Roasted Kabocha Squash

4.92 from 49 votes
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Roasted kabocha squash is a lightly sweet and savory side dish that’s easy to prepare. Each slice bakes until tender and creamy, then glazed with a soy-ginger sauce. Pair this recipe with fresh seafood, hearty protein, or noodles for a vegetable boost.

Slices of roasted kabocha squash on a plate

Slice open a dark green kabocha squash, and you’ll find a gorgeous bright orange flesh. This Japanese pumpkin yields a slightly nutty, buttery, and creamy texture when cooked. The skin also softens enough to eat it. Japanese restaurants often deep-fry it to make crispy vegetable tempura. However, simply roasted is just as tasty.

This bumpy skinned winter squash may seem intimidating to cook, but it’s easy to prepare. Just cut thick slices and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, then roast until tender. You can either stop there or take the flavor up a notch with a generous brushing of umami-packed glaze. It’s a delicious healthy side dish to enjoy with your favorite Asian-inspired meals.

Cutting the squash

Kabocha has a pumpkin shape without the ribbing and a tiny stem. Use a sharp knife to cut down the center to create two halves and scoop out the seeds. If you like, you can roast the seeds for a healthy snack. Trim off the stem and bottom portion because they are tough and inedible. Carefully slice each half cut-side down into 1-inch thick pieces. Most of them should be rainbow shaped.

Recipe Resources

Seasoning and cooking

The flesh has a unique taste that only needs basic seasonings to enhance its flavor. Think sweet potato meets butternut squash. I first coat each piece with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread them in a single layer on a foil-lined sheet pan. The fat helps to prevent sticking, and lightly fry’s the surface in the hot oven.

It only takes about 15 minutes per side until a knife or fork can easily poke into it. I could easily eat it just like this, but adding a glaze makes each serving more delicious. And yes, the skin is very thin so you can eat it!

Brushing glaze on slices of squash on a sheet pan

Soy-ginger sauce

To balance the natural sweetness of the squash, I add a savory spiced glaze. The mixture is a combination of maple syrup, soy sauce, and ground ginger. Brush the surface with the sauce, then broil for a few minutes until the ingredients concentrate and lightly browns each piece. Flip and repeat, you won’t regret it! 

I like to briefly toast sesame seeds and garnish them on top right before serving for little crispy bites.

What to serve this with:

Close up of sesame seeds on top of sliced squash

Recipe Science

Roast then broil

Roasting the kabocha slices at 400-degrees allows the thick flesh and tough skin to soften in just 30 minutes. The flesh will slightly brown towards the end of cooking once the surface temperature reaches 300°F (149°C) due to the direct contact with the hot sheet pan. However, to increase the caramelized notes without overcooking the pieces, I use the broiler. Maple syrup intensifies the caramelization due to the sugars, and the high heat from the upper coils makes the color change fast. Just keep a close eye on the process as the broiler can burn foods if not monitored.

Roasted Kabocha Squash

Roasted kabocha squash glazed with a soy-ginger sauce. It's a lightly sweet and savory side dish that's easy to prepare.
4.92 from 49 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Side
Cuisine Japanese


  • 2 pounds kabocha squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted (optional)


  • Set the oven rack to the middle position. Heat oven to 400ºF (204ºC).
  • Wash and dry the squash. Carefully use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the squash in half down the middle and then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  • Place the squash cut-side down, trim off the stem and the bottom root side. Use a rocking motion to cut it into 1-inch thick wedges.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the squash slices, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the pieces in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  • Roast for 15 minutes, then flip them over. Roast until the squash is fork-tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, soy sauce, and ground ginger. Brush on the roasted squash slices. Place in the center of the oven and broil on high until the surface lightly browns, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over, brush the other side with the sauce, broil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • In a small nonstick pan, toast sesame seeds over medium heat until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  • Top roasted kabocha squash with toasted sesame seeds and serve warm.


  • Make it GLUTEN-FREE: Substitute the soy sauce for coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 86kcal (4%)Carbohydrates 13g (4%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 4g (6%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Sodium 234mg (10%)Potassium 408mg (12%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 6g (7%)Vitamin A 1550IU (31%)Vitamin C 14mg (17%)Calcium 40mg (4%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Recipe Rating

17 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Susan says

    This sounds really good. A combo I would not have thought to put on a baked / roasted squash. Seems like everyone loves it. Have a squash I need to use , so I think I will try this tomorrow. I love testing new recipes. Thank you for sharing! : )

  2. Claudia says

    This is a great recipe, have made it several times, and it even prompted me to grow my own kabocha squash. It’s a top shelf recipe that is a nice surprise for unsuspecting company. Everyone loves it. The glaze adds that special touch. Thank you so much for providing it.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow, I can’t believe you started growing your own kabocha squash! I can’t wait to hear what other dishes you make.

  3. Terry Rowles says

    Kabocha is not Japanese it originated in Northeast China (historically referred to as Manchuria) around 220 B.C. and was initially prized for its healing properties. Its name is reportedly derived from Dr. Kombu, a Korean physician who brought the fermented tea to Japan as a curative for Emperor Inkyo.Feb 1, 2017.

    • JoAnn says

      Kabocha is not kombucha. I don’t know if kabocha isn’t Japanese, but the rest of your explanation is what I read about “kombucha” in Wikipedia (I think).

  4. Peg H says

    This was delicious! It was difficult to slice, and it took me a lot longer than the 10 minute prep! Definitely worth the effort.

  5. Ruth says

    Could I cook these wedges in advance and cool and then 3 minutes before dinner put glaze on and broil? Your thoughts

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can glaze the squash before serving. However, I have found that it tastes good glazed, and reheated as well.

  6. Jeanne Nakano says

    Very delicious. I am elderly so cutting pumpkin is difficult so I microwaved for 3 minutes then cut. I didn’t know how long I should do this so just guessed–this lessoned roasting time in half( i think).It could have been roasted longer but I loved the flavor.
    I will make it again