Whole Roasted Kabocha Squash with Chipotle Butter is a healthy fall side dish ~ and my whole roasting method is the best way to cook winter squash. This easy recipe will wow everybody!
A whole roasted kabocha squash is a thing of beauty
There’s something epic about roasting a whole squash and then slicing giant wedges out of it with a carving knife. After an hour in the oven it slices like buttah, and a gorgeous plume of steam bursts forth as the wedges fall away. A few passes with a spoon to remove the seeds, a swipe of freshly made spicy chipotle butter, and you’ve got a unique and healthy side dish. The combination of spicy chipotle chili and creamy sweet squash really appeals to me (I’ve used it before in my Baked Pumpkin Chipotle Fries) and I think you’re going to love it.
TIP: If you’re not into spicy, think about pairing this squash with my Maple Cream, a spread made by simply whipping maple syrup into a creamy ‘butter’.
The easiest, healthiest, way to cook winter squash will surprise you
Winter squash, especially the more exotic varieties, have always intimidated me. They can be IMPOSSIBLE to cut — I’ve had to resort to using a hammer to help me pound my knife though those thick rinds in the past., and I’ve actually broken good knives that way.
This whole-roasting technique is the best solution to all that, and a lot of fun, too. A standard 2-3 pound squash takes only an hour in a 4ooF oven.
I put it on a baking sheet and roast until a sharp paring knife pierces the skin easily. If you’ve avoided exotic winter squash in the past because of that impenetrable outer armor, this is your answer.
For details on cooking all KINDS of winter squash, see my How to Cook Any Type of Winter Squash.
TIP: The rind of the kabocha will soften as the squash cooks, and is completely edible. The seeds are wonderful roasted, too, just like pumpkin seeds, so don’t toss them!
This winter branch out from butternut and acorn and try a new variety of winter squash
There are so many extraordinary squashes in the stores and farmers markets right now, don’t get stuck buying the same familiar faces — go rogue and try something new. Kabocha is a Japanese winter squash, and you might have had it as part of a tempura mix in a Japanese restaurant. The flesh is super creamy and sweet, not watery like some varieties. In fact is has a slightly fluffy texture that can be compared to roasted chestnuts. Kabocha is hands down my new favorite winter squash.
TIP: Choose squash that feels heavy for its size, and store kabocha in a cool dry place for up to a month.
Chipotle butter is a spicy compound butter (a butter that’s been mixed with other flavoring ingredients)
And it goes with so many things. Once you taste it you’re going to want to put it on your cornbread, your baked potato, your steak…and you’ll dream about melting it all over next year’s corn on the cob. Did I say cornbread? You NEED this on your cornbread, folks. Like most everything here at tvfgi, it’s simple to do, just mash a stick of butter with a tablespoon of chipotle chili powder, that’s the spicy one. The flavor and color of your butter will deepen with time as the chipotle chili powder ‘blooms’.
TIP: Plain chili powder is a spice blend, much like curry powder; it’s a mix of chili, salt, and other spices. Chipotle powder, on the other hand, contains only ground chipotle peppers, and is much smokier and spicier. Look for it in the spice aisle in larger grocery stores.
TIP: Whether you mix your spicy butter by hand or in the food processor, make sure the butter is at room temperature to begin with, or it will be difficult to get everything smoothly combined. Once combined you can spoon it into a little jar, or roll it into a log with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator to firm up.
I was able to reheat the fat wedges of squash in the microwave for several nights, so even if you’re only cooking for one or two, definitely try this.
I’m telling you…whole roasted kabocha squash with chipotle butter…it’s out of this world.
- If your squash is larger or smaller, adjust the cooking time accordingly. Check with the tip of a sharp knife to see if the flesh is tender.
Whole Roasted Kabocha Squash with Chipotle Butter
- 1 kabocha squash, (approximately 3-4 pounds)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp chipotle powder
- pinch salt, (omit if you used salted butter)
- Set oven to 400°F.
- Set squash on a baking sheet and use a small sharp knife to pierce the top a few times.
- Bake for an hour, or until a sharp knife pierces the flesh easily.
- Slice wedges out of the squash and remove the seeds and fibers with a spoon. Serve hot with Chipotle Butter.
- To make the chipotle butter, mix the butter with the chili powder and blend until everything is completed mixed. If you used unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to taste. Put the butter in a small jar and refrigerate until needed.
Questions and Reviews
Genius, Sue! Never occurred to me to roast them whole?
It’s such fun, and you can do it with any squash Janelle.
I’ve used this recipe a couple times over the years and it’s always incredible. I don’t even make the chipotle butter (but one day…) and the kabocha itself is so flavorful/sweet ugh its great. Making it again today 🙂
Thanks so much Kelly 🙂
Thank you for the recipe. Is there no need to puncture before baking at all?
Hi Chris ~ in the recipe I do mention to pierce it with the point of a sharp knife a few times.
You state nowhere in the description to pierce it with a knife before putting it in the oven. You do state it once in the instructions. I missed it also.
Yes, it’s in step 2 of the instructions.
As I type this message, I have 3 sugar pumpkins and a buttercup squash rinsed and whole in my oven. This is THE way to deal with them. Butternut skin slips off so easily and I have recently discovered that acorn, buttercup and most winter squash skins are edible! What a joy! Loved this article. This is my first buttercup experience ever. Received one in my csa share box. I have no Chipotle but into my butter will go fresh garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, and a little bit of chili powder. So very happy!
I bet your kitchen smells amazing right now Kim!
I love the presentation of the whole squash and that chipotle butter is an absolute must make!
It really is dramatic!
i love rpasted winter squash with Acorn and Butternut being my favorites but I’ve never tried Kobocha. I think I really need to soon judging from your description! I think I’m missing out 🙂
I guess I won’t be cutting my next squash in half before I bake it!! This looks and sounds absolutely delightful!