Learn how to cook this lesser known winter squash.

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If you like pumpkin, you'll love buttercup squash. It's one of the sweetest varieties of winter squash, and its seeds are a great snack food, just like pumpkin seeds. Here's how to pick, prep, and cook buttercup squash.

How to Cut and Seed Buttercup Squash

Buttercup Squash
Buttercup squash cut in half. | Photo via Bigstock

We don't recommend trying to peel this squash — you can leave the skin on or simply scoop out the flesh! Using a large heavy knife, carefully split it in half lengthwise through the stem. Use a heavy spoon to scrape out the seeds (save the seeds to roast later).

How to Roast Buttercup Squash

This technique is actually based on an acorn squash recipe, but the two can be used interchangeably. Roasting sliced buttercup squash results in a sweet, tender flesh with a slightly crisp, caramelized exterior. This specific recipe uses more savory ingredients, but you can swap Parmesan with a brushing of maple syrup for a sweeter take on it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 buttercup squash - halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Optional add-ons:

  • Grated parmesan
  • Fresh thyme
  • Maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine olive oil, salt, pepper, and any additional ingredients in a large bowl. Toss the squash slices in the mixture until evenly coated.
  3. Spread slices onto a jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet. Roast until golden brown and tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

How to Cook Stuffed Buttercup Squash

This method for cooking buttercup squash is based off of Volleyballmom's Buttercup Squash with Apples and Pecans recipe, in which buttercup squash is stuffed with a fall-inspired filling and baked in the oven.

Buttercup Squash with Apples and Pecans
Credit: Chef Mo

Ingredients:

  • 2 buttercup squash, halved and seeded
  • 3 cups red apples, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place buttercup squash halves in a baking dish.
  2. Place apples in a large bowl; cover with lemon juice. Stir in all but 1 tablespoon of the pecans. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Spoon mixture into buttercup squash halves. Sprinkle with reserved pecans. Dot 1 1/2 teaspoons butter over each squash.
  4. Bake in the preheat oven until tender, about 45 minutes.

More Ways to Cook Buttercup Squash

Like other types of winter squash, buttercup squash can be pureed to make a creamy soup. And regardless of how you cook it, be sure to save the seeds and roast them like you would pumpkin seeds for a tasty snack!

Buttercup Squash
Buttercup Squash | Photo via Bigstock

What Is Buttercup Squash?

You'll find this popular winter squash throughout fall and winter at your local grocery store or farmers' market. It has a squatty, round shape, dark green skin, and orange flesh, similar to an acorn squash (you can substitute one for the other). In addition to its sweet flavor, buttercup squash is a great source of vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and fiber. In fact, the more intense the color of the flesh, the more vitamin A it contains.

Buttercup Squash vs. Kabocha Squash

It's easy to get these two winter squash confused. To differentiate the two, look at the base. A kabocha squash will have a button-like base, while a buttercup has a distinctive round ridge on its base. Buttercup squash will also have a smoother exterior than a kabocha. They are similar in flavor, but kabocha squash tend to have a denser flesh.

When to Pick Buttercup Squash

This variety of squash has a round, turban-like cap that is a good indicator of age: When the squash is mature and ready to be harvested, the cap is firm. Found a squash with a soft cap? That means it's too old and should be passed up for another. Choose a squash that is heavy for its size and has even coloring. Stored in a cool, dry place, this squash will keep for several months.

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