Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Pecan Glaze is a simple side dish that’s the perfect sweet-and-savory addition to any family dinner, holiday, or weeknight meal. It’s ready in under 20 minutes and highlights your favorite cozy fall flavors!
There’s nothing better than a vegetable side dish that compliments our favorite dinners, elevates flavors and textures and is totally seasonal. And there’s nothing better than roasted root vegetables.
Wait, there is. When it’s easy to make and ready in under 20 minutes, that’s a winner too.
This Maple Pecan Butternut Squash is all that and more. It comes together quickly with a few simple steps and is a deliciously sweet-and-savory fall side dish, with bright butternut squash, warm cinnamon, crunchy, nutty pecans, and sweet maple syrup. It’s a match made in heaven and dare I say, it rivals sweet potato casserole with the flavors, and how much easier it is to make?!
I did say it, and regardless of which side dish you want to serve at Thanksgiving (both?!), this version of butternut squash is going to make its way onto weeknight dinner tables, too. It’s not just for those special occasions, even though it will feel like it.
You’ll need just five simple ingredients to make this deliciously sweet side dish!
- Butternut Squash – deliciously sweet and nutty, it’s similar to a sweet potato.
- Cinnamon – so warm and cozy, it totally adds to all the fall flavors.
- Maple Syrup – a wonderfully fall-esque way to add a little sweetness to this dish.
- Pecans – crunchy, nutty, and buttery, they round out this dish like no other!
- Brown Sugar – helps to caramelize the glaze, and compliments the rest of the flavors.
And of course, salt, to bring out both the sweet and savory flavors.
How to Roast Butternut Squash
This recipe starts with roasting butternut squash in a hot oven. The sides get slightly crisp and caramelized, which play off of the sweet-and-savory flavors we’ve got going on. And we know there’s nothing better than roasting winter vegetables.
Dice the butternut squash into evenly sized pieces. It’s important to try to cut them into relatively the same size dice so they roast at the same pace and are all beautifully caramelized at the same time.
For this recipe, we’re tossing them in a little warm cinnamon to add to the cozy vibes of this dish. Add a little salt too, because salt brings out a variety of flavors (as always!).
Right before the butternut squash is done baking, prepare the maple pecan glaze. It’s kind of like a caramel sauce that coats the squash, resulting in a sticky, sweet, caramelized dish of goodness.
It’s important to make the glaze right before or once the squash is done. Because it’s similar to caramel, it can harden if left to sit too long, and you won’t be able to toss it with the squash if it does.
Making the glaze, as mentioned, is similar to caramel. Melt the butter, syrup, and brown sugar together. The pecans get toasted in the mixture, while also soaking up all of that goodness.
Let it bubble and thicken, and then toss with the butternut squash (or simply pour on top of the squash). If you want to make it more savory, garnish with fresh thyme. Serve with a little flakey sea salt if it needs a little extra, and enjoy immediately while it’s warm and melts-in-your-mouth!
Substitutions and Common Questions
Walnuts have a similar texture and feel and would be my first recommendation for a substitution.
This is one side dish I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you make ahead of time. Because it’s so easy and relatively hands-off, it’s pretty quick to prepare before serving. The squash is best fresh once it’s mixed with the glaze, too. That being said, to make it faster, you can absolutely dice the butternut squash in advance so it’s ready to roast up.
Because of their similarity in texture and flavor, sweet potatoes would be a welcomed addition to this recipe.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Pecan Maple Glaze
- 4 cups butternut squash diced into ~1 inch pieces
- 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Salt to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
- Toss the diced butternut squash with olive oil, and cinnamon until fully coated, then spread evenly across a large baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through cook time. They're done when fork-tender and golden brown on the roasted side (size will play a part in roast time!).
- Right before the squash is done roasting, or immediately after they've been removed from the oven, begin the glaze. Heat a small skillet over low-medium heat. Add butter, maple syrup, and brown sugar and whisk until combined. Bring to a low simmer and add in chopped pecans, stirring to combine. Let bubble for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened and sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat.
- Immediately toss the roasted squash with the glaze and serve.