Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Thyme

Side DishVegetarianButternut SquashBrown Butter

Butternut squash cubes, seared in brown butter, tossed with thyme. Easy Thanksgiving stovetop side! The browned butter brings out the most amazing flavor in the butternut squash.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

If you have only one oven in your kitchen, any Thanksgiving side dishes you prepare generally need to be made on the stovetop, as the turkey is taking central stage in the oven.

Here is a simple butternut squash side that you can easily do on the stove.

The trick to this dish is browning the butter before adding the squash, so that the squash absorbs some of the complex and wonderful brown butter flavors, before it too is browned.

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Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Thyme Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4


  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, flesh diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon of dried)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Brown the butter: Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add the butter, whisking frequently. Once melted the butter will foam up a bit, then subside. Honey-colored browned milk solids will begin to form. The butter should have a wonderful nutty aroma.

Remove from heat. Add the thyme, whisking continuously. If using fresh thyme, the mixture will foam up a bit.

(Note that it doesn't take much time to go from browned butter to burnt butter. You will want to remove the pan from the heat element and place it on a cool surface to help stop the cooking of the butter. If the butter burns, I recommend dumping it and starting over, something I've had to do on occasion when not paying close attention.)

2 Brown the cubed squash in the butter: Add the cubed butternut squash pieces to the pan and return the pan to the burner, heating to medium high.

Use a wooden or metal spoon to stir the squash pieces so they are all well coated with the butter thyme mixture.

Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Spread the squash pieces out in an even layer and let cook, without stirring, so that they brown a bit on one side (several minutes). Stir and spread the pieces out again and let cook without stirring so more sides get browned.

3 Lower the heat, cover and cook: Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let cook until the squash is tender, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how big you cut the pieces.

Add more salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with a bit more chopped fresh thyme before serving.

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How to peel and cut a butternut squash

Butternut Squash with Browned Butter and Thyme

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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20 Comments / Reviews

No ImageButternut Squash with Brown Butter and Thyme

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Mike B.

    This was My first time eating Butternut Squash and with this recipe, it will be a weekly item to eat! Thank You For This Easy Recipe!


  2. Kristy

    I have made this recipe for several different events now and everyone LOVES it! By far my favorite side dish to make because it’s so easy and so delicious. I added some rosemary along with the thyme today too, really good!


  3. T

    Trader Joes sells butternut squash already peeled and cut. Hope this helps.

  4. Darla

    I have totally fallen in love with butternut squash!!! But I to dislike how long it takes to peel. This is what i do. Cut it in half carefully. DO NOT PEEL. (scoop out all seeds to save for baking and snacking on later.) Turn 2 halved pieces cut side down on greased cookie sheet. Bake @ 350 for 20-30 min. Let cool. Then easily slice the outer skin off before finishing up whatever recipe you like.

  5. Kelly Bailey

    I wanted to use our home-grown butternut for Thanksgiving Dinner at my in-laws this year, but the stovetop wasn’t going to be available. So I followed this recipe up through step #2, browning the squash. I refrigerated the browned squash in a stonewear baking dish. Thanksgiving Day, it went in my mother-in-law’s oven and came out delicious! It takes about an hour at 350.

    I’m not sure it was worth this extra effort, but to peel it I first boiled the whole squash for about 2-3 minutes and then transferred it to ice water. The peel was cooked soft, easy to remove with a veggie peeler. The meat was still hard, so little was wasted with the peeling.

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Butternut Squash with Browned Butter and ThymeButternut Squash with Brown Butter and Thyme