This butternut squash fries up in minutes in the air fryer, so it's super easy to make a healthy, yet delicious veggie side dish. Free up oven space and get this maple roasted, sweet squash recipe on the table fast.
We cannot get enough of butternut squash this fall! It's a healthy side dish that's low calorie, fiber-rich and full of nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin C. It's also a great side dish and is versatile enough for sweet and savory recipes. Some of our favorites are butternut squash pasta sauce, 5 ingredient butternut squash soup, roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash and butternut squash lasagna.
Take this simple (yet delicious) ingredient and fry it up for the perfect, caramelized bite! Air frying squash is one of the best ways to make it because the natural sugars and maple syrup get golden brown and gives this dish the best savory and sweet flavor.
It's one of our favorite recipes in the fall to serve with air fryer bacon wrapped chicken breast. It's also the perfect side dish for the holiday season because of all the cozy fall flavors.
Here are the simple ingredients to make this easy air fryer recipe. Pick up these 5 ingredients at the grocery store and make this asap this squash season. Skip down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Butternut squash: these are mostly in season in the fall and winter, but you can usually find them year round. A medium squash will serve up enough for this recipe!
- Butter: get a quality butter or opt for a plant-based butter like Miyokos. I think the butter adds so much flavor to this dish, but you could use olive oil, olive oil spray, coconut oil or avocado oil if you have it on hand. Totally a personal preference!
- Maple syrup: this pairs really well with the squash and brings out it's natural sweetness. It caramelizes as it cooks and adds a sticky sweet texture and flavor. You could also use brown sugar or coconut sugar.
- Cinnamon and salt for sweet and savory flavor.
How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash
Don't be intimidated by the prep work involved with this winter squash! You'll have it ready in just 3 simple steps, and it's much cheaper to do it yourself than but it pre-cut. The taste of a fresh squash is worth it!
- Peel: as mentioned above, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the flesh.
- Slice: use a sharp knife to cut the whole butternut squash in half lengthwise
- Scoop: use a spoon to scoop out the seedy center.
- Dice: cut the squash into 1 inch strips then cut them across to dice them to make butternut squash cubes.
How to Make Air Fryer Butternut Squash
- Prep: Follow the instructions above to peel and dice the butternut squash into 1-inch cubes. It's important to cut each piece the same size so they cook evenly.
- Mix: Place the squash in a large bowl then add the melted butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt and toss well to coat.
- Air fry: Transfer the squash pieces to the air fryer basket, trying your best to get it in a single layer. You may need to work in a few batches, depending on the size of your air fryer. Air fry butternut squash for 10-12 minutes then open the basket, shake the squash and place it back in the oven and air fry for another 10 minutes, or until it's fork tender and golden brown. The total cook time should be around 20 minutes.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Although you can roast a whole squash, I recommend dicing it into pieces and air frying because it cooks faster and gives you more surface area to get the outside crispy and caramelized.
It takes approximately 20 minutes to make in the air fryer if you cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Butternut squash skin is pretty tough and not something I recommend eating. The easiest way to remove the skin is to use a vegetable peeler.
How to Serve Air Fryer Butternut Squash
This is a simple Thanksgiving side dish everyone will love, especially your gluten-free friends and family!
We love to serve this alongside a main dish in the fall like air fryer bacon wrapped chicken breast, cast iron skillet chicken thighs, blackened salmon or blackened chicken tenders.
Add this squash to your favorite lunch bowls (like quinoa bowls), or a big salad.
Make it for breakfast with a side of over easy eggs!
Fridge: allow the leftover squash to cool completely then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You will lose some of the crispy texture, but it's still delicious!
Freezer: the best way to freeze is to place it in a freezer bag and freeze it flat then stand it up to save space. Thaw overnight before warming.
Reheat: place the squash back in the air fryer at 400°F for 5 ish minutes, or until it's warmed all the way through and starting to crisp again.
More Air Fryer Side Dishes
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
Air Fryer Butternut Squash
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter or vegan plant-based butter melted
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Air Fryer
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F for 5 minutes.
- While it's warming, cut butternut squash. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin then cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seedy center and dice the butternut squash into one inch pieces.
- Place the squash in a large bowl then add the butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt and toss well to coat.
- Transfer it to the air fryer basket and cook for 10-12 minutes then open it and use the handle to shake the squash. Place it back in the oven and air fry for another 10 minutes. It should be fork-tender and starting to brown and caramelize around the edges. If your air fryer has an air broil function, you can broil them for 3-5 minutes to get the edges extra crispy at the end. Serve warm!