What to Do With Butternut Squash

I did not grow up eating butternut squash (or any kind of squash for that matter). I hadn’t a clue what to do with one until a few years ago. They are, in fact, quite yummy. But here’s the most exciting thing about a butternut squash:

You can use a butternut squash to make a pumpkin pie. Or pumpkin bars. Or pumpkin pie pecan squares. Or just about any pumpkin treat.

It tastes exactly the same in a recipe and no one can tell a difference. 

Just for the record, I’m not trying to be deceitful by switching out the ingredients…just trying to use up what I have and I think it’s cool that these ingredients are interchangeable! I will say that using squash to make a “pumpkin pie” sounds a little silly because a squash is not a pumpkin…but calling it a squash pie just doesn’t even sound good. And so I will continue to use squash to make pumpkin pies and I will continue to call it a pumpkin pie and everyone will continue to eat it because it is so good.

But first, let’s talk about how to prepare a butternut squash. There are other ways to make pureed squash, but here’s the easiest way I’ve found:

First, cut your gourd in half. Or close to half.  Mine usually end up being quite lop sided. 

Use a wooden or a heavy duty metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy stuff.

Place your squash face up in a baking dish and bake, uncovered for at least an hour at 350° or until your house smells squashy and you can poke a fork into your squash very easily. See, look at the fork pokes:

Use a spoon to scoop out all the soft, cooked squash. You can eat it just like it is…you can sprinkle sucanat on it, you can butter it, you can salt it. It’s very tasty eaten in these ways.

Or…you can puree it. Place all the scooped out cooked squash into a food processor or blender.

Process for just a few seconds until smooth.

Look, pureed squash:

Now you can feed it to your baby, feed it to your grown ups…or you can make these Sweet Potato Streusel Muffins. Yep, not only can you make a Pumpkin Pie and other pumpkin treats with squash, you can make Sweet Potato Muffins. Is this getting confusing yet?

Just last week I made a delicious “Pumpkin Pie” with butternut squash. My father-in-law was still here at the time and he declared it the best pumpkin pie he’d ever had. In fact, he declared it the first pumpkin pie he’d ever LIKED. {grin}

Are you squash eaters at your house? How do you like your squash? Ever used squash to make something that calls for pumpkin or sweet potatoes?

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  1. Christina says

    Okay…I admit that I am guilty of never preparing squash for my family (except as pureed baby food)! I look forward to trying this ‘new’ veg and hope everyone likes it (and hope my three year old doesn’t ask!) :)


  2. Michelle says

    Yum–I am going to have to make sure I cook and freeze some of the squash I have before it goes bad. Then I can make puffin muffins without having to buy the can!


  3. says

    We used to eat “squash pie” when I was a kid. We grew lots of squash, but not pumpkins. Nobody complained in our house. I think it tastes much better than canned pumpkin. I tried it on my husband once after we married and he said it was pretty good (that’s a compliment).


  4. says

    We eat lots of squash. One of my favorites is squash diced into cubes, sauteed in garlic butter and tossed with noodles and herbs. Super yummy.


    JANE Reply:

    I realize this is an old post, but can you tell me if the squash is cooked before you cube it or do you saute it raw? Thanks!


    Kristina Reply:

    I would say cooked first


  5. Heather Eide says

    I LOVE squash and have about 20 of them sitting in my front entry waiting to be turned into baby food and tasty treats. Thanks for some more ideas!


  6. Carmen says

    We actually prefer “squash” pie to pumpkin. We currently have over 1/2 dozen butternuts hanging out in our garage. I really need to process them and freeze or can.


  7. Lisa says

    We love butternut squash. Last week I made soup-Gingered butternut squash and pear soup. So good. We also eat it with butter or even plain. Haven’t cooked other things with it much, but I’m excited to try out some new recipes.


  8. AmyR says

    Drool… I love pumpkin, butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Some of the things I like most about fall! Always afraid I’m going to cut off a hand cutting my squash in two, though!


    thecatzpajamas Reply:

    I never cut them in half. they cook just fine if you throw the
    whole thing in the oven & cook it until the fork goes in easily.
    about an hour, depending on the size of your squash.
    pull it out with oven mits on, and then cut it in half to de-seed it.

    way easier. :)


  9. Charlotte Moore says

    Has anyone heard of cushaw or kershaw, a winter squash? A friend gave my husband some seeds and he planted 5 hills. Had no idea what they were. They were green and white striped and we got 24 I think. The smallest was 4 lbs, and the largest weighed 18.5 lbs. Almost all of them weighed around 12-14 lbs. I have made souffle, muffins, a cake, and bread. I grated it for the cake and muffins, but cooked it for the other. I froze several packs. It taste similar to pumpkin and sweet potato. It is the hardest thing to cut I have ever seen.


    Beth Reply:

    I think it’s called a Crenshaw squash. I’ve had it before and just used
    it like I would butternut, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes.


    Charlotte Moore Reply:

    I have heard of those too. There is a cushaw or kershaw depending where you live I guess. I went online and read about it.


