Easy Sautéed Butternut Squash


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Need an easy and reliable vegetable side dish idea? Ready in around 15 minutes, sautéed butternut squash goes with almost anything.

Make this recipe with frozen or fresh butternut squash – your choice. Lightly seasoned and both sweet and savory, it’s just as suitable for a weeknight dinner as it is for a special occasion such as Thanksgiving or dinner with guests!

A closeup view of an oblong plate of sauteed butternut squash with fresh parsley on top, all on a blue marble background with a blue and white tea towel behind.

A back-pocket side dish recipe. Everyone needs a few trusty go-to side ideas when dinner just needs that little extra on the plate. You’ll go back to this recipe for sautéed butternut squash again and again… as well sautéed frozen green beans and sautéed frozen broccoli!

Fast and effortless. When you’ve already put effort into a tasty main dish, who wants to spend a lot of time on a side? This simple butternut squash recipe takes barely 15 minutes, and uses only dried seasonings you probably already have in your pantry.

Healthy! Butternut squash is nutrient-rich, low in fat and high in fiber.

A stove-top recipe. We all love roasted veggies, but with this recipe you can get the same browned and caramelized effect… without having to turn on the oven!

Make it with frozen butternut squash cubes, or fresh. Using ready-cubed frozen butternut squash makes this recipe even easier, but use fresh if you prefer.

Serve with so many dishes and for ANY occasion! This sweet and savory cinnamon, allspice and herb-laced sautéed squash goes with so much – from weeknight favorites like panko chicken or Swedish meatballs, pork chops or grilled fish, to your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey.

Useful leftovers. Use the leftovers in too many ways to count – tossed through a salad such as this delicious pumpkin and feta salad with chorizo (switch the pumpkin for the butternut squash!), use on a pizza, add to pasta, and much much more.

So what does sauté actually mean, anyway? Well, it originates from the French word ‘sauter,’ meaning ‘to jump’! In other words, swift cooking in a bit of fat until browning occurs. I can’t help imagining the veggies playfully dancing in the pan as they cook!


Overhead of all the ingredients needed to sautee butternut squash including the cubed frozen butternut squash, olive oil, a little butter, salt and pepper, ground cinnamon, allspice, garlic powder, mixed dried herbs and fresh herbs to serve, all on a marble background.

Butternut squash: Whether you decide to use fresh or frozen butternut squash for this recipe (I like frozen just for the convenience), I’d recommend buying ready-cubed/chopped.

Of course, you can also buy either a whole or part of a butternut squash and peel and chop it yourself, but you’re going to need a little more time for that.

If you decide on frozen, it’s absolutely fine to pan-fry the butternut squash straight from frozen. Win!

Olive oil: Just a couple of tablespoons of this is what I use to sauté the butternut squash in. Nice and healthy!

Dried seasonings, herbs and spices: As well as salt and pepper, I like to add a touch of cinnamon and allspice for sweetness, depth of flavor and warmth, a hint of garlic powder, and around a teaspoon of mixed dried herbs.

These flavors go perfectly with the natural sweetness of the squash. However, if you don’t have allspice, you could use nutmeg instead.

My favorite ‘mixed herb’, blend to use in this dish is (all or some of) rosemary, marjoram, thyme and sage. A blend including tarragon would work well, too. Ultimately, it’s fine to add whatever dried herbs you already have in your pantry!

Melted butter: For extra holiday vibes (as if the cinnamon and allspice wasn’t enough!), melt a couple of teaspoons of butter into the butternut squash after you’ve pan-roasted it. The resulting taste is divine!

Fresh herbs (to serve): This is definitely optional, but a small sprinkle of chopped parsley, basil, coriander or another fresh herb adds color and extra flavor.

How to make sautéed butternut squash

The step-by-step guide below should help you make the recipe perfectly first time. Scroll down to the end for the full recipe including ingredient amounts.

Firstly, heat up 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet on a medium-high heat.

Add the cubed butternut squash (in the photos below I used frozen) to the pan and stir until well coated in the oil.

Overhead of someone's hand stirring a frying pan of cubed frozen butternut squash with a wooden spoon, all on a marble background.

Sprinkle over the dried seasonings (salt, pepper, dried spices and herbs). Then sauté for 10 to 15 minutes until tender and golden in parts. You don’t have to stir continuously, just every now and again.

Someone's hand adding a small white pot of mixed herbs and spices to a frying pan of cubed butternut squash with a wooden spoon and on a marble background.

