Try this roasted kabocha squash for a healthy, delicious take on this winter squash! Roasted kabocha squash is very sweet, similar to roasted chestnuts & sweet potatoes. Kabocha is also known as Japanese pumpkin or Korean pumpkin (danhobak).
Roasted kabocha squash is my all time favorite way to eat kabocha squash because of how it intensifies the sweetness of this already sweet squash! It's my all time favorite winter squash because of how much sweeter it is than any other squash or pumpkin.
Kabocha squash is also known as Japanese pumpkin or Korean pumpkin, danhobak, which translates to sweet pumpkin in Korean. It's widely popular in Korea and Japan and can be used as a savory side dish or a turned into a sweet soup or even dessert.
What Does Roasted Kabocha Squash Taste Like?
Kabocha squash is the sweetest squash out there so you can treat this like a sweet side or even a dessert. But you can also add seasonings to make this a savory side dish. The texture of roasted kabocha squash is unique because it's more fluffy than other squashes. It's similar to the texture of roasted chestnuts but slightly softer and fluffier like a sweet potato.
What is the nutritional value of kabocha squash?
Kabocha squash is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C with small amounts of iron, calcium, and protein.
How many carbs are in kabocha squash?
In one cup of kabocha squash, there's only 9g of carbs and 1g of fiber. Most of the carbs come from the natural sugars in kabocha. There's fewer carbs in kabocha squash compared to butternut squash and sweet potatoes. If you're watching your carb intake, kabocha squash would be a better option than butternut squash or sweet potatoes.
Carb Comparison of kabocha squash to butternut squash and sweet potatoes:
- 1 cup of sweet potatoes: 23 net grams carbs
- 1 cup of butternut squash: 13 net grams carbs
- 1 cup of kabocha squash: 8 net grams carbs
What to look for when buying Japanese kabocha pumpkin?
Kabocha squash should be round with a hard, dark green outer skin and may have a yellow spot where it ripened. The inner flesh is a bright orange color with medium sized seeds. Choose one that is free of soft spots and is heavy for its size. Inspect the stem for any mold. There may be some hard, bumpy spots on the peel but that's perfectly normal and fine to buy.
How do you clean Japanese kabocha pumpkin?
Wash the kabocha squash under running water and inspect the outer skin for any hard, bumpy spots. You can use a sharp knife or peeler to remove these bumps or leave it on and remove them after its been cooked since the skin will have softened.
You can definitely eat the skin of the kabocha once it's roasted or steamed so feel free to leave the skin on.
What is the easiest way to cut kabocha squash?
There's several ways to cut a kabocha squash. Here are three different ways I recommend:
- Start by cuting off the stem to expose the orange flesh. The flesh is easier to cut into than the hard outer skin. Using the pointy end of your knife, pierce the flesh of the kabocha and cut all the way down by using a rocking motion. Repeat for the other side and you'll end up with two halves.
- Microwave: Microwave the whole kabocha for about 2 minutes to start. Keep microwaving in 90 second increments until the kabocha is soft enough to cut in half. The total time will depend on your microwave and the size of your kabocha.
- Oven: Loosely cover the whole kabocha in foil and bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 15 minutes. After it cools, cut the kabocha squash in half.
Once it's cut in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon. You can save the seeds and roast them in the oven as they're edible. Next, cut each half into 3 or 4 pieces, leaving you with 6 or 7 wedges.
Coat each wedge generously with avocado oil or any other vegetable oil that's safe for high heat. The oil will absorb slightly into the flesh and create a crispy, golden brown crust in the oven. It's my favorite part of roasted kabocha squash! You can add other flavorings to the squash at this point or just leave it plain like I did.
This roasted kabocha squash has the most perfect golden brown crust created from the liberal coating of oil. The oil gives the surface a slightly crispy, caramelization while the inside flesh is super soft and fluffy. The flesh is so soft, you can scoop it out with a spoon.
- pumpkin spice mix
- maple syrup
- brown sugar
- ginger powder
- miso paste
- dried herbs
I hope you make this roasted kabocha squash recipe! Please share, rate, and comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter for recipe updates and occasional kitchen tips and tricks! Also come find me on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Stop by and leave me a message! I love reading your comments!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Want more kabocha squash recipes? Check out these Delicious Kabocha Squash Recipes To Try!
You might like these other recipes!
Roasted Kabocha Squash | Japanese Pumpkin
- 1 medium kabocha squash - about 2 lbs
- 3 Tablespoons avocado oil
- salt to taste
Optional: Additional Flavorings (choose any flavorings below or a combination)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or brown sugar - cover the kabocha with foil halfway through if it starts to burn
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice powder
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
Cut the Kabocha into Wedges (3 ways to cut your kabocha)
- First option: The skin of the kabocha squash is tough to cut into so start by cutting off the stem of the kabocha to reveal the orange flesh. The flesh is much easier to cut into than the skin. Using a heavy duty knife or cleaver, stick the pointy end of your knife into the flesh and cut into the kabocha all the way down by using a rocking motion. Cut the other end of the kabocha so that you end up with 2 halves. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and cut your kabocha into 6 or 7 wedges.
- Second option: You can microwave the whole kabocha until it's soft enough to cut into. Start by microwaving it for about 2 minutes and increase by 90 seconds at a time until you can cut it in half. Microwaving times will vary by microwave and the size of the kabocha. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and cut your kabocha into 6 or 7 wedges.
- Third option: Loosely cover with foil and place the entire whole kabocha squash into a preheated 375 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until soft to cut into. Completely cool it off and then cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and cut your kabocha into 6 or 7 wedges.
Roast the Kabocha Squash
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Liberally apply oil to the surface of the kabocha squash wedges. Add additional flavorings now. Place the wedges skin side down on a baking sheet and place it on the center rack of your oven. