The buttery glaze that tops these delicious squash rings adds just the right amount of sweetness and interest to the earthy flavor and silky texture of roasted squash. Cutting the sqaush into half-rings and roasting in high heat means you'll have a delicious side dish in no time. You can use any color or variety of acorn, delicata, mini kabocha, or sweet dumpling squash in this recipe. They all have skin that is thin enough to be edible when roasted. Editors note: We have also used this method (with this butter) to cook wedges of Kobacha squash, which has a somewhat drier (but very flavorful) flesh that benefits from the butter. This squash seems to brown faster so we recommend dropping the oven temperature to 425 and extending the cooking time by 10 minutes to make sure the wedges are cooked through.  

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish or 3 to 4 as a main ingredient for a warm salad

  • 3 to 4 pounds acorn squash (about 3 small) or Delicata or Sweet Dumpling squash
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 more tablespoons, if needed
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground cardamom or 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Line two large heavy-duty rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.

With a sharp chef’s knife, cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise (through both the stem end and the pointy end). Scrape out the seeds and fibers with a spoon. Put each half, cut side down, on a cutting board. Slice off a bit from each end and discard. Slice the squash crosswise into half-inch thick half-rings. If you want, you can trim away any remaining fibers from the rings by running a paring knife around the inside of each. Put the half-rings on the parchment paper—they can snuggle up when you’re making a big batch like this.

In a small saucepan, melt the 6 tablespoons butter over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the maple syrup, vanilla, and cardamom or coriander. Stir well. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the squash pieces with a little less than half of the mixture. Season the pieces lightly with salt and turn them over. Brush this side with more of the mixture, but reserve about three tablespoons for brushing on after cooking. (If using a larger squash and you wind up with a little bit less than three tablespoons of liquid, add one or two tablespoons more butter to the saucepan.) Season the tops lightly with salt.

Roast the squash for 12 to 15 minutes. Use tongs to flip the pieces over. Consider rotating the pan if your oven has hot spots. Continue to roast until they are nicely browned (the bottoms will be browner then the tops) and tender when pierced with a paring knife, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Flip the pieces over again when they come out of the oven so the browner side is up.

Reheat the butter mixture briefly over low heat if necessary (or to melt the additional butter). Brush the butter mixture over the squash slices and serve.

Susie Middleton