This Butternut Squash Casserole is the perfect holiday side dish - it’s ridiculously simple to make, delicious, and perfect for the holidays! Let your Thanksgiving dinner be worry-free and enjoy an easy yet flavorful casserole.
Simply dice the apples, butternut squash, and cranberries, toss with brown sugar and spices and bake! Be ready for your house to smell like Christmas!
It has the right amount of tartness from cranberries, apples and sweet flavor from butternut squash and brown sugar. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg make this dish warm, cozy and a delicious side dish to any holiday meal.
There are so many of you, different readers, here at the Yummy Bowl - some of you like to get straight to the recipe ingredients and instructions, and some of you love reading the full information with tips and tricks that I provide for the recipe.
There is a skip to recipe button in the top left corner along with a clickable table of contents list (just below) that will quickly take you to the part you are more interested in. Enjoy!
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
This dish is simple, budget friendly and made with simple ingredients that are easily available in any grocery store.
Be sure to read the Variations paragraph for further customization of this butternut squash casserole. Making side dishes for your holiday table has never been easier!
- Squash - I used smaller ripe butternut squash and it was enough for a small casserole dish. Use fresh squash or substitute with sweet Pumpkin. Read below in the next paragraph on how to choose perfectly ripe butternut squash.
- Apples - Granny Smith apples add delicious tartness to the dish.You can also use a mix of apple types such as Gala, Granny Smiths.
- Cranberries - fresh or frozen, both work just fine.
- Brown sugar or coconut sugar - I love the sugar in this recipe as it gives a unique sweet flavor rather than using honey or maple syrup which have a very specific after taste. That being said, it is still okay to use those or perhaps more neutral sweet syrup.
- Cornstarch - helps to thicken up the mixture. You can also use some gluten free or regular all purpose flour or tapioca flour instead.
- Want to make it more festive? Add some chopped walnuts or pecans for a delicious crunch.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, mix together apples, butternut squash or pumpkin, and cranberries.
Mix in some brown sugar, coconut oil, cornstarch, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and toss to evenly distribute.
Place the squash mixture in an ungreased 1 ½ to 2 quart prepared baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and toss lightly.
Bake, covered, for an additional 30-35 minutes, or until squash and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.
Let the casserole cool for about 10-15 minutes to allow the liquid in the bottom of the dish to thicken slightly. Serve warm.
How To Know When Butternut Squash Is Ripe?
There are a few things you should look for.
- Length: It should be of a proper length which will indicate it has been harvested at the right time. Most butternut squash will reach a length of 8–12 inches (20–30 cm).
- Stem: When a butternut squash ripens, the stem will turn color, from green to brown. Look for a firm deep brown stem. Avoid choosing a butternut squash from the store without a stem at all (it indicated the squash is overripe).
- Color: Look for a uniform color of golden or dark beige. If you see green patches, lines, or shiny exterior on its exterior, it isn’t ripe yet.
- Texture: Avoid choosing a squash with cuts, soft spots, or brown marks. A few blemishes on the surface are fine. Ripe butternut squash should also feel hard like an unripe avocado. Test with your fingernail, by pushing gently into the surface, it should feel hard and difficult to push through. Tap on it: Look for a hollow sound (just like with watermelon).
- Weight: When you find the right squash, compare its weight to other squashes. It should feel relatively heavy and not light compared to others.
- For an easier cutting - when cutting the squash, start by cutting off the top and bottom part first. This makes a significant difference later when you’ll be cutting it in half. Also, use a larger and thicker knife for this as the skin is very tough.
- Cranberries will become soft and open up during baking. If you like them to keep their shape more, add them only towards the end of cooking. Around 15-20 minute end mark.
- This dish will also release a lot of liquid after baking, so don’t worry it to be dry.
- Every oven is different and you may need to bake it for shorter. The dish is ready when apples and the squash are tender enough that you can easily pierce them with a fork. They should be softened but not mushy. So just keep an eye on this.
- The seasoning - use this recipe as a base with the spices I used. But do try after tossing all together. You may need to add more sugar or perhaps salt to make it to your liking.
- This dish is gluten free, vegan, nut free, and refined sugar free.
I recommend baking it with foil so it doesn’t dry out. This is also important if you want to add nuts, and they need to be covered because will burn easily.
