This creamy Butternut Squash Mash is the perfect fall side, from kid-friendly weeknight meals to Thanksgiving feasts. Featuring caramelized roasted winter squash, brown sugar, maple syrup, and plenty of cozy spices, this mashed butternut squash recipe has the ideal combination of sweet and savory. Best of all, you’ll only need 2 ingredients plus a few pantry staples to make this creamy vegetable mash!
Featured comment: First time trying mashed butternut squash and it was delicious! I served it with Ribeyes and it was the perfect cozy fall dinner. Thanks!” – Dan
Update: This post was originally published in December 2015. I made edits to the post below, including adding more information about making the creamiest, dreamiest mashed butternut squash at home!
Hi, friends! I hope you are hungry, because today it’s all about my favorite part of the holiday table – the side dishes!
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About this butternut squash mash
This delicious recipe for mashed butternut squash will please even the most loyal squash haters in your family. Butter, brown sugar, and pure maple syrup, along with some savory dried thyme & sage and warming cinnamon & nutmeg add so much cozy flavor to everyone’s favorite winter squash – the beloved butternut squash.
Super-smooth, ultra-creamy, sweet, AND savory, this mashed squash beautifully complements holiday ham, roast turkey, beef roasts, or just about any meat, poultry, seafood, or fish dish you love. Trust me, you’ll be singing songs praising this silky, rich, light-as-air butternut mash after your first bite. It’s just *that* good!
Why you’ll love this mashed butternut squash recipe
Aside from having an exceptionally delicious flavor that embodies pretty much everything I love about fall, this easy butternut squash recipe is also:
- Quick & Simple. You only need 10 minutes of hands-on preparation to get this sumptuous side on the table; your oven and a hand-held mixer do all the hard work!
- Made With Mostly Pantry Staples – Aside from the butternut squash and heavy cream, I’d bet you already have everything on hand to make this tasty squash mash.
- Wholesome & Delicious. This lick-the-bowl-delicious autumnal side is made with entirely real ingredients you can feel good about serving your family.
- Allergen-Friendly. This recipe for butternut squash mash is also naturally gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free, plus is easy to make dairy-free and vegan!
- Budget-Friendly. Since winter squash is in season right now, it’s super inexpensive. Aside from one large squash and some rich dairy products like cream and butter, it costs mere pennies to make this delicious squash puree.
Ingredients in mashed butternut squash
As promised, you don’t need a long laundry list of ingredients to make this yummy butternut squash purée. Here’s what to grab:
- Butternut Squash – Grabbing a whole butternut squash is usually the cheapest option. And to keep things super simple, roast it whole so you don’t have to deal with peeling the flesh or chopping it.
- Substitutions: Feel free to swap in your favorite mash-able winter squash here. Some options include Hubbard, kabocha, honeynut, turban, buttercup, acorn, white acorn (a.k.a. mashed potato squash), or carnival squash. You can also use sugar pumpkins if you like!
- Olive Oil – For roasting the squash.
- Butter – For creamy richness.
- Substitution: Feel free to use your favorite vegan butter.
- Brown Sugar – Either light or dark brown sugar will work, though dark will have a richer molasses flavor.
- Substitutions: You are welcome to use less refined sugar alternatives, like ground jaggery or piloncillo, coconut sugar, maple sugar, or muscovado.
- Maple Syrup – For all the fall feels.
- Substitutions: I’m personally a HUGE fan of maple flavor, so if you have to make a swap, I suggest maple sugar. You’re also welcome to use agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or honey. To win back some of that maple-y goodness, you can also add about ½ teaspoon of maple extract.
- Savory Herbs – A combination of garlic powder, dry thyme leaves, and ground sage offers a lovely counterpoint to the sweetness.
- Warming Spices – A touch of cinnamon and nutmeg brings a lovely bit of warmth.
- Substitution: If you don’t have separate spices on hand, feel free to use an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice instead.
- Heavy Cream – For a creamy, dreamy mouthfeel.
- Substitutions: For a slightly lighter result, trade in half n’ half or evaporated milk. You’re also welcome to use coconut cream or your favorite unsweetened plant-based creamer to make it dairy-free. If you don’t mind a touch of tanginess, full-fat Greek yogurt or cream cheese are also good options.
- Salt and Pepper – For flavor.
Butternut mash variations
While this delightful butternut squash recipe is pretty perfect as written, there is always plenty of room for you to customize it to your needs and preferences. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Dairy-Free/Vegan – Simply swap in your favorite vegan butter and coconut cream or unsweetened plant-based creamer to make this a vegan-friendly side.
- Loaded – I absolutely love this mash garnished with a few pats of room-temperature salted butter, a generous drizzle of pure maple syrup, and plenty of fresh cracked black pepper. You can also add a little texture by topping your mashed squash with pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds) for a bit of nutty flavor, and/or some bacon bits for salty, savory yumminess.
- Sweet Potato Casserole-Style – Add some chopped toasted pecans and a generous sprinkling of marshmallows, then broil or torch to golden, ooey-gooey perfection.
- Spicy – Want more of a southwestern vibe for your holiday side? Try adding some chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and a bit of cayenne pepper. to your mashed squash. I suggest starting with just one chipotle and then increasing from there!
- Squash Mashed Potatoes – If you want to stretch a single squash to feed a crowd, try adding some plain peeled and boiled potatoes or sweet potatoes to the mix.
How to make recipe for mashed butternut squash
This recipe for mashed butternut squash comes together with just 10 minutes of hands-on time. Here’s how it’s done:
- Prep. Arrange the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (for easy cleanup).
- Prepare Squash. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, from root to tip. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds (or save them for roasting!). Pierce the cut sides of the squash all over using a fork. Rub the oil all over the cut side of squash. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast. Arrange the squash cut-side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the squash is extremely fork tender and the edges are caramelized.
- Cool Slightly. Remove the squash from the oven and place the baking sheet on a wire rack. Flip the squash over and set aside until cool just cool enough to handle, but still warm. (Tip: Warm squash is easier to mash!)
- Mash. Use a large spoon to carefully scoop out the insides of the squash and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Use a potato masher or a handheld mixer on low to mash the squash until creamy.
- Add Flavor. Add the butter, sweeteners, herbs, and spices to the bowl. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Mash or mix on low to combine. Add the cream to the bowl. Mix on low to combine, then slowly increase the speed to medium and beat until the squash mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Adjust For Taste. Taste and add more salt or seasonings for flavor; sugar or maple for sweetness; cream or butter for richness.
- Serve. Transfer the mashed butternut squash to a serving bowl. Drizzle with a little maple, garnish with a dab of butter and a few fresh thyme sprigs. Best if served immediately, while warm.
FAQs: butternut squash recipe mashed
What’s the best way to thicken butternut squash mash?
Since we’re roasting the squash instead of steaming or boiling it, you shouldn’t have a loose mash to begin with. That said, you can easily thicken it by adding it to a skillet with lots of surface area and cook it over low heat, stirring frequently, to evaporate away any excess moisture.
How much butternut squash purée will one batch yield?
I suggest using roughly 3-4 pounds of butternut squash to get about 8 servings. You can easily scale the recipe up or down by hovering your mouse over the servings calculator in the recipe card!
Serving mashed butternut squash
This mashed butternut squash pairs beautifully with everything from poultry (e.g. turkey, chicken, cornish game hens) to pork (e.g. ham, pork tenderloin, pork chops), beef (e.g. roasts and steaks, or shepherd’s pie – use it in place of mashed potatoes!) and even fish (e.g. cod, halibut, or swai). That means it’s ideal for any holiday table or even your normal fall & winter dinners!
You’re also welcome to serve it as the main event – mashed potato bowl style. If you do, I suggest offering a wide range of toppings so people can assemble their ideal bowl of comfort. Some options include:
- Nuts & Seeds
- Chopped Protein
- Roasted Veggies
- Sauces (e.g. bbq, ranch, maple syrup, etc)
Storing mashed squash
- Allow leftover squash to cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. Leftovers should last for up to a week in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.
- To reheat, allow to defrost, then either reheat on the stovetop (adding milk or water as needed to loosen it up) or in the microwave.
Alright, my little pumpkins! I butternut keep rambling on. I hope you have continue to have a gourd-geous holiday season!
Until next time, friends, cheers!
More butternut squash recipes!
If you have a surplus of fresh squashes, try these yummy recipes using squash next:
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Squash Salad
- Bacon Butternut Squash Scones
- Butternut Squash Risotto
- Squash Pizza
- Butternut Squash Pasta
Mashed Butternut Squash
- Cutting Board
- Chef's Knife
- baking sheet
- 1 large Butternut Squash (about 3-4 pounds)
- 1 TBS Olive Oil
- ¼ Cup Butter - melted (SEE NOTES)
- ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar – gently packed
- 1 TBS Pure Maple Syrup
- ½ heaping tsp EACH: Garlic Powder and Dried Thyme Leaves
- ¼ heaping tsp Ground Sage
- Generous Pinch EACH: Cinnamon + Nutmeg
- Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper
- 2 TBS Heavy Cream – or more to taste
- Optional for serving: Pure Maple Syrup, Pats of Butter, Fresh Thyme
- Preheat oven: Arrange oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 425-degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum for easy clean up.
- Prepare squash: Place the whole squash on a clean cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the squash in half, lengthwise - from root to tip. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds. Use the tins of a fork to pierce the cut sides of the squash all over. Use a pastry brush or your fingers to rub the oil all over the cut side of squash. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast: Arrange the halves of squash cut-side-down, so the skin is facing up, on the prepared baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the squash is extremely fork tender and the edges are caramelized.
- Cool slightly: Remove the squash from the oven and place the baking sheet on a wire rack. Flip the squash over and set aside until cool just cool enough to handle, but still warm. (Tip: Warm squash is easier to mash!)
- Mash butternut squash: Use a large spoon to carefully scoop out the insides of the squash and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Use a potato masher or a handheld mixer on low to mash the squash until creamy.
- Add the good stuff – flavor: Add the butter, sugar, maple, garlic, thyme, sage, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the bowl. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Mash or mix on low to combine. Add the cream to the bowl. Mix on low to combine, then slowly increase the speed to medium and beat until the squash mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Adjust for taste: Taste the butternut squash mash and adjust as necessary - adding more salt or seasonings for flavor; sugar or maple for sweetness; cream or butter for richness.
- Serve: Transfer the mashed butternut squash to a serving bowl. Drizzle with a little maple, garnish with a dab of butter and a few fresh thyme sprigs. Best if served immediately, while warm.
- Butter: I like to use salted butter to complement the sweetness in this recipe; but use what you have or love! If you are using unsalted butter, just note that you will need to be more generous with the kosher salt.
- Yield: approximately 5-6 cups
- Servings: 6-8
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