Site icon Just Air Fryer Recipes

Air Fryer Butternut Squash | How to Make Butternut Squash? [Tips & Tricks]

Air Fryer Butternut Squash recipe

Experience the culinary magic of air fryer butternut squash an ingenious fusion of convenience and delectable taste. In the realm of quick and flavorful cooking, this method elevates the beloved butternut squash to new heights, coaxing out its natural sweetness and tender texture, all while offering the convenience of an air fryer’s efficient cooking process.

Dive into a world where every bite yields a perfect balance of crispness and caramelization, transforming this nutritious vegetable into a culinary masterpiece that’s not just a dish, but an experience worth savoring.

What is Butternut Squash?

Butternut squash, scientifically known as Cucurbita moschata, is a winter squash variety revered for its distinctive appearance, delightful taste, and culinary versatility. Its bulbous base and elongated neck, sporting a smooth tan-yellow outer skin and vibrant orange, dense flesh, make it easily recognizable.

This vegetable delights palates with a subtly sweet, nutty flavor and a tender, creamy texture when cooked. It’s rich in essential nutrients, boasting high levels of vitamins A and C, along with fiber, potassium, and antioxidants, which contribute to its status as a nutrient-packed superfood.

Renowned for its adaptability in the kitchen, butternut squash shines in an array of culinary applications. Its robust flavor complements both savory and sweet dishes. Commonly, it’s roasted to intensify its sweetness or puréed into soups and sauces, adding depth and creaminess to recipes.

It can also be diced and added to stews, curries, risottos, or salads, offering a nutritional boost and a satisfying, hearty element. Moreover, its seeds are edible and can be roasted as a nutritious snack, similar to pumpkin seeds.

Beyond its gastronomic appeal, butternut squash stands as a symbol of autumn, adorning farmer’s markets and grocery stores during the cooler months. Its tough exterior allows for long storage, making it a staple ingredient for warming dishes throughout the winter season.

With its vibrant color, pleasing taste, and nutritional benefits, the butternut squash remains a beloved and versatile addition to the culinary landscape.

How to Make Butternut Squash in the Air Fryer

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making delicious butternut squash in the air fryer:

Instructions:

Preheat the Air Fryer:

Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for about 5 minutes.

Prepare the Butternut Squash:

Wash the squash thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or debris.

Using a sharp knife, carefully trim off both ends of the squash.

Peel the squash using a vegetable peeler or a knife, ensuring to remove the tough outer skin completely.

Remove Seeds and Dice:

Cut the squash in half crosswise, separating the bulbous bottom part from the thinner neck.

Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp from the bulbous end using a spoon.

Cut the squash into evenly-sized cubes or slices, around 1-inch pieces, for even cooking.

Season (Optional):

Place the cut squash in a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat evenly.

Season with salt, pepper, or preferred seasonings like cinnamon, nutmeg, or herbs, ensuring all pieces are lightly coated.

Air Fry the Butternut Squash:

Place the seasoned squash pieces in the air fryer basket in a single layer, leaving some space between each piece for air circulation.

Cooking Time:

Air fry the squash at 375°F (190°C) for 12-15 minutes.

Pause halfway through the cooking time to shake or toss the pieces gently for even browning.

Check for Doneness:

Pierce the squash pieces with a fork to check for tenderness. If needed, cook for an additional few minutes until they reach your desired level of softness and caramelization.

Serve:

Once cooked, remove the squash from the air fryer and let it cool slightly before serving.

Garnish with fresh herbs, a sprinkle of seasoning, or a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

Enjoy your perfectly air-fried butternut squash as a delicious side dish or as a versatile ingredient in various recipes! Adjust the seasoning and cooking time based on personal preferences and the specific model of your air fryer.

A Quicker Way to Cook Butternut Squash

If you’re looking for a quicker method to cook butternut squash, try this:

Microwave Method:

Prep the Squash:

Wash the squash thoroughly and pierce it several times with a fork or knife to create vents for steam to escape.

