Say "hello" to fall with this delicious Mashed Butternut Squash Recipe! This easy recipe is one of our favorite side dishes for a reason! It's ready in 25 minutes and is made with pantry staples and simple cooking techniques. It is big on natural sweetness, nutty flavors, and comforting cinnamon-citrus notes! Naturally gluten-free and easily made vegan!
This recipe was originally published August 31, 2021. It was updated with new recipe information on Seopt 18, 2023.
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If we go to the list of things that Chelsea-needs-at-any-fall-or-winter-holiday, this healthy mashed butternut squash makes the cut every time.
Easy to make, but big on flavor, and oh-- did I mention how nutritious it is? -- this recipe is always a smash hit. All you need is 25 minutes, a handful of common kitchen tools, and an appetite for a delicious side dish!
With just virgin coconut oil, maple syrup, orange zest and juice, and ground cinnamon, the flavors are pure fall while still being good for you.
But, of course, if you want to go more homestyle with this recipe, have at it! Unsalted butter and honey can work in place of the coconut oil and maple syrup for a classic butternut side dish experience.
This recipe calls upon boiling the squash, not roasting it, to give it more of a mashed sweet potato texture. It also saves BIG on time! Whereas most recipes call for roasted butternut squash, such a technique adds almost 1 hour of cooking time to the recipe. This recipe, on the other hand, only takes 25 minutes from start to finish. It's truly the best way to enjoy our favorite fall vegetable!
You can also make this recipe ahead of time. Just add the squash to the salted water and let it sit at room temperature for up to 8 hours before finishing the recipe as directed. The easiest way to split up the workload and planning ahead for those big holiday feasts!
This Mashed Butternut Squash Recipe Is...
- Warmly spiced
- Healthy side
If you're looking for a satisfying yet nourishing side that epitomizes the flavors of fall and winter, this recipe is for you!
This great side dish is made with just a handful of simple ingredients -- many of which may already be in your pantry!
- Butternut Squash: Or one whole butternut squash. Choose one with smooth skin. Peel the squash and cut it into 1-inch cubes.
- Orange Juice: If freshly squeezing orange juice, zest the orange before juicing. Otherwise, bottled orange juice also works great.
- Orange Zest: Freshly zested for the best flavor (see notes above).
- Maple Syrup: Opt for pure maple syrup for the best flavor.
- Coconut Oil: raw or virgin oil are the best for this recipe
- Ground Cinnamon: I love Saigon cinnamon. It's so spicy and sweet! But other types of ground cinnamon work as well.
- Salt: Enhances the natural sweetness of the mashed squash. Choose kosher salt if possible.
- Veggies: A mixture of sweet potatoes (orange or Japanese) and butternut squash works for this recipe. Just peel the veggies and cut them all the same size for the best success.
- Oil: Unsalted butter or vegan butter can substitute for coconut oil, no problem. Substituting with unsalted butter will make the recipe no longer dairy-free or vegan, however.
- Sweetener: Brown sugar can replace the maple syrup in the recipe.
How to Make Mashed Butternut Squash
Make this tasty side dish in just a few simple steps. Here's how to do it:
Step 1: Add the butternut squash to a large pot and cover with cool water. Add salt to the water and stir until combined. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
Step 2: Once boiling, remove the lid from the pot and cook until the squash is tender and pierces easily with a fork.
Step 3: Drain the squash in a fine mesh strainer to remove excess moisture and return to the pot. Add the remaining salt, orange zest, coconut oil, maple syrup, orange juice, and cinnamon to the squash.
Step 4: Move the squash and seasonings to a large mixing bowl. Mash with a potato masher or whip the squash until it has reached your desired level of smoothness and the orange zest and other seasonings are mixed in. Season with additional salt to taste, if needed, and serve hot!
- Cut the veggies the same size - uniformly cutting the butternut squash will ensure that the veggies cook evenly and at the same speed. 1-inch cubes of squash work best for this recipe.
- Use pre-cut squash to save time. If the pieces are too large, just roughly chop them on a cutting board into 1-inch cubes.
- Drain the squash well. Keep excess moisture out of the squash by draining it well in a colander after cooking. I like to let mine rest in the colander for a minute or two, or until the water has finished dripping off of it entirely.
- Boil the squash with the lid off. You can bring the squash to a boil with the lid on, but once the water is boiling you will want to remove the lid. Doing so will keep the water from excessively foaming or boiling over.
- Mash the squash to keep it chunkier, whip it for a creamy smooth consistency. If whipping it, I recommend using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment.
- Use in-season squash for the best flavor. Great flavored produce translates into amazing flavored meals! Squash is in season here in the United States from fall to early winter.
If made with coconut oil and maple syrup, this butternut squash recipe is gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and dairy-free.
Though this recipe can also be made with unsalted butter and honey, doing so will make this recipe no longer vegan or dairy-free.
This mashed winter squash is quick enough for almost any fall weeknight dinner, but it's also a hit at family Sunday dinner and is perfect for holiday meals like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Serve it with pork tenderloin, turkey breast, or even grilled steak.
If serving it for a weeknight dinner, I recommend pairing it with any of the suggested combinations above (see "Recipe FAQs"). If serving it for a holiday meal, I recommend serving it with any of the following dishes:
- Roast pork tenderloin
- Blistered green beans
- Air fryer brussels sprouts
- Cranberry & edamame brown rice salad
- Apple & cranberry sauce
- Healthy mashed potatoes
Leftovers keep covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. They can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
So many flavors go well with butternut squash. Almost any other fall produce like apples, pears, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pomegranates, and kale are all delicious with butternut squash. Many savory roast meats like turkey, pork tenderloin, and beef are also very complementary to the vegetable.
Yes, you certainly can freeze this butternut squash mash recipe. If frozen in a freezer-safe container, it will be safe frozen for up to 3 months. To defrost, either heat on low in the microwave or defrost in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours, or until softened.
Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
- Cutting board
- Sharp Knife
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Microplane zester
- Potato masher, hand mixer, or stand mixer
- Silicone spatula
More Perfect Side Dish Recipes
- Vegan Butternut Squash Soup
- Candied Whipped Sweet Potatoes
- Honey Roasted Rainbow Carrots
- Healthy Carrot Soufflé
- Healthy Corn Souffle
- Air Fryer Butternut Squash
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!