Roasted Winter Squash

By Ann Fulton

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This seasonal family favorite is so easy and so good. For added ease, I like to use Kabocha, Delicata, or another variety of winter squash that doesn’t require peeling.


Without the intent of overselling this simple, seasonal side dish, I will mention that my husband recently purchased some winter squash so that I would make this recipe.

Initially, I thought his purchase seemed odd, as he’s not particularly fond of orange vegetables.  But he remembered this recipe from last fall - and suggested I mention here that he is quite a fan!

Easy to make with few ingredients, this recipe will complement nearly any protein and will effortlessly perk up a simple weeknight dinner. The healthy and satisfying side is equally perfect alongside a Thanksgiving turkey.

For easy last-minute assembly, cut the squash earlier in the day and store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge until ready to cook.


Tip: If you haven’t tried kabocha squash, keep an eye out for it. The flavor is naturally sweeter than many varieties of winter squash and the texture is dense yet creamy. As an added perk, the skins are edible. They soften as they cook - becoming a little crisp around the edges - and provide a nice textural balance to the smooth flesh.


This seasonal family favorite is so easy and so good. For added ease, I like to use Kabocha, Delicata, or another variety of winter squash that doesn't require peeling.

To achieve the golden brown, caramelization that tastes so good-and this applies to all veggies, not just squash-lay the cut vegetables on an oiled baking sheet with the flat side down. It is the side that is in contact with the hot metal sheet that will brown first. Roast, undisturbed, until the early side of the estimated cooking time. Then, using a metal spatula, peek at the undersides to see if they are browning. If the pieces are sufficiently browned but not completely cooked, flip them over. If the pieces are not quite cooked and could use more color, continue roasting without flipping. You will get to know how long this takes in your oven. I roast most vegetables until they are just tender without flipping. In many ovens, keeping the veggies in the oven until both sides are golden will result in a mushier vegetable than may be desired. Note that a dark-colored baking sheet, as in the photo above, will facilitate browning more easily than a light metal sheet.

In case you are not familiar with it, this is what a kabocha squash looks like. (Buttercup squash are very similar but have a flatter top.) Along with acorn and delicata squash, these varieties are excellent options for this recipe as peeling is not necessary. The skin is edible–nutrient rich, too–and will soften as it cooks. Butternut squash is a delicious option, too; simply peel first.

Roasted Winter Squash
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Total Time: 35 min
Kabocha and red kuri squash are similar to other winter squashes and have a delightfully creamy texture. Delicata, honeynut, and acorn squash are also delicious and, like kabocha and red kuri, do not require peeling. The skin softens when cooked and is completely edible. Peeled butternut squash may also be used. If using a larger squash than specified, simply scale up the topping ingredients as needed.

Yield: 4-6 side dish servings
  • 1 winter squash (2 – 2½ pounds; kabocha, delicata, red kuri, or acorn squash all work well and need not be peeled)
  • 1 tablespoon (20g) pure maple syrup (may substitute honey)
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons (22g) coconut oil, melted (may substitute olive or avocado oil)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉. Liberally grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Cut the squash into wedges (about 1 – 1½-inch thick) and place in a large bowl. (see notes)
  3. In a small bowl, mix all other ingredients. Pour the mixture over the squash, and toss to evenly coat. (I find this easiest to do with my hands. I also prefer to do this in a bowl instead of directly on the baking sheet. With a bowl, it is easier to get more of the topping on the squash and less residue on the baking sheet where it becomes harder to clean once baked.)
  4. Spread the squash pieces, cut sides down, in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes or until just tender. Precise time will depend on oven and thickness of pieces. Use a sharp knife to test for doneness. Look for a golden brown color on the side touching the baking sheet and a hint of firmness remaining in the squash. Tip: To increase caramelization, you may broil for about 2 minutes, watching very carefully to avoid burning.

Squash cutting tip: A sharp chef’s knife makes cutting winter squash easier. However, if you struggle to do this, you may microwave or bake the whole squash just long enough to slightly soften (about 3 minutes on high power in my microwave). Pierce the squash with a knife first to allow steam to escape, and then adjust the baking time down by a few minutes, as needed.

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    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Marlene, I think you mean that every recipe you’re finding for winter squash via an internet search is sweetened, rather than that all my recipes are (I do have many savory options on this site), so I will answer accordingly. Many recipes for winter squash contain varying amounts of a sweet ingredient, usually to play up the natural sweetness or to balance a spicy ingredient. You may like to try this recipe, omitting specific options as preferred: I mention that you can use the recipe for varieties other than delicata, as pictured in the recipe. In some recipes, you can also simply omit the sweetener.

      Following are a few more recipes using a variety of squash that include no added sweetener, which you may enjoy:

      I hope something in here is helpful!

  1. Corrie Ward

    I’m going to have a go. Thank you. Looking for a name to be able to say thank you……?
    I am looking to make soup so will leave certain items omitted.

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Corrie, I’m Ann! Thanks for your comment and I hope you enjoy. What a lovely addition to soup this will be!

  2. Sarah

    Hi, just came across this recipe as it looked simple enough for me to make. It was lovely first time. I’ve used again so hopefully same results. Added a sprinkle of cinnamon spice. Loved it. Thanks.

    1. Ann Post author

      I’m delighted you liked this recipe, Sarah. I always marvel at how good it tastes despite the simplicity. A sprinkle of cinnamon would be a lovely touch!

  3. Beverley Hart Press

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. I just made a similar dish to this but I love the sound of maple syrup. This is certainly going to be on my Christmas day lunch menu. Lots of love to you Xoxo

  4. Christie

    This was great! I need to work faster, my coconut oil was starting to harden before I got it in the oven! I even sprinkled a little bit of brown sugar over them after I flipped them.

    My kids liked them too!

    Can’t go wrong trying one of your recipes!

    1. Ann

      I just love how the flavor of the coconut oil and maple syrup complement the squash. So glad you enjoyed, too, Christie!