Baked Butternut Squash

Baked Butternut Squash
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Baked butternut squash is probably my most favorite dish at Thanksgiving. I love how the sweetness of the squash mingles with the brown sugar, the creamy butter, and the salt. It also has a hearty consistency to it. Now that I’ve gotten a little older (and my palette is more refined ūüėČ ) I like to add some rosemary or sage, both of which compliment the winter squash family nicely. The other thing I like to do, is to roast and flavor the seeds so that nothing goes to waste. Both the baked butternut squash and the roasted seeds are make ahead items. That is to say, that you can make the squash ahead of time, freeze it, then heat it up on Thanksgiving today. The roasted seeds you can either serve as an appetizer, or you can use them to top the mashed and baked butternut squash.

Do you have to peel butternut squash?

For this recipe, thank goodness no. This recipe is about as simple as it gets with regards to preparing and cooking a butternut squash.

How long does it take to roast butternut squash at 350?

It takes about 90 minutes. I would start checking it around the 60 minute (1 hour) mark with a fork. If the fork easily pierces the flesh with no resistance, then the squash is done.

How to Make Baked Butternut Squash

1. Preheat oven to 350F. While the oven is preheating, first cut off the ends of the butternut squash with an 8″ chef’s knife.

A butternut squash with both of its ends cut off, sits on a wooden cutting board.

2. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise. I like to make sure that the butternut squash is being cut in the middle of the knife, and then I have one hand on the handle, and one hand resting on top of the blade at the tip, and I gently rock the blade back and forth through the butternut squash.

A butternut squash stands up on its end on a wooden cutting board, with a chef's knife partway down it lengthwise. The chef's knife is centered on the butternut squash.A butternut squash halved lengthwise, sits on a wooden cutting board.

3. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon and either put them in a bowl and set aside, or discard. Butternut squash seeds are edible, and can be seasoned and roasted.

The two butternut squash halves sit side-by-side, one with its seeds scooped out and the other is in the process of having its seeds scooped. A small black bowl contains the scooped seeds. Everything sits on a wooden cutting board.

4. Fill a 9″ x 13″ pan with 1/2″ of water, and use a fork to poke holes in the butternut squash flesh. You can also poke holes in the hollowed out portion as well. For the water, make sure it doesn’t make it’s way into the hollowed out part.

The two butternut squash halves contain holes from a fork all over the flesh side. Both halves sit in a glass 9" x 13" pan, filled with a half inch of water.

5. If desired, put in a pat of butter, brown sugar, freshly ground himalayan pink salt, and freshly ground black pepper into the hollowed out portion. When you go to mash the butternut squash later, this will give it some flavor.

The two butternut squash halves contain holes from a fork all over the flesh side. Both halves sit in a glass 9" x 13" pan, filled with a half inch of water. A pat of butter, some brown sugar, salt, and pepper sit in the hollowed out part of each butternut squash.

6. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake at 350F for about 90 minutes or until done. I would start checking it around the 60 minute (1 hour) mark with a fork. If the fork easily pierces the flesh with no resistance, then the squash is done. Also, the aluminum foil needs to be covering the whole pan, not like how I have it in the photo. I left it partially uncovered so you could see what I was doing :). The aluminum foil needs to be over the whole pan, and loosely crinkled around the edges. You want to retain most of the steam, but still let some of it escape.

A piece of aluminum foil is being loosely placed over the pan before putting the butternut squash into the oven to bake.

7.¬†After the squash is finished baking, mash with a potato masher. If you are going to serve it right away and haven’t already garnished it, then¬†garnish with your favorite toppings. Some of my favorite toppings include butter, salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, maple syrup, brown sugar, and roasted squash seeds. If you want to freeze it for later, such as for Thanksgiving, then freeze the mashed butternut squash.¬†Place mashed squash into labeled quart size freezer bags. Squeeze out all of the air, seal, and then flatten the bags out like they are pancakes. To reheat, place in a microwave safe bowl, and start with 3 minutes on high. If the squash is not ready, microwave in one minute increments, with stirring in between, until the squash is ready. Garnish with additional toppings if desired. A note on freezing: if you want to garnish with roasted seeds or fresh herbs, I would wait and garnish with those just before serving. Don’t freeze them into the mashed butternut squash. However, if you are using dried herbs, go ahead and freeze them in with the butternut squash.

Baked Butternut Squash

This baked butternut squash is a great side for many different dishes. This recipe can also be made in advance and frozen, in preparation for Thanksgiving Day!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword baked butternut, baked butternut squash, butternut squash recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 121 kcal
Author The Panicked Foodie

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar (optional)
  • Freshly ground Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
  • Chopped rosemary or sage to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 

  2. While oven is preheating, cut off the ends of the butternut squash with an 8" chef's knife.

  3. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon and either put them in a bowl and set aside, or discard. Butternut squash seeds are edible, and can be seasoned and roasted.

  4. Fill a 9" x 13" pan with 1/2" of water, and use a fork to poke holes in the butternut squash flesh. You can also poke holes in the hollowed out portion as well. For the water, make sure it doesn't make it's way into the hollowed out part.

  5. If desired, put in a pat of butter, brown sugar, freshly ground himalayan pink salt, and freshly ground black pepper into the hollowed out portion. 

  6. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake at 350F for about 90 minutes or until done. I would start checking it around the 60 minute (1 hour) mark with a fork. If the fork easily pierces the flesh with no resistance, then the squash is done.

  7. If desired, garnish with your favorite toppings and enjoy! See notes for suggested toppings and freezing instructions.

Recipe Notes

Suggested toppings: butter, salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, maple syrup, brown sugar, and roasted squash seeds.

Freezer instructions: Place mashed squash into labeled quart size freezer bags. Squeeze out all of the air, seal, and then flatten the bags out like they are pancakes. To reheat, place in a microwave safe bowl, and start with 3 minutes on high. If the squash is not ready, microwave in one minute increments, with stirring in between, until the squash is ready. Garnish with additional toppings if desired. A note on freezing: if you want to garnish with roasted seeds or fresh herbs, I would wait and garnish with those just before serving. Don't freeze them into the mashed butternut squash. However, if you are using dried herbs, go ahead and freeze them in with the butternut squash.

Credit: The Panicked Foodie

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