Practically the best of all fall squashes thanks to its edible skin, this savory roasted delicata squash recipe is made in the oven for an easy holiday side dish or salad ingredient.
Are you a lover of all things Fall? It truly is my favorite time of year probably because it reminds me so much of college in the Midwest and cozy warm sweaters and flavors. Recipes like this Savory Roasted Delicata Squash epitomize Fall 🍁because of its pumpkin pie-like flavor and color.
Talk about the perfectly simple and elegant side dish for your Thanksgiving or holiday table!
Why you'll love this recipe
You may or may not be familiar with delicata squash...if you are and need the recipe ASAP, scroll to the top and hit the "jump to recipe button". No hard feelings!
But this recipe isn't hard...in fact, its simplicity is one of the best things about it!
Here are more reasons you'll 🧡 it:
- Classic fall flavors with a kick. Delicata squash is naturally sweet so we've added some savory spice to balance it all out.
- Easy to prepare. I have some tips on how to cut and clean delicata squash below and because you can eat the skin, delicata is one of the easiest fall squashes to make. Plus its sassy pinstripes earn it the "best dressed" of the squashes!
- Versatile. Because it is naturally sweet, delicata plays well in both the sweet and savory arenas. You could try roasting some and adding it in my Carrot Ginger Soup or to this Butternut Squash Salad. Or cook them in your air fryer like these easy Crispy Eggplant Fries.
All the Ingredients
Clearly, you need some delicata squash and then just a few other spices to kick off this easy side dish.
- Ancho chili powder. You can use a medium to hot chili powder if you don't have access to ancho chili powder. The smoky flavor though is worth it and you can use it also in our favorite Fish Taco Seasoning. So good!
- Crushed red pepper. The extra heat from crushed red pepper works so well with the chili powder. Don't have any? Use a little sprinkling of cayenne!
- Fresh thyme. There is nothing like fresh herbs to me but no worries about using dried. See the tip below for converting fresh spices to dried (and vice versa).
- Kosher or sea salt.
- Dried cranberries. For tart flavor and a burst of color!
3 teaspoons of fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon of dried herbs-Josie + Nina
How to Cut Delicata Squash
Delicata squash has seeds in it similar to a pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash. To prepare delicata squash, you have a couple of options.
- Sliced. As in this recipe, you'll just start at one end and cut approximately ¼ - ½" slices.
- Halved. Cut down the length of the squash to end up with 2 halves.
Coring the Squash
You have choices: the pretty route that's a little more time consuming or the easier route that results in a simpler slice of squash. And one more described below that isn't pictured here.
It's up to you, my friend!
For a double scalloped slice [A BIT MORE TIME] : First cut the squash into slices and then remove the seeds with an apple corer as shown here working your way around the slice (1). This gives you an scalloped interior that's as pretty as the outside rim.
For a single scallop slice [EASIER] Cut the squash in half and then scoop out the seeds with a spoon (2) like cleaning a pumpkin.
For half slices [EVEN EASIER]. Cut the squash in half from root to stem. Run a spoon or medium ice cream scoop down the center of the squash scraping out and discarding the seeds. Slice each half into slices (not pictured).
How to Roast Delicata Squash
When you see how easy this squash recipe is, you'll want to roast it for everything! Ok– everything might be a stretch but you'll be on high alert for delicata come Fall!
Slice the squash and core it as described above. Discard the seeds (the birds love them and the fibrous stuff around them btw!).
- Drizzle a cookie sheet with olive oil and lay the squash in rows on it . Flip the squash so each side is oiled. Drizzle over some more oil.
- Starting with the ancho chili powder, then the crushed red pepper, the thyme and ending with the salt, sprinkle a generous amount of seasoning on the squash slices .
- Place in a 400˚ preheated oven and roast until caramelized about 25 minutes.
Hint: Leave a little room between each slice so they can caramelize beautifully!
I said earlier that delicata squash is sweet and it does well in both sweet and savory recipes.
- Sweet - sprinkle squash with some cinnamon, a little brown sugar and nutmeg for a sweet variety. You could even try pumpkin pie spice.
- Sour. Drizzle over some balsamic syrup or glaze to the recipe for a touch of acid.
Got some delicata questions (see what I did there?)? I've got answers!
Butternut or acorn squash would be great with this spice combo!
Because it's has a thin skin, you can try peeling delicata with a vegetable peeler. The skin has such a good texture when it's roasted —give it a try!
You'll hear lots of people describe delicata squash as tasting like the inside of a pumpkin pie. Others will say it tastes like brown sugar. It's my absolute favorite of all the Fall squash varieties particularly because it's so easy to prepare!
Serving & Storage
- Store any leftovers in a sealed container or bag.
- Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Roasted delicata squash is great to make ahead of time for the holidays. Roast it for a few hours before you plan to serve it. Transfer it to a rack on the baking sheet so it doesn't get too soft. You can even pop it back in the oven for a few minutes at 350˚ right before serving on the rack to crisp it up.
Place on a rack in a baking sheet and heat up at 350˚ until heated.
Yes you can freeze cooked delicata squash. Just freeze it in an individual layer on a baking sheet and then transfer to a freezer-safe storage bag.
Before you go....
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Savory Roasted Delicata Squash Recipe
- baking rack if making ahead
- 4-6 delicata squash, depends on the size of them
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed
- 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- kosher or sea salt, to taste
- ½ cup dried cranberries, can use dried cherries too
- store-bought balsamic glaze, optional
- Preheat an oven with a rack in the middle to 400˚.
- There are a few ways you can core the squash depending on how large they are.
- EASY: Slice in half and then take a little off each end to make a flat bottom. Use a small spoon to dig out the seeds. Slice into ¼-½" slices.
- PRETTY BUT A LITTLE MORE TIME: Slice in half and then slice into ¼-½" slices. Use an an apple corer to work your way around the interior removing the seeds and making a pretty scalloped interior ring that matches the outside.
- EASIEST: Slice the squash in half from root to stem. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice along the short side making half moons of squash.
- Either way, discard the seeds or feed the birds if you like!
- Drizzle a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Lay the squash on the baking sheet in a single layer making sure to leave room between the slices.
- Turn the squash slices over. Drizzle with second tablespoon of olive oil.
- Start seasoning the squash by sprinkling all the seasoning on the squash starting with the ancho chili powder. End with a generous sprinkling of salt.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes until crispy and golden. Flip halfway through baking as needed.
- Remove to a baking rack to cool and keep crisp.
- Add to a serving platter and sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with balsamic syrup (optional).
- Store any leftovers in a sealed container or bag.
- Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
About Lori Murphy
Lori has over 30 years in the food industry as a marketing strategist, culinary instructor and chef for three kids with discerning palates. As the chief content creator at Josie + Nina, Lori is dedicated to helping home cooks create food memories through fresh ingredients and Italian flavors.
I saw these little squash at Trader Joe's the other day and bought them on a whim. I am so glad I found your recipe, we are adding them to our Thanksgiving menu.
Lori Murphy says
Yay!! They are my all time fav squash. Hope you enjoy them!!