Cut off both ends of the squash.

Microwave:

Place the whole squash on a microwave-safe plate and microwave it on high for 5 minutes to soften the skin.

Cut and Scoop:

Remove the squash from the microwave (it will be easier to handle now) and carefully cut it in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp from the center using a spoon.

Microwave Again:

Place the squash halves, cut-side down, on a microwave-safe dish or tray.

Microwave for another 7-10 minutes (depending on the size of the squash) until the flesh is tender and easily pierced with a fork.

Serve or Use in Recipes:

Let the squash cool slightly before handling.

Scoop out the flesh, which can now be easily separated from the skin, and use it as desired—mash it, blend it into soups, or incorporate it into recipes.

This microwave method significantly reduces the cooking time compared to traditional methods and makes it easier to handle the squash for further preparation or immediate serving.

Adjust microwave times based on the squash’s size and the wattage of your microwave for optimal results.

What to Serve with Butternut Squash

Butternut squash pairs wonderfully with various dishes, offering a versatile addition to meals. Here are some great options to serve alongside butternut squash:

Proteins:

Grilled or roasted chicken, turkey, pork, or beef complement the sweetness of butternut squash.

Fish, such as salmon or white fish, pairs well, offering a light contrast to the squash’s richness.

Grains and Starches:

Brown rice, quinoa, couscous, or wild rice make excellent bases when served with roasted or pureed butternut squash.

Mashed or roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, or even polenta create a comforting and hearty meal alongside squash dishes.

Leafy Greens and Salads:

Fresh salads with mixed greens, cranberries, nuts, and a tangy vinaigrette provide a refreshing contrast to butternut squash’s sweetness.

Sautéed or roasted kale, spinach, or Swiss chard serve as nutritious sides.

Other Vegetables:

Roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, or green beans complement the flavors of butternut squash while adding variety and texture to the meal.

Soups or Stews:

Butternut squash soup or stew can be served with crusty bread, crackers, or a side salad for a satisfying meal.

Herbs and Spices:

Seasonings like sage, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, cinnamon, or cumin can enhance the flavors of both the squash and accompanying dishes.

Nuts and Seeds:

Toasted nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds) sprinkled over butternut squash dishes add crunch and depth of flavor.

These serving suggestions offer a variety of options to create well-balanced and flavorful meals when combined with butternut squash. Mix and match according to your preferences and create delightful culinary experiences!

Tips and Tricks for Better Taste

Here are some tips to enhance the taste of dishes featuring butternut squash:

Roasting Method: Roasting butternut squash brings out its natural sweetness and depth of flavor. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with spices, and roast at a high temperature for caramelization.

Seasoning: Experiment with different seasonings like cinnamon, nutmeg, smoked paprika, cumin, or herbs like sage and thyme to enhance its taste profile.

Balance Sweetness: Pair the natural sweetness of butternut squash with contrasting flavors like a hint of acidity (lemon or balsamic vinegar) or savory elements (onion, garlic, or Parmesan cheese).

Texture Variation: Play with textures by adding crispy elements like toasted nuts, breadcrumbs, or a crunchy topping to contrast the softness of the squash.

Complementary Ingredients: Combine butternut squash with ingredients that complement its flavor, such as apples, cranberries, maple syrup, or honey for added sweetness.

Use Broth or Stock: When making soups or stews, using a good-quality vegetable or chicken broth enriches the flavor of butternut squash dishes.

Herb Infusion: Infuse olive oil with herbs like rosemary or thyme and use it for roasting or sautéing butternut squash for an extra layer of flavor.

Caramelization: Allow the squash to caramelize while cooking by giving it enough space on the roasting pan or skillet. This caramelization adds depth and richness to the taste.

Balanced Cooking: Ensure not to overcook butternut squash as it can become mushy. Cook it until tender but still holding its shape for the best texture and taste.

