This Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Pecans is a deliciously festive addition to your holiday table! Maple glazed butternut squash is sweet and savory, with little pops of tart fresh cranberries and warm earthy sage. The perfect party side dish your guests will love!
Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, this Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberries is the perfect holiday side dish! It's quick and easy to prep, and can be made ahead of time for busy holiday parties. It's also a great dish to bring, easily transported to the host's house and kept warm in their oven!
Colorful, flavorful, and just a handful of simple ingredients, maple glazed butternut squash is a stunning side dish! It pairs well with any main course, turkey, ham, Molasses Braised Beef Roast, steaks, anything!
Add Roasted Sweet Potato Slices in Honey Garlic Butter, and this Cranberry Honey Baked Brie Appetizer to your holiday menu too! You may also like Mashed Sweet Potatoes or this Butternut Squash Casserole with Butter Pecan Topping!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Bright fresh seasonal produce makes this dish best in the winter and fall!
- Butternut Squash - Always the favorite winter squash, it's rich in flavor, heathy and a great choice for sweet and savory dishes. You could substitute another winter squash or even peeled and cubed sweet potatoes. I'm always making this Butternut Squash Red Pepper Soup this time of year too!
- Butter and Olive Oil - These make up the maple glaze, boosting the flavor and helping the squash to roast evenly.
- Maple Syrup - A slight hint of maple syrup brings out the natural sweetness in the butternut squash while not being overly sweet. You could substitute honey or brown sugar.
- Salt - Always important in roasting vegetables, salt enhances the flavors of everything! Depending on your preference, you could use anywhere from ½ to ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt. Taste one at the end, you can finish with another pinch if you think it needs it.
- Fresh Cranberries - Nothing screams the holidays like fresh cranberries! I always but a couple extra bags and freeze them, great for these Cranberry Baked Oatmeal Cups with White Chocolate or these Thanksgiving Cranberry Muffins! You could use frozen cranberries for this dish, just give them a quick rinse, no need to thaw.
- Pecans - Use raw baking pecans since you will be baking them in this dish. If all you have is roasted and salted pecans, just add them towards the end so they just warm through. Leave them whole or chop them. You can also substitute walnuts.
See recipe card for quantities.
Variations & Additions
- Goat Cheese! Yes, goat cheese makes a great topper for this maple roasted butternut squash. Most people are either goat cheese lovers or haters, so I didn't include it in the recipe. But if you love goat cheese, I think it goes beautifully with this side dish!
- Pomegranate Seeds & Walnuts - This Maple Glazed Butternut Squash could be substituted with pomegranate seeds and walnuts instead of the fresh cranberries and pecans. Don't bake the pomegranate seeds, just add them at the end.
- Carrots or Golden Beets - You could add extra veggies to roast along with the squash. Carrots and golden beets have similar cooking times and flavor profiles and either could be mixed in with the squash for something different!
- Keep it Simple! You can leave off the cranberries and pecans and simply roast maple glazed squash for a weeknight side dish!
Step 1 - Prep the butternut squash - Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler and slice off each end. Use a scoop or a spoon to remove the seed cavity.
Then slice through the squash in half inch slices. Turn the slices on end to make strips, then cut into cubes. Try to get them as uniform as you can.
Step 2 - Make the glaze - Chose a baking dish that is large enough to fit the squash in an even double layer (about 2 cubes on top of each other deep). The baking dish can be your serving dish.
Melt the butter in the microwave and add the olive oil and maple syrup. Whisk together with a fork.
Step 3 - Pour the glaze over the butternut squash and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use your hands to toss the squash, coating all pieces with the glaze.
Step 4 - Cover with tinfoil and bake at 425°F convection bake for 30 minutes.
Step 5 - Remove the foil - Take the dish out of the oven and give it a good stir to re-coat in the glaze and ensure the squash cooks evenly. Top with the cranberries and pecans. Return to the oven, uncovered and roast for 30 more minutes or until the squash is softened.
Step 6 - Garnish with fresh sage leave (whole or chopped) and serve!
*Tip - If the nuts begin to burn and the squash is not done, you can either stir them in or cover again with foil to protect them from burning.
Storage & Make Ahead Instructions
Storage and Leftovers - Store leftover roasted butternut squash with pecans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Microwave or warm in the oven.
Leftovers are also delicious for breakfast or lunch topped with goat cheese and a fried egg! Leftover roasted squash can also be added to a soup, salad like this Fall Harvest Salad, or pureed into something baked like these Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins. Pureed roasted butternut squash could be used in place of canned pumpkin.
