19 Winter Squash Recipes for Satisfying Dinners

When cold weather gives us squash, we stuff them with rice and mushrooms, we turn them into a cheesy casserole, and we make a big batch of pumpkin soup.

19 Winter Squash Recipes for Satisfying Dinners

Even if expectations are low for fresh produce in the dead of winter, there’s one saving grace: winter squash (as opposed to summer squash).

There’s butternut, acorn, kabocha, delicata, spaghetti, sugar pumpkin, and the list goes on. They all have two things in common and can be used interchangeably (except for spaghetti squash). The skin is sturdy, making them great vessels for stuffing. Also, the flesh is creamy and sweet, ideal for warm spices like cinnamon and chili peppers, and for bold sauces like tahini and yogurt, and chimichurri

It’s worth mentioning that winter squash doesn’t keep forever despite looking sturdy and robust. Eventually they’ll soften, dehydrate, and rot. What’s problematic are the soft, spongy spots. Avoid them or cut them out if you can. 

Then there’s the matter of peeling and cutting them: All you need is a sharp knife, a steady cutting board, a good vegetable peeler, and a little confidence (provided to you by this tutorial). Now that you know how to peel and cut a butternut squash without losing a finger, shall we? 

  • Pasta with Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Brown Butter

    Pasta with Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Brown Butter
    Alison Conklin

    Am I allowed to pick favorites? If yes, I’d pick this one for two reasons: bacon and brown butter. Bake the butternut squash (and the bacon) ahead of time. Remember to save the bacon grease for cooking the shallots. Brown butter sounds fancy, but it’s simply cooking butter until it goes from melted to bubbly to brown. It’s unbelievably rich and nutty.

  • Baked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar

    Baked acorn squash with sauce spooned overtop.
    Eliezer Martinez

    Sweeten acorn squash by rubbing a little butter on it and sprinkling it with brown sugar and maple syrup. It can't get easier than that! If you don’t love it so sweet, pick just one sweetener. A dash of cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg would be nice.

  • Stuffed Delicata Squash with Pancetta and Goat Cheese

    Stuffed Delicata Squash with Pancetta and Goat Cheese
    Sally Vargas

    If you can’t be bothered with peeling squash, go with delicata (the cooked skin is edible). Loaded with strong flavors like goat cheese, pancetta and mushrooms this recipe makes for an elegant dinner party dish or holiday side.

  • Roasted Winter Squash with Cilantro Chimichurri

    Roasted Winter Squash with Cilantro Chimichurri
    Elise Bauer

    There isn’t a hard and fast rule about chimichurri, a tart green herb sauce I was delegated to make as a kid. This is what my mom did: She’d roughly chop a bunch of parsley and some garlic into a bowl. She’d say, “Fill it with olive oil just until the parsley is covered. Add vinegar, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes until it tastes right.” I’d do just that, a tiny drizzle of vinegar and a pinch of seasoning at a time. It took forever, but I was occupied (genius parenting trick)! It’s the perfect slather-on-everything sauce for when you have a plethora of fresh herbs (any kind, really).

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  • Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Vanilla

    Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Vanilla
    Elise Bauer

    Nope, that’s not a typo. That does say vanilla. It works because a little vanilla sets off the sweetness of butternut squash without overpowering it.

  • Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole

    Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole
    Sally Vargas

    Assemble this ahead of time up to the point you transfer the filling into the casserole dish. Keep it tightly covered and refrigerated. Then, when you’re ready for dinner, sprinkle on the Parmesan and bake until it’s golden and freckled. If you add the Parmesan earlier, it will seep right to the bottom of the casserole. Not bad, but you’ll miss the crunchy baked top.

  • Pasta with Butternut Squash Parmesan Sauce

    Pasta with Butternut Squash Parmesan Sauce
    Elise Bauer

    This pasta is for the butternut lover—sweet, caramelized butternut is blended with browned shallots, Parmesan, sour cream, and a pinch of nutmeg. Don’t run to the store to exchange a butternut that isn’t exactly 2 1/2 pounds. Follow the recipe with whatever giant or miniature you have. Taste and adjust the amount of sour cream and salt. It’s very forgiving.

  • Spaghetti Squash and Chard Sauté

    Spaghetti Squash Chard Sauté
    Elise Bauer

    With spaghetti squash, seeing is believing. It’s coarse enough that when cooked the flesh can be pulled into long strands resembling spaghetti. It’s delicious tossed with lots of garlic, herbs, and Parmesan. Kind of like spaghetti, right?

