These 16 types of winter squash all have their own unique flavors and textures that can be used to make some incredibly tasty dishes! I've included everything you need to know about cold-weather varieties of squash right here in this complete guide. There are tips and tricks on choosing the perfect squash, proper storage, and even a few recipes to try!
A Complete Guide To Winter Squash
One of my favorite things about winter, besides holiday baking, is that so many fabulous types of winter squash are in season! There's no reason pumpkins should get all the attention with so many different varieties to choose from.
Despite its name, winter squash becomes available in the fall but is hardy enough to last throughout the cold winter months. They come in a wide range of vivid colors and unique flavors, plus they are all equally nutritious!
- A Complete Guide To Winter Squash
- Winter Squash Varieties
- 1. Acorn Squash
- 2. Delicata Squash (Sweet Potato Squash)
- 3. Buttercup Squash
- 4. Butternut Squash
- 5. Banana Squash
- 6. Carnival Squash
- 7. Hubbard Squash
- 8. Spaghetti Squash
- 9. Green Kabocha Squash
- 10. Red Kabocha Squash
- 11. Turban Squash
- 12. Mashed Potato Squash (White Acorn Squash)
- 13. Sugar Pumpkin
- 14. Red Kuri Squash
- 15. Sweet Dumpling Squash
- 16. Honeynut Squash
- 😋 Warm & Cozy Recipes For Winter
- 📋 Recipe
Winter Squash Varieties
Chances are, you won't have a hard time finding sugar pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, or spaghetti squash at the grocery store near the end of the year. However, you shouldn't limit yourself to these common varieties when some of these squash are certainly worth hunting down at farmers' markets or larger international chains like Central Market or Whole Foods!
1. Acorn Squash
What It Looks Like: As the name suggests, acorn squash looks like an oversized acorn. It generally weighs somewhere between 1 and 2 pounds with dark green and yellow skin. The flesh inside is more orange-yellow colored.
What It Tastes Like: Coincidentally, acorn squash does have a light nutty flavor that is subtly sweet. The skin is edible as well!
Buying & Storing: Look for acorn squash that is firm with no spots or blemishes. They should feel somewhat heavy for how small they are. Keep them stored somewhere cool & dark (like a pantry or cabinet) and they will last for up to a month or more!
How To Use: The flavor of acorn squash lends itself to both sweet and savory recipes. It's not uncommon to see it halved, baked, and eaten right out of its shell. It also can be roasted, steamed, sauteed, microwaved, you name it!
Acorn Squash Recipes
2. Delicata Squash (Sweet Potato Squash)
What It Looks Like: The skin of delicata squash is creamy and yellow with deep green stripes. The 'meat' inside is pale orange to yellow in color.
What It Tastes Like: Delicata squash is creamy and mildly sweet, similar to a sweet potato.
Buying & Storing: Purchase delicata squash that appear heavy for their size. As always, look for squash that is free from spots or other blemishes. It can be stored out of sunlight at room temperature for several weeks.
How To Use: Delicata squash can be roasted, steamed, sauteed, or baked. The skin is edible and does not need to be removed unless desired.
3. Buttercup Squash
What It Looks Like: This compact squash is short and squat. The rind is dark green with lighter green vertical stripes. Buttercup squash is sometimes mistaken for kabocha squash but can be distinguished by the circular ridge on the bottom. The flesh inside is vibrant orange in color.
What It Tastes Like: Butternut squash is sweeter than most other varieties of winter squash and has a smooth, creamy texture.
Buying & Storing: Look for buttercup squash with skin that is an even color and free from blemishes. It can be kept in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for up to 3 months.
How To Use: Butternut squash dries out easily so steaming or baking it yields the best results.
Buttercup Squash Recipes
4. Butternut Squash
What It Looks Like: Butternut squash is pear-shaped and creamy yellow in color. The flesh inside is bright orange and there are far fewer seeds than many other varieties of squash.
What It Tastes Like: Of all the varieties of winter squash, butternut is the sweetest and it has a nutty undertone.
Buying & Storing: Choose butternut squash that is hefty with no blemishes, cracks, or soft spots. Keep it in a cool, dark place away from sunlight and it can last for 2-3 months.
