23 Winter Squash Recipes & Ultimate Cooking Guide

Versatile, good for you, and delicious, these winter squash recipes will wow your family and friends! From basic how-to recipes to surprising entrées, you’ll be enjoying winter squash often.

Squash recipes round up graphic with text and photos.


Winter squash can be cooked so many ways. Once you master the basic cooking methods which I have described below, you will be able to roast, bake, mash, stuff, freeze, and purée to your heart’s content, turning this versatile squash into mouth-watering treats. 

Common Varieties of winter squash

Usually harvested in the fall, winter squash usually have orange flesh, with the exception of spaghetti squash.

Some varieties you may be familiar with are: acorn, buttercup, butternut, delicata, Hubbard, kabocha, pumpkin, spaghetti, sweet dumpling, and turban.  There are others available, but these are the most common.

What is the difference between winter squash and summer squash?

  • Summer squash are usually harvested in the summer! They include varieties such as zucchini, yellow squash, or crooknecks. Summer squash will have a soft, edible skin, and the seeds are small and soft. They are best stored in the refrigerator for a week or less. You’ll find that summer squash are very easy to slice, unlike their winter cousins, and are usually sautéed, broiled, or grilled.
  • Winter squash are harvested in the fall or autumn but are called “winter squash” because they’ll keep for 3 to 6 months (most of the winter!) in a cool, dry place (not refrigerated). They have a hard, usually inedible skin. See the section below to learn how to cut winter squash.

Most winter squash recipes call for longer cooking methods, like braising, roasting, baking, or steaming. Keep reading for mouth-watering winter squash recipes.

How to Cook Squash

Squash can be baked, mashed, roasted, stuffed, made into casseroles, soups, breads, and served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

Tips for Preparing a Winter Squash

  1. Wash the squash well to remove any gritty dirt. We use a vegetable brush for this task.
  2. Place it on a large cutting board that isn’t going to slip around on you. A steady surface is essential.
  3. You’ll need a sturdy, sharp knife. Make sure your knife is long enough to go through the squash. No flexible or serrated knives here! 
  4. Cut the tough woody stem end off. It also helps to cut a slice off the bottom of the squash, in order to stabilize it on your cutting board. 
  5. Cut the squash vertically, from top to bottom. If the squash is very large or extremely hard, put the whole squash into the oven for 10 minutes at 375º to soften it, or heat it in the microwave for 5 minutes or so. Use oven mitts to handle it and let it cool a bit before cutting it.
  6. Once the squash has been halved, scoop out the seeds. We love using a grapefruit spoon for this task.

Basic How-To Recipes

  • Acorn Squash: Cut this popular squash in half and bake it two different ways, sweet or savory.
  • Butternut Squash: Learn more than four ways to cook butternut squash: roasted in halves, roasted in cubes, cooked in a slow cooker, and cooked in an Instant Pot (three different ways). There are also step-by-step photos to teach you how to peel and cut this type of squash.
  • Delicata Squash: This is one squash that you won’t have to peel. The outside rind becomes soft and delectable when cut into slices and roasted. Dumpling squash is shaped differently, round and plump, but the cooking process is similar.
  • Spaghetti Squash: Learn five easy ways to cook this versatile squash, video included. Anyone can do this!
  • Kabocha Squash: I’ll show you three ways to cook delicious kabocha squash.

How to Freeze winter squash

Winter squash can be frozen for up to a year. These two methods will work with larger, orange flesh squash, like butternut or pumpkin. I wouldn’t recommend it for the smaller squashes, like acorn or delicata, or spaghetti squash.  Here’s how to do it:

  1. Raw: Cut peeled, raw squash into one inch cubes, put on a cookie sheet in your freezer until the cubes are frozen, and then place into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags and pop them into the freezer. You can toss the frozen cubes into soups or stews, or roast them, unthawed, on a baking sheet with a little olive oil and salt. 
  2. Cooked (preferred): Cook the squash and purée or mash it. Put it into ice cube trays or muffin tins and freeze it until it’s solid. Place it into a freezer safe container or bag. Use cooked squash to make soups or thaw, heat, and eat it as is. 

winter squash recipes

Mashed Butternut Squash (sweet or savory)

Whether you make it sweet or savory, mashed butternut squash is one of the easiest winter squash recipes. It’s an outstanding side dish for special occasions or everyday dinners.

Check out this recipe

Mashed butternut squash in a large bowl, topped with butter and thyme.
Spicy Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted butternut squash is both spicy and sweet, and it’s 100% perfect! A easy and healthy squash recipe that the whole family will love.

Check out this recipe

Image of spicy sweet butternut squash in a small white bowl.
Stuffed Butternut Squash (Quinoa, Kale & Bacon)

Stuffed butternut squash is a noteworthy all-in-one meal. You’ll love this flavorful and impressive squash recipe!

Check out this recipe

Stuffed butternut squash cut to show filling of quinoa, bacon, kale.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This easy roasted butternut squash soup is full of flavor and is ultra-creamy, without any cream or butter! It’s the perfect fall soup. 

Check out this recipe

Squash soup in white bowl topped with sage.
Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan)

Roasted garlic and smoked paprika lend colorful flavor to this butternut squash soup recipe.

Check out this recipe

Vegan butternut squash soup in a white crock style bowl.
Butternut Squash Curry Recipe

You’ll love the creamy red curry sauce in this butternut squash curry! Spoon it over fragrant jasmine rice for a satisfying meatless meal.

Check out this recipe

Butternut squash curry in a bowl with rice.
Moroccan Stew with Butternut Squash and Chickpeas

Vegetarian Moroccan stew with butternut squash and chickpeas sings with a medley of vegetables, raisins, and warm spices. You’ll love this winter squash recipe!

Check out this recipe

Close up overhead view of moroccan stew made with butternut squash, chickpeas and more. Served with couscous.
Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Thighs

Moroccan chicken thighs with butternut squash is a slow cooker meal that is super flavorful, filling, and nutritious.

Check out this recipe

Two plates of chicken, couscous, squash, garnished with almonds.
Butternut Squash Crostini with Ricotta

Butternut squash isn’t only for soup! These butternut squash crostini appetizers elevate winter squash to super star status

Check out this recipe

Image of butternut squash crostini topped with pomegranate and pepitas.
Ricotta Flatbread with Bacon, Squash, Apples and Maple Pepitas

You’ll love the fall flavors of this ricotta flatbread: warmly spiced ricotta, crisp bacon, roasted squash and mushrooms, diced apple, and maple candied pepitas. A unique winter squash recipe!

Check out this recipe

Experience a taste of fall with this ricotta flatbread! The party starts in the spiced ricotta and carries throughout the fun autumn toppings: bacon, squash, apples, mushrooms, and maple candied pepitas. You'll want to eat this all year! Get the easy recipe on RachelCooks.com!
Chicken Barley Soup with Kale and Butternut Squash

With butternut squash and kale, this easy chicken barley soup is a delicious winter squash recipe that you’ll make over and over.

Check out this recipe

Closer view of chicken barley soup in white bowl with spoon alongside, on a blue patterned cloth.
Fall Instant Pot Shakshuka

Fall inspired Instant Pot shakshuka is easy to make, healthy and so delicious. Serve it with crusty bread for a satisfying vegetarian entrée.

Check out this recipe

Small white oval bowl filled with tomato sauce, cubed squash, an egg, feta cheese, and pepitas.
Copycat Panera Squash Soup

If you love the restaurant version, be sure to try my copycat Panera squash soup, a healthier version.

Check out this recipe

This Copycat Panera Bread Squash Soup tastes just like the original, but I made it a bit healthier! Get the easy fall soup recipe on RachelCooks.com!
Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Cranberries

Hearty farro salad with butternut squash, bacon, cranberries, kale and feta is fall in a bowl. You’ll love this winter squash recipe!

Check out this recipe

Partial front view of farro salad in shallow white bowl.
Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Herbs

Simple yet flavorful, this spaghetti squash with Parmesan and herbs is a perfect side dish or a great base for a topping such as marinara sauce.

Check out this recipe

Spaghetti squash in a white bowl sprinkled with green parsley and white parmesan cheese.
Chicken Fajita Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

All the fixings of fajitas are deliciously combined in chicken fajita stuffed spaghetti squash for a filling and healthy main dish.

Check out this recipe

Spaghetti squash full of bell peppers, onions, chicken and cheese. It is topped with sour cream, jalapeno, tomato, and sour cream.
Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Pizza, spaghetti, and squash? Sounds unlikely, but wait for the explosion of flavor when you try this surprisingly easy pizza stuffed spaghetti squash!

Check out this recipe

Pizza stuffed spaghetti squash with cheese, pepperoni, and vegetables.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Spiced Yogurt Sauce

This roasted acorn squash is served with a spiced yogurt sauce that you’re going to find absolutely irresistible!

Check out this recipe

Three slices of roasted acorn squash on a blue rimmed white plate.
Stuffed Acorn Squash (Farro, Sausage, & Apples)

Stuffed acorn squash, with farro, sausage, and cheese, plus apples and dried cherries, is a delicious mix of sweet and savory. It’s a fall favorite!

Check out this recipe

Acorn squash half on a white plate. Squash is filled with farro, sausage, apples, cranberries, and cheese.
Crockpot Pumpkin Soup

Creamy crockpot pumpkin soup is velvety smooth and delicious. You won’t have to peel the pumpkin first; the peel magically disappears in the soup.

Check out this recipe

Pumpkin soup, swirled with cream.
Pumpkin Poke Cake (with real pumpkin!)

This easy pumpkin poke cake recipe is the ultimate fall dessert oozing with sweet cinnamon filling and smothered with tangy cream cheese frosting.

Check out this recipe

Pumpkin poke cake being scooped out of a baking dish.
Vegetarian Tacos with Delicata Squash and Black Beans

Flavorful vegetarian tacos are stuffed with hearty roasted delicata squash slices, black beans, pickled red onions, avocado, and queso fresco.

Check out this recipe

Overhead of several prepared tacos, lined up on decorative surface.
Kabocha Squash Soup

Savor the sweet tang of apple cider along with just a hint of warm ginger and cinnamon in this creamy and delicious kabocha squash soup.

Check out this recipe

Overhead view of a bowl of kabocha squash soup.

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