Air Fryer Butternut Squash is our new favorite veggie side dish. It's healthy, easy to make, and bursting with fall/winter flavors. It's no secret that we love using our air fryer to make veggies even more delicious—like broccoli fries, breakfast potatoes, broccoli tater tots, and even crispy avocado fries! And butternut squash is no exception.
We love to roast butternut squash in the air fryer because it's faster than an oven—and clean up is a breeze. During the holidays, it's also a great side dish to make when there's limited/no oven space. But there's no need to wait for the holidays to make this recipe...it truly is a great weeknight dish to make any time of year!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Fast: The air fryer cooks butternut squash faster than an oven, saving you previous time in the kitchen!
- Delicious: It takes just a few simple seasonings to make mouthwatering roasted butternut squash. This is an easy and healthy side dish to add more veggies to your plate.
- Well-tested recipe: No guesswork required. We tested different oil types—and found that liquid olive oil works better than oil spray. Also, fresh garlic can burn easily, throwing off the flavors—so our recipe uses garlic powder instead.
- Olive Oil: Tossing the butternut squash in oil first helps to evenly coat the squash and ensure the seasonings stick. You could substitute a neutral vegetable oil, such as grapeseed oil. But, olive oil adds a bit more flavor, which we prefer.
- Garlic Powder: Fresh garlic tends to burn at high temperatures, giving off a slightly bitter taste. So, use garlic powder instead to add a pleasant garlicky flavor to the roasted butternut squash.
- Fresh Thyme: Thyme pairs really well with butternut squash—and fresh thyme is hard to beat! While we didn't love the flavor of dried thyme quite the same, you could substitute it in a pinch. (Refer to recipe instructions, since dried thyme is not a 1-to-1 substitute for fresh thyme.)
How to make
It's ridiculously easy to make this roasted air fryer butternut squash. Here's how:
- Cut evenly: Try and cut the butternut squash into similar sized cubes so they cook evenly in the air fryer.
- Oil first: Toss the butternut squash in oil before adding the seasonings. This will help them stick to the squash for the most flavor.
- Liquid oil vs. spray: In side-by-side tests, we preferred using liquid oil (such as olive oil), rather than an oil spray. The oil spray left a lighter coat of oil, resulting in drier and slightly less flavorful butternut squash.
- Don't overcrowd the air fryer: Spread the squash evenly in the air fryer basket. Avoid overcrowding. This will help the squash get crisp and golden-brown. (If you have a very small air fryer, cook in batches if needed).
What to serve with butternut squash
- Pasta: This simple Butternut Squash Pasta with Crispy Breadcrumbs is so yummy. And, it's quick to make for easy weeknight dinners.
- Veggie Tacos: Add roasted butternut squash to these Crispy Air Fried Avocado Tacos. Or, these Smoky Mushroom Tacos.
- Soup: For a healthy meal that's loaded with veggies, serve butternut squash as a side to this Creamy Vegetarian Tortellini Soup. Our Instant Pot Bean Soup and Vegan Red Lentil Soup would also pair well!
- Quiche: If you bought a large squash, you'll probably have enough extra to make this crowd-pleasing Butternut Squash Quiche with Cheese and Onions.
- Vegan Holiday Mains: Air fryer butternut squash is a great dish to make during the holidays! Pair it as a side to these Vegan Meatballs with Mushroom Miso Gravy.
Frequently asked questions
We recommend using a vegetable peeler to quickly remove the butternut squash spin. This Y-peeler is our favorite.
Yes, you can substitute dried thyme instead of fresh thyme. However, dried thyme is more intense, so you'll need to use less of it.
As a general rule of thumb, substitute 1 teaspoon of dried thyme for every 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme. Or in other words, if using dried thyme instead of fresh, use only ⅓ of the amount called for.
Roasted butternut squash can be reheated in an air fryer or oven at 350°F (177°C) until heated through.
Air Fryer Butternut Squash
- 4 cups peeled & cubed butternut squash (½-inch/1.3 cm pieces, see note 1)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (see note 2)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Season squash: Add butternut squash to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat. Sprinkle thyme, salt, garlic powder, and pepper over the squash. Toss until well coated.
- Air fry (see note 3): Transfer squash to an air fryer basket. Bake at 400°F (200°C) until golden brown on the outside and tender inside, 18 to 25 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through.
- Serve: Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking (if needed). Serve hot.
- Butternut Squash: A 1.5lb to 1.75 lb squash (680g to 795g) will yield about 4 cups of cubed butternut squash (after trimming, peeling, and removing seeds). If using pre-cut fresh butternut squash, 1.25 lbs (567g) = 4 cups.
- Thyme: Fresh thyme recommended, but you can substitute dried thyme in a pinch. When using dried thyme, use one-third of the amount of fresh thyme in the recipe. You'll need 1 teaspoon dried thyme to replace 1 tablespoon(s) fresh thyme.
- Air fryer notes: No need to pre-heat the air fryer. One batch of this recipe should form a fairly even single layer in the basket. Otherwise, if you're using a small basket, consider baking in batches. Cooking time will vary based on air fryer model and the size(s) of the butternut squash cubes. Adjust cook time if needed.
Simple and delicious! Just what we wanted:) Thanks for the recipe!
Yay, glad to hear you enjoyed it Elizabeth!
Great recipe! We have family staying with us this week, so I've been trying to prep some easy veggie sides. Worked great! Will be making again.
Hi Darcey! Glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Hope you had a great visit with your family:)
Devon C says
So easy and so good! I made some as a side dish for dinner - and will be saving some leftovers for grain bowls and salads this week.
Hi Devon! Glad to hear you enjoyed this butternut squash recipe. Thank you for taking the time to write in!
Loved this! I was looking for an air fryer recipe because I didn't want to turn on the oven just to roast squash. This was delicious. The fresh thyme really makes it. Thank you!
So happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe Sylvie! Thanks for taking the time to write in!