30+ Recipes for Winter Squash

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As the temperature drops, you may think that most fresh veggies are out of season. But this is the time of year to enjoy all of your favorite Winter Squash Recipes. From butternut squash to kabocha, spaghetti squash to acorn, and yes, even pumpkin, there is an abundance of savory dishes to enjoy with these cold-weather vegetables.

A collage of different winter squash recipes including stuffed spaghetti squash, roasted butternut squash with with quinoa, and more with text overlay.

What is considered a winter squash?

Harvested in the fall, but hardy enough to be stored through the winter, the oddly-shaped, thick-skinned fruits (yes, botanically a fruit, though often treated as a vegetable in cooking) that you see in the colder weather months are known as winter squash.

Winter squash are very nutritious and naturally gluten free. They are low in fat and relatively low in calories, but are nutrient-dense and filling with a low glycemic load. These squash are also rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin A, as well as good sources of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

And they come in a number of different colorful varieties for you to enjoy in so many delicious winter squash recipes.

Varieties of winter squash

  • Butternut Squash: Has tan skin and orange flesh with a long neck and bulbous bottom that contains the seeds. They have a somewhat sweet flavor.
  • Pumpkin: The ones you eat are typically smaller than a traditional Halloween pumpkin, and these have a thick layer of flesh and orange skin. They are sweet with an earthy flavor.
  • Acorn Squash: Known for its acorn shape and deep ridges, you want to eat the orange flesh while the skin is still green. They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
  • Spaghetti Squash: This squash usually has a yellow color with pale flesh that comes apart in noodle-like strings when cooked (check out five ways to cook spaghetti squash). It has a very neutral flavor.
  • Delicata Squash: This long, cylindrical squash is yellow with green stripes in the ridges, and pale orange flesh. The flavor and texture is similar to a sweet potato.
  • Kabocha Squash: These look similar to a knobby, green pumpkin and have bright yellow-orange flesh. They taste sweeter than butternut squash and nutty.
  • Buttercup Squash: Has a similar appearance to kabocha squash but with a flatter top and a circular ridge on the bottom, and yellow-orange flesh. It is sweet but with a dry texture compared to other winter squash.

These are the most common varieties for cooking, but others include carnival squash, sweet dumpling squash, hubbard squash, red kuri squash, and more. Check out your local farm stands and markets to explore all of these different types.

Do you peel winter squash before cooking?

Winter squash generally has a thick rind. While it is technically edible and does usually soften some during the cooking process, it is quite tough. So most people do not eat it. However, whether you peel it or not before cooking depends on the winter squash recipes you are making and how you will be using it in the dish.

It can be hard to peel, so make sure you have a strong, sharp peeler. You can also microwave the squash for a few minutes to start to soften the skin and make it easier to peel.

Savory Winter Squash Recipes

You are sure to enjoy all of these savory dishes featuring the slightly sweet and earthy flavor of winter squash. The mild flavor pairs well with so many different dishes. While you will often find them seasoned with warm spices like cinnamon and ginger, they are also complemented by many different seasonings and spices. This collection of recipes will show you the versatility of the different varieties.

Butternut Squash

Common cooking methods include roasting whole or in pieces or grilling. Though they can be simmered in liquid to puree for use in soups.

Butternut squash soup in a bowl with a spoon, next to salt and pepper shakers.

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Thyme

This soup is perfectly velvety smooth and creamy, but without using any cream. And the addition of savory herbs perfectly balances the natural sweetness of the squash.
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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

Roasting in the oven brings out the rich, caramelized flavor. And it is complemented by the warmth of cinnamon and an optional bit of heat from a pinch of cayenne pepper.
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FInal dish in a serving bowl topped with sage leaves

Brown Butter Mashed Butternut Squash

Just a bit of brown buttery gives this healthy side dish a rich, velvety texture and savory, nutty flavor. Quick enough to make for a weeknight meal, but elegant enough to find a place on a holiday menu.
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A bowl of quinoa with roasted butternut squash cubes and pomegranate seeds on top of a red plaid cloth napkin.

Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

Toss the quinoa, butternut squash, and pomegranate seeds together with a simple balsamic dressing and you can enjoy it as a hot side dish. Or store it in the fridge to have for lunch all week because it makes a delicious cold salad.
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chili lime roasted cauliflower and butternut squash in a shallow terra cotta bowl on top of a colorful striped napkin with a wooden serving spoon

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Butternut Squash

This easy side dish is kicked up with chili powder for just a hint of heat, smoky cumin, and the zing of lime. The smoky and spicy combination is delicious when brightened up with fresh and tangy citrus.
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Butternut squash macaroni and cheese is spooned out of a baking dish

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

The classic baked mac is healthier and even gluten free with butternut squash making it so creamy. And the earthy flavor complements the tangy, cheesy goodness.
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A spoon stuck into a bowl of cubed air fryer butternut squash.

Air Fryer Butternut Squash

This quick and easy veggie side is perfect to round out all of your fall and winter meals, from weeknights to holiday dinners. Keep it simple or try the flavor variations.
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Greens sitting on a plate next to a slice of gluten free butternut squash pizza.

Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza

This gourmet pizza seriously delivers on flavor. Sweet and soft cubes of roasted squash and salty, crispy prosciutto are a match made in heaven, especially with the tangy goat cheese.
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Thai Butternut Squash Soup served in a bowl with soup spoon

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

This smooth and creamy soup is infused with aromatic flavors for a twist on classic comfort food. The warmth of Thai red curry paste and coconut milk brings bold flavors balances by the sweetness of the squash.
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Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash on a sheet pan.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash

A gorgeous combination of bright colors with sweet and savory flavors makes this a stunning and delicious side dish. And you won't believe that it only takes four main ingredients.
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Looking down at a platter of goat cheese crostini topped with pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of balsamic.

Butternut Squash Goat Cheese Crostini

This easy and elegant appetizer is simple to prepare, but sure to impress. They pack a fabulous combination of seasonal flavors into one little bite, and the vibrant colors also look gorgeous on a platter.
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Colorful salad piled on a plate

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pomtgranate

Filled with seasonal ingredients, you can enjoy this salad as a light and healthy side dish or lunch. Or top it with your favorite protein for a satisfying dinner.
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A spoonful of layered butternut squash casserole with steam rising off of it.

Butternut Squash Casserole with Pesto and Gorgonzola

The herbaceous flavor of savory pesto is the perfect counterpoint to the natural sweetness of the squash. With the pungent bite of gorgonzola, it's an unexpectedly delicious and elegant dish.
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Apple Cider and Cheddar Cheese Butternut Squash Soup with a sage leaf on top

Butternut Squash Cheddar Cheese Soup

This soup is velvety smooth with a hint of sweetness and lots of creamy, cheesy goodness. It's the perfect combination of two favorite soup recipes.
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An arugula salad with butternut squash, apples, and walnuts.

Baby Arugula Butternut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

This incredible salad has peppery arugula, sweet roasted butternut squash, crisp apples, sweet and tangy cranberries, and maple-roasted walnuts. It is filled with so many seasonal flavors and superfoods.
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Many people think of using pumpkin in desserts, but the creamy texture of pumpkin is lovely in sauces, soups, and more. It can also be roasted.

Creamy pumpkin penne with chicken sausage is spooned from a baking dish.

Pumpkin Penne with Cream Sauce

This cozy baked pasta dish has chicken sausage and a rich pumpkin cream sauce. It's satisfying, wholesome, and totally comforting.
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Fettucine Pumpkin Cauli-fredo

Fettuccine Pumpkin Cauliflower Alfredo (Cauli-Fredo)

The traditional cream sauce gets a veggie-packed twist. Made with both cauliflower and pumpkin puree, it's smooth and rich, but still healthy and satisfying,
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Smoky Cumin Lime Pumpkin Black Bean Hummus - an easy and healthy snack recipe for black bean dip

Pumpkin Black Bean Hummus

Put pumpkin in your party appetizers. Break out the chips to scoop up this savory dip with smoky cumin, the zing of lime, and just a hint of spice.
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pieces of roasted pumpkin.

Roasted Pumpkin with Parmesan

Enjoy the natural sweetness of pumpkin enhanced by roasting along with savory parmesan. It's a simple and surprising side dish.
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A bowl of pumpkin risotto.

