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Air Fryer Butternut Squash

$2.26 Recipe/$0.57 Serving

Air fryer butternut squash is going to quickly become your favorite way to eat butternut squash.

Soft and tender on the inside, caramelized on the outside in about half the time it takes in the oven to roast. Make cubes or fries in the air fryer with just 2 ingredients and about 16 minutes.

Air fryer basket filled with butternut squash cubes.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Cooks in half the time: Making this takes about 16 minutes of cooking. Roasting butternut squash in the oven takes between 40-50 minutes.
  • Perfect Side Dish: Perfect for an afternoon snack or a simple side dish for dinner, you are going to find lots of reasons to make this each week!
  • Great for small batches: Want to only cook enough for a single meal? The air fryer is great for this! You can fit about ½ of a butternut squash, cubed in the air fryer at once. You can save the other half for the next day or use it to make soup.
  • Customizable: Make fries or cubes depending on what you are having for dinner that day! Air fryer butternut squash cubes can quickly be turned into hash browns or used to top your favorite salad, grain bowl or quinoa bowl. Air fryer butternut squash fries go great with burgers or even chicken nuggets!
  • Spice them up to change things up: You can add your favorite spices before cooking in the air fryer for a super fun twist on dinner! Because you will make small batches, you can even cook 2 different spice blends over 2 batches.
  • Healthy side dish: This recipe is low in calories, high in fiber and a great source of Vitamin A, C, magnesium and potassium. This dish is naturally vegan, gluten free, dairy free, low carb, and Whole30 friendly.
One bowl filled with air fryer butternut squash fries, other with cubes.
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Ingredients

  • Butternut squash (peeled, cubed or cut into fries)
  • Olive oil or avocado oil spray
  • Salt (optional)

Instructions

Peel and cut the butternut squash into equal sized pieces (see notes below on tip how to cut and peel with ease).

Spray the tray of the air fryer with olive oil or avocado oil spray and add enough butternut squash to cover the bottom of the pan, everything should should be in one layer. You will likely need to cook in batches for an entire squash depending on the size of your air fryer.

Air fryer basket filled with butternut squash cubes before cooking.

Cook at 375F for 16 minutes. After 8 minutes of cooking, take the butternut squash out of the air fryer and shake the basket. Spray with more olive oil or avocado oil spray and sprinkle with salt (optional).

Air fryer basket filled with butternut squash cubes during cooking.

Continue to cook the butternut squash, shaking the basket again with about 4 minutes left and again in the last minute or two.

Air fryer basket filled with butternut squash cubes after cooking.

Serve hot.

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Tips

  • Don’t crowd the basket. To ensure the outside of the squash get caramelized and cooked through, you want just one single layer of squash on the bottom of your air fryer.
  • Be sure to shake the basket regularly, especially at the end. Although the air fryer is circulating air, I find that if you don’t shake the basket regularly, one side of the squash will burn and the other sides will not get that nice caramelization you are looking for.
  • If you want to add spices/seasoning, do it before cooking so that you are sure that the butternut squash are fully coated. You can skip the step of adding the olive oil spray and salt when shaking the basket, as your butternut squash will already have olive oil and salt from the seasoning.
  • Eat the butternut squash quickly after cooking. As the squash sits, it starts to steam from the inside and the crust that has formed on the fries/cubes starts to soften as well. The texture is best right out of the air fryer.
Air fryer basket filled with butternut squash fries.

How to peel and cut a butternut squash

Butternut squash can be tough to handle, but I will give you my tips on how to tackle them without problems. You will need a good vegetable peeler and a sharp chef’s knife.

Wash and peel

Start by washing the skin of the butternut squash and allowing it to dry.

I like to peel the top half of the butternut squash first, moving from the bulb part up to the stem on top. This way I am holding on to the skin on the bulb as I work around the largest part of the blub with the peeler.

Once the top half of the squash is peeled, hold it in your hand and peel the bulb working from the top of the bulb down to the bottom of the squash.

Tip: Many butternut squash have thick skin and you may need to go over it 2 times with a peeler to get rid of any green skin left over after the first pass with the vegetable peeler.

How to cut

Now that the butternut squash has been peeled, you will want to make 3 cuts. Cut off the about ½ inch at the top, ½ inch at the bottom and make a cut at where you think the bulb of the squash starts. If you are worried about the squash rolling around on you while you do this, place a clean kitchen towel under the squash to help keep it in place.

