Brown Butter Winter Squash

Brown butter winter squash is going to banish memories of all other butternut squash recipes—including that boring brown sugar and butter trick your mom used—from your mind. Here’s how to cook it.

Four halves of butternut brown butter winter squash on a rimmed baking sheet.

This brown butter winter squash recipe is proof that brown butter has a knack for making just about anything tempting with its nutty fragrance and flavor. Even good-for-you vegetables. It’s sorta like black magic in that regard. Or rather, in this case, brown magic. And it’s not the brown butter alone that makes this squash tempting. It can also be a little something spicy or sweet—take a gander at the many Variations beneath the recipe—and the corresponding comments from folks who’ve made them—and you’ll understand exactly what we mean. Originally published November 12, 2012.Renee Schettler Rossi

Brown Butter Winter Squash

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 10 M
  • 40 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Roasting cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Ingredients


Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds and strings. Lightly brush both the curved and the cut sides of the squash halves with the olive oil. Season the cut sides of the squash generously with salt and pepper, then place the squash, cut-side down, on the baking sheet.

Roast the squash until very nearly tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using a spatula, carefully turn each one cut-side up. Plonk a piece of butter in each squash cavity. Sprinkle each squash with the herbs, if using. Continue to roast the squash halves until the butter is melted and begins to brown lightly, 5 to 10 minutes.

Using a sturdy spatula (or 2 spatulas or a spatula and tongs or whatever it takes), transfer the squash to a platter or individual plates. Serve at once.

Print RecipeBuy the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Roasting cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    Winter Squash Variations

    • Winter Squash with Maple Syrup
    • Bake the squash for 20 minutes as directed. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and then remove from the heat. When you turn the squash halves, add the seasoned butter to the cavities, dividing it evenly. Omit the herbs and proceed as directed.

    • Winter Squash with Southwest Spices
    • Bake the squash for 20 minutes as directed. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or chili powder, stir for 30 seconds, and then remove from the heat. When you turn the squash halves, add the seasoned butter to the cavities, dividing it evenly. Omit the herbs and proceed as directed.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    Sweet, roasted root veggies get me every time! So simple, delicious, and accessible to every cook. Plus, they allow for variations in flavors depending on the spices/herbs used. I prepared the acorn squash using maple butter and even added a splash of bourbon to liven it up. I may’ve used a tad less butter, but even so I made sure to baste the squash a few times. I wonder if this could be made into an easy dessert—a scoop of vanilla ice cream right into the warm squash cavity for a rich, almost pumpkin pie–like combo…anyone?

    Whether you’re looking for a sweet or savory side dish, this recipe is a keeper. It was nice not to skin and chop the squash. This makes for an easy side dish for a weeknight, but the presentation of the dish is pretty enough for company. The squash comes out of the oven fork-tender and nicely browned. The herb flavor is nice, giving a balance of sweet and savory, while the sweet flavor isn’t so sweet that it tastes like dessert. There is some smoking and sizzling during the cooking, though it wasn’t a problem.

    HUNGRY FOR MORE?

    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Comments

    1. Just what I was looking for today. I have a pork loin dry-marinating in the fridge to accompany the squash I bought yesterday. Thanks for the inspiration!

    2. I love acorn and butternut squash and I usually do something similar to this! I have a question, though, that hopefully someone here can help me with: How can you tell whether a squash is going to be flavorful until you cook it and dig in? It seems almost completely random: one day we get a delicious tasting squash; the next time it is bland as heck and no one wants to eat it. With other fresh ingredients, it’s generally pretty easy for me to figure out if they are good or not (i.e., smell, sight, weight, firmness, etc.), but squash is a total enigma for me. Any ideas or tricks?

      1. Ben, sadly, it is something of an enigma with these thick-skinned behemoths. But there are a few things to seek. First, give it the visual once over. Make certain the squash seems fairly uniform in appearance and seems without any blemishes. Second, take it in your hands. If there are any soft spots or if it feels surprisingly light for its size, put it back. What you want is a firm-skinned, bowling-ball of a squash that makes you stoop a little as you struggle to hold it. And when you get home and slice it open, if it has any discoloration whatsoever, don’t cook it. We’ve learned most of this through the years by trial and error, but it’s all here in this handy cheat sheet.

    Have something to say?

    Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

    Rate this recipe!

    Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

    Upload a picture of your dish