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Caramelized Baked Butternut Squash Recipe

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Welcome to a delightful culinary adventure where the earthy sweetness of butternut squash meets the rich, irresistible allure of caramelization. Our “Caramelized Baked Butternut Squash” recipe is a celebration of autumn’s bounty, a symphony of flavors and textures that will elevate your dining experience to new heights.

Golden roasted butternut squash.

With the smooth and creamy texture of butternut squash coated in olive oil and sea salt, this dish is a simple but perfect side or even a star attraction on your dinner table. 

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook looking to impress, join us as we unlock the secrets to creating this mouthwatering masterpiece. Get ready to savor the warmth and depth of flavors that only caramelization can deliver in every delectable bite. You’re going to love this recipe for baked Butternut Squash!

What is Butternut Squash?

Butternut squash is a type of winter squash known for its sweet, nutty flavor and smooth, creamy texture when cooked. It is similar in many ways in taste and texture to baked sweet potatoes.

Close of of the inside of a butter pumpkin showing the seeds and stringy bits.
Inside view of a Butternut Squash (Winter Squash)

It’s a popular vegetable in many culinary dishes, particularly during the fall and winter months. Here are some key characteristics of butternut squash:

  1. Appearance: Butternut squash typically has a long, bell-like shape with pale beige to tan-colored skin. The flesh inside is vibrant orange.
  2. Flavor: The flesh of butternut squash is mildly sweet with a slightly nutty undertone. It’s often described as having a flavor reminiscent of pumpkin, sweet potato, and butterscotch.
  3. Texture: When cooked, butternut squash becomes tender and smooth, making it suitable for various preparations, including roasting, pureeing, and soups.
  4. Nutritional Value: Butternut squash is a nutritious vegetable. It’s rich in vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fiber. It also provides essential minerals like potassium and manganese.
  5. Versatility: Butternut squash can be used in a wide range of dishes, from savory to sweet. It’s commonly used in soups, roasted as a side dish, mashed, pureed for baby food, or even used in desserts like pies and muffins.
  6. Harvest Season: Butternut squash is typically harvested in the late summer and early fall, but it can be stored and enjoyed throughout the winter, which is why it’s classified as a “winter squash.”

According to The Spruce, Butternut squash is a versatile and delicious ingredient that can add depth of flavor and vibrant color to a variety of recipes. This makes it a favorite choice for home cooks and chefs alike. Or you can eat it right out of the oven as an easy side dish. 

Alternate Names For Butternut Squash

While the common name for butternut squash is well-known, it may also be recognized by several other names. Here are some synonyms and alternative names for butternut squash:

  1. Butter Pumpkin: In some regions, butternut squash is referred to as butter pumpkin due to its creamy texture.
  2. Winter Squash: Butternut squash belongs to the winter squash family, which includes other varieties like acorn squash and spaghetti squash.
  3. Buttercup Squash: This is another type of winter squash that has a similar taste and texture to butternut squash.
  4. Sweet Pumpkin: Because of its sweet flavor, butternut squash is sometimes called sweet pumpkin.
  5. Bellini Squash: This is a less common term for butternut squash used in certain areas.
  6. Nutty Squash: Butternut squash has a slightly nutty flavor, which can be highlighted in dishes.
  7. Pear-shaped Squash: This name refers to its distinctive shape, which resembles that of a pear.
  8. Cucurbita moschata: This is the scientific name for butternut squash, often used in botanical contexts.
  9. Autumn Squash: Butternut squash is often associated with fall and is sometimes called autumn squash.
  10. Soup Squash: Due to its creamy texture and suitability for making soups, butternut squash is sometimes referred to as soup squash.

Baked Halved Butternut Squash

This recipe is destined to become one of your all-time favorites in no time. It is a simple roasted butternut squash recipe to make, and it doesn’t take much time to cook. Roasting it is the easiest way to cook it.

Caramelized Baked Butternut Squash makes the perfect side dish for almost any meal. Baking or roasting this winter squash is my favorite way to make this vegetable. This dish is the perfect holiday meal that can be served around the holiday table such as at the Thanksgiving table, Christmas dinner, or even Easter dinner. To be honest, I enjoy this dish anytime I am looking for a healthy side dish. 

Backed Caramelized butternut squash closeup picture.

In this recipe, we are going to roast or bake this squash in halves versus cutting it up into cubes. We will leave the peeling on it and all. If you prefer, you can use a vegetable peeler and cut the butternut squash into squash cubes but it is not necessary to make this recipe perfect. I typically eat the flesh of the roasted butternut squash just as it is but you could also make butternut squash soup from the roasted butternut squash. 

Rich baked butternut squash closeup.

How To Make Baked Butternut Squash

First, let’s go over the simple list of ingredients needed for Caramelized Butternut Squash. The quantities will be listed in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. 

