Transform butternut squash into a comforting side dish for this fall season. Caramelized to crispy golden brown perfection on the outside while remaining soft and sweet on the inside, this easy maple roasted butternut squash seriously tastes like candy yet is incredibly nutritious!
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, there are few things I look forward to more than adding maple roasted butternut squash to the holiday table. It is such a simple, delicious side dish that adds a warm and savory element to any meal. I also love featuring them in an apple quinoa salad, pesto pasta or a festive butternut squash hummus! I also use this recipe in my maple roasted butternut squash soup.
The key ingredient in this basic recipe is the pure maple syrup. The delicious maple, (combined with roasting at a high temperature) helps each cube get slightly caramelized, adding the perfect touch to the natural sweetness of butternut squash.
These little jewels are soft, satisfying and full of savory flavors. They are somewhat addictive too so you might want to consider doubling the recipe!
Once you have the butternut squash, you'll just need some simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry:
- Butternut squash
- Avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
- Maple syrup
- Maple sugar
- Ground black pepper
- Fine salt
How to Cut a Butternut Squash
If you've never cut a butternut squash, don't worry! It may seem complicated, but it can be done rather quickly following these easy steps. You'll be using a sharp knife so just make sure to be careful.
I like to use freshly cut butternut squash as opposed to store-bought, pre-cubed butternut squash. Roasting pre-cubed squash is the easiest way, but I find the effort of hand chopping is worth it because the result is a much better texture and flavor. Skip this section if you are using pre-cut butternut squash.
1. Cut off both ends of the squash using a large knife.
2. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin off the entire squash.
3. Lay the squash horizontally and cut off the bulb (the thicker round portion) from the neck (thinner portion).
4. Stand the bulb flat-side down and cut in half vertically.
5. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from the bulb and set aside (for roasting later!).
6. Cut both the bulb and the neck into strips.
7. Group multiple strips at a time to dice into small cubes.
How to Make Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
Dicing the butternut squash into cubes is the most labor-intensive part. The rest is super easy!
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large bowl, toss to combine the cubed butternut squash, oil, maple syrup, maple sugar and pepper. Do not add the salt yet.
3. Divide the seasoned butternut squash pieces into two 12-inch cast iron skillets (or sheet pan). Spread them out evenly in a single layer so they are not touching (otherwise they will steam and get soggy).
4. Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes, tossing halfway through. I recommend using a silicone spatula to gently toss to prevent the cubes from losing their shape. Watch closely at the end of the roasting to avoid burning. Remove from oven once fork tender and golden brown.
5. Add salt, toss gently and serve immediately for best results. I like to use a large silicone spatula to gently toss for best results. The cooked squash is delicate and can easily smoosh if you use tongs or metal utensils to toss it.
Allow the leftover squash to fully cool to room temperature before storing. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheating in the oven is the best way to maintain its crispiness.
- Season with salt after roasting. Adding salt prior to roasting will soften the butternut squash and they will not be as crispy. This is an important step!
- Use a cast iron skillet if possible. For best results, I recommend a cast iron skillet. If you do not have one, line 2 half sheet baking sheets with parchment paper. The squash will not get as caramelized and crispy as with a cast iron skillet but they will still be delicious.
- Selecting butternut squash. For best results in this recipe, I recommend cutting the butternut squash yourself. For pre-cut butternut squash, select the package with the latest expiration or sell-by date to optimize freshness. For whole butternut squash, choose ones in the produce section of your local grocery store that feel heavy for their size. You'll know they are ripe if they have a darker shade of tan or beige and are relatively hard.
- Dice as evenly as possible. Aim to slice each butternut squash piece into 1-inch cubes. Cutting them roughly the same size ensures that each cube will cook evenly.
- Add other seasonings and fresh herbs. Sprinkle some fresh thyme or sage leaves or add a little heat with some cayenne pepper.
This easy recipe is vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free, grain-free, paleo and gluten-free, so you can feel safe serving this at a holiday meal for a crowd with varied food allergies, sensitivities or dietary preferences.
An easy method for maple roasted butternut squash. These maple-caramelized jewels are tender, perfectly sweet and so satisfying.
This simple recipe is irresistible and yields perfectly roasted butternut squash that everyone will love. Serve as a side or as a topping for salads or grain bowls.
- 1, 2 pound butternut squash, peeled, stem removed, seeded and chopped into 1-inch cubes (measures 6 cups when chopped)
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons pure maple sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (or more to taste)
- ¾ teaspoon fine salt (at the end after roasting - or more to taste)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss to combine the cubed butternut squash, oil, maple syrup, maple sugar and pepper. Do not add the salt yet.
- Divide the seasoned butternut squash into two 12-inch cast iron skillets. Spread the cubes out evenly so they are not touching (otherwise they will get steam and get soggy).
- Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes, tossing halfway through. I recommend using a silicone spatula to gently toss to prevent the cubes from losing their shape. Watch closely at the end of the roasting to avoid burning. Remove from oven once fork tender and golden brown.
- Add salt, toss gently and serve immediately for best results. See notes for recipes that use this maple roasted butternut squash recipe.
For best results I recommend a cast iron skillet. If you do not have one, line 2 half sheet baking sheets with parchment paper. The squash will not get as caramelized and crispy as with a cast iron skillet but they will still be delicious.
Do the best you can to cut the pieces evenly – the closer they are in size, the more evenly they’ll cook.
Storage: Allow leftover squash to fully cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in oven for best results.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 35-40
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Oven