This simple mashed butternut squash recipe will steal the show as a holiday side dish or at any fall or winter meal! It's perfectly seasoned with warm spices, sweet and savory, and incredibly tasty.
Why you'll love it
This mashed butternut squash is a velvety side dish that only uses a handful of ingredients and brightens up your fall or winter table. I'm a sucker for seasonal recipes, and butternut squash lends itself beautifully to being puréed with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Plus it's just so easy. Chop, throw on a sheet pan, roast, season, and mash.
So move over, Mashed Potatoes! Normally they get all the glory, which is fine most of the time since they're also delicious, but the natural sweetness and nutty, better-than-pumpkin and silky quality of mashed butternut squash is hard to beat as a pretty addition to any fall dinner. Wonder no more what to make with butternut squash.
What you will need
- Butternut squash - choose one that's dark beige and looks heavy for its size. It also should be free of any cuts or blemishes.
- Olive oil - to help get that golden caramelization on the exterior of the squash
- Salt & pepper - be generous to bring out all the flavors
- Butter - for that hard to resist rich, buttery quality
- Ground cinnamon and nutmeg - the warm flavors play nicely with the sweetness of the squash, and your house will smell so good
How to peel butternut squash
- It's easiest to do using a sharp knife. The peel is quite thick, so your standard potato peeler usually isn't very useful in this case.
- First, I cut the squash in half and then into quarters and use the knife to cut the peel off. Ensure the chunks are secure on a cutting board so that there aren't any accidents.
- Others prefer peeling it whole with a knife kind of how you'd peel an apple, slowly into ribbons.
How to make mashed butternut squash
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Carefully peel the squash, and then cut it into small pieces. Place on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Season generously with salt & pepper.
- Roast it for 25-30 minutes or until tender, turning halfway if desired. Transfer the squash to a pot or a large, stable bowl.
- Add in the butter and spices, and then mash with the butter using a handheld potato masher until smooth. You could instead use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment if you prefer.
Substitutions and variations
- If you wanted to get fancy, chop up some fresh sage leaves and fry them in some butter. Pour it over the mashed squash when you're just about to serve!
- Buying pre-cut squash pieces can save time as a shortcut. I'd aim for between 3-4 pounds since once you peel the squash, the actual edible parts will weigh less than the suggested 4 pounds of whole squash.
- Instead of cutting the squash into pieces, you can cut it into halves lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, add a bit of butter to each half (where the seeds were) and roast it for about an hour. You then scoop out the flesh and continue with the recipe.
Can I boil the squash instead?
- You could boil the squash pieces if you prefer, but results tend to be way better when you roast it. That way it's not watery, and roasting really brings out its natural sweetness when caramelized in the oven.
What to serve with mashed butternut squash
- It's awesome with a seasonal dish like my Easy Pork Chops and Apples, but you can serve it with basically any meaty main course! Add in some Brussels Sprouts Gratin, and you've got a hearty meal.
- I like it as part of a Thanksgiving feast to complement my Easy Roast Turkey along with other favorites like Green Bean Casserole and Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes.
Leftovers and storage
- Mashed butternut squash leftovers will last for 4-5 days in the fridge.
- They can also be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. I recommend thawing overnight in the fridge.
- Reheat in a pot over a low heat, and re-mash to get the desired consistency back.
If you made this simple butternut squash recipe, leave a comment or review below and tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Easy Mashed Butternut Squash
- 4 pounds butternut squash peeled, seeded & cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg optional
- Preheat your oven to 400F and move the rack to the middle position.
- Prep the squash. To easily peel the squash, I cut it into quarters and carefully use a knife to cut the peel off since it's very thick. Cut it into approximately 1.5" pieces.
- Place the squash on a large baking sheet and toss it with the olive oil. Season generously with salt & pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until it's very tender. I like to toss it halfway through baking for more even color.
- Transfer the squash to a pot (I find this to be the most stable thing to use for mashing) and then add the butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and mash it using a hand-held potato masher. Really mash it (it takes more effort to get it smooth than with potatoes). Taste it and add more salt & pepper if needed. Once it's nice and smooth, transfer it into a serving bowl.
- If you don't want to peel & cut up the squash into pieces, you can cut it into halves (lengthwise), scoop out the seeds, add a bit of butter to each half (where the seeds were) and roast it for about an hour. You then scoop out the flesh and mash it as the recipe indicates.
- You can halve the recipe if 6-8 servings are too much (I usually buy two 2-pound squashes).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.