Learning How to Roast Kabocha Squash is quick and easy. Season with simple salt and pepper or drizzle this sweet squash with maple syrup, cinnamon, and melted butter. Delicious served as a healthy snack or side dish, roasted kabocha squash is a fall favorite and a simple substitute for the more well-known winter squash like pumpkin and butternut squash.
Say hello to the kabocha squash. Also known as the Japanese pumpkin. It took a while for me to get my head out of the butternut squash bubble to actually buy and cook this green-colored pumpkin imposter. Boy, am I glad I did!
Despite its hard and tough exterior, dull, knobby-looking, dark-green skin, and shape nearly identical to that of a round, squat pumpkin, the kabocha squash is filled with sweet and delicious orange flesh perfect for,
One of the sweetest tasting squash varieties, kabocha squash tastes like a cross between sweet potatoes and pumpkin and is quickly becoming my very favorite winter squash to roast and serve.
If you’re thinking, great, I’ll never buy butternut squash or pumpkin again! Let me add one thing.
In general, you will get less flesh from kabocha squash when compared to butternut squash and pumpkin. Butternut squash is super easy to peel and cut, whereas pumpkin is on the same level as the kabocha – you’re more likely to get more “meat” from a pumpkin when all is said and done.
I highly recommend giving this roasted kabocha squash a try to see how the flavors compare. Which do you like best?
Continue reading: What is Kabocha Squash (Japanese Squash)
How to Roast Kabocha Squash
Always start by cleaning and scrubbing your squash. The skin is completely edible (and delicious!) but even if you don’t plan to eat the skin, it’s a good idea to give it a good wash. After the skin is washed, dry thoroughly. The last thing you want is a wet and slippery squash.
Transfer the whole squash to a large cutting board and grab your very favorite large sharp knife. Tiny little or dull knives won’t work here. Carefully slice the squash from stem to base.
If you find that your squash is too difficult to cut, stop trying, and transfer to the microwave. Microwave on high for 2-4 minutes. We’re not cooking the squash, simply softening it a little.
Remove from the microwave back to your cutting board and try again.
Once the squash has been cut into two halves, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Save the seeds to roast later on or discard.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Decide if you want to roast your kabocha squash in two halves, quarters, or in smaller wedges. It’s entirely up to you. The taste will be the same, the only difference with be the total cooking time.
- Halved – 45 to 60 minutes
- Quartered – 35-45 minutes
- Wedges -25-35 minutes
- Small cubes – 20-30 minutes
Next, transfer the squash to a large bowl and combine with the olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, sea salt, and black pepper (if using). Use your hands or a pastry brush to coat the entire surface.
Transfer the oil and maple syrup coated squash to your prepared baking sheet in a single layer (if you’re baking halves, place them cut side down).
Bake for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, flip each wedge over, and continue to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes more, or until tender.
Season with additional maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt, to taste.
Tip – make it a complete one-pan meal and roast with other veggies or chicken breasts and chicken thighs. Use a digital meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees before serving.
More Yummy Squash Recipes,
If you try making this Roasted Kabocha Squash Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Roasted Kabocha Squash Recipe
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Wash and thoroughly dry your squash (even if you don’t plan on eating the skin). Transfer the squash to a large cutting board and carefully slice from the stem to the base using a sharp knife (see notes). Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy bits from the center and slice the two halves into 4-6 wedges or small cubes.
- In a large bowl, mix the squash wedges with olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and pepper (if using). Use your hands or a pastry brush to coat the entire surface.
- Transfer the seasoned squash to your prepared baking sheets. Spread in a single layer.
- Bake for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, flip each wedge over, and continue to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes more.
- Season with additional maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt, to taste.
- Kabocha squash is naturally gluten-free, vegan, and lower in carbs when compared to other winter squash (approximately 6 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup cooked).
- Easily found in late summer and fall, you may have luck finding this squash much earlier in the summer season, or even year-round, from major grocery stores like Safeway, Whole Foods (where I found these in June), and Trader Joe’s. Give your local Asian market a call and see if they have any in stock or head to your local farmer’s market.
- If you prefer a more naturally sweet kabocha squash, omit the maple syrup and cinnamon.
- If you're having a hard time slicing your squash in half, transfer the squash to the microwave. Microwave for 2-4 minutes (time will vary depending on the size of your squash and how soft you’d like it). Careful not to microwave for too long – we’re not cooking it, just making it soft enough to cut.
- The skin is completely edible.
- Leftover cooked squash will last for approximately 3-4 days when stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
- You may also freeze leftover cooked squash in an airtight container for up to 3-4 months.
- Save and roast the seeds just as you would pumpkin seeds.
- Serving size equals 1/4 of a medium squash, cooked.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)