How to Roast a Whole Butternut Squash ♥ You Know, WHOLE

How to Roast a Whole Butternut Squash, no knives required, perfect results ♥ AVeggieVenture.com
Today's vegetable recipe: The easiest way in the world to roast a butternut squash. No knife, no cutting, no lost fingers. Whole. Roast it whole. Really. Time, temperature and yield included here!

So, um, this is awkward.

But how did I miss this easy-easy-EASY way to roast a butternut squash? For six years now, I've been writing about easy ways to cook vegetables and somehow, some-crazy-how, I missed baking a whole butternut squash.

Except –

I didn't miss it! I actually roasted a whole squash, whole, almost exactly five years ago when making Rutabaga & Butternut Squash Purée. I even remarked upon it. But then, days, weeks, months and even years passed. When I remade the purée last week, there was the recipe. (Ha! As if something this simple can even be called a recipe. Let's call it a "technique".)

I Plain Forgot.

So I didn't miss the recipe aka technique, I plain forgot. Blame it being the end of the season and the summer's excitement about green beans, I think it was in 2006, some vegetable anyhow. But now, now, NOW I remember though I'm worried, really, because it's kinda late in the season again.

But You Remember, Okay?

So I'm going to count on you guys, YOU, to remember and try this really soon so none of us, ever, forget, again. (And just so there's no forgetting, here's how to cook a whole spaghetti squash too, also a whole pumpkin, even a whole cauliflower. And don't forget, there's also How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers.)

'kay? 'kay.

COMPLIMENTS!
"I tried this on a *huge* squash the other day and it worked great!" ~ Libby
"Tried this, LOVE IT!!!" ~ Ariel
"Tried this a few times ... Every time it has come out perfectly ..." ~ Matthew
"This is AWESOME. I can't believe how much easier this is ..." ~ Anonymous
"... it worked great." ~ Merri
"... what a marvelous 'technique' for this senior ..." ~ Anonymous
"SOOOO much easier that trying to cut it!!!" ~ Kristen
"BRILLIANT. I had a butternut squash weighing upwards of 10 lbs ... after 2 hours it was gloriously caramelized with deep flavor." ~ Audrey
"I have arthritis and can’t cut squash but I really enjoy it. This is so helpful to me ... " ~ Theresa

HOW TO ROAST A WHOLE BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: about 90 minutes

1 butternut squash, washed under running water

Turn the oven to 425F/220C. There's no need to wait for the oven to preheat, put the squash on a baking sheet or in an oven-safe pan of some sort and put it straight in. Wait awhile, the house is going to start smelling really really good. (You might want to rustle up some snacks because the cowboy and cowkids are gonna be hungry.) A medium-size squash, less than two pounds, took an even 90 minutes, a larger one might take longer. (Please note: at least one cook has reported that her butternuts are roasting in as few as 45 minutes.)

That's it. Really! That is IT! Well, okay, so you also need to slice it open and scoop out the seeds and peel off the skin. (And you'll l-o-v-e how easy it is to scoop out the seeds and scrape the flesh off the skin.) Then that's it!

YIELDS (MY OWN EXPERIENCE, YOURS MAY VARY)
18oz (510g) butternut squash yields 9oz (255g) roasted squash
34oz (965g) butternut squash yields 19oz (538g)
44oz (1250g) butternut squash yields 24oz (680g)
7oz (200g) = 1 cup packed cooked squash

This means that, very roughly, a two-pound (900g) squash will yield one pound (455g) of cooked squash. Good to know!

ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
FOR EASY CLEAN-UP Do use a baking sheet or something to protect your oven, some times the squash oozes a bit of sugary juice. I have two favorite sheetpans for roasting vegetables, the large one officially called a half sheet pan and a smaller one called a quarter sheet pan that's perfect for small batches.
NO NEED TO PRICK THE SQUASH Nope, I don't prick the squash before roasting. And I've done it twice more times than I can count since 2011 and not a single squash has exploded. So given that, I'm sticking with the no-prick roasting. Why? Breaking the skin will let moisture out and some of the sugars will seep out and burn, like they often do when you roast the squash cut-side down.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH MEAL PREP While you're roasting one, roast two or three. The Recipe Box for winter squash recipes is filled with squash recipes that call for cooked squash. They're marked with this little icon, , cool, eh?
BUT SOME TIMES, BUTTERNUT SQUASH IS PLAIN DISAPPOINTING I haven't figured out why (and wonder if it's just the difference between one squash and another) but some times the squash comes out just like we want and think of as perfect: cooked through, smooth and sweet, meaty and moist. But some times the squash comes out almost wet and watery, some times it comes out dry and fibrous. I've had this happen with three different squash cooked the same length of time at the same time. Ideas, anyone? Maybe time of year? Relative age? How ripe when harvested? I'm very sure that the difference is not caused by roasting the butternut squash whole.



