Rachel Cooks

Spicy Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash

This roasted butternut squash that is both spicy and sweet is 100% perfect! It’s an easy and healthy side dish that the whole family will love. 

his roasted butternut squash that is both spicy and sweet is 100% perfect! It's an easy and healthy side dish that the whole family will love. Get the recipe on RachelCooks.com!

Let’s be real here for a minute.

Peeling and dicing butternut squash may just be the worst kitchen task ever. It takes forever, your hands get that weird film on them, and you can consider yourself very lucky if you finish the task with all ten fingers intact. (HINT: You can buy it already prepped from Costco! I pick up a package of it every time I go.)

However, it is one of my favorite fall treats. I love it roasted and tossed on top of a salad or as a side dish. This version is a fun mix of sweet and spicy that perfectly captures the flavors of fall.

The combination of spicy and sweet is irresistible. I’ve put this squash in a farro salad with bacon and it’s unbelievable. (Also – if you like spicy sweet, you have to try these spiced pecans!)

This would also be a great side dish for Thanksgiving if you’re looking to do something a little different.

Basically, it’s great any day of the year.

Spicy Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash

Yield: 4 side servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

This roasted butternut squash is both spicy and sweet.


  • one large butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel and cube butternut squash. (Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any personal injuries or anxiety attacks.)
  2. Dump butternut squash cubes onto a large, rimmed sheet tray.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, syrup, cinnamon, cayenne and salt. Pour over cubed squash and toss with your hands to coat. Spread out squash so that it is in an even layer.
  4. Bake for 15-30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cooking time will depend on how crowded your squash is and how big your cubes are. You want the squash to be fork tender (stick a fork in--it comes right back out), but not mushy.
  5. Enjoy as a side dish or on a leafy green salad.


his roasted butternut squash that is both spicy and sweet is 100% perfect! It's an easy and healthy side dish that the whole family will love. Get the recipe on RachelCooks.com!

Verdict: So good! Slightly sweet from the maple syrup, a little kick from the cayenne…and a touch of fall from the cinnamon. Good stuff!
Husband’s take: At the time I’m writing this, he hasn’t tried this roasted butternut squash yet! He’ll love it though.
Changes I would make: None.
Difficulty: Once you get that darn squash chopped up, easy!

If you are obsessed with roasting vegetables like I am, I have a lot of great recipes for you to try!


his roasted butternut squash that is both spicy and sweet is 100% perfect! It's an easy and healthy side dish that the whole family will love. Get the recipe on RachelCooks.com!
When you make a recipe from my site tag it with #RachelCooks!
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75 Responses to “Spicy Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash”

  1. Alaina @Fabtastic Eats — October 25, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I love the sweet & spicy combo! What great flavors to add to get my little guy to eat more veggies too! (& me! Ha) Yum!

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

      My daughter INHALED this squash!

  2. Lesa @Edesia's Notebook — October 25, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Meijer used to sell pre-cut squash cubes in the produce section next to the bags of broccoli and carrots, etc. But I can’t find it anymore. 🙁 But you’re right, it’s totally worth the effort of cutting it up. This recipe sounds great. I love roasted squash.

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

      I love the pre-cut stuff but I’m so cheap…some times it is worth it in a pinch though!

  3. Tracey @ Cooking With Love — October 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I love butternut squash, but I’m with you on the prep of it. I have one that’s been on my kitchen table for over a week b/c I do not feel like peeling it! lol! I think I will do it today! Thanks for the inspiration Rachel! 🙂

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 10:21 am

      Oh yeah–mine sit around FOREVER before I get up the energy to tackle them!

  4. Ali | Gimme Some Oven — October 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

    YUM! Roasted butternut squash is the BEST! Love the pinch of cayenne too!

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

      Thanks Ali!

  5. amanda @ fake ginger — October 25, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Gorgeous photos! I love the maple + cayenne combo. Yum!

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

      Thanks Amanda! I felt like the photos were kind of boring so I’m glad to hear you liked them 🙂

  6. Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray — October 25, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Oh man…I always walk by the butternut squash and think “I want to eat you!” but I’m tired out already by the thought of chopping it…

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

      Me too!!!

  7. Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) — October 25, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Is it not a kind of squash that peels well AFTER roasting? I just bought a butternut squash myself, and now I’m feeling a little scared…

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

      You can definitely roast it in the peel and eat it, but that works better for mashes, etc. I wanted the nice little cubes of squash. 🙂

  8. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — October 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

    So funny – I actually love peeling butternut squash!! My hubby got me the best wide peeler that makes it so easy but maybe I just like it becuase he got it for me. 😉

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

      You’re a strange woman, Liz. 😉

      You can come peel squash for me annnnnny time you want.

  9. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — October 25, 2012 at 11:46 am

    This sounds sooo good! Great side 🙂

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

      Thanks Katrina!

  10. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 25, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I really hate the prep work of butternut squash too but it’s so worth it! Can’t wait to try this!

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

      It is worth it! Hope you like the recipe 🙂

  11. carrian — October 25, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Oh my goodness! Thank you for speaking the truth here! Seriously!! I feel like everyone has a billion butternut recipes and I am always wondering if I’m missing some secret to peeling, and chopping this baby. BAH!!!

    • Rachel — October 25th, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

      Haha!!! It’s the worst.

  12. Cassie | Bake Your Day — October 25, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I am giving this a try this weekend. I love sweet and spicy. The maple syrup is perfect!

    • Rachel — October 26th, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

      Let me know what you think of it! 🙂

  13. Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana — October 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I feel you about peeling and cutting butternut squash – it is such a pain! When we lived close to a Trader Joe’s, I used to buy the already peeled and diced butternut squash, even though it cost a little more, it was worth it to me!! 🙂 I love that you put some spice in there, it’s nice when it’s not just sweet…now if I can gear myself up to peeling and dicing a butternut squash, I will try this out 🙂

  14. Veronica — October 26, 2012 at 2:24 am

    This recipe totally makes the peeling worth it! Love this idea of a spicy/sweet combo.

  15. Kathryn — October 26, 2012 at 4:32 am

    That weird film really grosses me out (which is why we probably don’t eat it as much as we should!). This looks so tasty though and I bet it makes all the effort worth it!

  16. sarah k @ the pajama chef — October 26, 2012 at 10:51 am

    eww, i hate peeling squash too. but this looks so good i just might. 🙂

  17. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — October 26, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Not sure I have ever dealt with a butternut squash on my own before. Not sure I am looking forward to it either 🙂
    Sounds amazing though – I just might have to get the prediced squash!

  18. Mary — October 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

    What do you consider a large squash? Can you let me know weight wise?

    • Rachel — October 26th, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

      Hi Mary! Great question. I’d say about two pounds, but really you can’t go wrong. It is a very forgiving recipe.

  19. Bree — October 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I agree! And I am embarassed to admit that I have been buying it pre-cut 😉

    • Rachel — October 29th, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

      Nothing wrong with that!!

  20. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction — October 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I love the sweet and spicy combination! This would make a perfect side to our pork chops tonight!

  21. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen — October 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Whole Foods sometimes sells pre-cut butternut squash. I found that out AFTER spending an hour struggling with a squash myself last fall 🙂 This recipe looks awesome!

  22. Cate — October 26, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    So true! I have heard people recommend baking it for about 10 minutes to soften it before peeling, chopping, etc., but I’ve never tried it. But it has to be better than losing a finger, right? Not sure whether it prevents the weird filmy feeling though 🙂

    • Rachel — October 27th, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

      I’m going to try that next time!

  23. Laurie {Simply Scratch} — October 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

    It’s recipes like this that are my absolute favorite… easy, flavorful and include butternut squash 😉

  24. luv what you do — October 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I love butternut sqush! And I just bought some fresh maple syrup…yum!

  25. Rachael {SimplyFreshCooking} — October 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Simple and yummy! I hate cutting squash, too! But we gotta do what we gotta do, huh?! 🙂

  26. Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — October 30, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I just bought some butternut squash, I’ve never cooked it or eaten it either. I will be extra careful when I peel it and chop it! I was going to make soup but now I want to try this!

  27. Tracey — October 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    There’s almost nothing I love more than roasted butternut squash in the fall. I don’t even mind cutting it to be honest. I’d much rather do that than wash my dishes 🙂

  28. Jackie @ Domestic Fits — October 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I bet this makes an AMAZING soup 🙂

  29. Kristina — November 9, 2012 at 10:36 am

    haha butternut squash is the WORST to cut. Seriously. I was already planning on roasting some tonight, will add the cinnamon and cayenne like your recipe! I haven’t done that before w/the maple, sounds yum!!

  30. Laurie — December 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I bought the precut @ Costco tonight – organic for less than $4 – so worth it – this recipe rocked!

    • Rachel — December 17th, 2012 @ 8:03 am

      Awesome–that pre-cut is the way to go! Glad you liked the recipe 🙂

  31. Aimee — January 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    found this recipe on interest and making it for dinner tonight. I did switch the maple syrup for honey since that’s what I had on hand.

    • Rachel — January 5th, 2013 @ 9:51 am

      I bet it was great with honey! Did you like it?

  32. Amber — January 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Hi there!!
    I’m making this tonight but I just realized I don’t have any cayenne pepper. Can I substitute chili powder or red pepper flakes or maybe hot sauce? Thanks 🙂

    • Rachel — January 7th, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

      Sure! Any of those would be good–all a bit different, but worth a try!

      • Amber — January 7th, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

        We just ate dinner and they were amazing!!! I subbed sriracha hot sauce for the cayenne but added one more tablespoon of syrup cause I was worried they would be too spicy for the munchkins. My kids ate them up and my husband liked them too!! I absolutely loved them I will for sure be making these again!! Thanks for your help!!
        🙂 🙂 🙂

  33. Jema Watts — February 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Bought an already diced butternut squash at Costco this weekend. I’m going to try this recipe tonight. Can’t wait to try, sounds scrumptious!

  34. J — February 8, 2013 at 2:16 am

    Trying this tomorrow! Instead of cutting and risking my fingers I bought a 2lb tray of cubed butternut squash from Costco!

    • Rachel Gurk — February 8th, 2013 @ 10:34 am

      Love that idea! Peeling is such a pain.

  35. Mica — March 18, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Costco has is for super cheap. 2lbs for less than 4 bucks.

  36. Lee — April 28, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Easy-peasy way to peel butternut squash: slice it into rounds as thick or thin as you wish, then lie each round flat and slice in half. Then it’s as easy to peel as a pineapple – just slice it around the edge to remove the peel.

    • Rachel Gurk — April 28th, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

      Great advice, thank you!

  37. Sarah — May 20, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Thank you for the recipe! I made it for lunch and it was absolutely delicious! My husband loved it as well. I feel I will be making it very often 🙂

    • Rachel Gurk — May 20th, 2013 @ 9:57 am

      Glad you and your husband liked it! Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  38. Alyssa — October 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Just used a modified version of this to make baby food for my little guy. Roasted in halves. No olive oil, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, suggested amounts of cinnamon and cayenne pepper, apple juice to thin in the food processor. I think it’s delicious and he gobbled it up! At 10 months, he loves spicy food!

    • Rachel Gurk — October 12th, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

      I love that he loves spicy food! Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  39. gale — October 13, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Easy way to have butternut squash. Just cut in half, rub olive oil on exposed areas, put butter, brown sugar and a cinnamon in cavity, after you scrape out the seeds..Bake at 375 til done, about 1 hr. Makes a great lunch, side dish..taste like desert.. I do this for Thanksgiving dinner, as they look so festive at the table.

  40. Susan — November 25, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    If we’re lucky enough to find it already cut into cubes, approximately how many cups would you use for this recipe?


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