Roasted Whole Butternut Squash

4.99 from 198 votes
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Roasted whole butternut squash is an easy way to enjoy the delicious winter squash. Simply slice in half, then bake until tender. A maple cinnamon glaze and chopped nuts add a touch of sweetness to each serving.

Roasted whole butternut squash on a plate.

One of the easiest ways to prepare butternut squash is to roast it whole. No peeling, just cut in half, remove the seeds, and bake. It makes for a stunning and healthy side dish. To add layers of flavor with minimal effort, I roast the halves flesh-side down to boost the browning on the surface.

You can simply enjoy the sweet and nutty flesh with just salt and pepper. However, I like to make it even tastier. A brush of sticky maple syrup and a sprinkle of bold cinnamon and nutmeg create delicious caramel notes. Slice it up into individual servings, scoop out a few spoonfuls, or stuff it to make an edible bowl.

Prepare the squash for roasting

The most challenging step in this recipe is cutting the squash. Make sure to trim off the stem and bottoms first. This process makes it much easier to slice down the center.

Then use a gentle rocking motion with a sharp knife to cut it in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. If you like, you can clean and dry them, and eat them like roasted pumpkin seeds as a healthy snack.

Recipe Resources

Roast the squash

Brushing olive oil over the flesh of a butternut squash.

Brush the flesh with olive oil before roasting. The fat heats up and helps fry the surface, creating a golden brown color loaded with flavor. I cook the squash halves cut-side down until I can easily pierce it with a knife. It’s ready to enjoy, but let’s boost the flavor up a notch with a glaze.

Add a flavorful glaze

Brushing a maple glaze over roasted butternut squash.

Combine maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Generously brush it on top, then roast until it’s bubbly and caramelized. Giving the oven about 10 minutes helps to evaporate the syrup’s moisture and concentrates the toffee-like flavors onto the squash.

The warm spices add enticing aromas and make it seem more like a dessert, but healthier. Right before serving, add some chopped pecans for a nice contrasting crunch.

What to serve this with

Close up of a spoon scooping the flesh out of a roasted butternut squash.

Two ways to make squash more flavorful

Cook the halves flesh-side down. Direct contact with the hot baking sheet develops more Maillard browning. I like to wait to season it with salt and pepper until after it’s done roasting. The salt draws out the moisture from the cut flesh and brings it to the surface. The salt causes the squash to steam instead of brown, which we want to avoid.

Roasted Whole Butternut Squash

Roasting butternut squash whole is an easy way to enjoy this delicious winter squash. Simply slice in half, then bake until tender.
4.99 from 198 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 butternut squash, about 1 ½ to 2 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt, for seasoning
  • black pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon chopped pecans, optional

Instructions 

  • Set the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 400ºF (204ºC).
  • Wash and thoroughly dry the butternut squash.
  • Place the squash on a sturdy cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife to trim the stem and bottom of the squash.
  • Starting at the larger side of the squash, carefully cut in half lengthwise, using small rocking motions.
  • Use a large spoon to remove the seeds. If desired, wash, separate and dry the seeds for roasting later.
  • Line a large baking sheet with foil. Grease the foil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, use a paper towel to spread evenly.
  • Brush the flesh of the squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place the squash cut side down and evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
  • Roast until a knife can easily pierce into the flesh, about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the squash’s size.
  • Carefully turn the squash over with tongs and season with salt and pepper. Serve as is or proceed with maple glaze.
  • In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Brush evenly on the flesh and roast until the surface is caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Garnish whole roasted butternut squash with chopped pecans.

Notes

  • Roasted butternut squash seeds: Wash and dry the seeds. Toss in some olive oil and salt. Place on a sheet pan and roast at 350°F (177ºC) for 10 to 12 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes until crunchy.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 97kcal (5%)Carbohydrates 13g (4%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 5g (8%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Sodium 4mgPotassium 346mg (10%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 4g (4%)Vitamin A 9966IU (199%)Vitamin C 20mg (24%)Calcium 49mg (5%)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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29 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Kelly says

    Excellent way to cook butternut squash. I followed this recipe and it came out fabulous! Looking forward to trying other recipes from this site.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      The butternut squash sometimes has a sticky, sappy substance that is released when it’s cut, and if you let it dry on your hands it can harden. Washing your hands will easily remove it.

  2. Syl says

    Thanks!! This is one of the few recipes that include the weight of the squash and the cooking time. Usually, the recipes seem to be for small squash and I am stuck with a 2-3 lb butternut squash without a way to tell if the cooking time applies. My absolute favorite would be a table with cooking times for various squash weigths. Has anyone found that?
    Loving this recipe layout, by the way! Just found it with all the detailed photos and descriptions. Super helpful!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great suggestion! For the timing based on the size, I just use a knife to test for the doneness, if it pierces easily, it’s ready! I always check every 5 to 10 minutes after the initial time recommendation for larger squash.

  3. Cathy says

    I’m making this squash tonight. I’m assuming you roast it UNCOVERED? The syrup mixture sounds amazing! I’ll update results later

  4. Lourdes Y Cancel Irizarry says

    Absolutely delicious, nutritious & satisfying. Filled the cavity with sauteed beet greens to a complete vegetarian meal!

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  5. Christine Thomas says

    The easy sauce of maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg made this butternut squash thee best I’ve ever made!

  6. Sherry Willner says

    I had butternut squash from the seeds I planted a year ago, I took a small one that appeared ripe and roasted it as suggested, just had it with brisket and some wine. Was incredible and great tasting with the limited baking effort. I’ll save the other half for another time. Simple delicious!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow, I can’t believe you grew your own butternut squash and finally could enjoy it! Thank you for making the recipe. The pairing sounds incredible with the wine and brisket.

  7. Joe says

    My wife and I love all kinds of squash. Made this last night to go with boneless leg of lamb. Best squash ever — nutmeg and are my favorites. Used butter instead of oil and walnuts in stead of pecan — found them first.
    Also made your grilled corn salad this week — another winner.

  8. Sally says

    I also brown sausage and onion and then put it in the cavity after roasting, then run long slice in the roasted quash (don’t cut through the skin). Then baste with maple syrup and brown in the oven.

  9. Trudy says

    For cutting a squash – or a turnip or cabbage – put away that knife and use an ULU. Best tool in my tool drawer!

  10. Dena says

    Love this recipe! My husband cooked it because I’ve been on bed rest. It turned out fabulous and directions were excellent and easy to follow! Love the maple glaze!♥️

  11. Penny says

    husband didn’t like the orange but I used cuties as well. He says citrus and squash dont go together lol whatever he ate it