A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic



Still Hungry?



More Winter Squash Recipes

~ My Favorite Winter Squash Recipes ~
~ How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers ~

~ Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Tagine ~
~ Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar ~
~ Steamed Butternut Squash ~
~ Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Glaze ~
~ more winter squash recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple ~
~ Chicken & Wild Rice Soup ~
~ Acorn Squash with Quinoa & Cherries ~
~ more winter squash ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2011 & 2019
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

Comments

  1. I think pricking vegetables is only necessary for the microwave...not the crockpot or oven.

    Maybe the fibrous factor is related to how old or big the squash is?

    LOVE winter squash!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love to roast the whole butternut squash too...Great tips!

    ReplyDelete
  3. genius, thanks for sharing. have a bn squash i need to cook, cold front blew in this morning, perfect excuse to turn the oven on for 90 minutes. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would surmise that you're not going to get a perfect squash every time. Nature is, inherently, variable, so some squash just aren't going to be exactly like you want them.

    Nice post though. I have 3 buternuts that I should use up before I move at the end of the month... though I do like the lovely taste and texture of cutting them up and roasting them in my toaster oven.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I found a similar "recipe" for eggplant. Just stick it in the oven with no pricking or piercing. I set a timer and totally forgot about it until I heard a bomb going off in the kitchen! The eggplant exploded and blew open the oven door and left it's guts all over the kitchen for quite the hilarious cleanup.

    I'm willing to trying it again because it was pretty hilarious. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  6. The quality of your butternut pumpkin (yep!! they're called pumpkins in Australia!) will vary due to the growing conditions.

    If it grew in a particularly wet season, or was watered a lot, it will be mushy and watery.

    A dry season, or not enough water - a dry tough pumpkin!

    Hope that helps.......

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh that's amusing because I've been using your instructions for how to roast a whole squash all season.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I eat butternut squash every single day! Along with Pumpkin & Spaghetti Squash!!! If I were what I ate.. I'd be a squash for sure... but a trim one because they DON'T pack on the pounds!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great recipes -- great to have so many choices in one place, too. Thanks for making it so easy to find good recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I tried this on a *huge* squash the other day and it worked great! It was not a butternut squash, it was another variety called a pink banana squash. I especially liked how easy it was to remove the seeds after roasting it whole! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the butternut squash pie...with honey......

    ReplyDelete
  12. Tried this, LOVE IT!!!

    Thanks so much. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Although I love the taste of oven-roasted squash,energy costs are too high here in the Bay area to justify this 90 min technique when it tastes almost the same cooked other ways such as whole in the slow cooker or microwave. These other methods use far less energy so I can save my high cost oven dollars on cakes, browning, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tried this a few times when we've made Enchiladas Calabaza (google for "Enchilada Calabaza Seva," it's fantastic and simple!). Every time it has come out perfectly, but it's already done by 45 minutes! No need to run it any longer: it is already easy to effortlessly skin, mash up it and process into yummy enchiladas! Thanks so much for this post!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Patty, Columbus OHMarch 09, 2011

    I love roasted butternut squash, this last time I tried it cut in French fry form. Tasted the same so I will probably go back to the other. Just last night I made a stew in my pressure cook and added in the already roasted squash at the end, tasted great. It warmed it up almost immediately. Now I have a new way to do my stew.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have two whole butternuts roasting in the oven now. Am looking forward to using them in several recipes of yours.

    Just a question: how do you know when the squash is done?! Is a prick with a fork to check for tenderness the best way to go?

