it’s sliced, place it cut side down on a baking sheet to help it contain some of the moisture. Though, some people prefer to bake theirs with the cut size up.
  • Instant Pot- Place the trivit inside your Instant Pot and then add one cup of water and the whole clean butternut squash. Lock the lid down and slide the steam valve to SEAL and set to MANUAL for approximately 25 minutes. Once the cooking cycle is finished, leave it to allow for a natural release for about 10 minutes. Next, slide the valve to VENT and allow the rest of the preassure to be released.
  • Microwave– Prepare the squash by cutting it in half and scraping out the seeds same as above. Place it face side down on a microwave-safe pan or plate and cook on high for 6-10 minutes until it can be easily pierced with a fork.
  • Steam– Cut and prep as described above. Cut the squash into slices that will fit into a steamer basket. Place the steamer basket into a stockpot filled with water to just below the basket. Add the squash chunks and steam for appoximately 20 minutes until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork.
  • Saute– Peel and deseed the squash and slice into bite-size chunks. Add a little veggie broth and the chunks to a nonstick saute pan and cover. Flip them occassionally until they are tender which should take about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the chunks. Add more veggie broth as needed to prevent sticking.
baked butternut squash sliced in half on white plate

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2 halves of a baked butternut squash one is stuffed with rice and one plain

Roasted Butternut Squash (Whole)

Yield: 2
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

Making Roasted Butternut Squash is super easy and quick, especially if you bake it whole in the oven. It’s a great healthy and versatile side dish any time of the year!

Ingredients

  • 1 whole butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. To begin, make sure to wash the outside of your squash.
  2. Next, use a sharp knife to carefully poke about 5-6 holes in the squash. This is to make sure it doesn’t explode in the oven.
  3. Place it on a baking sheet or pan. I line mine with parchment paper to keep from having to wash the pan. All of the juices fall on it and not my pan which means I only have to wipe it out when done.
  4. Bake at 400°F for approximately 60-80 minutes or until it is tender when pierced with a knife. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your squash. Larger ones take longer to get tender.
  5. Once it is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.
  6. You will notice how easy it can now be sliced, and only a spoon is needed to remove the seeds. There will be strings surrounding the seeds, and they will need to be scooped out as well.
  7. Eat the cooked squash as is or sprinkle with a little cinnamon and salt and drizzle some maple syrup over the top. Or, make a little bit of Wild Rice Stuffing, and fill it full to make a beautiful and filling dish during the holiday or any time of year.

Notes

Most recipes for cooking butternut squash and other squash varieties tell you to cut them first and deseed them. The problem with this method is that they are so tough to cut. Their outer skin is thick and difficult to slice.

To me, it is much easier to just bake it whole in the oven and slice and deseed it once it’s nice and tender. Keeping it whole while it cooks also helps hold in the moister which I like.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 53Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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Aimee B.

Monday 13th of September 2021

This was perfect! Thank you so much for this tip! It not only saves me money, but also my poor fingers from trying to chop the dastardly difficult squash, lol! I will be using this method from now on. I did mine in the toaster oven and it worked great and tastes amazing plain, but even better with a sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzle of maple syrup! :)

Terri Edwards

Tuesday 14th of September 2021

Hi Aimee- YAY! Saving those fingers is very important, lol. So glad this method helped and that you liked the taste too. :)

Margie

Wednesday 8th of September 2021

Is it possible to microwave the whole squash instead of baking it?

Terri Edwards

Wednesday 8th of September 2021

Hi Margie- Yes, I actually included a 'Other Cooking Methods' section in the article that gives instructions for steaming, sauteing, and microwaving. The microwave tip says, "Prepare the squash by cutting it in half and scraping out the seeds same as above. Place it face-side down on a microwave-safe pan or plate and cook on high for 6-10 minutes until it can be easily pierced with a fork."

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