This dish is ideal to be served as a side dish during holiday season, with main dishes such as Pork Tenderloin, Glazed Ham, Turkey or Roasted Whole Chicken.
But I will not judge if you just eat it like a dessert with some ice cream on the side.
This dish is sure to become your family favorite and not only during holidays.
Freezing And Storing Instructions
Store any leftover casserole in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. For best flavor consume right away or the next day. Reheat in the oven at the same temperature.
To make ahead, you can add all squash, apples and cranberries into casserole dish but don’t add the rest ingredients.
Store in the fridge for 24 hours. On the day of making add all the rest of ingredients and follow the recipe instructions for baking.
Can you freeze butternut squash casserole?
Leftovers of butternut squash casserole can be easily stored in the fridge for up to 2 months. But I highly recommend eating it freshly made. Best flavor!
Also if you do need to freeze it, freeze it unbaked for 2-3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge. On the day of serving, bake as usual following the recipe instructions.
Variations of Butternut Squash Casserole
- Creamy Butternut Squash - most of the squash types will work, butternut squash, acorn squash or kabocha squash. Pumpkin is the perfect substitute as well. You could also try using sweet potatoes, these taste even more sweeter!
- For more sauce-y consistency - add more coconut oil, sugar, or use honey or maple syrup instead. You may need to play around with spices and increase their amount as you go.
- Cranberries are the main ingredient that add lots of tartness to the dish. If you don’t like them you can simply add less or use tangy lingonberries instead. These berries have less tartness to them and are a tiny bit sweeter. We love our festive lingonberry sauce drizzle over roasted meats and fish.
- More spices - al lthe festive and cozy warming spices are very welcomed in this squash casserole. Thinkcinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, pumpkin spice, cardamom, star anise, turmeric and even cayenne.
- Crunchy texture - Nuts and seeds add some crunch and nutty flavor and balance of the sweetness of the squash. Add these on top of the casserole 15-20 minutes towards the end of cooking and make sure to cover bake with aluminum foil.
- Fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, marjoram add a unique spin and balance of the sweetness.
- In this healthy butternut squash casserole is also common to add corn flakes, ritz crackers or oats or granola. I would add these only if you intend to serve the casserole as a dessert. Add some dark chocolate shaving on top when serving, delicious!
Yes, for this butternut squash casserole you have to peel the squash.This can be done with a good sturdy vegetable peeler (if young squash, for more older and larger squash will not work as the skin is thicker and tougher).
If you have any leftovers, this butternut squash casserole with cranberries will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Make sure to cover it with plastic wrap r transfer to an airtight container.
This casserole is best when eaten right away. If you need to freeze it, do it before baking. This way it will taste fresh and flavor very similar as freshly made. This being said, in terms of food safety, yes you can freeze it after baking like most of the casseroles. Allow the casserole to cool completely, cover it or use a freezer friendly container. Freeze up to 1-2 months. Reheat in preheated oven to 350 degrees F until armed through.
This casserole is still healthy. It has a small amount of brown sugar but you can easily substitute it with your favorite natural sweet syrup. Baking is still the most preferred way of cooking veggies and fruit (except steaming them, which is the best cooking method to preserve the vitamins and nutrients) thanks to the larger amount of nutrients still present in the dish after cooking.It is also naturally vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, low carb and so on.
More Easy Butternut Squash Recipes
For all recipes, please go to my Recipe Index.
I hope you'll enjoy this butternut squash casserole recipe with cranberries recipe, please leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo of your food and tag me on Instagram @theyummy_bowl. I love seeing your creations!
Thank you for reading,
Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole With Cranberries And Apples
- 3 cup butternut squash or pumpkin peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- 1 medium green apple peeled and cut
- ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, mix apples, butternut squash or pumpkin, and cranberries.
- Mix brown sugar, coconut oil, cornstarch, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon and toss to evenly distribute.
- Place the squash mixture in an ungreased 1 ½ to 2 quarts prepared baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and toss lightly. Bake, covered, for an additional 30-35 minutes, or until squash and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Let the casserole cool for about 10-15 minutes to allow the liquid in the bottom of the dish to thicken slightly. Serve warm.
This recipe has been inspired by this recipe.