Healthy, natural, and tasty, this air fry winter squash recipe only uses a handful of simple ingredients to get its irresistibly mouthwatering flavor.
- Butternut squash: The most essential ingredient in this air fryer recipe is—you guessed it!—butternut squash. Begin by selecting a butternut squash with a firm texture, matte surface, and no bruises. Then, cut it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Though slicing butternut squash may seem daunting, you’ll find all the pro tips you need in my foolproof guide on How to Cut Butternut Squash. You also don’t need to peel your squash before using it in this recipe, though you may use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin if you prefer.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is crucial to giving your air roast butternut squash a moist, tender, and perfectly crisp taste. However, you may also use any other mild-flavored oil, such as avocado oil, melted butter, or ghee.
- Seasonings: All you need is garlic powder, kosher salt and pepper to bring out the natural flavors of the squash. Optionally—depending on your recipe—you may also sprinkle your squash with cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and pumpkin spice for an extra warm, sweet, and spicy taste.
- Optional sweetener: Though not necessary, you may also add light sweeteners like maple syrup or brown sugar to your whole squash to enhance its caramelization and give it a sweet flavor.
How to Air Fry Butternut Squash Halves
There’s no secret to preparing butternut squash in the air fryer whole. These simple instructions will guide you every step of the way, giving you tender, caramelized squash halves in just half an hour.
- Prepare the air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F.
- Cut the butternut squash: Place the whole butternut squash on its side on your cutting board. Be sure to hold it firmly around its middle with your non-dominant hand. Using a sharp chef’s knife in your free hand, trim off the stem by cutting off about half an inch. Then, while holding it in its side position, cut the squash in half lengthwise through its center, beginning from the top and working your way to the bottom. Remember that you may have to jerk the knife back and forth while applying pressure to loosen the blade while cutting. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp from the core of the cut squash. You may either discard them or save the seeds to roast later.
- Season the squash halves: Brush the cut side of the squash halves with olive oil and season them with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Air fry the butternut squash: Place the halved squash cut side down into the basket of the air fryer and cook them for 22 minutes.
- Flip the squash: Flip the squash halves so their cut sides face up and cook them for an additional 10 minutes.
- Check for doneness: Insert a sharp knife into the neck (i.e., the vertical top) of the squash. If the knife pierces the flesh easily, it’s ready to remove from the heat. If the knife encounters some resistance, continue cooking the squash in one-minute increments until done.
How to Store and Reheat?
Making this air-fried butternut squash recipe is one of the easiest ways to enjoy savory, tender squash all week long. None of your favorite veggies will go to waste with these expert storage tips.
- Storage: You can store your leftover squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Reheat: To reheat your air-fried squash leftovers, cook them in the air fryer at 350 degrees F. for 5-7 minutes or until heated through.
You don’t have to be a squash expert to make a delicious side dish fit for a restaurant. These pro tips will ensure your air fryer butternut squash recipe is rich, caramelized, and tender every time.
- Size of your squash matters: When making roasted butternut squash in the air fryer, you must select a squash that will fit in the basket of your air fryer. Therefore, take a minute when selecting your vegetable to ensure it is an appropriate size for your type of air fryer.
- Air frying time: How long it takes to cook butternut squash in the air fryer may vary depending on the size of your squash and the brand of your air fryer. In this recipe, I cook my squash halves for 22 minutes cut-side down and another 10 minutes after flipping. However, I recommend checking the doneness of your air-fried squash using the knife test—inserting a knife into the neck of your squash—to tell if your veggie is appropriately tender. If the knife encounters resistance when inserted into the squash’s flesh, continue cooking it in one-minute increments until fork tender.
- No need to peel: You don’t have to peel your butternut squash halves before adding them to the air fryer. Not only does keeping the skin cut down on prep time, but it also helps give you a good grip when scooping out the flesh to use in other recipes. However, you may peel the squash before air frying if preferred.
- Start with skin side down: The key to cooking butternut squash halves in the air fryer is beginning the cooking process by placing the squash slices skin side down. This orientation ensures that your squash halves cook more evenly, as it allows for better air circulation and helps trap moisture in the skin of the squash to keep the veggie from drying out. It also results in better caramelization, as the flesh side of the squash will have more direct contact with the heat of the air fryer basket.
- Add the sweetener at the last minute: If you choose to make air fryer butternut squash halves with maple syrup, brown sugar, or other sweeteners, wait until the last 5-10 minutes of cooking before adding the ingredient. Limiting these sweeteners’ exposure to high heat will help prevent burning and over-caramelization.
Have more questions about this easy air fryer recipe? This simple guide has everything you need, whether you’re wondering about the air frying process or proper squash preparation.
Absolutely! Air-roasted butternut squash (whether you cook it in cubes or whole) is a tasty, tender, and quick alternative to oven-roasting, and it even helps free up oven space when preparing multiple dishes at a time.
No, you don’t have to remove the butternut squash skin before cooking. Though some prefer removing the skin beforehand, leaving the skin on helps trap moisture in the veggie during the cooking process, and it makes it easier to scoop out the flesh if you plan on using it for other recipes.
Other Butternut Squash Recipes You Might Also Like
Make the most of squash season by filling your kitchen with all your favorite butternut squash recipes. These recipes have everything you need, from delicious holiday sides to easy weeknight meals.
If you try this Air Fried Halved Butternut Squash recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It is a great help to others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Air Fryer Butternut Squash Halves Recipe
- 1 whole butternut squash approximately 2.5 pounds, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pre-heat the air fryer to 375 degrees F.
- Using a sharp chef’s knife, place the whole butternut squash on its side on your cutting board. Hold it firmly in the middle with your non-dominant hand. Trim the stem (the top) by cutting about ½-inch off. While still holding it firmly on its side, cut it vertically (or from top to bottom direction) in the middle. As you are cutting, you may have to jerk it back and forth while applying a little pressure to loosen it.*
- Brush the cut sides of the butternut squash with olive oil and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Place the butternut squash halves cut side down* and cook for 22 minutes.
- Flip the butternut squash halves and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Insert a knife in the “neck” of the squash. If it pierces easily, it should be ready. If it does not feel tender, cook in 1-minute increments until done.
- Yields: This recipe makes one whole butternut squash with two halves, which is good for 2 servings. The nutritional values below are per serving.
- Cutting the squash: It is imperative that you use a sharp knife and take your time as you are cutting the squash. If you are new to the process, be sure to check out our how-to guide to cutting butternut squash like a pro.
- Sweetener: If you prefer, you can use a sweetener like maple syrup or brown sugar. However, we recommend brushing (or sprinkling) your butternut squash halves with the sweetener of your choice in the last 5 minutes of air frying to prevent over-caramelization or burning.
- Start with skin side down ensures that your squash halves cook more evenly, as it allows for better air circulation and helps trap moisture in the skin of the squash to keep the veggie from drying out. It also results in better caramelization, as the flesh side of the squash will have more direct contact with the heat of the air fryer basket.
- Storage: You can store your leftover halved squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Reheat: To reheat your air-fried squash halves, cook them in the air fryer at 350 degrees F. for 5-7 minutes or until heated through.
- Cubed Butternut Squash: If you prefer to air fry cubed butternut squash, check out our Air Fryer Butternut Squash recipe.