Just before serving, melt in the little bit of butter and stir well. Sprinkle over fresh herbs to serve, if you like and happen to have some.

Overhead of someone's arm and hand shown adding a little butter to a pan of sauteed cubed butternut squash in a frying pan with a wooden spoon.

Helen’s top tips

Worth mentioning again… to make this a super easy recipe, choose pre-chopped frozen cubed butternut squash.

For best results, stir-fry until the butternut squash is not only tender but also golden brown and caramelized (at least in parts).

Bear in mind that larger cubes of squash (around an inch) will take a little longer to cook than smaller ones (1-2 cm). Both sizes are fine!


  • Toss nuts or seeds through towards the end of cooking. How about pumpkin or sunflower seeds, chopped hazelnuts, flaked almonds, walnuts or pecans?
  • Include some cubes of apple in the mix for extra sweetness and fruity flavor.
  • Stir-fry some bacon along with the butternut squash. Pancetta or chorizo would also work. This dish has so much potential for ‘sweet and salty’ vibes!
  • Sprinkle just a little crumbled feta cheese, goat cheese or blue cheese over the top just before serving.
  • Serving for Christmas or Thanksgiving? How about adding some cooked chestnuts to the sautéed squash?
  • Chili and butternut squash can be great friends! Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, chili flakes or a small chopped chilli as you sauté the veggies. Finish with a sprinkle of lime juice if you like.
  • Stir-fry some chopped mushrooms together with the squash. You’ll be surprised by how well these two veggies pair together. Adding other veggies can work well, too, such as chopped onions or brussels sprouts.

How to serve

Try your delicious stovetop butternut squash with any kind of chicken. How about this super easy 5-ingredient lemon feta chicken, this 30-minute chicken and rice, or these easy spinach and feta stuffed chicken breasts?

If you have an air fryer, I’d also recommend serving it with these crispy chicken burgers or this air-fried whole rotisserie chicken.

Meatballs! Choose from classic Swedish meatballs (Ikea copycat!) or these air fryer Greek chicken meatballs.

In fact, I think this tasty seasoned butternut squash recipe goes perfectly as an easy side dish with any kind of meat or fish. Craving mashed potatoes as well? Try these easy truffle mashed potatoes.

Keep your dinner super simple by pairing with just bread toasted with olive oil and salt, or serve with some simple potatoes – any way you like!

Leftover ideas: You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to ways to use any delicious pan-roasted butternut squash leftovers! Sprinkle them onto a pizza, or grilled cheese sandwich, toss through a salad, or add to a pie, quiche, frittata or omelette.

An overhead view of a black and white plate of cubed sauteed butternut squash cubes with fresh parsley on top, all on a blue marble background with blue and white tea towel on the left.

Recipe FAQs

How can I avoid burning the butternut squash while sautéing?

You want the butternut squash cubes to be browned and caramelized, but of course not burned. To achieve this, simply cook on a medium-high heat, and stir regularly while sautéing. If it’s starting to brown too much but is still not tender inside, then simply turn the heat down a little.

Can I reheat sautéed butternut squash?

Yes, absolutely. Simply store covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Gently reheat over medium heat in a large pan until hot and lightly crisp again.

Can I freeze it?

Yes, you could freeze sautéed butternut squash for up to 2 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. When ready to eat, either defrost overnight in the fridge or simply reheat straight from frozen as described above. Remember to use a large pan and to shake regularly to avoid burning or overcooking.

Does this recipe work with pumpkin or sweet potato, too?

Yes, it does. If using sweet potato, the cooking time may be a bit faster. It’ll be ready when tender, browned and caramelized.

More super easy side dishes

Sautéed vegetables are so convenient, especially when cooked from frozen! Convinced? Try these 10-minute sautéed green beans, sautéed frozen spinach and garlic, and sautéed broccoli as well!

Greek potatoes! These are the best. You just can’t go wrong. Alternatively, this classy parmentier potato recipe is super simple.

When I’m not in a potatoes, pasta or rice mood, it’s this 2-minute olive oil toast I turn to time and time again.

Looking for an easy salad side dish? Try either surprisingly tasty Greek lettuce salad, or just a classic Greek salad!

Or see all easy side dishes.


