Roasted butternut squash – crispy and caramelized on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside – is the perfect alternative to potatoes.
Butternut squash is the perfect alternative to potatoes or sweet potatoes. Even though it’s not as starchy as potatoes, when baked in olive oil it’s just wonderful – crispy and caramelized on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty side dish (the exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below):
Cubed butternut squash: I make life easy for myself and buy it already cubed from Whole Foods. I believe most supermarkets offer it too.
Kosher salt: If using fine salt instead, you might want to reduce the amount you use.
Spices: Garlic powder and chili powder. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
How to roast butternut squash
It’s easy! I use pre-cut butternut squash cubes that are available at Whole Foods and at my local supermarket. I toss the cubes with olive oil and seasonings, then roast in a hot oven until beautifully crispy. The detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
Toss the squash cubes with oil and spices. I sometimes use my hands just to ensure everything is well-coated.
Arrange them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure the baking sheet is rimmed.
Roast until browned and tender, about 30 minutes at 425°F, gently stirring midway through roasting.
More ways you can season the squash
In this recipe, olive oil, garlic, and chili powder combine to create a wonderfully intense flavor experience. Another option is to use butter, garlic powder, and Parmesan. But the recipe below is the one I use most often.
Some people like to use brown sugar or maple syrup. Personally, I’m not a big fan of sweet-tasting side dishes – I prefer to save my sweet-tasting foods for dessert!
But if you’d like to give it a try, simply drizzle the squash with 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, then bake.
How long does it take to roast butternut squash cubes?
Not very long! That’s the beauty of using cubes rather than roasting a whole squash. In a 425°F oven, it only takes about 30 minutes.
Can you eat the skin?
As it turns out, it’s fine to eat the skin, especially if you use petite butternut. It’s not so much a question of safety as a question of texture. If not roasted long enough, the skin could be tough and unpalatable.
As I said before, I buy pre-cut squash cubes. These do not come with the skin. But if you buy a whole squash and cut it yourself, it’s up to you whether to leave the skin on or peel it.
What about leftovers?
You can keep leftover roasted butternut squash in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3 days.
The leftovers are good when gently reheated in the microwave on 50% power. They are also surprisingly good when eaten cold straight out of the fridge!
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Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1.5 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon fine salt)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the butternut squash cubes in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and use your hands to mix it into the squash cubes.
- Add the salt, garlic powder and chili powder. Mix well.
- Arrange the coated butternut squash cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes. Gently stir, then continue roasting until tender, 10-15 more minutes.
- Serve the roasted butternut squash immediately. Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Gently reheat them in the microwave before serving.