4 squash slices on a black plate that look candied.

Candied Holiday Squash – How to Cook Whole Butternut Squash

It’s about that time when you are either getting ready to plant your butternut squash seeds or you are trying to use the remaining butternut squash from last year’s harvest. Either way, you are probably wondering how to cook whole butternut squash. Well, I have the perfect recipe for you!

Cooking butternut squash as directed here will give you a candied squash. It is nice and soft and has a bold flavour, with a smooth texture. Cooking a whole squash may seem to be an overwhelming amount of squash to some, but this butternut squash recipe will leave you wanting a second helping. 

Pan-cooked butternut squash is a versatile food that can be served as a main course or a side dish, as well as in soups and casseroles. One of our favorite soups is Creamy Butternut Squash Soup. Stay tuned; we will share that recipe with you soon! But for now, let’s learn how to cook whole butternut squash.

Candied squash slices on a wooded counter next to a blue pot of food.

Ingredients for Cooked Butternut Squash

  • Butternut squash – Butternut squash is a type of winter squash. A good butternut squash has a 6-month storage expectancy when stored in the proper conditions.
  • Butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter. If you prefer not to use butter, you can also use an oil such as coconut oil, avocado oil, or a little olive oil.
  • Dark brown sugar – Brown sugar is what gives your squash the sweet, candied flavour.
  • Cinnamon – A spice that adds a woody flavor to your squash. When blended with the brown sugar, it results in a sweet and savory taste.
  • Cayenne pepper – A spice that is optional. If you want to add some heat to your squash, feel free to season with cayenne pepper.
  • Salt and black pepper – Spices that are used to taste. 

Steps to Cook Butternut Squash

  1. First, we must peel a butternut squash with a vegetable peeler or a knife. Then, place it on a cutting board and cut it in half using a large sharp knife. You will remove the seeds from the inside of the squash and then proceed to slice the squash into 1-inch wedges. I have found that the easiest way to remove the seeds is with a metal or wooden spoon.
  2. Heat your oven to 170 degrees f.
  3. Next, melt the butter in a frying pan. Then, place the squash slices into the melted butter. Be sure that they are placed in a single layer and not overlapped.
  4. Combine the warm spice – brown sugar, pepper, salt, and cayenne – then sprinkle over the squash.
  5. Proceed to let the squash cook until just browned, and then flip it over to cook the other side until just browned. The cooking time for the squash will vary depending on the heat of your burner. The squash is cooked when you can easily insert a fork.
  6. Once the squash is cooked, remove it from the pan, place it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and put it into the warmed oven.
  7. Repeat this process until the entire squash has been cooked.
  8. When you are ready to serve, remove the parchment-lined sheet pan from the oven and enjoy! 
4 squash slices on a black plate that look candied.

Candied Holiday Squash - Cooking Whole Butternut Squash

A delicious stove-top recipe for cooking a whole butternut squash that will leave you wanting a second helping.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Servings 1 squash
Calories 469 kcal


  • 1 large butternut squash seeded and sliced into 1-inch slices* 
  • 4 Tbsp butter divided
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar divided
  • 2 tsp cinnamon divided
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper divided
  • 2 tsp salt divided
  • 2 tsp pepper divided


  • Peel, cut, and remove the seeds from the squash. 
  • In a large frying pan, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter. Peel the squash, then lay 1/2 of it in the pan, being careful not to overlap. 
  • Turn heat to medium. 
  • Sprinkle 3 Tbsp dark brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper over squash. 
  • Fry until brown on the bottom; turn and brown on the other side. 
  • Squash will get gooey and candied as it cooks. 
  • When the first pan is done, transfer to an oven-safe dish and keep warm at 170° F. 
  • Cook the second batch the same as the first.



You can use this butternut squash whole recipe with any type of the winter squash varieties, including acorn squash. There are many other ways to cook a whole butternut squash, such as using a slow cooker, Instant Pot pressure cooker, or oven. My cooking method is stovetop.
If you are looking to have bite-sized pieces, you can cut the squash into 1-inch cubes, but it is harder to flip each individual piece this way. 


Serving: 6servingsCalories: 469kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 1gFat: 46gSaturated Fat: 29gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 5016mgPotassium: 111mgFiber: 3gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 1641IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How to Store Cooked Squash

If you have any squash left after your meal, place it in an airtight container and then into the fridge. It will last for up to 5 days in the fridge if stored properly.

Ways to Use Leftover Squash

1. Remove the squash from the fridge and reheat it using a pan with melted butter, the same way you initially cooked it.
2. You can mash the squash with a blender or by hand, then place it in a baking dish. Drizzle the top of the dish with maple syrup and bake it until warm. This is a delicious way to eat the leftover squash.
3. Puree the squash and use it as a soup base.
4. Chop the squash into 1-inch cubes. Warm the chopped squash in aluminum foil and reheat on the grill. Once it is warmed, top with parmesan cheese and enjoy.


​The easiest way, our personal favorite way, to cook butternut squash is by frying it with some brown sugar. This is the foolproof way of getting almost candied squash.
If you are not one to grow your own squash, but this recipe sounds like something you want to try, you can source winter squash varieties at the local farmers market or grocery store. As long as the squash is firm and doesn’t have any major soft spots, you can use it.

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