How To Use: Butternut squash is incredibly versatile! You can roast it, bake it, pan-fry it, steam it, or puree it into soup.
Butternut Squash Recipes
5. Banana Squash
What It Looks Like: Coincidentally, a banana squash does not look like a banana. In fact, this squash can grow up to 2-3 feet in length and may even weigh as much as 40 pounds. The rind is smooth and can be blue, pink, or orange but the meat inside is always bright orange.
What It Tastes Like: Once cooked, banana squash has a rich earthy taste with just a very subtle sweetness to it.
Buying & Storing: Look for squash with a hard rind that is free from blemishes. Usually, the squash is sold in its entirety though you may also find it sliced and sold in smaller, more manageable pieces.
How To Use: Banana squash can be used in place of kabocha or butternut squash in other recipes. It is very tasty roasted or in soups or stews.
6. Carnival Squash
What It Looks Like: The skin of a carnival squash is covered in orange, yellow, and green stripes. It looks almost like a cross between acorn and dumpling squash.
What It Tastes Like: The flavor is sweet and mild. It becomes creamier as it cooks.
Buying & Storing: Look for heavy-feeling squash that is free from blemishes. It can be stored at room temperature, away from sunlight, for up to a month.
How To Use: You can bake, steam, or puree carnival squash, but roasting it is the best way to bring out its natural sweetness.
7. Hubbard Squash
What It Looks Like: One of the largest winter squash varieties. The color of the skin can range from rich green to grey to blue.
What It Tastes Like: Hubbard squash is somewhat sweet and pumpkin-like.
Buying & Storing: Choose a squash with no soft spots or blemishes that appears heavy and not hollow. Most stores will sell it pre-sliced due to its size, but you may be able to find a whole Hubbard squash at farmer's markets.
How To Use: Discard the tough skin of this squash. The flesh can be used in sweet or savory recipes in place of any other winter squash variety. It makes delicious soups as well as pie!
8. Spaghetti Squash
What It Looks Like: A cylindrical squash with pale to bright yellow skin. The stringy yellow flesh inside resembles spaghetti, hence the name!
What It Tastes Like: Spaghetti squash is chewy and tender with a very mild flavor. It looks like spaghetti but does not taste like it.
Buying & Storing: Stoor somewhere dry and cool, away from sunlight, for up to 1 month.
How To Use: Spaghetti squash is best roasted or steamed (though you may also microwave it). The strands should be scraped out of the rind and are delicious in place of pasta in many recipes!
9. Green Kabocha Squash
What It Looks Like: Like red kabocha, green kabocha is short and round.
What It Tastes Like: A mildly nutty and sweet flavor with a texture that is somewhere between pumpkin and sweet potato.
Buying & Storing: This squash will keep for 1 month if stored somewhere cool and away from sunlight.
How To Use: Roast or steam your kabocha squash (red or green). It is delicious in stews but equally tasty in pies!
10. Red Kabocha Squash
What It Looks Like: A short, round squash with a reddish color. Some have white verticle stripes. The meaty flesh inside is orange in color.
What It Tastes Like: Significantly sweeter than green kabocha squash but with the same nutty undertones and texture.
Buying & Storing: As with most squash, store it in a cool, dry place for up to a month.
How To Use: This very versatile squash can be used as a substitute for most other winter squash varieties in sweet or savory recipes.
11. Turban Squash
What It Looks Like: This ornate and decorative squash has a signature irregular shape. The rind is lumpy and ranges in color from green to orange to yellow. They generally weigh about 6 pounds at maturity.
What It Tastes Like: Turban squash has a very mild and nutty flavor.
Buying & Storing: As always, look for a heavy-feeling squash free from blemishes or cracks. In a cool, dark place turban squash will keep for about a month.
How To Use: Turban squash is primarily used as fall decor. However, it is edible and can be substituted for any other variety of winter squash in most recipes.
12. Mashed Potato Squash (White Acorn Squash)
What It Looks Like: An oval-shaped squash that is creamy white in color (like mashed potatoes). The interior is creamy yellow with an abundance of seeds.
What It Tastes Like: The flesh has a very mild flavor and becomes buttery when cooked.
Buying & Storing: Look for squash without blemishes or soft spots. In a pantry or another cool, dark place, this squash will keep for a month.
