Air Fryer Butternut Squash, when cooked in halves, can be used for so many different dishes. It cooks quickly in the air fryer and comes out with a soft silky interior that’s perfect for mashed butternut squash, or a filling for ravioli and pasta.
Why You’ll Love it
- Butternut squash in any form – whether whole or cubed – makes a great side dish. Butternut squash has a lovely sweet delicate flavor that pairs well with any main dish.
- All you have to do to make this recipe work is cut the butternut squash and put them in the air fryer. Super easy. Yet super rewarding.
Darrin says: It’s such an easy and quick way to enjoy butternut squash
Why Use an Air Fryer
An air fryer is an incredibly easy way to cook just about anything. You place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp – much like deep-frying, but without the oil. You can cook anything you’d make in the oven.
- I use a Ninja MaxXL air fryer (pictured left). If you don’t have an air fryer yet, check out these options to find one that fits your needs.
- See reviews and prices for air fryers on Amazon.
- Here’s a printable Air Fryer Cooking Times Cheat Sheet to get you started.
- Click to find more recipes to make in your Air Fryer.
- Learn how to make fun things in the air fryer, like potato wedges, pork belly bites, and chicken wings.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Butternut squash: The average butternut squash weighs between 1.5-2 pounds. You can use any size you like just make sure that it fits in your air fryer basket.
- Olive oil: We are using olive oil here. It is a healthy oil with a nice mild flavor. You can use any oil that you like.
- Salt and ground black pepper: to taste.
- Air fryer: I use this 4-quart basket-style air fryer. It’s large enough to fit 2 small butternut squash pieces. Give each piece of squash enough space in the air fryer basket, so they cook evenly.
- Kitchen tongs: It’s very easy to remove food from your air fryer with kitchen tongs. I use these kitchen tongs that are silicon coated so they don’t scratch the interior.
- 2 independent XL air fryer baskets
- Integrated Foodi® Smart Thermometer
- Cook 2 foods 2 ways that finish at the same time
What to Look For When Picking a Butternut Squash
It can be daunting to stand in front of a pile of butternut squash at the grocery store wondering which one to pick. Here are some tips for picking the perfect squash.
Look for a squash with:
- A solid beige color
- A hard skin
- Without cuts or bruises, though some scratches on the surface are normal.
- No brown patches or punctures.
- One that feels heavy for its size.
Expert Tips to Follow
- You may have to adjust the cooking time depending on how big your butternut squash is. A larger squash might need additional time to cook. Start with 30 minutes and extend if the flesh isn’t easy to insert a fork into.
- Don’t throw the seeds away! Roasted butternut squash seeds make a great snack. You can follow this air fryer pumpkin seed recipe.
- There is no need to peel the squash before cooking.
- Make sure to get the butternut squash that will fit in your air fryer basket.
How to Make Butternut Squash in the Air Fryer
Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp. Try to get it as clean as possible. You can save the seeds to cook on their own as a snack.
Spray the squash with cooking spray (or brush with a small amount of olive oil) and season with salt & pepper. This is all it really needs for great flavor. If you want to add a different type of seasoning, go for it.
Place the squash in the air fryer face down and cook at 375°F for 20 minutes. Then turn the squash face up and continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
When the squash is done, transfer it to a place using tongs and let it cool a bit. You can eat it by scooping it out of the skin. Or let it cool a little bit so you can handle it, then remove the skin and cut the squash into cubes. You can also just scoop it into a stock pot to make butternut squash soup.
How to Use Butternut Squash
Cooking a whole butternut squash this way makes it easy if you’re planning to make dishes like mashed butternut squash or butternut squash soup. All you have to do is scoop out the cooked flesh of the squash and mash it up, or add it to your soup pot.
You can also use the butternut squash to make homemade butternut squash ravioli filling, or butternut squash risotto. Add it to salads, use it in a pasta sauce, or make a smooth puree with it.
Questions About the Recipe
Can I reheat air fryer butternut squash?
Yes. If you need to reheat them, I suggest putting them back in the air fryer for about 5 minutes to warm and crisp them up again.
Should I peel the squash first?
When cooking a whole butternut squash, it’s best not to peel it before you cook it. Especially if you’re going to be using it for soup or as a filling for ravioli. You can just scoop it out of the skin once it’s cooked. It will keep the insides nice and soft without becoming dry or tough.
Do you cook butternut sqush cut side up or down?
You can cook it either way. This recipe will have you cook it both ways. Place the squash in the air fryer face down and cook at 375°F for 20 minutes. Then turn the squash face up and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. This ensures even cooking.
How do you know when butternut squash is done cooking?
You will know it is done with a fork or knife inserted into the thickest part goes in easily. The squash should be tender and soft. If there is resistance you should cook it longer.
More Air Fryer Squash Recipes to Try
- Air Fryer Delicata Squash
- Air Fryer Acorn Squash
- Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash
- Air Fryer Cubed Butternut Squash
What Oil & Oil Sprayer is Best for the Air Fryer?
The biggest issue most air fryer lovers face is finding the right oil and oil sprayer to use on food cooked in the air fryer. A fine mist of oil will help the entire piece of food crisp evenly, so it’s very important.
My personal preference is to use canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil. I use both a refillable spray bottle like the Evo one pictured below and non-propellant extra virgin olive oil, which has no harmful aerosols or chemicals.
Main Dish Recipes
There are so many options for main dishes to serve with this dish. You can make these all in the air fryer or in the oven, if you wish.
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Butternut Squash (Whole)
- 1 butternut squash that will fit in your air fryer
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp.
- Brush or spray squash with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
- Place in the air fryer, cut side down and cook at 375°F for 20 minutes. Turn over and cook for an additional 10 minutes face up, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Larger squash may need longer to cook.
- Slice or mash, as desired.
- A larger squash might need additional time to cook. Start with 30 minutes and extend if the flesh isn’t easy to insert a fork into.
All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.
Laura is a passionate foodie and owner of Air Fry Anytime She is dedicated to sharing delicious recipes and helpful tips for using air fryers at home. With years of experience in the kitchen and a love for healthy, flavorful cooking, Laura has become an expert at using air fryers to create amazing meals that are both nutritious and delicious.