    Thanks so much for your recipes & column.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous ~ Y'know, good question! I'm not sure I've even ever thought to check, they've all turned out beautifully. But yes, I think inserting a knife into the flesh is the way to check, especially in the neck, where the flesh is thickest and densest.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have oven baked butternut and spaghetti squash for years, initially when I was short on prep time and already had the oven on. However, my family isn't very accepting for spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta. Their favorite way, and now a Thanksgiving 'must' every year, is to bake the spaghetti squash, remove the seeds, then before removing it from the shell, take a paring knife and make 1 to 2 inch horizontal cuts in the long strands. Empty the squash into a bowl and add salt, pepper, and about 1 cup of cheddar, colby, swiss, or even Velveeta for a creamier dish. You can also use mozzarella for some stretchy fun! Use whatever you have or like. Cover and return to the oven until heated through and cheese is melted. This is my family's most requested way to do spaghetti squash. Love your recipes and ideas! kathyk243

    ReplyDelete
  19. Michigan front-yard farmerNovember 01, 2011

    About the variability of the squashes and their texture: as one who grows them (just a few dozen each season in my garden), I might suspect that some of yours had been aged just right, others not as well. Storage over weeks, even months, is not only possible with winter squash but -- as with melons -- desirable. Cool post-harvest storage is what concentrates the sugar and the flesh itself, pulling it away from the moist seeds and pulp in the center and making it into a drier, denser layer along the walls. So, a better-aged squash gives a certain sound when knocked on, almost like a wood block, vs. an unaged squash, which sounds fuzzier, less distinct, like rapping on . . . a vegetable.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Just recently used this method for roasting whole Butternut Squash (for Christmas). This is AWESOME. I can't believe how much easier this is than trying to skin/cut up a whole raw butternut squash - which in my mind is kinda like trying to skin and cut up a baseball bat. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this great tip!!! I'm sure I will be preparing butternut squash much more often now. Next, I will try roasting a whole spaghetti squash!

    ReplyDelete
  21. i did this for another random squash the other week and it worked great. last time we tried cutting a butternut squash before cooking, my roommate almost cut his finger off! this roasting whole squashes is MUCH safer with their tough skins. So i agree with this recipe! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I remember reading on your site about making soup stock from roasted butternut squash peelings and seeds. I have searched and Googled, but I can't find those instructions! Could you tell me where to find it? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous ~ So glad you asked, it's with this recipe, Butternut Squash Soup That Actually Tastes Like Butternut Squash.

    My apologies - I really am working at updating the Recipe Box, I've let myself get way way too far behind. :-(

    ReplyDelete
  24. I had to write you to say that when roasted, "the seeds and stuff" is a delicacy! I'm just experimenting with raw, but when I do roast a butternut squash for an extra long time, the seeds and stuff are really good! Put them right along with the squash in a serving ... though I do not care for the acorn squash seeds n stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for sharing your experiences and for all the people who have commented, especially thanks to "Michigan Front-yard Farmer" for clearing up the aging of squash (I call them pumpkin).

    I have many tiny butternuts (that's easier) that I grew. I know, I was supposed to cut off the vine so the plant concentrated on one or two fruit, but do you know how much fun we had? The compost just grew a harvest (these and plenty of very big juicy rockmelons (canteloupe).

    My hubby is still giggling, "whatiya want for dinner, half a pumpkin?". I'll age them 'til they don't sound like a vegetable first.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Have you ever roasted sweet meat squash whole? They are very heavy and dense so I am wondering how long they might take.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous ~ A “sweet meat” squash is a new one to me! I just checked Google images, they are so pretty, that lovely pale greenish-blue color! I wouldn’t hesitate to roast it whole, however, given my experiences with other large, dense squashes. What I’ll also say, however, is that roasting a squash whole won’t turn dry / pasty / flavorless flesh into something else. I had this experience recently when Trader Joe’s was selling “kabocha” squashes and one was a kabocha, one was something “like” a kabocha (different shape) but turned out awful, went straight to the compost.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Roasted a whole butternut squash today for the first time, thanks to you & your site. I LOVE butternut squash, so what a marvelous 'technique' for this senior to know. :)))
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
    No hassle & no (worries over my fingers) - absolutely marvelous!!! & SO yummy! .
    Bless you & thank you, again.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous ~ You are so, so welcome, thanks for letting me know your fingers are again safe! :-)))

