How to Roast Butternut Squash with Honey and Cinnamon

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This easy Honey Roasted Butternut Squash recipe has the rich, caramelized flavor that is brought out from roasting in the oven. It is enhanced with the warm spice of cinnamon and an optional bit of heat from a pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve this gluten free side dish with your favorite dinner, or make it ahead when you meal prep to add to salads and rice bowls.

After you’ve made it, try these roasted butternut squash recipes – enjoy a side dish of Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa or this gorgeous and delicous Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranate.

honey roasted butternut squash on a white serving dish

Roasted Butternut Squash

There aren’t many nights that go by where you won’t find me roasting vegetables to go with dinner. It’s such an easy technique that takes little effort and allows the naturally delicious flavors of the veggies to shine through.

I love the charred bits from simple roasted cauliflower or broccoli. And roasting green beans is one of the easiest ways to get my kids to eat them.

But there is something extra delicious about roasting winter squash because their natural sugars caramelize, enhancing that sweetness and lovely earthy flavor.

Basic roasted butternut squash is always a favorite for adding to salads, rice bowls, chicken dinners, or even on top of pizza.

But because it pairs well with so many flavors, it’s easy to change it up. Combine it with other favorite vegetables and a bit of balsamic vinegar to make Balsamic Roasted Vegetables that get devoured. Add it to Roasted Brussels Sprouts that get tossed in a bit of maple syrup and maybe even some bacon drippings.

Or try this recipe that adds honey to really amp up that caramelization, plus warm cinnamon. A pinch of cayenne pepper gives it a slight bit of heat that balances out the sweetness and brings it just back over to the savory side.

hand holding a spoon scooping up roasted butternut squash cubes

About Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a winter squash in the same family as pumpkin with a thick skin and orange flesh. It is medium-heavy for its size, and an average squash will weigh about 2-3 pounds.

It has a sweet, almost nutty taste that pairs well with everything from sweet flavors like maple, cinnamon, and nutmeg to savory ones like garlic, cheese, and chili peppers. And it is complemented by a wide variety of herbs like thyme, sage, parsley, and basil.

Butternut squash is high in fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. As a starchy vegetable, it is higher in carbs than other veggies, but when paired with a lower carb meal it can be incorporated sparingly into a low carb or keto diet. And, of course, it is naturally gluten free and vegan.

Besides roasting butternut squash, serve it mashed or pureed into a smooth butternut squash soup, in pasta dishes, or even used in breads or muffins much like pumpkin.

Do you have to peel butternut squash?

Technically the skin is edible. However, even after cooking it is still quite tough to chew and digest. If you are roasting it whole to scoop out later or sometimes even making Mashed Butternut Squash, you may not have to peel it.

However, for recipes like this, you’ll want to peel it, and I’ll tell you more about how to do that in just a second.

looking down on a plate of cubes of roasted butternut squash

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe

With just a few simple steps you’ll be ready to pop that squash in the oven and get on to preparing the rest of your meal or continuing your weekend meal prep. After just a short time it will be tender, caramelized, and super tasty!

What you’ll need

INGREDIENTS

  • Butternut squash – one medium squash that has been peeled and cubed.
  • Olive oil – you can also used avocado oil or another vegetable oil.
  • Honey – you can also use maple syrup for a vegan option or a slightly different flavor
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper – this is optional, but it doesn’t actually make it hot and spicy. The tiny bit of heat gives a savory note that balances the flavors to keep it from being too sweet.

PRO TIP: you can use a 2-3 pound package of pre-cut butternut squash that you can find in many grocery stores or Costco. I recommend drying the squash cubes slightly on a paper towel or kitchen towel. They sometimes have excess moisture which can prevent it from caramelizing as nicely.

EQUIPMENT

BRIANNE RECOMMENDS:

These Nordicware baking sheets are my favorite.

two aluminum baking sheets stacked on each other

I use them for everything from roasting veggies to baking cookies. They are big and sturdy, but not super heavy. A thin layer of olive oil keeps the veggies from sticking, and they clean easily.

How to Roast Butternut Squash with Honey and Cinnamon

Peel and cut the squash

  1. Using a large, sharp kitchen knife, slice off the top and bottom of the squash.
  2. Remove the skin with a vegetable peeler.
  3. Cut off the lower bulb-shaped section of the squash and cut it in half.
  4. Using a spoon, scrap out the seeds, then cut this lower portion into 3/4-inch to 1-inch cubes.
  5. Now cut the top neck section in half lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch to 1-inch cubes.

Prepare for roasting

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Coat a 13×18-inch baking sheet (half sheet pan) with a thin layer of olive oil.

    NOTE: you can use parchment paper if you prefer. However with the coating of oil, I don’t usually have too much of a problem with sticking, and skipping the parchment is better for the caramelization.

  2. Place the chopped squash cubes on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and honey, and sprinkle with salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Toss to coat and spread in a single layer on the pan.

Roasting butternut squash

  1. Roast the squash for 35-45 minutes, tossing once with a spatula, until golden brown and tender.
spoonful of roasted butternut squash with cinnamon flecks

Make it a Meal

What to serve with honey roasted butternut squash

white plate with a pile of cinnamon roasted butternut squash with a serving spoon next to it
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white plate with a pile of cinnamon roasted butternut squash with a serving spoon next to it

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cinnamon

This easy veggie side dish can be served with any meal, or make it ahead for meal prep to add to salads, rice bowls, and more. Honey and cinnamon enhance the natural sweetness and caramelization from roasting, but the hint of heat from cayenne pepper adds a savory (but not hot and spicy) element to balance it out.
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • 13×18-inch baking sheet

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2-3 lbs.), peeled and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (see Note) or a 2-3 lb. package of pre-cut butternut squash
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more to coat the pan
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (substitute maple syrup for vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F and lightly coat a 13×18-inch baking sheet with olive oil. You can also line the sheet with parchment if you prefer.
  • Place the squash cubes on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and honey. Then sprinkle salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper over the squash. Toss to coat and spread into a single layer.
  • Roast for 20 minutes, then gently toss and again spread into a single layer.
  • Roast for another 15-25 minutes, or until golden and tender.

Notes

To peel and cut the squash
  1. Using a large, sharp kitchen knife, slice off the top and bottom of the squash.
  2. Remove the skin with a vegetable peeler.
  3. Cut off the lower bulb-shaped section of the squash and cut it in half.
  4. Using a spoon, scrap out the seeds, then cut this lower portion into 3/4-inch to 1-inch cubes.
  5. Now cut the top neck section in half lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch to 1-inch cubes.
If using pre-cut squash
  1. Dry the squash cubes slightly on a paper towel or kitchen towel. They sometimes have excess moisture which can prevent it from caramelizing as nicely.
Nutrition Facts
Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cinnamon
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 117 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 395mg16%
Potassium 665mg19%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 20108IU402%
Vitamin C 40mg48%
Calcium 94mg9%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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