  10. Lorinda says

    My Grandma used to make “pumpkin” pie with squash a lot. I’ve found that cooking butternut and acorn squash face up, smeared with butter and then enough parchment paper to cover the exposed flesh has better flavor. Just be sure the parchment paper doesn’t touch any part of the oven. I’ve even prepared the squash, using
    parchment paper,in the toaster oven.


  11. Rebecca says

    Squash pie has been my favorite ever since I was a little girl. My mother always called it squash pie, but I guess that could sound gross if you don’t already know how delicious it is!

    Pureed butternut squash was a favorite baby food of both my boys.

    Butternut squash soup is mighty tasty, too!


  12. Mandy says

    I add 2-4 T of squash to chocolate chip cookies, makes them moist and chewy, just don’t add too much, the taste will come through ;O)


  13. says

    I’ve never made butternut squash, but I think I would add it to a sweet potato soup for added nutrients! I do love yellow squash and have to find enticing ways to get my hubby to eat it.


  14. april says

    I’m a vegetarian. I live with carnivores. Finding ways to create meals we all can eat without resorting to dual meals is a real plus. Thanks for the visual layout to using this wonderful vegetable! Beta Carotene – another great plus!


  15. says

    Baked is sooooo good! An easy way for me is to cut into chunks and steam for a few min in my little steamer basket. So quick and easy to peel and puree with no waste (except the skin). Then I puree and use to bake or as a cream soup substitute in recpies. Makes a great base for my faux potato soup too! I love fall!


  16. says

    I would never have thought of using the squash instead of pumpkin – but now I’m so excited about trying this!

    This is off-topic, but I made your homemade vanilla wafers this morning – delicious!! Now I want to try the cheese crackers as well.


  17. Christine says

    Another idea for cooking the squash, which I haven’t used specifically for butternut, but have used for acorn. Is stab the squash a few times and bake till done, let it cool to touch then cut, seed and peel. Maybe I’m lazy, but I really dislike cutting uncooked squash.


  18. Angela says

    I used squash to make my pumpkin waffles this last time and they were better tasting. I use what I happen to have on hand, instead of buying pumpkin, squash or sweet potato when a recipe calls for one, it just makes life easier!


  19. Heather says

    Not sure if anyone made this suggestion but if you take the squash, pierce it with a fork and put it in an oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then let it cool, it is way easier to deal with. Then you can cut it in pieces, etc.

    My favorite recipe = butternut squash ravioli stew

    Also, i heard a rumor that canned pumpkin is actually canned butternut squash. I wonder if this is on snopes.com….


  20. Yvonna says

    Laura, I have little picky eaters. Must have taken after me because with milk & other allergies and serious seasonal + asthma…. I was shocked to hear the following from my 8 yr. old son. “That sure is a yummy looking pumkin pie.” When I told him what it was he said, “That sure is a yummy looking butter squash pie.” Told him thats the first and he said, “when you gonna make it?” :D Blessing’s


  21. Rebekah says

    Just made this yesterday with a spaghetti squash from our garden at the same time. Unfortunately I didn’t care for the overall taste of the butternut (I have before), so I’ll make some muffins out of them! Thanks for the recipes!


  22. says

    I made a whole bunch of squash puree a few years ago and froze it – this is a good reminder that I need to get to cooking with it! We definitely prefer it savory as a side dish, and I need to do more experimenting with ways to serve it as such.


  23. Amy S. says

    Our favorite butternut squash recipe is butternut squash soup (recipe on allrecipes.com). If you haven’t tried it and you love butternut squash, you really must try it!!

    Also, I haven’t cubed and peeled my squashes for years since I discovered the roasting method. However I do it a little differently–I place it face down in a baking dish, then fill with about an inch of water. I then bake it at 400 for about 40 minutes. Always turns out perfect–whereas when I roast it face up it doesn’t always cook completely for me. I’m going to try this method with my pie pumpkins this year too!


    Rebecca Reply:

    Amy, I used that method on a pie pumpkin to make pumpkin bread just this morning! I cut the pumpkin in half, placed it face down in 1/2″ of water, and baked it @ 350 for 45 mins. It was perfect! After I took it out of the oven, the pumpkins sank down as they cooled, lol.


  24. Amanda says

    Ooh! Another way I use it is to add some pureed squash to macaroni and cheese. :) A great way to sneak in some veggies, and I think it actually makes it taste better! Since it’s orange, it blends right into the cheese.


  25. Linda says

    I have been using butternut squash for pumpkin recipes for years. It is so much more flavorful than the big pumpkins. My latest and favorite recipe is roasted butternut squash:

    Peel, seed, and cube a large squash (about 8 C)
    Toss to coat well with:
    2 T olive oil
    1 t. ground cumin
    1 t. salt
    1/2 t. ground allspice
    1/2 t. ground coriander
    1/4 t. ground pepper
    Spread squash in a single layer on baking sheet(s) or pans and bake 40 min., 400′, turning 2-3 X


  26. downhomemama says

    We’ve invested in this amazing juicer. I love it!
    My kids absolutely LOVE Apple/Carrot juice. It gives it a nice sweetness to it.