Pumpkin Risotto

You'll look like a gourmet chef with this recipe, but it's so simple. This new fall favorite is intoxicatingly delicious with pumpkin flavor and warm spices paired with sage, Parmesan, toasted pepitas, and luxurious browned butter.
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Someone dunking a piece of bread into a bowl of pumpkin soup.

Pumpkin Soup

A classic that is so quick and easy to make. But it is so luxurious with its thick and creamy consistency and explosion of flavor.
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Spaghetti Squash Recipes

As a low carb and gluten free alternative to pasta, you’ll find spaghetti squash used in much the same way as noodles, simply covered in sauce or in casseroles.

Spaghetti squash casserole in a white ceramic baking dish.

Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Healthy comfort food packed not only with veggies, but also with amazing flavors. You’ll love the rich but not too heavy tomato cream sauce, and turkey sausage that makes it hearty and satisfying.
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Beef Stroganoff with Mushrooms inside a spaghetti squash boat

Healthy Beef Stroganoff Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

The classic dish is lightened up with fresh, healthy ingredients and stuffed inside spaghetti squash halves. It's nostalgic comfort food that you can feel good about enjoying.
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A cheesy stuffed spaghetti squash half with three more on a serving dish behind it.

White Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

This easy dish has garlic, basil, ricotta, and mozzarella just like white pizza and it's baked right in its own spaghetti squash shells. Definitely a dinner the family will love.
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A cast iron skillet of barbecue chicken spaghetti squash casserole.

BBQ Baked Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole

This crowd-pleaser is flavorful and so cheesy. It has all of the smoky barbecue flavor you love with some creaminess from Greek yogurt and crispy gluten free Panko topping.
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Acorn Squash

Given its ridged shape, acorn squash can be hard to peel. So it is usually roasted or baked in halves or cut into slices. Once cooked, the flesh is tender enough to come away from the skin easily if you prefer not to eat it.

Lasagna stuffed acorn squash topped with melted mozzarella cheese on a white plate with a fork.

Lasagna Stuffed Acorn Squash

All the best parts of lasagna are stuffed into a veggie bowl. This easy meal is ready in about 30 minutes and has a simple but hearty meat sauce and three kinds of cheese for plenty of gooey goodness.
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Pieces of roasted acorn squash on a platter garnished with herbs.

Roasted Acorn Squash

This simple, colorful, and healthy side dish is a gorgeous and tasty addition to your meal. It is perfectly caramelized with savory seasonings to complement the natural sweetness.
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Mashed Acorn Squash with Maple and Rosemary

Mashed acorn squash seasoned with maple syrup, garlic, rosemary, cinnamon, and ginger is the perfect fall or winter side dish recipe!
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Other Winter Squash

These additional varieties are just as versatile as the ones listed above and have similar preparation methods.

Baked Buttercup Squash pieces with Goat Cheese and pomegranate seeds.

Baked Buttercup Squash with Goat Cheese

This elegant side is both sweet and savory, studded with juicy pomegranate seeds, and so delicious with tangy goat cheese. It looks fancy, but it's so simple to make.
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Delicata squash halves stuffed with spinach.

Stuffed Delicata Squash

This satisfying meatless meal has quinoa, tofu, apples, raisins, spinach and Parmesan cheese. It can also be served as a side dish.
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Oven Roasted Kabocha Squash with Peanut Sauce in a dish garnished with sesame seeds and herbs.

Oven Roasted Kabocha Squash with Peanut Sauce

You'll be making roasted squash on repeat once you try it. The technique can be used in all kinds of ways, but the creamy peanut sauce makes it extra amazing.
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Roasted Kabocha Squash on a plate drizzled with with Miso Glaze

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Miso Glaze

This version of roasted kabocha is absolutely delicious with a garlicky miso glaze that comes together quickly. It is packed with flavor and ready in 30 minutes.
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Roasted Delicata Squash pieces ona abaing sheet.

Brown Sugar Roasted Delicata Squash

The squash is roasted with brown sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon for a sweet and savory side that’s perfect for fall and winter meals. It pairs so well with chicken, seafood, and so many more favorites.
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