Butternut Squash Is the New Pumpkin

Butternut Squash Is the New Pumpkin

Read Our Recipes For Pizza, Bread, And Even Pie!
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From pie to coffee, pumpkin has a firm place in the world of fall cuisine. But how much do you know about butternut squash, pumpkin’s cooler older cousin? This underrated alternative is fall’s best kept secret.

Like pumpkins, butternut squash grows on vines and boasts a rich, orange inside. Both are types of squashes; butternut squash is actually known as “butternut pumpkin” in Australia and New Zealand. However, butternut squash is easier to work with than pumpkin, and since it can be used in sweet and savory meals, butternut squash is the perfect ingredient for fall grub. It comes down to the right mindset and approach. Keep reading to learn all about butternut squash; before you know it, you’ll be a pro at autumn cooking.

How to Make Butternut Squash Puree

At first, working with butternut squash might seem like an intimidating task. However, with a few simple skills, cooking with this flavorful ingredient can seriously transform your holiday meals. While it is technically a fruit, butternut squash is used as a vegetable. Like other vegetables, it can be cut and cooked into various dishes, appetizers, and even desserts. This is just the beginning, though. Once butternut squash is pureed, this fruit presents a delightful list of possibilities.

To properly puree a butternut squash, cut the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Position each half on a metal baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees F or until soft. Once cool, scoop out the flesh with an ice cream scoop. Puree the flesh in a food processor. Just like that, you have created the ultimate game changer for your autumn recipes.

Making Butternut Squash Puree - Butternut Squash Is the New Pumpkin


Ah, pie. It has earned its title as one of the most iconic desserts of the holidays. Between the opulent spices and comforting aromas, pie represents everything we love about this time of the year. Specifically, pumpkin pie gets the most attention. The secret? Pureed pumpkin, creamed to perfection. However, you might be surprised to learn that butternut squash provides an amazing alternative.

If the thought of ditching traditional pumpkin pie makes you cringe, hear us out. This cozy treat is best made with canned pumpkin puree, pushing fresh pumpkin into second place. The skin of a pumpkin is extremely tough and firm, and the flesh is fibrous, coarse, and stringy. Baking can help soften it, but it will never be as creamy as the canned version. Attempting to bake a pie with fresh pumpkin can be frustrating. This is where butternut squash comes to the rescue.

The skin of a butternut squash practically slides off with a vegetable peeler. The flesh is particularly smooth, making it easy to puree, and once it is pureed, it has a consistency comparable to canned pumpkin. The flavor may be slightly lighter and sweeter than pumpkin, but it still delivers that squash-like autumn flavor for which it is known.

The bottom line? A pumpkin pie works best with canned puree. Otherwise, opt for butternut squash if you’d like to make a pie with fresher ingredients.


Butternut squash can do more than make a stellar sweet treat. It can also be used in the ultimate comfort food: pizza. It’s all about experimenting with the different ways in which it can be consumed.

On its own, butternut squash offers a pleasant grain-free alternative for mini pizza crusts. It is hard enough to hold your ingredients yet soft enough to eat without too much crunch. To use butternut squash as mini pizza crusts, cut the squash into rounds. Focus on the thicker part of the squash for the biggest slices. Of course, you can use the rest of the squash for smaller pizzas.

Place the rounds on a metal baking sheet and brush them lightly with butter or oil. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees F, flipping them over halfway through. Add your desired pizza toppings, such as sauce, grated cheese, olives, or chopped mushrooms. Pop them in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese melts. This provides an awesome fall-themed finger food with treasured autumn notes.

Butternut squash puree can also be used as pizza sauce. It is easy to make, and it has less sodium and preservatives than many store-bought sauces. Amp up the flavor by adding complementary spices such as oregano and pepper. Again, don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavor combinations. For the best results, apply the puree to a wheat or oat flour crust. The nutty undertones will work especially well with the squash’s flavor.

Butternut Squash Pizza - Butternut Squash Is the New Pumpkin


Like pumpkin pie, cake-like breads are traditional holiday treats. During this time of the year, banana and pumpkin breads are especially popular. This year, try switching it up with butternut squash. This substitute delivers a taste that meshes well with fall spices. Like pie, you can ditch the canned puree and use fresh squash in a bread recipe.

To make a butternut version, replace the pumpkin puree in a bread recipe with the same amount of butternut squash. The end result will be just as moist with a daintier flavor. Keep in mind that pumpkin puree is also often used as an egg replacement in baked goods. This means that butternut squash can be used in a similar manner. To use it as an egg substitute, simply replace each egg in a recipe with ¼ cup of butternut squash. This doesn’t have to stop at the bread, though. Try this technique with brownies or cake for a fall-friendly spin on conventional desserts.

Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds - Butternut Squash Is the New Pumpkin

Roasted Seeds

Often, making jack-o-lanterns is paired with a session of roasting fresh pumpkin seeds. Together, these two activities make up the picture-perfect fall afternoon. Unsurprisingly, the seeds from a butternut squash can also be roasted for a tasty snack. It is an awesome way to get the most out of a butternut squash.

Making a batch of roasted butternut squash seeds does not require fancy ingredients or skills. Rinse the seeds and leave them to air dry. Toss them in olive oil and salt. You can also add other herbs, such as rosemary and oregano, for a savory version.

To make a sweet option, toss the seeds in melted butter, vanilla, and nutmeg. Use this opportunity to experiment with your favorite flavors to make a creation that is all your own. Next, spread the seeds on a baking sheet and cook them at 275 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden. Once they have cooled down, toss them in salad, pasta, or rice. Combine them with roasted pumpkin seeds, caramel chips, dried cranberries, and almonds to make an autumn trail mix. Of course, you can also eat the seeds alone and savor their simplicity.


Every holiday season, the pumpkin spice latte steals the spotlight. Some might even say it has a cult following unrivaled by the traditional roster of seasonal beverages. While pumpkin has a tried-and-true spot in our hearts, butternut squash offers a tasty alternative. It provides an excellent opportunity to try something new while preserving that quintessential fall flavor.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a hip barista to make a butternut squash latte. Over medium heat, combine one cup of black coffee, ¼ cup of butternut squash puree (to taste), 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and 3-5 tablespoons of milk in a pot. Sprinkles in some cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir until blended together. Top off the beverage with whipped cream and another sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Butternut Squash Latte - Butternut Squash Is the New Pumpkin

With these tasty ideas, you can incorporate butternut squash into your arsenal of fall ingredients. Get ready to impress your guests – and yourself!

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Kirsten Nunez
Kirsten Nunez is a lifestyle author based out of New York. She focuses her writings on health, DIY, creative projects, and food. She is the author of the DIY book, “Studs & Pearls: 30 Creative Projects for Customized Fashion”
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PUBLISHED ON November 08, 2016
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