Air fryer butternut squash is a perfect side dish for fall! Cubes of squash are tossed with oil and spices quickly roasted in the air fryer. This easy side dish is ready to eat in about 20 minutes.
One of the best parts of fall is the abundance of winter squash, which is is healthy, delicious and simple to cook.
The only real drawback to most winter squash is that they can take a while to cook. Luckily an air fryer can fix that problem so you can make it for a quick side dish on a busy night.
It is also a great way to make a delicious side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas while keeping the oven free for turkey and dressing. Roasted butternut squash doesn’t just have to be a side dish! It is bursting with flavor and is delicious added to a rice bowl or a salad for an easy and healthy light dinner.
Looking for more air fryer squash? Check out air fryer delicata squash or air fryer honeynut squash!
**For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below.
- Butternut squash
- olive oil
How to Make Air Fryer Butternut Squash
1. Cut and Peel
This is probably the most difficult step in the entire recipe because butternut squash is large and can be difficult to cut.
One obvious solution is to buy pre-cut butternut squash cubes, which you can find at most grocery stores. I do that sometimes, but in the fall, I like to buy whole, fresh squash at the local farm stand.
First, cut the ends off. Then use a vegetable peeler (not a knife) to peel off the skin off. A Y-peeler works best at taking off the thick peel.
Once it is peeled, cut it in half and scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Then dice it into cubes. I like to cut cubes that are about 1 inch in size.
If your butternut squash is very hard and you are having trouble getting the knife to go through it you can microwave it for 1-2 minute. This will soften it a little bit and make it easier to cut it in half.
Put the pieces of squash in a bowl, and add the olive oil, salt, and cinnamon. Toss everything to mix it well.
Then put the cubed pieces directly in the air fryer basket. You don’t need to keep it in a single layer, but make sure it isn’t crammed to the top either.
I find that my 5.8-quart air fryer can hold about 4 cups of squash, which is about 1 medium butternut squash or half of a large one.
3. Air Fry the Squash
Set the air fryer to 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. About halfway through the cooking time, pull the basket out and shake it. After 15 minutes, pull the basket out and check to see if it is done.
When it is done, a fork will easily go into a cube. It will be brown on the edges and tender in the middle. If it needs more time, put it back in the air fryer for another 3-5 minutes.
Air fryer butternut squash tastes best if it is served right after cooking. So use a spoon or tongs to put it in a serving bowl and put it right on the table.
My kids always like squash best when it is a little bit sweet. You can drizzle a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup on top to make it appeal to those with a sweet tooth!
How to Store
If you have leftovers store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can reheat by putting them back in the air fryer at 300 F for about 5 minutes.
I have been putting my leftover squash on salads, which gives the salads a different taste and texture.
I don’t think using frozen butternut squash cubes would give great results. The texture would be off, and the outside would cook before the middle.
I have made this same recipe with kabocha squash, and it would also work well with pumpkin or acorn squash. If you cut it into 1-inch cubes, the cooking time will be the same.
Probably not, because butternut squash is too big! But you can look for honeynut squash, a smaller, sweeter butternut hybrid. The whole honeynut will fit in the air fryer, so check out my recipe for air fryer honeynut squash!
Air Fryer Butternut Squash
- 1 butternut squash or 4 cups diced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Either buy cubed butternut squash or peel and cube it yourself. To cube it first cut off the ends, then stand it on end and use a vegetable peeler, not a knife, to remove the skin. A Y-peeler will work best for removing the thick skin.1 butternut squash
- Once it is peeled cut it in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then dice it into 1 inch cubes.
- Put the cubes in a bowl and add the olive oil, cinnamon and salt. Toss to mix.1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Put the seasoned cubes in the air fryer basket. Don't fill it more than half full.
- Set the air fryer at 400 F for 15 minutes. Take the basket out and shake it halfway through to redistribute the pieces and ensure even cooking.
- Check for doneness. It is done when a fork can easily pierce the cube. It will be brown on the edges and soft in the middle. If it needs more time return it to the air fryer another 3-5 minutes of cooking.
- Serve right after cooking. If you'd like to make it sweeter drizzle it with 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey.
- Cumin, chili powder and black pepper
- Garlic powder and paprika
- Thyme, rosemary or Italian seasoning
- Five spice powder
- Curry powder
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Nutrition facts are estimates.