This recipe is sponsored by ZenChef. All opinions are 100% my own.
Air Fryer Butternut Squash is a perfect holiday side dish. Especially with plenty of earthy mushrooms, savory green onions, and sweet-tart dried cranberries in the mix!
Table of Contents
- How to Make Butternut Squash in the Air Fryer
- About My Air Fryer
Air fryer butternut squash cooks in about half the time that it takes in a regular oven, and the results are tender and so flavorful.
Roasted chunks of butternut squash are perfect paired up with big pieces of earthy mushroom and green onions. The onions turn sweet with cooking! Toss with dried cranberries at the end, then serve this up as a healthy holiday side dish or even as the veggie star of a weeknight meal. It's that quick and easy to make!
If you've never had roasted green onions before, you're in for such a treat. I feel like leeks get all of the oniony glory in dishes like this, but green onions are more affordable and just as delicious, in my estimation.
How to Make Butternut Squash in the Air Fryer
This dish is super simple to make and very hands-off, once you're done prepping.
The prep is pretty simple, though you do need to do a careful job with the squash, which I get into detail about below. Start by peeling and dicing your butternut squash.
Next, slice green onions into 3"-long pieces and stem and quarter a package of button mushrooms.
Now, you're ready to toss those veggies together in a large bowl with the sauce ingredients. Transfer the mixture to your air fryer basket, and cook, shaking a few times, so everything cooks evenly.
When the cooking time is up, transfer the roasted squash mixture to your serving bowl and toss in tart-sweet dried cranberries.
Preparing Your Butternut Squash for the Air Fryer
The key to this dish is prepping your squash properly, so the pieces will cook through evenly. Here's what you need to be sure to do:
- Peel it thoroughly. Butternut squash skin is thick, your vegetable peeler may not get all of the skin off on the first swipe. Keep peeling until the outside of our squash is the same, vibrant orange as the inside. Any tough skin will stay hard in the air fryer.
- Dice it well. The recipe calls for a 1" dice, and that is crucial. Large pieces will not cook through, and I don't want you to have undercooked squash!
If you're new to working with butternut squash, it's really not hard, but it can be a bit time-consuming. Make sure to peel thoroughly and dice evenly, and you'll be in good shape.
To save time and effort, you can often find pre-cut, fresh squash at the grocery store. It's normally in the same section as the other pre-cut veggies. The pieces may be a bit bigger than you need, but it's much faster to cut those down to size than to start with a whole squash.
Do not use frozen butternut squash in this recipe! I tested this with frozen squash, and it was very underwhelming. The squash tasted watery, no matter how long I cooked.
About My Air Fryer
Any time I share an air fryer recipe, people ask me which air fryer I recommend. Over the summer, ZenChef came on as a blog sponsor, and I am IN LOVE with their new air fryer, the ZenChef PRO XXL Air Fryer.
I’ve been experimenting with this air fryer for several months now, and I am all in. The basket is nice and large (5.8 quarts!), and I love the way it’s designed.
As you probably know, I am extremely picky about air fryers, and this basket design is the kind I like: it pops out for easy cleaning, and it has holes at the bottom (rather than mesh) for easy cleaning.
The ZenChef PRO XXL cooks things quickly, evenly and consistently. And, of course, you can use little to no oil, if that’s your thing.
This squash recipe does use a bit of oil to produce nice, browned pieces of squash, but you can substitute spray oil, if you prefer. The results will still be delicious!
Air Fryer Roasted Butternut Squash
- 4 cups diced butternut squash - (You're going for 1" pieces. A 2-pound squash should do the trick.)
- 1 cup sliced green onions - You're going for 3-inch pieces.
- 8 ounces button mushrooms - stemmed and quartered
- 1 tablespoon olive oil - You can substitute spray oil, if you prefer. Just spray after transferring the mixture to the basket.
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 4 cloves fresh garlic
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- extra green onion - for garnish, optional
- In a large bowl, combine the squash, green onions, and button mushrooms, and set aside.
- Make the sauce: Combine the olive oil (if using), soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, and garlic in your blender or food processor, and puree until smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the squash mixture, tossing to coat well, then transfer to your air fryer basket. If you're opting for spray oil, this is when you'd spray to coat.
- Cook at 400F for 25-35 minutes (see note), shaking every 5 minutes, until the squash pieces are browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss in the dried cranberries, top with the extra green onion (if using), then serve hot.
- 25-35 minutes may seem like a big range of cooking times. Let me explain! The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your pieces, the size of your air fryer, and even how fresh the squash you chose is.