Farm To Table | Sides & Casseroles

Honeynut Squash Recipe

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This Honeynut Squash Recipe is a delicious fall vegetable dish that is great for weeknights or even holidays. On the table in only 30 minutes.

Honeynut Squash on pewter tray with cranberries and walnuts.Pin
Honeynut Squash

The fall squash industry has been booming in the last few years. Lots of new varieties are popping up in grocery stores and farmers markets.

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Researchers are breeding varieties that have better yields, more insect and disease resistance and better flavor than the old stand by varieties, like butternut and acorn squash.

Honeynut (Curcubita honeynut) is certainly one of the new stars of this research. This variety was developed by Michael Mazourek at Cornell Research Extension in Geneva, NY, which is right down the road from us. Dr. Mazourek developed the variety specifically for flavor and Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill Farms consulted (and basically challenged him to breed a butternut that tasted good) regarding the flavor aspect. It’s a cross between butternut and buttercup squash. Testing began in 2006 and the variety was finally released in 2015.

Squash purée in the squash shell.Pin

It looks like a mini butternut and has a similar flavor but the honeynut is sweeter with a more creamy texture. The flesh is bright orange and the skin is thinner and can be consumed like sweet dumpling or delicata squash.

You can pretty much locate them in most higher end grocery stores nationwide and in farmer’s markets in the northeast, due to it’s popularity.

Honeynut squash is, like all of the fall squash an easy crop to grow. It prefers moist, well drained soils and adequate moisture levels throughout the growing season.

You must grow at least 2 plants together, preferably 3 or more for effective pollination. It’s less effected by powdery mildew and squash bugs than other varieties. Harvest them in late September to October when they show no more green on the skin.

It is best to ripen them on the vine but you could pick them if there is an early frost. Be aware though that green squash will have a shorter storage time.

What you need

Since this squash was bred specifically for it’s flavor, you can absolutely just cook the squash with a bit a salt and call it a day. The general consensus from chefs is that the squash is best roasted to bring out the sweet, caramel like flavor.

This is generally how we cook most of the winter squash.

Honeynut squash on dark background.Pin
Honeynut Squash

Many of the flavors that can enhance all of the winter squash pair well with the honeynut. Some of these flavors are;

  • maple syrup
  • brown sugar
  • tart apples, like Granny Smith
  • mild onion flavor, like fresh chives
  • garlic or roasted garlic
  • nuts, especially walnuts, pine nuts and almonds
  • butter or olive oil for vegan
  • dried cranberries or pomogranate seeds
  • cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg
  • fresh thyme or rosemary
  • bourbon

How to cook them

To make roasted / baked honeynut squash

Step One

Wash skin well.

With a sharp knife, cut squash in half. This will be much easier than it is to cut a butternut.

Pierce knife in the center. Cut down to board.

Knife cutting through squash.Pin
Place squash on it’s side. Pierce with knife in center.

Step Two

Turn it and cut all of the way down to the stem,

There is no need to peel them.

Knife cutting all the way through the squash.Pin
Turn squash and cut through to the stem.

Step Three

Twist halves apart.

The seeds are actually edible. Just roast them as you would pumpkin seeds.

You should buy new seeds rather than planting the seeds from the fruit to ensure you will get honeynuts as opposed to butternut or buttercup or a combination thereof.

Halved squash with seeds still in it.Pin
Twist halves apart at stem.

Step Four

Place them on a parchment covered baking sheet, cut side up. Preheat oven to 400°F/ 205°C

Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the endocarp (the slimy, stringy pulp surrounding the seeds.)

Seeds scooped out of squash.Pin
Scrape the seeds and endocarp out with a kitchen knife.

Step Five

Drizzle a bit of olive oil or spread butter on the flesh. Use any of the optional ingredients mentioned above.

Butter and brown sugar added to squash.Pin
Add butter and sugar, if desired.

Step Six

Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Prepare squash seasoned with salt and pepper.Pin
Season the squash with salt and pepper.

Step Seven- optional

If you’d like to garnish with candied walnuts, add butter, sugars and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan.

Heat until butter melts, stirring constantly.

Spread onto parchment paper. Let dry at least 10 minutes.

Walnuts, sugar and butter in small saucepan.Pin
For candied walnuts, add butter and sugars to a saucepan. Heat until butter melts, stirring constantly.

Roast at 400°F/ 205°C for about 30-40 minutes until flesh is tender.

Garnish with any of the above optional ingredients.

To boil squash

Perform steps one, two and three above. Peel squash, if desired. Cut it into chunks that are about the same size. Add about 2 inches of water to a saucepan. Add squash.

Place lid on pan. Bring to boil. Boil for about 8-10 minutes until vegetable is tender when pierced with a fork.

Squash purée in the squash shell.Pin

To microwave

Perform steps one, two and three above. Peel squash, if desired. Cut into chunks that are about the same size. Add a bit of water to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

Carefully remove from microwave and stir. Return to microwave and continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until flesh is tender when pierced with a fork. (Time will depend on how large you cut the chunks.)

To cook in the Instant Pot

Perform steps one, two and three above. Peel squash, if desired. Cut into chunks that are about the same size. Add a cup of water to the pot and the trivet. Then add the pieces. Close lid. Turn vent to seal. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes.

To cook it in the air fryer

Perform steps one, two and three above. Peel squash, if desired. Cut into chunks that are about the same size.

Place the chunks in your basket. Spray with olive oil or no stick. Season. Air fry at 340°F /170°C about 20 minutes, turning about half way through the cooking process.

To make grilled squash

Perform steps one, two and three above. Peel squash, if desired. Lay squash flat side down on cutting board. Slice into ¼ inch thick slices. Discard the bottom and top slices.

Melt butter. Brush on both sides of the fruit. Grill for about 10-15 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes until outside is charred and inside is tender.

More ways to use winter squash

  • Make a soup like this butternut soup.
  • Use it in stews like this venison stew.
  • Stuff them with a mixture of meat, cheese, rice, quinoa or vegetables like spinach.
  • Use it as a side dish, as is or mash them to make a squash purée
  • Use it to top salads and nourishing or buddha bowls

Storage tips

To store your cooked squash, refrigerate for 3-4 days or freeze for longer storage in an airtight container. If you freeze them in chunks, they will last 3-4 months. If you make soup out of them, freeze for about 6 months.

To store raw squash, place in cool area like a basement or root cellar. 55°F / 15° C is optimal. They can be stored in the refrigerator but they will not last as long.

Optimally stored vegetables will last for 2-4 months.

Helpful Tools

More fall squash recipes

Substitute honeynut in any of the recipes below.

Honeynut purée served in the skin.Pin
Honeynut Squash Purée

No matter how you decide to cook this delicious vegetable, it is incredibly easy and delicious. Pick some up next time you see them and let us know how you like them.

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If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Roasted honeynut squash with garnishes,Pin

Honeynut Squash Recipe

This Honeynut Squash Recipe is a delicious fall vegetable dish that is great for any weeknight or even holidays. On the table in only 30 minutes.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 163kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $3

Ingredients

  • 4 honeynut squash
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature. or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup optional

Instructions

  • Wash skin of squash. Carefully cut squash in half. (see article above for how to cut it)
    4 honeynut squash
  • Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
  • Spread butter on the inside and outside.
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
    ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Drizzle with maple syrup.
    2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Place halved squash on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast at 400°F/ 205°C for about 30-40 minutes until flesh is tender when pierced with a fork.
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Notes

You can also boil, microwave, air fry, grill or cook the squash in your instant pot. See article above for instructions.
See article for tips on safely cutting squash.
Article also has information regarding growing it.
More ways to use it
  • Make a soup like this butternut soup.
  • Use it in stews like this venison stew.
  • Stuff them with a mixture of meat, cheese, rice, quinoa or vegetables like spinach.
  • Use it as a side dish, as is or made into a squash purée
  • Use it to top salads and nourishing or buddha bowls
How to store it
To store your cooked squash, refrigerate for 3-4 days or freeze for longer storage. If you freeze them in chunks, they will last 3-4 months. If you make soup out of them, freeze for about 6 months.
To store raw squash, place in cool area like a basement or root cellar. 55°F / 15° C. They can be stored in the refrigerator but they will not last as long.
Optimally stored vegetables will last for 2-4 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 367mg | Potassium: 2668mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 79901IU | Vitamin C: 158mg | Calcium: 374mg | Iron: 5mg
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Originally published December 5, 2022.

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow, thanks for introducing me to honey nut squash and your Honeynut Squash recipe. It’s gonna be delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  2. 5 stars
    Love all the fall flavors in this delicious honeynut squash. It’s so easy to make and goes well with any protein.

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