Home » Blog » Air Fryer Butternut Squash

Air Fryer Butternut Squash

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy.

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.

drizzling honey on the air fryer butternut squash

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 a delicious side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas while keeping the oven free for turkey and stuffing.
  • You can easily change the spices to follow your family’s preferences. My family likes it sweet, you can make yours spicy.
  • 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!

ingredients for making air fried butternut squash
Ingredients for Air Fryer Butternut Squash

Key Ingredients

**For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below.

This is a pretty simple list of ingredients!

Butternut squash – If you are buying whole butternut don’t buy the biggest one you can find. Medium size ones are easier to peel and cut. Or just use half of a large one.

Olive oil – Use a bottle of olive oil, not olive oil spray. The additives in commercial cooking spray can damage the air fryer basket. This recipes needs a little bit of oil added to ensure it browns nicely.

Spices – I used salt and cinnamon for added flavor. See below for other flavor variations.

top view of squash on a plate

Step by Step Instructions

1. Cut

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 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.

peeling the butternut squash
Peeling the squash

The first step in cutting is to cut off the top and bottom ends. This makes it easier to stand on its end while you peel it. If it is very large you can cut it in half and peel one half at a time. 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 half and scrape the seeds out with a spoon.

cutting and peeling squash
Cut and peeled butternut squash

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.

Once the seeds are removed dice the it into cubes. I like to cut cubes that are about 1 inch in size.

Find More Air Fryer Recipes!

2. Season

Put the pieces of squash in a bowl, and add the olive oil, salt and cinnamon. Toss everything to mix it well.

seasoning the squash

Then put the cubed pieces directly in the air fryer basket . You don’t need to keep the it in a single layer, but make sure it isn’t crammed to the top either.

butternut squash cubes in air fryer basket
Squash before air frying

The air fryer works by quickly circulating heat, so there has to be room for the hot air to blow through the cubes. 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.

Keep the basket less than half full, and make sure you can see some of the holes in the basket.

3. Air Fry

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. Mine is usually done after 15 minutes, but air fryers vary in power, so check. The more you put in the basket the slower it will cook.

butternut squash in air fryer basket
Squash after air frying

How to Serve

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! A little bit of sweetener also makes it fancier if you are using this as a holiday side dish.

drizzling the squash with honey

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.

I have been putting my leftover squash on salads, which gives the salads a different taste and texture.

Seasoning Variations

Here are some suggestions you could use instead of cinnamon in the recipe below.

  • Ginger
  • Cumin, chili powder and black pepper
  • 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 pieces. Even when I change up the seasoning I always season with salt.

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 pieces! So I recommend using dried herbs in the air fryer and if you want to use fresh herbs add them after cooking.

closeup of squash drizzled with honey

FAQ

Can I make this air fryer recipe with frozen butternut squash?

I don’t think using frozen butternut squash cubes it would give great results. The texture would be off and the outside of would cook before the middle. Frozen cubes are idea for soups and stews, but are not great for air frying.

Can I air fry other kinds of squash?

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.

Can I fit a whole butternut squash in the air fryer?

Probably not, because butternut squash is too big! But luckily you can look for honeynut squash, which is a smaller, sweeter hybrid of butternut. Whole honeynut will fit in the air fryer, so check out my recipe for air fryer honeynut squash!

Find More Air Fryer Vegetable Recipes

Yield: 6-8

Air Fryer Butternut Squash

closeup of squash drizzled with honey

Air fryer butternut squash is a savory and healthy fall side dish.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (or 4 cups diced)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

    1. 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.
    2. Once it is peeled cut it in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then dice it into 1 inch cubes.
    3. Put the cubes in a bowl and add the olive oil, cinnamon and salt. Toss to mix.
    4. Put the seasoned cubes 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Serve right after cooking. If you'd like to make it sweeter drizzle it with 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey.

    Notes

    This recipe will also work well for acorn or kabocha squash.

    For an alternative seasoning mix replace the cinnamon with:

    • Ginger
    • Cumin, chili powder and black pepper
    • Garlic powder and paprika
    • Thyme, rosemary or Italian seasoning
    • Five spice powder
    • Curry powder

    Recommended Products

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    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.

    plate of air fryer butternut squash
    collage pin for pinterst air fryer butternut squash

    By on October 23rd, 2020

    Leave a Comment

    Skip to Recipe