Brown sugar butternut squash with cinnamon is a sweet way to enjoy this fall and winter side dish. Learn how to cook butternut squash with this easy recipe and you’ll be impressing everyone when you serve it as a side on your Thanksgiving or holiday table. The perfect substitute for sweet potato casserole!
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In my opinion, the problem with pumpkin season is that it is so short.
You can only find pumpkin products in the stores for like three months.
And maybe you get lucky and find a few stray cans of pumpkin outside of the fall and holiday season, but not guaranteed.
On the other hand, butternut squash you can find all year long.
So you can get your fall flavor fix outside of the ‘ber months.
And this brown sugar butternut squash with cinnamon is a fall flavor bonanza!
It’s incredible and omg let’s talk about how warm scents of coziness waft from the oven while the squash caramelizes into a beautiful taste of autumn.
I drool just thinking about it and make this all through the colder months.
Ingredients and Kitchen Supplies
To make cinnamon butternut squash you’ll need:
- Butternut squash– About three pounds worth of squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes. If you want to save time, buy the pre cut squash at the grocery store. However, be aware that you’ll probably still want to cut the cubes smaller so they are in nice bite sized pieces.
- Butter– Unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in the dish. Melt it before use.
- Brown sugar– You can use either light or dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar will have a more intense molasses flavor whereas light brown sugar has more of a caramely taste.
- Spices– Ground cinnamon, a pinch of sea salt and pepper.
- Nuts– I prefer pecan halves but you could use walnuts as well. If you don’t like nuts feel free to omit them.
- Dried cranberries– Totally optional but the tart cranberries really balance the sweetness of this dish.
Other kitchen supplies you’ll need:
- Vegetable peeler– You only need this if you plan to peel and cut your own butternut squash and not use the precut varieties.
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Baking sheet
- Cooking spray
How to Make
- Prep the squash.
Peel the squash carefully. Once it’s peeled, chop the neck of the squash off and set it aside. The neck will reveal a cavity where the seeds and pulp are. Scoop this out and either set aside the seeds to roast or discard them. When the cavity is clean, cut the squash into roughly equal sized cubes so it cooks evenly.
- Toss with butter and spices.
Transfer the cut squash onto a baking tray you’ve lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick spray. Add the pecans. Pour the melted butter over the squash pieces followed by the cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper. Toss it together so the squash and pecans get evenly coated.
- Roast the squash.
Cover with foil and put the tray into a preheated oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Flip the squash once halfway through. Uncover it and turn the heat to 400. Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the squash starts to caramelize. Remove from the oven and toss with dried cranberries if desired. Enjoy!
- Prep the squash.
For maximum deliciousness, store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the oven until warmed through.
I don’t recommend freezing leftovers since the squash’s texture will change when thawed and cooked.
Can I use frozen squash to save time?
No. I would not recommend frozen squash for this recipe. The squash won’t have the right texture once roasted. If you are looking to save time, the grocery store carries both pre peeled squash halves that you just need to cut into cubes and cubed, peeled squash.
What flavors go well with butternut squash?
This dish pairs well with all the classic fall and holiday flavors. I serve it as part of Thanksgiving dinner. Outside of the holiday season, this pairs very well with roast chicken. You could serve this dish with anything that you would serve a sweet potato casserole or baked apples with.
How will I know when the squash is caramelized?
The edges of the squash will get brown, but not burnt. If the squash doesn’t have gooey brown spots on the edges, it’s not ready.
Tips and Tricks
- I highly recommend reserving the squash seeds and cleaning them so you can roast them and add them to soups and salads later on. They are particularly amazing in this Apple and Pear Kale Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette. You can follow the recipe for my sweet and spicy roasted pumpkin seeds to do it.
- Want to add a little heat to this dish? Add a touch of chili powder to the spice mixture.
- This dish isn’t one you can prep ahead. BUT! You can peel and cut the squash a day or two ahead of time as long as you store it in a sealed air tight container in the fridge. Then on the day of assemble the recipe and pop it into the oven.
Other Butternut Squash Recipes You’ll Love
Look, I love butternut A LOT and make it on repeat all fall and winter long. If you crush on beautiful butternut too, you’ll like these recipes:
- Easy Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Thai Pumpkin Curry with Butternut and Chickpeas
- Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Roasted Fall Vegetables
- Winter Vegetable Pasta
- Brown Butter Gnocchi with Roasted Squash and Kale
- Instant Pot Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Did you make this Cinnamon butternut squash or any other recipe on my site? Leave me a comment below and let me know how you liked it. And make sure you follow along with me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to see everything we’ve got going on.
- 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunksy
- 4 tablespoons of butter (melted)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup pecan halves
- Dried cranberries (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with nonstick spray.
- Place butternut squash and pecans in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Gently toss to combine.
- Cover with foil and place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once. Uncover it and turn the heat to 400. Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the squash starts to caramelize.
- Remove from the oven. Toss with dried cranberries if desired.
see post for notes and additional details