Air fryer butternut squash is a delicious fall side dish! Cubes of squash are tossed with oil and spices and roasted in the air fryer. This quick and easy dish can be ready to eat in about 20 minutes.
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One of the best parts of fall is the abundance of winter squash! Winter squash is healthy, delicious and easy to cook.
The only real drawback to most winter squash is that it can take a while to cook. Luckily an air fryer can fix that problem and make it possible to make squash for a quick side dish on a busy night.
Why You Will Love Air Fryer Butternut Squash
- This recipe is keto, paleo, gluten free, dairy free and low carb, so it works for almost any type of diet!
- This is a great way to make squash for Thanksgiving while keeping the oven free for turkey and stuffing.
- I season my squash with cinnamon, but you can easily change the spices up follow your family’s preferences.
- Squash doesn’t just have to be a side dish! This squash is bursting with flavor and is delicious added to a rice bowl or a salad for an easy and healthy light dinner.
This is a pretty simple list of ingredients!
- Butternut squash – If you are buying whole butternut squash don’t buy the biggest one you can find. Medium size squash are easier to peel and cut.
- Olive oil
Step by Step Instructions
1. Cube the Butternut Squash
This is probably the most difficult step in the entire recipe, because butternut squash are large and can be difficult to cut.
One obvious solution is to buy pre-cut squash, which you can find at most grocery stores. I do that sometimes, but in the fall I like to buy fresh butternut squash at the local farm stand.
The first step in cutting the squash is to cut off the top and bottom ends. This makes it easier to stand the squash on its end while you peel it.
Then use a vegetable peeler (not a knife) to peel off the skin of the squash. Once it is peeled cut it half and take the seeds out by scraping with a spoon.
If the butternut squash is very hard and you are having trouble getting the knife to go through it you can microwave it for 1 minute. This will soften it a little bit and make it easier to cut it in half.
Once the seeds are removed all you need to do is dice the squash up into cubes. I like to cut cubes that are about 1 inch in size.
2. Season the Squash
Put the butternut squash pieces in a bowl, and add the olive oil, salt and cinnamon. Toss everything to mix it well.
Then put the squash pieces directly in the air fryer basket. You don’t need to keep the squash in a single layer, but make sure it isn’t crammed to the top either.
The air fryer works by circulating hot air, so there has to be room for the air to blow through the squash. I find that my 5.8 quart air fryer can hold about 4 cups of squash, which is about 1 medium butternut squash.
Keep the basket less than half full, and make sure you can see some of the holes in the basket.
3. Air Fry the Butternut Squash
Set the air fryer for 400 F for 15 minutes. About halfway through the cooking time pull the basket out and shake it.
After 15 minutes check the squash and see if it is done. When it is done a fork will easily go into a piece of squash. It will be brown on the edges and tender in the middle.
If the squash needs more time put it back in the air fryer for another 3-5 minutes. Mine is usually done after 15 minutes, but air fryers vary in power, so check.
How to Serve
Air fryer butternut squash will taste best if it is served right after cooking. So use a spoon or tongs to put the squash 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 the squash to make appeal to those with a sweet tooth!
How to Store
If you have leftovers store them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can reheat them by putting them back in the air fryer at 300 F for about 5 minutes.
It probably won’t taste as good when it is reheated though. I have been putting my leftover reheated squash on salads, which gives them a different taste and texture.
There are lots of different ways to season butternut squash. Here are some suggestions you could use in place of the cinnamon in the recipe below.
- Cumin and chili powder
- Garlic powder and paprika
- Thyme, rosemary or Italian seasoning
- Five spice powder
- Curry powder
In general use 1 teaspoon of spices for 4 cups of diced squash. I prefer to include when salt when making butternut squash.
I have also found that fresh herbs don’t work as well when seasoning for the air fryer. They tend to blow around instead of sticking to the squash! So I recommend dried herbs.
Frequently Asked Questions
I haven’t tried to make this with frozen squash but I don’t think it would give great results. I think the texture would be off and the outside of the squash 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. Any relatively large, hard winter squash should work in this recipe, although you might need to adjust the cooking time by a few minutes.
If you have a smaller winter squash like delicata or jester try my recipe for air fryer delicata squash or air fryer honeynut squash.
Find More Air Fryer Vegetable Recipes
- 1 butternut squash (or 4 cups diced squash)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Either buy pre-cut butternut squash or peel and cube the squash. To cube the squash first cut off the ends, then stand the squash on end and use a vegetable peeler, not a knife, to remove the skin.
- 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 squash cubes in a bowl and add the olive oil, cinnamon and salt. Toss to mix.
- Put the squash in the air fryer basket. Don't fill it more than half full and make sure it isn't packed so the air can circulate.
- Air fry the butternut squash at 400 F for 15 minutes. Take the basket out and shake it halfway through to redistribute the squash.
- Check for doneness. The squash 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 air fry it for another 3-5 minutes.
- Serve right after cooking. If you'd like to make it sweeter drizzle it with 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup or honey.
This recipe will also work well for other large, hard winter squash, such as acorn squash or kabocha squash.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 35Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 178mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g
Nutrition facts are estimates.