Make Ahead Instructions - There are a few ways this dish can be made ahead of time to prep for the holiday:
- Butternut squash can be peeled and chopped and kept raw in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen. Frozen squash can be used in this dish, no need to thaw, just roast a bit longer before removing the foil.
- The butternut squash can be peel and chopped and tossed in the glaze a day in advance. Cover the baking dish with foil and keep in the fridge. Roast in the oven when ready!
- You can also make this dish completely, rewrap it in the foil and a big towel and transport it to a party. Keep it warm in the host's oven until ready to serve.
- Cooking times can vary depending on the size you chopped the squash and how large of a baking dish you use. A larger dish will allow the squash to spread out and cook faster, while a smaller dish will pile it up more, needing more time to cook. Either is fine, just take it into account when roasting.
- Give the squash a good stir when you take the foil off before adding the cranberries and pecans to go back in the oven. This will re-coat it in the glaze, and also help all the squash pieces cook evenly.
- If you think the pecans are burning and the squash isn't quite done, you can either give everything a good stir, or recover the dish with foil. Both options will protect the nuts from burning while giving your squash more time.
- Eat the sage! Fresh herbs make a beautiful garnish, but the sage is also really delicious and nicely balances the sweetness with an earthy warm aroma. You can mince some and sprinkle over the top, or keep the leaves whole. Fresh rosemary or thyme would be good substitutes.
- Taste a squash for doneness! When your timer is up, taste one! It should be fairly soft but not totally mushy. If it needs a little more time, put it back in the oven. Remember all ovens are a little different and how large you chopped the squash can vary the cooking time.
- Freeze the ends of your butternut squash to add to Homemade Chicken Stock!
You can, but it will be quite a different finished dish. The fresh cranberries really give a bright fresh tart flavor, balancing the sweetness of the squash. If you'd like to use dried cranberries, don't bake them, just add them at the end. You could also substitute pomegranate seeds at the end, again don't bake them.
First peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. Then slice off the ends and discard. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, exposing the seeds and scoop them out with a spoon or portion scoop. If that large cut seems difficult, you can also cut the squash into 2 pieces right through the middle giving you a "neck" top part and a "bell" bottom part containing the seed cavity. Then it's easier to cut each of these in half to remove the seeds. Finally, lay your pieces cut side down on a cutting board. Chop your squash into slices ½ inch thick, then pile up the slices and cut them into strips and finally into cubes.
Yes! Pre-chopped squash will cut down on prep time! If they are cut too big, you can chop them up smaller.
No, this dish is vegetarian but could easily be vegan. Just substitute an additional Tablespoon of olive oil in place of the butter and it's vegan!
Yes! This roasted butternut squash with cranberries and sage is already gluten-free!
More Holiday Side Dishes
If you made this recipe, I'd love to hear how you liked it! Be sure to leave a star rating by clicking the stars in the recipe card, or leave a comment below!
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Pecans
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- 1 butternut squash
- 1 Tablespoon butter melted
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup fresh cranberries washed
- ⅓ cup pecans left whole or roughly chopped
- fresh sage for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425° convection bake.
- Peel butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. Slice off each end and cut in half lengthwise. Use a spoon or scoop to remove the seed cavity. Cut into ½ slices, then stack the slices and cut into strips and finally cut the strips into cubes. Place in a large casserole dish.
- Melt the butter in the microwave and add the olive oil and maple syrup to it, whisking together with a fork. Pour over the squash and sprinkle evenly with salt. Toss with your hands to completely coat the squash.
- Cover with foil and bake at 425° for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil and give it a stir. Add cranberries and pecans evenly over the top. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for 30 more minutes or until squash is cooked through.
- Garnish with fresh sage and serve hot.
- If you think the pecans are burning and the squash isn't quite done, you can either give everything a good stir, or cover the dish again with foil. Both options will protect the nuts from burning while giving your squash more time.
- Taste a squash to see if it's done. Cooking times can vary depending on oven, the size you chopped the squash, and the size of your baking dish.
- Make Ahead - Butternut squash can be peeled and cubed and stored in the fridge a day or 2 in advance. It can also be tossed in the glaze in the casserole dish and covered in the fridge a day in advance. You can also make the entire dish before heading to a holiday party, cover it with foil and wrap it in a kitchen towel. Keep it in the host's oven to stay warm.