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A closeup view of an oblong plate of sauteed butternut squash with fresh parsley on top, all on a blue marble background with a blue and white tea towel behind.
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Easy Sautéed Butternut Squash

This sautéed butternut squash recipe is a great quick and easy side dish to have up your sleeve! It tastes like it's roasted, but no need to turn on the oven. Simply sauté frozen or fresh cubes of butternut squash on your stovetop with warming sweet and savory spices for just 15-20 minutes. This goes with so many dishes! It's perfect either for a midweek meal when you just want more veggies on the plate, or for a special occasion such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. I hope you give it a try today!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 (as a side dish)


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound butternut squash, (frozen or fresh – ready-cubed and peeled) I find this is roughly around half a butternut squash.
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or add more to taste at the end
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, or add more to taste at the end
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice, or substitute with nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs, Try to choose a mix with rosemary, marjoram, thyme, sage or similar if possible, or use a mix of any dried herbs you have.
  • 2 teaspoons butter, (optional)
  • fresh parsley, coriander or basil, to garnish (optional)


  • Pre-heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan on a medium-high heat.
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Add the frozen or fresh butternut squash cubes to the pan. Stir briefly with a wooden spoon just until the vegetables are coated in the oil.
    1 pound butternut squash
  • Sprinkle the dried seasonings and herbs all over the butternut squash. Then sauté on a medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the veggies are perfectly tender and caramelized. Bear in mind that smaller cubes of squash (1-2cm) will require less cooking than larger ones (1 inch for instance).
    ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ⅓ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs, ⅓ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Just before serving, melt the butter over the cooked butternut squash and stir well.
    2 teaspoons butter
  • Serve sprinkled with the fresh herbs, if using.
    fresh parsley, coriander or basil


Type of pan: I recommend a very large skillet/frying pan, dutch oven, wok or sauté pan for this recipe. Try not to overcrowd the pan which can result in soggy/not browned butternut squash.
Cooking time: I usually cook the butternut squash for as long as it takes for it to become tender and browned. This takes roughly 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the cubes.
Variations: Fry a little bacon or chopped chorizo for a few minutes before adding the butternut squash to the pan for a super tasty variation. Try sprinkling a little crumbled feta or goat cheese or blue cheese over the veggies at the end. Add some cubes of apple, toasted nuts, different veggies as well such as onions or brussels sprouts.
Also, feel free to try this same recipe with pumpkin or sweet potato. Sweet potato may take less time to cook. 
Serving suggestions: Serve with a chicken main dish such as 5-ingredient lemon feta chicken, or 30-minute chicken and rice. If you have an air fryer, try crispy chicken burgers or this air-fried whole rotisserie chicken.
Meatballs also go well. Try these classic Swedish meatballs (Ikea copycat!).
Leftover ideas: Sprinkle onto a pizza, or grilled cheese sandwich, toss through a salad, or add to a pie, quiche, frittata or omelette.


Calories: 133kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 312mg, Potassium: 407mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 12119IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Helen Schofield

Don't expect to find anything fussy or complicated here. Just QUICK, EASY & (mostly!) HEALTHY recipes from the Mediterranean and beyond. ENJOY!

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  1. I agree looks another great QUICK recipe for butternut squash. I am now on my own after 73 years without my husband and looking for easy and quick ways to feed one person. This sound’s marvellous and I am going to try it and will let you know.
    Tried the chicken and chorizo and moussaka but cut the aubergines too thin, otherwise both delicious. Thank you

    1. Hello Jeanette! Aw, I’m sorry to hear that you lost your husband after so many years. I hope that you’re doing OK, and I’m very happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed a couple of the recipes around here! This is indeed a great recipe for one, and if there’s too much you can most definitely save and reheat again in a hot pan the next day, or even freeze and then reheat in the same way. You’ll get the aubergines right next time – I’ve made that mistake before too! But once you’ve got it you’ve got it. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day, Jeanette 🙂

  2. Hi Helen thank you for what looks like another great way to cook Butternut Squash, I am making meat balls this week and will definitely be trying this with them. There seemstobea lot of different illnesses in New Zealand at also. I had 25 hours in hospital last month eith what friends thought was a stroke but I new it wasn’t. Turned out after al, tests and scans I have Bells Palst. I am getting better face still not back to normal but 4 lot better but having trouble with right eye . Luckily can still drive. Energy not as good as it was but getting better. Help well and look forward to spring.

    1. Hello Ngaere! Oh no, I’m so sorry you had to spend some time in hospital! It sounds like your instincts kicked in really well and reassured you that you were in fact ‘relatively OK’. I think bells palsy is relatively common, but it certainly doesn’t sound pleasant. Get well very soon! I’m so glad you like the look of the butternut squash and will be trying it soon. Let me know how you get on! 🙂