An oven-baked, roasted butternut squash casserole, topped with a sweet, crunchy and nutty topping. A perfect side dish for holidays or any day.
Why you’ll love this butternut squash casserole
Butternut squash is always good, but roasted butternut squash is even better! This squash casserole lets the wonderful flavour of roasted butternut squash shine. It’s lightly sweet, with just minimal additions, which complement the flavour of the squash and add a bit of creaminess.
On top of the roasted butternut squash goodness is a bit of the sweet, with a brown sugar and butter crumble, and a bit of crunch, with the pecans (which toast up beautifully as the casserole bakes).
You’ll also love that this squash casserole is a crowd pleaser. Everyone will like it, even the kids :)
Butternut Squash – butternut squash comes in a wide variety of sizes, but as a general guideline, you will need two small for a single recipe or one really big one. I’ve included cup measurements in the Recipe Card for extra guidance. It doesn’t need to be exactly that much. Just use the amount of puree you have to guide how much additions and toppings to add to it.
Maple Syrup – Maple syrup will give a great note of flavour to the casserole. Pure maple syrup is best, if you have it or maple-flavoured pancake syrup would also work. If you don’t have any maple syrup, substitute vanilla, instead, as suggested in the Recipe Card.
Brown Sugar – I generally use light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar will also work.
Cream – for best results, I love using heavy, whipping cream. You only need a bit and the extra thickness of the heavy cream works nicely. Alternately, you can use a lighter cream. such as 10% half and half cream.
You will also need – butter, all purpose flour, egg, salt.
Step 1: Roast the butternut squash – The first step in making this casserole is to roast off the butternut squash. Start by cutting the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and membrane, then place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet.
Bake the squash for 50-70 minutes (depending on size) or until the squash is soft. Remove from the oven, flip over and scoop out the cooked squash. (You can roast off the squash ahead. For holiday cooking, I like to roast a day ahead, then I cover and refrigerate until I want to mix up the casserole.)
Step 2: Mix casserole, top and bake – Measure out the required amount of butternut squash puree and mix in a bowl with an electric mixer or a stand mixer until smooth. Add the remaining casserole ingredients (egg, cream, maple syrup and melted butter) and mix until combined.
Spoon mixture into baking dishes. Use a pan where the squash mixture will be about 1 1/2 – 2 inches in height in the pan. You can fill the pan right up, as it won’t expand during baking. (You can do to this point a bit ahead and cover and refrigerate, to bake later. Don’t add the topping until ready to bake and allow a bit of extra baking time if the casserole is cold going into the oven).
Finally, mix up the simple topping (flour, brown sugar, melted butter and pecans) and scatter over the top of the casserole. Bake and enjoy!
Butternut squash is naturally fairly sweet that you don’t need to add any sugar to the squash part itself. I just put in a bit of maple syrup, for the flavour. The crunchy, sweet topping with pecans just takes it up a notch for special occasions or makes every day meals feel special. I like this casserole with not too much topping, so it doesn’t get too sweet. That said, if you love a sweeter squash side dish, feel free to double up the topping and add more.
A single batch recipe will make a roughly 8×8 pan or several smaller dishes. If you want to feed a crowd, double or triple the recipe and bake up in a 9×13 or larger casserole. The pan you use to bake it isn’t critical. If it fits in the pan, it’s fine (it won’t increase in size as it bakes, but won’t decrease either). I personally like a little thicker casserole, so I aim for about 1 1/2-2 inches for the squash layer.
You can make this ahead for holiday cooking by roasting the squash off a day or two ahead and keeping it in the fridge until the big day. Then I just have to mix it up and add to the casserole dish. I refrigerate it covered (without the topping) until ready to bake, then simply add the topping and bake. Add a bit of extra time in the oven if it is going into the oven cold (5-10 minutes).
Re-heat the baked casserole in in a moderate 350F oven , loosely covered with foil (to prevent the crumble and nuts from over-browning) until warmed through. Alternately, you can quickly re-heat any left-overs in the microwave.
This casserole freezes well, both before and after baking or with or without the topping. The only side-affect of freezing is a bit of additional liquid in the squash layer. I find it will generally cook off during baking or re-heating in the oven.
Due to the egg in the casserole, you should refrigerate the unbaked casserole if you aren’t baking immediately after mixing. Left-overs should be refrigerated as well. They will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, though the topping will soften and it may become more moist as it sits.
While this squash casserole is perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or entertaining, it is also wonderful to enjoy any time. When butternut squash is plentiful and economical, buy extra, roast it up and make “mini” casseroles in wide-mouth mason jars to put in the freezer.
Simply spoon into jars, add the topping and place a lid on it. Freeze in the lidded jars for 3-4 months. Then, enjoy from the freezer whenever you want, by simply placing the jars on a baking sheet (without the lids, of course) into a 350F and baking until bubbly and golden. (You can also microwave them without the lids, as well).
Get the Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole
- 4 cup roasted butternut squash puree, from 2 small/medium or 1 large butternut squash (approximately)
For the casserole:
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream (35% b.f.), or lighter cream such as 10% half and half cream
- 1 Tbsp real maple syrup, or substitute 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 Tbsp salted butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 Tbsp salted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup pecans, chopped (you can chop coarsely or finely, as you like)
Roast the Butternut Squash:
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and cook in the preheated oven until the squash is soft , about 50 - 70 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. (Test doneness by pressing on the top of the squash, it should feel soft and yield to light pressure.)
- When the squash is cooked, remove from oven, flip over the squash so the cut side is up and let cool slightly. With a large spoon, scoop out the squash into a large bowl. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate or if making immediately, allow to cool to almost room temperature before mixing.
To Make the Casserole:
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Lightly grease a baking pan or casserole dish - approximately 8 x 8-inch-ish baking dish (for a single recipe) or a 9x13-inch-ish dish (for a double recipe). Exact size or shape isn't too important. If the squash fits into the dish and is about 1 1/2 - 2 inches high, it's good. (You can also use several smaller dishes, ramekins or even mason jars).
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer (or food processor) or in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the roasted butternut squash. Mix at low speed for 1-2 minutes, or until nice and smooth. Add the egg, cream, maple syrup, melted butter and salt and mix until well combined and smooth.
- Spoon squash mixture into prepared pan(s). Ideally, it will be about 1 1/2-2-inches thick. You can fill it right up. The squash won't expand or shrink as it cooks, so as long as it fits nicely in the pan, it fine. *If very full, be sure to bake the dish on top of a baking sheet in case some of the liquid in the squash bubbles over.
- **You can cover and refrigerate or freeze the uncooked , un-topped casserole at this point, if you like. Refrigerate covered for up to 24 hours or freeze up to 1 month.
- Prepare the crunchy topping by stirring together the brown sugar and flour. Pour in the melted butter and stir to combine. Stir in the pecans.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar/pecan topping mixture evenly over the squash mixture. *Depending on your size pan/shape, if you feel there isn't enough of the topping, you can double the topping recipe and add more. That said, you don't want too much, as butternut squash is sweet itself, so you don't want too much additional sweet on top.
- Bake in preheated 350° oven until squash is bubbling around the edges and the topping is lightly golden, about 40 minutes. Add additional time (5-10 minutes) if the casserole was cold when it went in the oven or is very large/deep.
- Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes, before serving.
- Baked casserole can be frozen up to 1 month. Left-overs should be refrigerated. Reheat in a 350F oven, loosely covered with a sheet of aluminum foil, to prevent over-browning of the topping. Heat until warmed through.