12 Kabocha Squash Recipes to Give You a Break from Butternut

Gnocchi with Kabocha, Walnuts, and Scamorza on a white plate with squash in the background
Photo: Buckwheat Queen

A winter squash, kabocha (aka Japanese squash) tastes similar to sweet potato or sugar pie pumpkin. It adds a subtle sweetness to warm, comforting recipes like soups, curries, and gnocchi. But it's just as delicious when roasted with salt and olive oil. Here are 12 ways to cook with kabocha squash.

01 of 12

Vietnamese Kabocha Squash Soup

bowl of Vietnamese Kabocha Squash Soup with a side of rice and small bowl of fish sauce
Amanda Vuu

Turkey meatballs, shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms bulk up this hearty soup. Scallions and cilantro add a fresh kick. "Serve with jasmine rice and a small bowl of fish sauce and chopped Thai chiles," recipe submitter Amanda Vuu says.

02 of 12

Baked Stuffed Winter Squash

stuffed kabocha squash
Colleen Seal

Scoop out the squash's pulp and mash it before combining it with bread crumbs, an egg, sausage, raisins, and chopped pecans to create this recipe's savory-sweet stuffing.

03 of 12

Simmered Kabocha Pumpkin and Fried Tofu with Sweet Soy Sauce

kabocha squash and fried tofu in a bowl

"This is a kind of traditional Japanese nimono," recipe creator kyoko says. Nimono refers to dishes simmered in dashi stock, like kabocha no nimono. "You can get Japanese kabocha pumpkin at a Japanese market, Chinese market, or another Asian market. The dish is even better the next day as leftovers."

04 of 12

Curried Kabocha

curried kabocha in a pan on the stove

Coconut milk, fish sauce, grated ginger, curry powder, and brown sugar come together in this Thai-style dish. Make it your own with veggies like red bell pepper and celery or even your meat of choice. Recipe creator Crystal Loman suggests adding browned meat when you pour in the coconut milk.

05 of 12

Red Curry Chicken and Pumpkin Soup

kabocha and chicken soup in a bowl
Chef John

The pumpkin Chef John refers to in this recipe is (surprise!) kabocha, which "retains a nice texture, even when fully cooked," he says. This full-flavored soup averages five stars.

06 of 12

Steamed Chicken Curry with Kabocha

kabocha squash with chicken wings and eggplant
Pearl Ishizaki

This simple combination of chicken wings, eggplant, and kabocha steams in the microwave in about seven minutes. The chicken is cooked when an instant-read thermometer hits 165 degrees F — which can help you if you choose to steam this dish on the stove instead.

07 of 12

Gnocchi with Kabocha, Walnuts, and Scamorza

Gnocchi with Kabocha, Walnuts, and Scamorza on a white plate with squash in the background
Buckwheat Queen

Mash kabocha into a sauce with olive oil, shallot, walnuts, and smoked scamorza cheese, then toss in the cooked gnocchi for a delicious Italian dinner. If you can't track down scamorza, an Italian import, you'll find a close replacement in smoked mozzarella. And if your grocery store doesn't carry Grana Padano, another cheese from Italy, top the finished recipe with Parmesan instead.

08 of 12

Potato-Free Paleo Gnocchi

gnocchi made from kabocha squash topped with sauce
Little Bites of Beauty

In this recipe, kabocha becomes the gnocchi with the help of cassava flour. The recipe will walk you through the rest.

09 of 12

Vegan Japanese Winter Squash and Leek Soup

kabocha squash soup with carrots and greens

Russet potatoes, carrots, and kabocha add plenty of starch to this vegetable soup. Take a cue from reviewer DevonNM and stir in kale or other leafy greens.

10 of 12

Roasted Kabocha Squash

kabocha squash roasted in a pan in the oven
D. Shiznit

You won't find an easier recipe for kabocha. Just slice the squash into wedges (no need to remove the skin!) and brush it with olive oil. Sprinkle it with salt, then let it roast for 35 to 40 minutes.

11 of 12

Thick Kabocha Soup

two bowls of pureed kabocha soup
Buckwheat Queen

Kabocha squash teams up with Japanese sweet potato in this dense soup. Finish it off with home-fried onions

12 of 12

Kabocha Squash Filled with Shrimp

Kabocha Squash Filled with Shrimp and topped with cream cheese
Andrew Fletcher

Recipe creator ccostab1 calls this dish a "Brazilian favorite." Stuffed with a mixture of the pulp, onion, garlic, cream cheese, and shrimp, it resembles a traditional Brazilian dish called camarão na moranga.

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