  27. says

    The last commentator mentioned roasted butternut squash, and this is one of my favorites. However I do it a little differently. I like to cube up the squash along with potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and quartered red onion. I toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper, (If you have fresh rosemary, use it too! And lots of it!), roast them in a casserole or cookie sheet at 400 or 425, turning frequently. Make this a complete dinner by using a large cast iron dutch oven (Bake at 375). Brown both sides of a whole chicken in butter, then add your vegetables, place your layer of onions on top (at least 2 large ones). The onions seep down over the vegetables and make them SO SWEET. Put your lid on and in about 1 hour and 30 minutes you have a steaming hot dinner ready to go. I also make Butternut squash soup very simply. Peel and cube raw squash, saute in butter with 1 onion. Add enough chicken broth or water to cover and let simmer until cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use a hand blender to puree (I know you don’t want to buy one, or maybe you already have by now, but it’s so nice not to have to puree in a plastic food processor or blender and use a whole nother pot for your blended soup.) When your done simply ladel into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream, or drizzle heavy cream over the bowls. Yummy and pretty! I am sure enjoying your blog!


    Sarah F Reply:

    I also make butternut squash soup. It’s pretty much the same but I add a cinnamon stick that has been heated with oil till fragrant. The topper of Cinnamon Crema is what makes this soup special though. 1 C Sour cream, 2 Tbsp Honey and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon. I’ve made crema also with homemade yogurt


  28. says

    We love the butternut squash soup with apple & croutons. We have this every Thanksgiving & it’s the best part of the meal, no kidding! I’m not going to wait to have it at Thanksgiving – I’ll make some very soon. It’s best eaten at room temp. not hot & not cold, just sort of warm. Really, so good.


  29. Alice says

    We LOVE butternut squash ravioli at our house! It’s on the list of things to make next weekend… sooner if it’s a quiet week at work!


    Sarah F Reply:

    This is my family’s favorite too! Sooo yummy with butter and sage.


  30. Betsy M says

    Cubed and boiled squash makes for a much healthier side dish than mashed potatoes… or it’s AWESOME when you boil the butternut squash WITH the potatoes and mash it all together. By far, though, the very best is roasted alongside potatoes and/or other root veggies in the oven and served with a lovely roast — particularly with lamb. The key is a convection oven so it all crisps up perfectly! YUM!!!


  31. says

    I just found your site tonight and love it enormously, in fact it looks like I love it more than my husband. He’s in the other room, and I’m here trying to read it all in one go!

    But I digress. Here in Australia we call Butternut Squash, Butternut Pumpkin. They are really one and the same, only the Butternut is a bit more moist than the usual pumpkin. Nothing a few mins more on the stove won’t fix.

    Did I mention that I love your site? Congratulations for having the ability to write without sounding like you spend all day finding the perfect words, and yet also keeping everything interesting enough to keep reading.


  32. dottie says

    i just love your website. soooooo informative. can’t wait to try the recipies, and appreciate the tips.


  33. Melanie says

    We love butternut squash, my kids eat it just like that before I can prepare anything, lol.
    Another idea is though to use the squash and make it into a pizza sauce instead of using tomato sauce. My son couldn’t tolerate tomatoes when he was younger so I used butternut squash to make the pizza sauce, just season as you would regular pizza sauce and add your favorite toppings.


  34. Traci S. says

    Butternut squash is one of our favorites! I make soup w/ it all the time and everyone in our house loves it. Just roast the squash per instructions in original post. While the squash is roasting, mince 2 shallots and sautee in 3 T. of (real) butter in a deep sauce pan. Scoop roasted squash into pan w/ shallots. Add salt, pepper, 1/4 t. thyme and 1/8 t. cayenne pepper (+/- for your taste). Mash squash to combine w/ sauteed shallots and spices in sauce pan. Add 4-6 oz. light cream cheese and 14 oz. light chicken broth. Puree everything in a blender and return to sauce pan to heat through if it isn’t hot enough. This soup is smooth as velvet and great on its own or as a cup of soup w/ roasted pork loin (or chicken) and a green salad.


  35. Rachel says

    I have a recipe for Butternut Squash soup that is AMAZING. I got it from Ruth Lawrence many years ago. Wes and I LOVE it. The boys, not so much. {sigh}


    Laura Reply:

    Ooh, send me the recipe. If it was Ruth’s, I’d love to have it too. :)


  36. Naomi says

    Yes, they are in the same family. I read once somewhere that companies who sell canned pumpkin often use butternut squash interchangeably with pumpkin. My grandmother used to prepare what she called fried pumpkin, as it was my grandfather’s favorite dish. It was simply cooked (probably on stovetop), mashed, and sauteed in some butter to become slightly browned.


  37. Kelley says

    I have used regular old yellow squash to make a “coconut” pie :) You grate the squash and add coconut flavoring. No one ever knew that it was actually squash ;)


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