    ReplyDelete
  30. I would reconsider your advice re poking holes in the squash before baking. I always had in the past but after reading your tip ( Nope, I didn't prick the squash before roasting. And I've done it twice six times now, once in 2006 and again in 2011 and not a single squash blew up. So given that, I'm sticking with the no-prick roasting. Breaking the skin will let moisture out and some of the sugars will seep out and burn, like they often do when you roast the squash cut-side down.) Based on that information,I decided to give it a try. After taking it out of the oven and testing it for doneness with a small knife, it Exploded sending hot squash all over and onto my hand. I am now nursing a burned hand and fingers and believe me, IT HURTS. Thank goodness I didn't test it while it was still in the oven or it would have blown up on my face. I would rather do without a little of the juice and sugars. Not to mention the time it took to clean up a huge mess. I guess there is a reason for poking holes in squash, potatoes, etc. Thanks. Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  31. Cindy ~ Aiiii, oh no! Yes definitely reconsidered! Good thoughts and quick healing to you!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi there, uhmm I use the metric system, C and not F and so on. It's easy enough to find a F to C converter, but what about those "cups"? What's a "cup", in a way that I would understand it, e.g. grams for example? Or should I think coffee mug, or ... what should I bring to mind? Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous ~ So, um, yeah. Metric. Many of my newer recipes include Celsius and grams. These older ones? Not so much. But as I’m sure you know, cups are measured in volume not weight so a cup of lead, say, weighs more than a cup of feathers. When I lived in Europe, I bought a set of US measuring cups and spoons. Problem solved!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Did this for Thanksgiving and it turned out SOOOO GOOD!!! Thanks!! Totally writing this in my recipe binder! SOOOO much easier that trying to cut it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Kristen ~ You are SOOO welcome! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. This is great. Thanks for giving us the courage to just throw the squash in there! I do spaghetti squash in a similar manner. Except I do stab those with a knife a few times. Then, I cut them open about 30 min through and then finish baking them. So much easier and safer than risking your life trying to cut open a hard squash!

    ReplyDelete
  37. BRILLIANT. I had a butternut squash weighing upwards of 10 lbs and I was REALLY dreading dealing with it. I popped it in the oven in a glass dish, and after 2 hours it was gloriously caramelized with deep flavor.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you for this incredibly useful information! I have one baking in the oven right now :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I, too, love that America's Test Kitchen butternut squash soup recipe and I'm planning to make it today. I'm wondering if you use the whole-roasted squash method, which I'm planning to try, how that affects the step in the soup recipe where you sauté the seeds and strings? Any thoughts?Do they just get double-cooked? Thanks--this is a great site!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Carolyn ~ Thank you for your kind words! And I’m checking the two recipes, thinking, thinking. Perhaps I wasn’t clear? I don’t think you want to both roast (whole or otherwise) the squash and then steam the squash. I do think it makes sense to cut the skins off the squash first, cut the flesh into cubes and then put the cubes onto the steamer basket positioned above the onion and “squash gunk” (aka seeds and strings). PS Isn’t it great to be back in butternut squash season?!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thanks for your response! It was I who was unclear. I don't have a steamer insert so I've always found that part of the soup recipe problematic, and I was intrigued by the possibility of roasting rather than steaming the squash. I'll tell you what I ended up doing, as I made the soup today. I roasted the squash whole, per your instructions, and it turned out great. I then cut it open, scooped out the strings, and sautéed them with the shallots as the recipe directs. So the squash strings and seeds were pre-roasted since I didn't remove them before cooking the squash. I boiled the string/shallot/butter mixture with the water for 30 minutes, but didn't steam the squash. The recipe turned out as good as usual. So if you don't have a steamer insert, or you don't want to deal with cutting up the raw squash, you can roast it whole first and then basically follow the soup recipe. Thanks for the idea!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Well here goes, I'm trying it too. And if it works as wonderfully as most everyone here says it does, I'll be one happy camper because before, when roasting whole butternut, I'd go through the difficult and tedious task of cutting off the ends, then cutting it open lengthwise so I can scoop out the seeds, then bake the two halves. This will be so much easier. The only thing I think I'll miss, however, is before I would put the squash halves into the oven, I would drizzle the flesh with melted butter, then sprinkle on brown sugar. Oh my goodness, the flavor of that once it was done roasting in the oven. Amazing. It bakes into the flesh and nothing else is needed at that point. I scoop it out of the shell, mix it around and eat it as-is. This way, though, I supposed I can drizzle on a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar after it's cooked. So we'll see how it turns out!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thank you for this. I have arthritis and can’t cut squash but I really enjoy it. This is so helpful to me so I can continue eating it. I used to cut it and when that became too difficult, I had others do it for me. Now there is only me and because of you, I can still eat butternut squash. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Linda ~ I hope it worked well for you!

    Theresa ~ You are so welcome, thank you for letting me know the difference this makes in your life. I admit, I got just a tiny bit teary, reading your note ...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna