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This lesser-known winter squash caught my eye when I saw it at the store, and I decided to experiment with it. Buttercup squash quickly became a favorite in my kitchen, thanks to its rich, nutty flavor and creamy texture. It’s similar to roasting other types of winter squash, such as butternut squash, delicata squash, pumpkin, or acorn squash, but it’s a bit sweeter, so I balanced it out with a savory garlic parmesan flavor. You can enjoy this buttercup squash recipe as a simple side dish, or use it in soups, stews, casseroles, or even mash it like potatoes!
Why You’ll Love This Buttercup Squash Recipe
- Rich, nutty, sweet flavor
- Creamy, velvety, tender flesh
- Just 5 simple ingredients (plus salt and pepper) – or you can roast it without the parmesan coating, too!
- On the table in 30 minutes
- Multiple ways to use it
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for oven roasted buttercup squash, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Buttercup Squash – This winter squash looks a lot like a kabocha squash in size and color, but often has a little ridge at one end, similar to a turban squash. Sometimes it doesn’t have this ridge. Peak season starts in late summer or early fall and continues through the winter, so you’ll be able to find them at your local farmers’ market or grocery store during those times. Look for a firm squash that feels heavy for its size, which means it’s fresh and ripe.
- Olive Oil – This adds flavor, helps the seasonings stick, and promotes browning and caramelization. You can also substitute avocado oil, or any heat-safe oil.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Optional Garlic Parmesan Coating:
You can roast buttercup squash plain with the ingredients above, but I like to add a parmesan coating. This type of squash tends to be more dry than other squash varieties, so this helps to lock in moisture. You’ll need:
- Grated Parmesan Cheese – Adds a browned, crispy coating that’s so good! You can also use other very hard cheeses, such as pecorino Romano.
- Garlic Powder – Because… who doesn’t like garlic? Fresh garlic would burn at the high heat, so garlic powder works best.
- Dried Thyme Leaves – I used 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) of dried thyme, but you can use 1 1/2 tablespoons (4 1/2 teaspoons) of fresh thyme instead if you like. You can also try rosemary or sage, or just use 1/2 tablespoon of Italian seasoning instead.
See Flavor Variations below for more seasoning ideas!
How To Cut Buttercup Squash
The best way to cut buttercup squash is into wedges, similar to a kabocha squash. The skin is very tough, so I wouldn’t recommend trying to peel it.
- Cut off the ends.Use a sharp knife to cut off the top and bottom. If the squash shape makes this difficult, you can cut them off after slicing in half instead. (You can see in my picture below, I wasn’t able to cut off the stem without removing a bunch of the flesh.)
- Slice in half and remove the seeds. Place the squash cut side down and slice in half downward. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Cut away the stem on one end and ridge on the other end, if you didn’t do this in step 1.
- Make wedges. Place the squash vertically and slice downward into 1-inch wedges. Repeat with the other half.
How To Cook Buttercup Squash
This section shows how to roast buttercup squash, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Season. Arrange the buttercup squash squash slices in a single layer on large baking sheet, without touching each other. Make sure each piece of squash is touching the pan. Drizzle with olive oil on both sides, then sprinkle both sides with garlic powder, dried thyme, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.
- Bake. Roast buttercup squash in the oven, until it’s is tender and the edges are browned and caramelized.
TIP: Foil or a bare pan with oil works better than parchment paper.
Parchment paper is the most non-stick, but will reduce browning. I prefer to use foil or a bare sheet pan, brushed with some extra oil to prevent sticking.
The best part about this dish is that you can make it a variety of different flavors. Here are some other ways to season your buttercup squash recipes:
- Maple Pecan – Omit the garlic powder and thyme. Right before the last 5 minutes of roasting time, drizzle maple syrup (or natural sugar-free maple syrup) over the squash and sprinkle with chopped pecans. It’s the perfect sweet and nutty combination.
- Spicy – Add some heat with a combination of 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon `cayenne pepper, and a pinch of chili powder.
- Herby – Instead of parmesan cheese and garlic powder, use a combination of 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, and 1 teaspoon fresh sage.
You can also apply the variations in my kabocha squash recipe post to this buttercup squash recipe instead.
- Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Or use them in Panera Autumn squash soup.
- Reheat: Simply reheat in the microwave, or in a 350 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes until warm.
- Freeze: You can freeze both uncooked and cooked buttercup squash recipes. For uncooked squash, peel, seed, and cut it into portions, then freeze them in airtight containers for up to 12 months. For cooked squash, cool it, portion it, and freeze in airtight containers or zip lock bags for up to 6-8 months.
What To Serve With Buttercup Squash
The flavor of roasted buttercup squash recipes works with so many main dishes. Try these simple pairings:
- Seafood – Enjoy the sweet and savory flavors of this squash alongside a perfectly baked salmon fillet or quick baked shrimp.
- Chicken – Try garlic butter chicken or bold paprika chicken for a cozy dinner. For a hands-off cooking experience, make crock pot chicken legs.
- Pork – Add a side of squash to your air fryer pork chops or slow cooker pork tenderloin for a comforting and balanced meal.
- Turkey – Roasted turkey or quick and easy turkey breast in the air fryer, especially during the holiday season, complements the buttercup squash so well. If you have dark meat lovers, make my turkey leg recipe or turkey wings instead.
- Soups, Stews, and Casseroles – You can also substitute this squash in butternut squash soup, or use it as your veggie in chicken bacon casserole for a fall flavor.
More Roasted Winter Squash Recipes
There are a variety of winter squash recipes you can try. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Baking Sheet – The nonstick coating on this one has lasted me for years, and makes cooking and cleanup so easy.
Buttercup Squash Recipe
Buttercup Squash Recipe
This buttercup squash recipe makes a perfect cozy fall & winter side dish! Roast it to perfection with olive oil and garlic parmesan coating.
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C). Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with foil or parchment paper, or you can leave it bare if it’s a good non-stick surface. (If using a bare pan or lining with foil, brush lightly with oil. This is not necessary with parchment paper.)
Cut off the top and bottom of the squash ends. (If this is difficult to do depending on its shape, you can do this after slicing it in half in the next step.)
Cut the buttercup squash in half from stem to tip, and scoop out the seeds. If there is more stem or the little woody cap left on the ends that you were unable to cut off when it was whole, cut these out now. Place one half with a flat side down (stem side up or down), then slice downward in a circle, to make 1-inch-thick wedges (a little similar to how melon slices would look). Repeat with the remaining squash half.
Arrange the squash slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet, without touching each other. (You can line the pan with foil or parchment paper if you like, but parchment paper will reduce browning. If using foil or a bare sheet pan, brush it with some extra oil before adding the squash.)
Drizzle the squash with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle both sides with garlic powder (if using), dried thyme (if using), salt, and pepper. If desired, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Roast buttercup squash in the oven for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the squash is tender and the edges are browned.
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Serving size: 1 cup
Nutrition info does not include optional ingredients.
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