Taste Test and Adjust: Taste the dish as you cook and adjust seasonings to achieve the desired flavor balance before serving.

By incorporating these tips into your cooking, you can elevate the taste of butternut squash dishes, bringing out their inherent sweetness and creating more complex and delicious flavors.

What to do With Leftovers

Butternut squash leftovers can be repurposed into various dishes, reducing waste and creating new meals. Here are some ideas:

Soup or Stew: Blend cooked squash with broth, onions, garlic, and your choice of spices for a creamy soup. Add it to vegetable or chicken broth for a hearty stew.

Pasta Sauce: Purée roasted squash and mix it with cream, herbs, and Parmesan cheese for a rich and creamy pasta sauce.

Risotto or Casseroles: Fold mashed butternut squash into risotto or use it as a layer in casseroles for added creaminess and flavor.

Salads: Add leftover roasted squash to salads with greens, nuts, cheese, and a tangy dressing for a nutritious and satisfying meal.

Filling for Wraps or Tacos: Use cooked squash as a filling for wraps, tacos, or quesadillas, combining it with beans, cheese, and your choice of protein.

Breakfast: Blend leftover squash into pancake or waffle batter for a nutritious breakfast. Add it to oatmeal or bake it into muffins for a boost of vitamins.

Freezing: If you have excess cooked squash, freeze it in airtight containers or bags for future use in soups, stews, or purees.

Roasted Vegetable Medley: Combine leftover squash with other roasted vegetables like carrots, potatoes, or Brussels sprouts for a delicious side dish.

Savory Sides: Incorporate squash into savory sides like quiches, frittatas, or gratins for added depth of flavor.

Dips and Spreads: Mash or blend butternut squash with spices and cream cheese for a unique dip or spread for crackers or bread.

These ideas offer creative ways to use up butternut squash leftovers, transforming them into new and flavorful dishes for your next meal.

The Ingredients

Here’s a breakdown of the typical ingredients used in making butternut squash dishes:

Butternut Squash: The star ingredient, with its sweet, nutty flavor and dense, orange flesh. Rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and antioxidants.

Olive Oil/Preferred Cooking Oil: Used for roasting or sautéing squash to enhance flavor and aid in caramelization.

Salt and Pepper: Seasonings to enhance taste; often used in roasting or seasoning squash-based dishes.

Spices and Herbs: Cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, thyme, rosemary, or cumin are commonly used for flavoring and seasoning, adding depth to dishes.

Optional Sweeteners: Honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar may be used sparingly to enhance the natural sweetness of the squash.

Stock or Broth: Vegetable or chicken stock is often used in soups or stews for added depth and richness.

Cream/Dairy (optional): Cream, milk, or cheese (like Parmesan) can be added to create creamier textures or richer flavors in certain dishes.

Onions and Garlic: Used for sautéing or roasting alongside squash to add savory depth and complexity to dishes.

Nuts and Seeds (optional): Toasted nuts (walnuts, pecans) or seeds (pumpkin seeds) can be sprinkled on top for added crunch and texture.

Citrus/Vinegar: Lemon juice or balsamic vinegar can provide a touch of acidity to balance the sweetness of the squash.

Protein (optional): Adding beans, chickpeas, or incorporating meat (like bacon, sausage) provides additional protein and flavor to certain recipes.

These ingredients offer a wide range of possibilities for creating diverse and flavorful dishes using butternut squash as the central ingredient. Adjustments and combinations of these components cater to personal preferences and the desired taste profile of the dish.

FAQs

Is squash good in the air fryer?

Yes, squash works well in the air fryer, especially for roasting or crisping purposes, offering a convenient and flavorful cooking method.

Do you have to peel butternut squash before cooking?

It’s recommended to peel butternut squash before cooking for most recipes to achieve a smoother texture and remove the tough outer skin.

Why is my roasted butternut squash mushy?