How To Use: This squash is very versatile due to its mild unassuming flavor. It can be steamed, pureed, roasted, or baked, in sweet or savory recipes.
13. Sugar Pumpkin
What It Looks Like: A sugar pumpkin is a smaller orange pumpkin with a woody brown stem. The 'meat' of the pumpkin is pale orange in color.
What It Tastes Like: Soft flesh that is sweet and earthy.
Buying & Storing: Be sure to pick blemish-free pumpkins made for cooking or baking, not for carving. They will store well in a cool, dark place for up to a month.
How To Use: You can use sugar pumpkins in pumpkin pie, or you can enjoy it in a more savory fashion such as roasted or in soups.
14. Red Kuri Squash
What It Looks Like: A short round squash with an elongated neck towards the stem. The rind is very firm and reddish-orange while the flesh inside is a pale orange color.
What It Tastes Like: Similar to a chestnut, red Kuri squash is mild and sweet with a subtle nutty flavor.
Buying & Storing: Choose squash with thick, unblemished skin. Keep it in a cool, dark place for up to 1 month.
How To Use: This squash can be roasted, steamed, stewed, or pureed. It works well in both sweet and savory recipes.
15. Sweet Dumpling Squash
What It Looks Like: A small yellow variety with dark green to orange stripes.
What It Tastes Like: A starchy sweet flavor that is somewhat resemblant to corn.
Buying & Storing: Choose squash with a deep color and no blemishes or soft spots. In a pantry or other cool, dry area out of the sunlight, a dumpling squash may last for up to 3 months.
How To Use: Because this squash is so small, 1 squash is a single serving. It's great for stuffing and roasting!
16. Honeynut Squash
What It Looks Like: Honeynut squash is a mix of butternut and buttercup squash. It has a similar shape to a butternut squash but with a deep-orange rind.
What It Tastes Like: Very buttery and sweet.
Buying & Storing: Pick a hefty squash without blemishes or soft spots. It will keep in a cool, dark place for upward of 1 month.
How To Use: Use honeynut squash in sweet or savory recipes just as you would use butternut or buttercup squash.
>>>>See all of my recipes HERE<<<<
😋 Warm & Cozy Recipes For Winter
- Ground Beef Stew - An easy-to-make stew that is deliciously warm and comforting with a rich broth and tender veggies.
- Leftover Prime Rib Pot Pie - A fantastic after-holiday dinner recipe that is made with leftover prime rib and mashed potatoes!
- Sweet Potato Cornbread - With the right seasonings, this cornbread can be either sweet or savory.
- Homemade Chili - Nothing says comfort food like a warm bowl of homemade chili.
- New England Clam Chowder - This creamy clam chowder is loaded with potatoes, clams, and bacon!
- Green Bean Potato Sausage Casserole - A filling casserole with green beans, potatoes, bacon, and lots of flavorful herbs and spices!
I hope this guide on types of winter squash answered any questions you may have had on the topic. If not, let me know in the comments below and I'll get right back to you!
Types Of Winter Squash: Baked Buttercup Squash (+More Cold Weather Varieties!)
- 1 lb buttercup squash (1 small squash, halved and seeds removed)
- 1 cup apples (cored and chopped semi-sweet apples)
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon honey
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C) and cut your buttercup squash in half carefully. Remove the seeds and place each top and bottom half of the squash into a 9x13 baking dish.1 lb buttercup squash
- Chop the apple(s) and toss with salt and pumpkin pie spice then transfer into the squash halves. Place a tablespoon pat of butter onto each squash with apples, then drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of honey.1 cup apples, 2 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoon honey, ½ teaspoon Kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 35-40 minutes or until your apples and squash are tender. *If the apples start to get too toasty and browned, place a sheet of aluminum foil over your dish.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately when done.
Equipment You May Need
- Use 1 large apple or 2 smaller apples. A tart or semi-sweet apple variety with a firm texture is best for baking. Braeburn, Gala, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, McIntosh, Empire, Cortland, and Jonagold are great apples for this recipe.
- The pumpkin pie spice can be swapped for apple pie spice or a mixture of cinnamon and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!
Thanks for coming! Let me know what you think: