Cinnamon Maple Roasted Kabocha Squash
Published Oct 05, 2021, Updated Oct 31, 2023
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This cinnamon maple roasted kabocha squash is the perfect sweet side dish for fall and super easy to whip up. Kabocha squash wedges are tossed with olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt and roasted to caramelized perfection.
Kabocha squash is one of my favorite winter squashes. It’s sweet yet savory and honestly is the perfect addition to a wide variety of recipes! In the past I’ve made roasted kabocha tots. They’re bite-size and are great on salads, in grain bowls or just as a snack.
The tots are tasty, but I love adding an extra hint of sweetness by roasting the squash with a little maple syrup and cinnamon. By using a small amount of both, the squash ends up a bit sweeter than on its own but not overly sweet or drenched in a thick sugary glaze! The maple cinnamon seasoning takes only a little bit of effort and makes a side dish that’s perfect for special occasions and holiday meals. And oh my goodness, it’s an amazing addition to fall and winter salads. I’m hooked on it!
What is Kabocha Squash?
Often called a Japanese Pumpkin, kabocha squash is the sweetest winter squash variety that I’ve found, even sweeter than my other favorite, butternut squash. The texture is smooth and creamy but hearty enough to roast — basically a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin. The best part is that the skin is completely edible (aka tender after baking!) so you don’t have to peel it before or after roasting.
When looking for kabocha squash, pick one that feels heavy for its size, is firm and without bruises. The squash is shaped like a flatter pumpkin and is usually green with light stripes or spots.
Is Kabocha Squash Healthy?
Heck yes it is! It’s packed with fiber, beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C and B and has fewer calories and carbs than butternut squash. If you’re looking for a dense, high fiber vegetable to use in place of higher-carb ingredients, try kabocha squash!
Here’s What You Need
- kabocha squash – look for a kabocha squash that is firm and without bruises. It should feel heavy for its size and weigh about 1 pound.
- olive or avocado oil – to roast the squash in. Any neutral oil works, but I prefer olive or avocado oil.
- maple syrup – I’m playing up the sweetness of the squash and adding maple syrup as an added natural sweetener.
- cinnamon – the perfect spice pairing for the squash and maple syrup.
- sea salt – I love the salty-sweet combination of this recipe. The salt really brings the flavors together!
The fun thing about roasted vegetables is that the flavor combinations are endless. Here are some variations for roasted kabocha squash:
- Add chopped onion and a minced garlic clove along with oil and sea salt. I love this variation of savory + sweet!
- Mix 2 Tablespoons of fresh rosemary or sage with kabocha squash, oil and sea salt for an herby dish.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder or chili powder to the recipe below for a spicy-sweet variation.
How to Prep and Cook Kabocha Squash (No Peeling Needed!)
Because you don’t have to peel kabocha squash, it’s super simple to make. Place the stem down on the cutting board and cut the squash in half. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and then slice into wedges.
To roast the squash, toss the wedges in oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and sea salt. Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Pro tip! Don't let your kabocha seeds go to waste – roast them up instead for a healthy snack! You can follow my recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds.
You Can Microwave to Soften
I haven’t needed to do this, but if your kabocha squash is too hard to cut with the knife you’re using, you can use the microwave to soften it up first! Poke about 4-5 holes throughout the squash (so it doesn’t explode) and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Keep microwaving in 60-second increments until your squash is soft enough to cut in half. Let cool and then chop.
How to Serve
There are so many ways to enjoy this roasted kabocha squash! Here are some ideas:
- straight up – I love snacking on roasted squash straight up for a mid-day snack.
- with protein – this kabocha squash pairs well with really any protein for dinner or lunch. This maple turmeric chicken, balsamic glazed salmon, maple balsamic tempeh or baked tofu would all be delicious.
- on a salad – swap butternut squash for roasted kabocha squash in this roasted butternut squash salad.
- for Thanksgiving dinner – serve it for Thanksgiving dinner alongside turkey, my kale and brussels sprout salad, sweet potato casserole, sourdough stuffing, green bean casserole and mashed cauliflower or healthy mashed potatoes.
How to Store and Reheat
To store, let the kabocha squash cool completely and then place the wedges in an airtight container. It will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator. I like eating squash cold sometimes but you can easily reheat it in a toaster oven, traditional conventional oven or microwave. If reheating in the oven, place squash on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes at 400°F until heated throughout. You can also turn on your broiler and broil for 2-4 minutes (just be careful not to burn the squash). Alternatively, you can reheat in the microwave in 45-second intervals. Just note that your squash will be softer if reheating in the microwave.
More Squash Recipes to Try
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Roasted Delicata Squash
- The Best Way To Cook Spaghetti Squash
- Roasted Acorn Squash
- Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash
- Baked Butternut Squash Fries
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
- One Pan Tempeh Butternut Squash Bake
- Acorn Squash Breakfast Bowls
- Roasted Honeynut Squash
Cinnamon Maple Roasted Kabocha Squash
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with the oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt.
- Arrange squash in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes. Flip and roast for 15 minutes longer, until golden and tender. Enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.