Roasted butternut squash can become mushy if overcooked or cut into uneven sizes, causing some pieces to cook faster than others.

What is the cooking method for butternut squash?

Butternut squash can be roasted, steamed, sautéed, boiled, or microwaved, depending on the desired recipe and dish.

How does Rachael Ray cook butternut squash?

Rachael Ray often roasts butternut squash by cubing it, tossing it in olive oil, seasoning it with salt and pepper, and roasting in the oven until tender.

Can you eat skin of butternut squash?

The skin of butternut squash is edible, but it’s often peeled before cooking due to its toughness and texture.

Is it OK to eat butternut squash everyday?

Eating butternut squash daily in moderation is generally safe and healthy due to its rich nutrient profile, but a varied diet is recommended for balance.

Can humans eat raw butternut squash?

Raw butternut squash is not typically consumed due to its tough texture and raw flavor, but it’s not toxic and can be eaten in small amounts if desired. Cooking enhances its flavor and makes it more palatable.

Final Thoughts

Air fryer butternut squash brings out the best of this versatile vegetable, combining convenience with exceptional flavor. The air fryer’s magic lies in its ability to transform butternut squash into a crispy delight, showcasing its natural sweetness and tender texture.

Beyond convenience, this method offers a quicker cooking time, preserving nutrients and enhancing taste. Whether tossed in spices, drizzled with olive oil, or roasted to caramelized perfection, butternut squash stands as a deliciously versatile addition to any table.

Its adaptability invites creativity, allowing for endless variations, seasonings, and presentations, making each bite a delightful experience worth savoring.

Print

Air Fryer Butternut Squash

Air fryer butternut squash revolutionizes cooking, blending convenience with incredible taste. This innovative method extracts the squash's natural sweetness, crisping it to perfection. With an air fryer's efficiency, it's a quick and flavorful way to savor this nutritious delight. Each bite embodies a harmonious balance of crispness and caramelization, elevating a simple vegetable into a culinary masterpiece.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Air Fryer, Butternut, Butternut Squash Recipe, Squash
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 Cup
Calories 60kcal
Author Amy Nicholson

Equipment

  • Air Fryer

Ingredients

  • 4 cup Cubed Butternut Squash
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Citrus/Vinegar to taste

Instructions

  • Wash the squash thoroughly, pat dry, and peel off the skin using a vegetable peeler or knife.
  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and cut it into evenly sized cubes or slices, around 1-inch pieces.
  • In a mixing bowl, toss the squash cubes with olive oil, ensuring they're coated evenly. Season with salt, pepper, and any optional seasonings as desired.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for a few minutes.
  • Place the seasoned squash in the air fryer basket, ensuring they're in a single layer to allow proper airflow. Cook for 15-20 minutes, pausing halfway through to shake or turn the pieces for even cooking.
  • Pierce the squash with a fork to check for tenderness. If needed, cook for an additional few minutes until they reach your desired level of softness and caramelization.
  • Once done, carefully remove the squash from the air fryer, and let it cool for a few minutes before serving as a delicious side dish or a nutritious snack.

Notes

Uniform Cutting: Ensure consistent-sized cubes or slices for even cooking; larger pieces may need additional cooking time.
Preheating the Air Fryer: Preheating helps achieve better results and even cooking.
Space in the Basket: Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket; cook the squash in batches if needed for optimal crisping.
Seasoning Variations: Experiment with various seasonings like cinnamon, nutmeg, or herbs to customize flavors.
Checking for Doneness: Pierce the squash with a fork to gauge tenderness; adjust cooking time if necessary to reach the desired texture.
Tossing/Shaking: Toss or shake the squash halfway through cooking for even browning and caramelization.
Adapt to Preferences: Adjust oil quantity or seasoning levels based on personal taste preferences and dietary considerations.
Serve Fresh: Air fryer butternut squash is best enjoyed fresh and warm for optimal taste and texture.
Exit mobile version