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  • Vegan Stuffed Squash with Brown Rice and Mushrooms

    Vegan Stuffed Squash
    Sabrina Modelle

    This recipe makes a case for toasting your uncooked rice in a little oil before adding any liquids. It’s a 5-minute commitment for rice that is fragrant, nutty, and not mushy. For this recipe, I prefer to use kabocha squash because it’s sweeter and creamier than acorn squash, but either will do.

  • Roasted Eggplant and Butternut Squash with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

    Roasted Eggplant and Squash with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce
    Sheryl Julian

    There is magic in roasting eggplants (spongy becomes custardy) and butternut (bland becomes sweet). A vinaigrette would slide right off, so a tahini yogurt sauce is a genius addition—it’ll coat the veggies beautifully. If your jar of tahini has been sitting around, give it a good stir to distribute its natural oil.

  • Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

    Overhead view of ricotta gnocchi on a dark plate.
    Alison Bickel

    Homemade pasta doesn’t have to happen on a seemingly endless Saturday afternoon. It can easily happen on a weeknight. How? Dump and stir a few ingredients into one bowl to make the dough. Gently roll it (but don’t knead like you would with regular pasta dough) then have your toddler press a fork onto it for that classic gnocchi look.

  • Three Sisters Casserole with Cornbread Topping

    Vegan three sisters casserole
    Megan Gordon

    Make this a one-pot casserole: Cook the filling in a wide Dutch oven, but don’t transfer it into a casserole dish. Add the cornbread topping and pop the whole thing into the oven. By the way, squash is one of the sisters. You’ll have to check the recipe to meet the other two!

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  • Pumpkin Chili

    Pumpkin Chili
    Aaron Hutcherson

    Work this recipe into your weekly meal prep: The flavor deepens after a day or two, so make it on a slower Sunday for a less overwhelming Monday.

  • Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

    Chipotle Pumpkin Soup
    Elise Bauer

    Our family of five is unanimously team chunky when it comes to soups (like this one). If smooth soups are your thing, this recipe will warm you right up. You may end up with leftover canned chipotle peppers in adobo. Transfer it into a small, lidded container and keep it in the fridge until you make this baked chicken.

  • White Bean Soup With Ham, Pumpkin, and Chard

    White Bean Soup with Ham, Pumpkin, Chard
    Elise Bauer

    It’s not cheating to buy pre-diced butternut squash. Based on reader comments, I can tell it’s happening often. It’s a winning trick! No ham hock? Try andouille sausage, Italian sausage, or smoked bacon.

  • Butternut Squash and Black Bean Skillet Dinner

    Horizontal view of a large cast iron skillet filled with a butternut squash skillet dinner. Cilantro, quinoa, butternut squash and cotija cheese are visible in the pan. To the left is a yellow napkin with three forks on it. Above the forks are three small bowls. One small bowl of rice, a ramiken of roasted pumpkin seeds and a small platter of cilantro.
    Sally Vargas

    A quick tip: Since the oven is already on for the butternut, toast the pepitas on a baking sheet for 5 to 8 minutes until golden. Store-bought roasted salted pepitas work too. Why do we insist they should be toasted? Check out #3.

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  • Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples

    Stuffed Squash with Turkey, Apples and Rice is in a bowl, ontop of a plate with a fork on the side.
    Sally Vargas | Banner Art Credit: Elena Resko

    It’s as if an entire Thanksgiving spread packed into an acorn squash. There’s turkey, rice, apples, cranberries, and sage. 

  • Butternut Squash Enchiladas

    Casserole dish filled with easy vegetarian enchiladas fillled iwth butternut squash and topped with cheese
    Sally Vargas

    Don’t skip the step to oil and heat the tortillas, especially if they aren’t super fresh. It makes the tortillas pliable, so they won’t rip as you roll them, and they won’t become mushy as they bake.

  • Pumpkin Waffles

    Pumpkin Waffles
    Elise Bauer

    Something about breakfast for dinner feels like a treat. Maybe it’s because most ingredients can be found in your pantry. Hint: Use canned pumpkin purée. Maybe it’s easy to whip up—it’s okay to use one large bowl instead of two. Whisk the wet ingredients first. Then add the dry ingredients right on top.