Air fryer butternut squash cooked in two ways: sweet with brown sugar and cinnamon or spicy with lots of spices.
This air fryer butternut squash makes a great side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas or a wonderful healthy snack. You can have it on top of salad, with chicken or meat, you can even have the sweet version with granola or muesli for breakfast. I've tried that and loved it!
Cooking butternut squash cubes is not difficult, the “hardest” task is peeling and cutting the squash, I suppose, but air frying them makes everything even easier and quicker. So, while your oven is busy with a roast or something else, you can make the side dish easily in the air fryer.
How to cut a butternut squash?
- Make sure that the cutting surface is stable. You will need a large sharp knife and a bit of strength and if the cutting board slips away you might cut yourself. Place a damp kitchen cloth underneath the cutting board if you feel it is not stable enough.
- Top and tail the squash. (1,2)
- You could either peel the squash now, while it is all in one piece, or cut it where the neck meets the body and then peel it. I prefer to cut it first, the squashes I buy are rather large and I often only use about half of it. I prefer to store the rest with the peel still on. Cut the bulb in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. (3)
- Peel with the knife or a vegetable peeler. Many swear that a vegetable peeler is the better choice, but I prefer the knife. The choice is yours. (4)
- Chop the butternut squash into cubes. For this recipe, the cubes should be about 2.5 cm/ 1 inch large, but slightly more or less is fine. The only thing that is important is that the cubes all have an even size so that they cook evenly.
How to season?
- Place the cubes in a bowl. Add oil and mix to coat. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and mix again until the pieces are coated well. (1)
- Place the cubes in another bowl. Add the oil and mix to coat. Add rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and chili flakes and mix well to coat. (2)
More seasoning ideas:
- You can use any spices you like to season the pieces. Try some curry powder or another spice mixture you like. Add paprika, sweet, smoked, or hot to taste, use other dried herbs like thyme or Herbs de Provence.
- For the sweet version, you can use maple syrup instead of sugar.
How to air fry the butternut squash?
- Preheat the air fryer if required. I have to preheat mine for 3 minutes at 190 degrees Celsius/ 370 degrees Fahrenheit, but check the instructions of your machine.
- Place either the sweet or the savory cubes into the basket, in a single layer. (3,4)
- Roast for about 15-20 minutes, shaking the basket halfway, or until the cubes are tender, and a little crispy on the outside.
- Repeat with the other batch.
How to serve?
Serve immediately as a side dish for chicken, turkey, ham, and so on.
Serve the savory version as a snack with hot chili sauce, Greek yogurt, or tahini sauce. Top with some roasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.
Use to fill wraps.
The sweet version is also suitable to serve on top of muesli or granola or with a little whipped cream or crème fraiche as a dessert.
How to store?
- Leftovers should be stored in airtight containers in the fridge.
- You could reheat them, but they will not be crunchy anymore.
- I prefer to serve the leftovers at room temperature with salad or as a snack rather than reheat them.
- The dish is not suitable for freezing.
More air fryer recipes:
Air Fryer Butternut Squash – Two Ways
- Sweet version:
- 450 g/ 1 lb/ about 4 cups 2.5 cm/1 inch cubes butternut squash (Note 1)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of fine sea salt
- Savory version:
- 450 g/ 1 lb/ about 4 cups 2.5 cm/1 inch cubes butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- some ground black pepper
- Peel, remove the seeds, and cube the butternut squash into 2.5 cm/1-inch pieces.
- Place in a bowl, add the olive oil, and mix to coat. Add the spices, either for the sweet or the savory version. Toss well to coat.
- Preheat the air fryer, if required by the machine you are using.
- Place the cubes into the basket in a single layer.
- Roast for 15-20 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through. When ready, the cubes should be fork tender and slightly crispy on the outside. Serve immediately.
- Make sure that the pieces are cut evenly so that they all cook evenly.
You can use precut butternut squash as well.
Frozen pieces are not suitable, they will be too watery.
- Different air fryers might heat differently, start checking after 10-12 minutes.
- The nutrition is calculated for the sweet version. One portion of the spicy version has about 79 calories.