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This is my go-to recipe for savory mashed butternut squash, perfect for the holidays or any time of year. Diced butternut squash baked with olive oil is an alternative to overly-sweetened casseroles. It’s naturally sweet and makes a smooth, creamy puree. The Italian-style spiced garlic butter takes this dish over the top!
This recipe takes basic mashed butternut squash recipe to the next level — it has a savory flavor profile (with no added sugar) with a lovely, creamy texture that tastes ever-so-slightly indulgent.
You don’t really need to do a whole lot to a butternut squash to make it taste good. If the thought of mashed butternut squash makes you want to yawn, you must try one of the coziest winter recipes.
Every fall I stock up on all the colorful gourds I can carry. The best ones are hard winter squashes for roasting, baking and cooking, with their colorful rinds and sweet orange flesh, perfect for dishes like roasted acorn squash.
But I still end up wondering what else to do with butternut squash, usually because they last so long on my counter. Making a puree is almost a no-brainer, and it’s far from boring when you season it up just a little!
Ingredients you need for the recipe
Butternut squash goes so well with some of my favorite Italian-ish ingredients, like garlic, olive oil, chili and butter.
- Butternut squash: You’ll need 3 pounds of squash. To save prep time, look for peeled and diced squash in the produce section of the grocery store. I’ve also tested this recipe with frozen, cubed butternut squash and it works great!
- Fresh garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil: For roasting the squash.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter adds a rich, nutty flavor to the squash.
- Heavy cream: To ease up on dairy, you can also use a plant-based option such as plain unsweetened oat milk or almond milk.
- Spices: Ground nutmeg and crushed red chili flakes.
- Optional: Parmesan cheese — I didn’t use any grated cheese when I made this, but it would be a perfect garnish.
How to prep butternut squash for roasting
Once you get past any fear of fussing with a hard squash, you’ll get better and faster at prepping and cutting up butternut squash.
- Place your squash on a cutting board. Using a large chef’s knife, slice off a thin piece from the top and bottom.
- Cut the squash in half at the point where the straight part of the neck meets the rounded bulb section.
- Stand the squash pieces up on the cut end and slice straight down to cut it in half.
- Scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
- Peel off the skin with a swivel vegetable peeler.
- Slice the sections into 1-inch wide pieces, then turn them crosswise and cut into 1-2-inch pieces.
- Toss the squash with olive oil and salt, then bake for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Put the baked squash in a food processor bowl and pulse with some of the garlic butter and cream just until the consistency is the way you like it – this will happen quickly so keep your eye on it.
Instead of using a food processor, transfer the squash to a mixing bowl and mash it with a potato masher or immersion blender.
To serve, spoon the mashed butternut into a serving bowl. Drizzle the remaining butter over and sprinkle with parsley to add fresh flavor and color to your dish.
How to enjoy leftover mashed butternut squash
If you happen to have any extra squash puree, the good news is that it tastes great as a “leftover” and will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Here are some ideas for how to use it:
- Use it as a stuffing for ravioil or other filled pasta.
- Make it the base of a casserole, topped with panko crumbs or toasted breadcrumbs.
- Stir a cup or so of broth or water into the puree and heat in a saucepan to make a quick 15-minute butternut squash soup.
- Mashed butternut squash can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Meal prep and storage tips
- Refrigerate the uncooked, peeled and chopped squash in an air-tight container up to 3 days before baking.
- The baked butternut squash can be prepared 3-5 days ahead. Reserve the 2 tablespoons garlic butter separately.
- Warm at 325 degrees in a covered baking dish for 15-20 minutes and top with the butter before serving.
Creamy Mashed Butternut Squash
- 3 pounds (1.35 kg) butternut squash, about 1 large
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) butter
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy cream
- Chopped Italian parsley, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 (200C) degrees.
- Prep the butternut squash: On a cutting board, slice ¼-inch off the stem and bottom with a large, sharp knife. Cut the squash in half at the point where the straight part of the neck meets the bulb section. Slice both sections in half. Scoop out the seeds. Peel off the skin with a swivel peeler, then cut the squash into 1-2-inch cubes.
- Put the squash in a large baking pan or dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt. Toss together until the squash is evenly coated. Bake 25 minutes, until tender.
- While the squash is baking, melt the butter in a small pan placed over low heat. Stir in the garlic, red pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Transfer the squash to a food processor work bowl. Add the cream and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter mixture. Pulse 30-45 seconds or until the puree is as smooth as you like (I prefer a slightly chunky texture).
- Spoon the squash into a serving bowl and drizzle with the rest of the garlic butter. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- To save time, buy prepared (peeled and diced) butternut squash. You’ll need 4-5 cups. Frozen butternut squash cubes will also work in this recipe.
- Instead of using a food processor, transfer the roasted squash to a bowl and mash with a potato masher or immersion blender.
- The squash can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Reserve the 2 tablespoons garlic butter separately. Warm the squash at 325 degrees in a covered baking dish for 15-20 minutes and top with the butter before serving.