Now you will have 2 separate pieces of squash to work with, with flat tops and bottoms. Having flat surfaces makes it much easier to cut going forward.

Cut the bulb in half, scoop out the seeds with a large spoon. Place the flesh flat side down and carefully cut into cubes or fries. I find that the bulb area is the easiest to cut into equal size fries by just cutting it into ½ inch slices from top of the bulb to the bottom.

Cut the large top in half from top to bottom creating two half moon shaped pieces. Now you have the flat side of the moon to put on the cutting board, making it easier to cut into fries or equal size cubes.

Steps on how to peel and cut butternut squash.

Note: Some people have a contact dermatitis where their hands get itchy, dry or have another kind of reaction to the flesh of the butternut squash. You can wear gloves when handling if you notice this.

Time saving tips

Use store bought butternut squash cubes, just take the time to cut down the cubes so they are mostly uniform in size to allow for even cooking.

You can even use frozen butternut squash cubes. I will note that when cooked, the texture is not quite the same but if you are looking for a way to quickly cook up frozen butternut squash cubes, this will work!

Cube the butternut squash yourself up to 3 days before cooking. Simply store it in an airtight container in the fridge. This way you have them ready to go when you are making dinner.

How to add spice to this recipe

Butternut squash is great with just a pinch of salt, but sometimes it can be fun to change it up and add sweet or savory spices on top! To do this, you will want to add your butternut squash to a large bowl, and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil before sprinkling on the spices. Don’t forget to add salt to the savory spice options.

Here are some great spices that pair well:

Basket of air fryer butternut squash fries and ketchup.

How to serve

If you make air fryer butternut squash fries, you can serve them with:

If you make air fryer butternut squash cubes, you can serve them:

  • As a side dish on their own
  • On top of salads
  • On grain bowls or quinoa bowls
  • In tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas
  • On rice with chickpeas and curry seasoning
  • With cinnamon or nutmeg on top of yogurt bowls or even with granola
Bowl with air fryer butternut squash cubes and salad in background.

Storage

Butternut squash is best right out of the air fryer, but you can also store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Reheat in the toaster oven or in the air fryer, at 350F for 4-5 minutes to warm up and crisp up the skin.

I do not recommend freezing, as the texture will be completely different after freezing.

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Bowl filled with air fryer butternut squash.

Air Fryer Butternut Squash

$2.26 recipe/$0.57 serving
Air fryer butternut squash cubes or fries can be made in under 20 minutes using your air fryer! This healthy recipe is so easy to follow and customizable! Make sweet or savory butternut squash that are vegan, Whole30 or keto friendly!
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fry butternut squash, air fryer butternut squash cubes, air fryer butternut squash fries
Prep Time: 4 mins
Cook Time: 16 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Peel the butternut squash and cut it into cubes or fries (depending on what you prefer).
  • Spray the basket of your air fryer with olive oil spray and add the butternut squash cubes or fries. Be careful not to overcrowd the basket, you only want one single layer.
  • Cook at 375F for 16 minutes.
  • After 8 minutes of cooking, shake the air fryer basket to move around the squash. Spray the squash with olive oil spray and add optional salt. Shake again. Continue to cook the butternut squash.
  • With just 4 minutes left, shake the basket again (so nothing burns).
  • Enjoy the butternut squash immediately for best texture.

Notes

Storage:
  • Fridge: These are best right out of the air fryer, but you can also store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
    • Reheat in the toaster oven or in the air fryer, at 350F for 4-5 minutes to warm up and crisp up the skin.
  • I do not recommend freezing, as the texture will be completely different after freezing.
How to add spice to your air fryer butternut squash:
Butternut squash is great with just a pinch of salt, but sometimes it can be fun to change it up and add sweet or savory spices on top! To do this, you will want to add your butternut squash to a large bowl, and drizzle the squash with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil before sprinkling on the spices. Don’t forget to add salt to the savory spice options.
Here are some great spices to pair:
  • Cinnamon (for a sweeter kick)
  • Nutmeg
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Garam masala
  • Curry seasoning
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Chinese 5 Spice Powder
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
84
Fat
 
1
g
Carbohydrates
 
22
g
Fiber
 
4
g
Sugar
 
4
g
Protein
 
2
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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