An easy recipe for an airy, delicate butternut squash souffle that does not require separating the eggs.
I quickly mix the ingredients in my food processor. It's the perfect fall and winter side dish!
Airy, delicate and just barely sweet, this tasty souffle is a wonderful fall or winter side dish. It's also quite easy to make (don't let the water bath deter you), so I make it often for my family.
It is sweetened with just a little honey and flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. It's not overly sweet, though, so you can certainly serve it as a side dish. It's not really suitable as a dessert.
You'll only need a few ingredients to make butternut squash souffle. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Cubed raw butternut squash: I make life easier by buying it pre-cubed, either at Whole Foods or in the supermarket. You can obviously buy a whole squash and cube it yourself. Another easy option is to use frozen butternut squash.
Soft unsalted butter: I love creamy European butter, but any unsalted butter will be great in this recipe.
Honey: Either the real thing or a sugar-free alternative. Maple syrup works too. The souffle's texture, however, is best when using real honey. The other options have slightly higher water content and this slightly affects the souffle's texture.
Vanilla extract: Try to use the real thing - pure vanilla extract - and not the artificially flavored stuff.
Ground cinnamon: Make sure it's fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish, and I'm speaking from experience...
Kosher salt: Just a pinch to balance out the sweetness of the honey.
Eggs: I use large eggs in most of my recipes, this one included.
Making this butternut squash souffle is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Your first step is to steam the butternut squash cubes in the microwave. You can also use a basket steamer on the stovetop, but I find the microwave is the easiest and fastest.
The next step is to place the steamed squash cubes with the remaining ingredients in your food processor and process them into a smooth frothy mixture. I haven't tried using anything other than the food processor in this recipe.
The last step is to pour the mixture into buttered ramekins, place them in a water bath (which simply means baking them in a rimmed baking dish half-filled with warm water), and bake the souffle until it's cooked through. This should take about 30 minutes in a 350F oven.
When making a souffle or a custard (including a cheesecake), a water bath is a way to ensure even cooking and prevent the dish from overcooking. So despite it being an extra thing to do in this recipe, I highly recommend that you use a water bath.
Frequently asked questions
I'm a fan of steaming, and I prefer to do it in the microwave. To microwave-steam butternut squash, you place it in a microwave-safe bowl with a small amount of water, cover, and microwave on high until it's tender.
How long this takes depends on the size of the squash pieces. Large pieces can take as long as 15 minutes. Small pieces (typical to frozen squash) can take as little as 7 minutes.
It's very versatile, so quite a few flavors go with it. One flavor profile is the one we use here - slightly sweet with honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Another excellent flavor profile is creamy - so you could use heavy cream and parmesan. In terms of seasonings, you could use garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, and thyme.
A souffle is a baked egg dish that can be served as a savory side dish or as a sweet dessert. Apart from eggs, it can contain a variety of ingredients, including cheese, vegetables, herbs, and - for dessert - chocolate, vanilla, and fruit.
Typically, the egg whites are separated from the yolks and beaten until stiff, then the two mixtures are gently folded together. When the souffle is baked, the air bubbles in the egg whites expand, making it rise.
True. I'm too lazy to separate the eggs, whip the egg whites, and fold the mixtures together, so I aerate everything in the food processor. This means that this souffle doesn't puff up a lot in the oven.
On the flip side, it also doesn't deflate when you take it out of the oven. And despite my laziness, it has a delightfully light and airy texture.
Anything goes with this souffle, really. It's such a versatile side dish. However, for convenience, I often serve it with a main course that I can bake in the same 350°F oven, such as:
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Gently reheat them in the microwave on 50% power prior to serving. The souffle does lose some of its airiness, but its flavor is excellent even on the fourth day.
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Easy Butternut Squash Souffle
- 1 tablespoon soft unsalted butter for ramekins
- 3 heaping cups cubed raw butternut squash (16 oz)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 2 tablespoons honey (real or sugar-free)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Dash Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Boil 4 cups of water, let them slightly cool, then pour them into a 9 X 13-inch baking dish (this will be your water bath). Grease six ¾-cup ramekins with butter.
- Steam the squash: place the cubed raw squash in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add ½ cup water for large squash pieces or ¼ cup for small pieces. Cover and microwave until tender. Drain well. How long to microwave the squash will depend on the size of the squash pieces. Small ones, such as those that come in a bag of frozen squash, will likely take about 7 minutes. Large ones can take as long as 15 minutes.
- Place the cooked and drained squash along with the remaining ingredients in your food processor. Process on low for a few seconds, then process on high until well combined and frothy, about 1 minute.
- Pour the mixture into a spouted measuring cup, then into the ramekins. You can fill the ramekins almost to the top.
- Place the ramekins in the water bath. Bake until their center appears set and a toothpick inserted in it comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow the souffle to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before serving.