  • Butternut Squash
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Optional Ingredients

In our recipe, I am going to share the basic ingredients that I use and how I typically like them. You can make your combination from the optional ingredients listed below based on how you prefer.

Adding Rosemary to the butternut squash for flavor.
add preferred seasoning

Individual preferences for butternut squash vary; while some relish it as a savory delight, others favor its sweet side, like indulging in cinnamon-roasted butternut squash. If you’re adhering to a low-carb diet, butternut squash can still be a wonderful addition to your meals, though you might lean towards using savory ingredients to keep your carb intake in check.

Savory Ingredients:

  • Rosemary
  • Chili powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Melted Butter
  • Bacon
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Nuts such as toasted almonds, pecans, or walnuts
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sour cream

Sweet Ingredients:

  • Cinnamon
  • White granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Raw honey

Equipment needed:

  • ​Sharp knife
  • Sheet pan, baking dish, or roasting pan
  • Metal spoon

Note: For a rundown of brands I suggest, take a look at the Kitchen Essential Tools page.

Preparation

  • The first step is to Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • To start with, wash the outside of the squash and then dry it off with a dish towel. 
Washing the outside skin on the nutty squash before cooking it.
  • Place the squash on a cutting board. 
  • For the next step,  use a sharp knife to cut the top part of the squash off (Stem). 
Cutting the stem off of the Cucurbita Moschata.
  • Next, use the sharp knife to split the squash into halves by cutting from the top to the bottom.  
Cutting butternut squash into two halves.
Use a sharp knife to split the butternut squash into two halves
  • Using the metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits in both squash halves and discard them. 
  • Place the squash halves on the prepared baking sheet pan, baking dish, or roasting pan. For an easy cleanup, line the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. 
  • Coat the inside with a little olive oil, then sprinkle a little sea salt over the surface. If you are using any of the optional ingredients, sprinkle them on at this time. I used rosemary when I cooked this one.  

Baking

  • Place the butternut squash into the preheated oven. 
  • Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the squash is fork-tender. 
Pear shaped squashed that has been roasted.
Golden Roasted Butternut Squash

Note: If you have a smaller butternut squash it may have a quicker cooking time such as 25-30 minutes.

Serving

To serve the Caramelized Baked Butternut Squash, allow it to cool enough to be able to handle. At that point, you can use a knife and cut sections to serve. It is safe to eat the peeling if you prefer or you can scoop out the flesh and eat it that way. 

Caramelized Baked Butternut Squash recipe Pinterest picture.

Variations

This dish can be eaten savory or sweet. One variation I like to do is to scoop out the flesh and add other ingredients at this time so as a little butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar if you want a dish that is similar to Sweet potato mash. 

What to Eat With Roasted Butternut Squash:

Conclusion

In conclusion, Caramelized Baked Butternut Squash is not just a side dish; it’s a warm embrace of the holiday season that brings comfort and joy to your holiday meals. Whether you’re preparing a lavish Thanksgiving dinner or simply enjoying a meal with the whole family, this dish is sure to be a star on your table.

Its sweet, caramelized perfection combined with the savory notes creates a symphony of flavors that will leave your taste buds singing. So, as you usher in the holiday season, remember that the simplest of recipes can often be the most cherished, uniting the whole family in a shared appreciation for the delicious moments life has to offer.

​Thanks for stopping by Southern Food Junkie. It is our hope that you enjoy this recipe sharing it with friends, family, and coworkers. Make sure to take time to give thanks to the creator, God, by which all blessings flow.
John 6:35

-Ronnie | Let’s Get Food Junked
Yield: 4

Caramelized Butternut Squash Recipe

Caramelized Baked Butternut Squash Recipe.

Elevate holiday meals with Caramelized Baked Butternut Squash: sweet, savory, and perfect for Thanksgiving.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt

Instructions

Preparation

  • The first step is to Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • To start with, wash the outside of the squash and then dry it off with a dish towel.
  • Place the squash on a cutting board. 
  • For the next step,  use a sharp knife to cut the top part of the squash off (Stem).
  • Next, use the sharp knife to split the squash into halves by cutting from the top to the bottom.  
  • Using the metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits in both squash halves and discard them.
  • Place the squash halves on the prepared baking sheet pan, baking dish, or roasting pan. For an easy cleanup, line the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • Coat the inside with a little olive oil, then sprinkle a little sea salt over the surface. If you are using any of the optional ingredients, sprinkle them on at this time. I used rosemary when I cooked this one.

Baking   

  • Place the butternut squash into the preheated oven. 
  • Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the squash is fork-tender.

Notes

Note: If you have a smaller butternut squash it may have a quicker cooking time such as 25-30 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 50Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 147mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

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