Brown Sugar Sage Hasselback Butternut Squash, a simple roasted butternut squash recipe cut “hasselback” and topped with browned butter, brown sugar, and sage. A perfect fall side dish!

Hasselback cut butternut squash on a white plate

Are you a fan of hasselback recipes? Us too! We decided to take our hasselback obsession a step further with butternut squash! While butternut squash in and of itself is a vegetable that screams fall, we topped it off with a bit of browned butter with brown sugar and crispy fried sage. It doesn't get more autumn than that.

👉 Here are three reasons why you should be preparing butternut squash using the hasselback method:

  • You can prep it ahead of time. Simply cut the butternut squash in half and store in the refrigerator for up to three days before completing the rest of the steps when you have time.
  • It's holiday-worthy. Need something to share at the Thanksgiving table? This is the perfect savory and sweet holiday side dish to share with your loved ones, and the beautiful orange color of butternut squash is a definite crowd pleaser.
  • It's easy to adjust. You can make this recipe your own by getting creative with toppings! Add oregano, butternut squash seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, or pecans to change it up.

Ready for the so-simple 5-ingredient, under 60-minute hasselback butternut squash recipe? Let's do it!


🌿 Ingredients

This recipe comes together with the following delicious ingredients:

  • Butternut squash: the best basic vegetable of fall!
  • Unsalted butter: or make it plant-based by swapping with vegan butter. For this recipe, the butter is browned resulting in a drool-worthy nutty flavor.
  • Brown sugar: adds to the oh-so-sweet flavor of this recipe.
  • Sage: one of our favorite autumn seasonings. It has a piney, woody flavor that pairs perfectly with butternut squash.
  • Cinnamon: you'll add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the squash at the end for extra flavor.
  • Recommended tools: thin paring knife or vegetable peeler, melon peeler (to remove squash seeds), baking sheet
butternut squash, butter, sage, and salt on a round plate
Ingredients: butternut squash, butter, sage, salt, pepper

🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Preheat oven and prepare the squash

First, you'll preheat your oven to 475 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Cut squash in half, peel the outer peel, scoop the inner flesh and seeds, and place butternut squash halves on it face down. Roast for 15 minutes.

👉 Note: Do not “hasselback” the squash yet. You'll do that in step three!

peeled butternut squash on a baking sheet
Roast squash for 15 minutes

2️⃣ Step Two: Make brown sugar sage sauce

While the squash is roasting, heat a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Add a stick of butter to then pan and cook until it begins to brown and releases a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes.

Next, add brown sugar to the pan with butter and cook until dissolved, about 1.5-2 minutes more.

brown butter pouring through a strainer

Lastly, add sage slices and cook in butter until they start to harden, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and pour butter through a strainer to remove sage.

fried sage in a strainer after cooking

3️⃣ Step Three: Hasselbak cut squash

When the squash is done cooking, use a thin paring knife to cut the squash using the “hasselback” method.

👉 What is the hasselback technique? “Hasselback” refers to thinly slicing a food about 75% through, so that the food – like a potato, squash, or even a fruit, like an apple or pear – can roast until crispy, usually stuffed with herbs or breadcrumbs.

For this recipe, you'll make small slits across the back of the squash. Make sure to stop the cut about 1/4 inch above the bottom.

Brush some brown sugar sage sauce over the top of the squash, and place back in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Every 15 minutes, remove squash from the oven to brush on more brown sugar butter.

thinly sliced butternut squash on a white plate

4️⃣ Step Four: Serve squash

Take the squash out of the oven, let cool slightly, and then transfer to a serving platter. Top with the last of the browned sugar butter and the fried sage before serving.


❓ Recipe questions + quick tips

Do you need to peel butternut squash when roasting?

You do not need to peel butternut squash when roasting. In fact, it is usually easier to remove the skin after it's cooked. In this recipe, we peeled the squash before roasting to make it easier to “hasselback.” Note that butternut squash peels are edible, we just didn't use it for eating in this recipe.

Is butternut squash healthy?

Butternut squash is very healthy! It's a great source of antioxidants, which are known to have a variety of health benefits. Additionally, it's rich in many vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and fiber.


