How to make caramelized butternut squash

If butternut squash is looked at with skeptic eyes from your kids, this recipe for caramelized butternut squash will have them singing a different tune. With a few kitchen staples, like butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, you can turn butternut squash into a recipe that kids will ask for again and again.

In my home, butternut squash remains a cautionary yellow light food, meaning my kids proceed with caution. They are still leery of this bright orange veggie which shows up in the fall. I love the comforting flavor of squash and present it in new ways to get my family on board.

Today, I have a new strategy, and it involves butter and sugar. You might be thinking butter and sugar have no place around veggies, it defeats the purpose. I thought that once as well.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Nutrition Tip: With more potassium than a banana, one cup of butternut squash helps prevent high blood pressure and lowers your risk of developing CVD.

Let me tell you a story. It’s about a salad bar…

Imagine your old grade school cafeteria – the terrazzo flooring, the rows of tables and metal chairs, the mint green lunch trays – that’s where I was headed. To be the Foodservice Director, working to spice up the hot lunch program at my children’s school.

My first task was optimizing veggies – with a salad bar. Out went the Tupperware container of iceberg lettuce next to the tiny container of carrots. Appetizing, it was not.

On the first day of school, the shiny new salad bar was ready for the children, I was thrilled watching children excited about veggies!

Best caramelized butternut squash

But I have a confession. I stretched the rules in that cafeteria. What did I do? I served full fat ranch dressing & I allowed children to come back to the salad bar for seconds.

When the kids were finished with their meal and were still hungry, they could come back for veggies, and I found that if kids could dip veggies in a flavorful dip they liked, they ate their veggies. It was as simple as that.

I didn’t start serving full fat ranch right away. I served the fat-free variety at first and watched. On fat-free ranch days, the news spread like wildfire and not so many veggies were eaten. On full fat ranch days, the veggie consumption increased multiple times over.

I learned a lot from watching those children over the course of 3 years. I have applied these lessons to my own home, maybe you’ll consider doing the same when you need a little help with veggies your children don’t love – yet.

So, I added the butter and sugar and created the best caramelized butternut squash. And it was delicious. And my kids thought so too.

In fact, now I cook with butternut squash all the time, it’s delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here are a few of my other favorite butternut squash recipes:

Caramelized Butternut Squash
Caramelized Butternut Squash

Caramelized Butternut Squash

Jodi Danen
With a few kitchen staples, like butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, you can turn butternut squash into a recipe that kids will ask for again and again.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Sides
Servings 6 servings
Calories 116 kcal


  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Peel squash using vegetable peeler. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Chop into cubes and place on baking sheet.
  • Mix butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper in small bowl. Pour over squash and mix.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes, flipping squash halfway through, until soft and caramelized.
  • Alternatively, this recipe can be made in a slow cooker. Add all ingredients and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 2-4 hours.


Calories: 116kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 1gFat: 6gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 393mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!