👉 How to serve

This is an amazing recipe to enjoy around the holidays. Here are a couple of ways to serve it:

  • Enjoy as a side dish. This is our favorite way to serve hasselback butternut squash! It's colorful, it's delicious, and its sweet and savory flavors are the perfect complement to other typical holiday dishes.
  • Toss on top of a salad. This is a great way to enjoy it if you have leftovers!

🧊 How to store

The best way to store leftover hasselback squash is in the refrigerator! Here's what to do:

  1. Refrigerator storage: Simply place squash in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to five days.
  2. Freezer storage: Cooked squash does not hold it's texture when thawed from frozen, so we do not recommend storing in the freezer.
thinly cut roasted butternut squash with fried sage on top

♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips

Sustainability is so important to us here at Fork in the Road! Here are some ways to make this hasselback butternut squash more eco-friendly:

Make it during the fall and winter months. This is when butternut is in season in most areas of the US. Prioritizing seasonal vegetables in your kitchen is a great way to give back to the planet. Find out when butternut squash is in season near you here.

Use eco-friendly cookware. Every green eater needs a set of green cookware; we love Greenpan’s baking sheets and sauce pans for this butternut squash because they are non-stick but toxin-free

Don't throw away butternut squash peels. Yes, butternut squash peels are edible. They become softer and easier to eat after cooking. If you prefer not to eat squash peels, you can toss them in a homemade vegetable broth. At the very least, they should end up in your compost pile!


🧡 More butternut squash recipes

Can't get enough butternut squash? Here are our favorite recipes that use this delicious fall vegetable:

Looking for more hasselback recipes? Try our Hasselback Fall Fruit Platter!

RECIPE CARD BLOCK

Brown Sugar Sage Hasselback Butternut Squash

Brown Sugar Sage Hasselback Butternut Squash, a simple roasted butternut squash recipe cut “hasselback” and topped with browned butter, brown sugar, and sage. A perfect fall side dish!
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Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut in half
  • ½ stick unsalted butter, or ½ cup vegan butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons sage, thinly sliced + more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper

Instructions 

  • Prep squash: Preheat oven to 475. Place squash halves face down on lightly oiled baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes (do not “hasselback” the squash yet).
  • Make brown sugar sage sauce: Meanwhile, heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. When pan is heated, add stick of butter and cook until it begins to brown and releases a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar and cook until dissolved, about 1.5-2 minutes more. Finally, add sage slices and fry in butter until they start to harden, about 1minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour butter through a strainer to remove sage.
  • Hasselback cut squash: Remove squash from oven and, using a thin paring knife, make small slits across the back of the squash, making sure to stop the cut about ¼ inch above the bottom. Top with browned sugar butter mixture and add back to oven for 15 minutes. Cook for 30-45 minutes more, or until the squash have released water and begin to brown, removing squash from oven to brush on more browned sugar butter every 15 minutes.
  • Serve squash: Remove squash from oven, let cool slightly, and then transfer to serving platter. Top with the last of the browned sugar butter and the fried sage before serving.

Notes

  • Tools needed: Thin paring knife or vegetable peeler, melon peeler (to remove squash seeds), baking sheet
  • Recipe notes: To prep butternut squash, cut off bottom rind and top stem, then stand upright and peel outer skin. Then scoop seeds and flesh with a melon peeler and finally cut in half lengthwise.
  • Leftovers + storage: To prep, peel and cut squash the day before and keep in refrigerator until baking. To store, place squash in airtight container and refrigerate up to five days.
  • Nutrition notes: This butternut squash recipe is high in vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C. It is high in fat due to butter, however if you are plant-based or want to reduced the saturated fat then substitute with vegan butter or oil.
  • Inspired by: Bon Appetit's Hasselback Butternut Squash with Bay Leaves

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 247kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 23mg, Potassium: 708mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 20285IU, Vitamin C: 39mg, Calcium: 145mg, Iron: 2mg

UPDATE: This recipe originally published in November 2018 and was updated for clarity in September 2021.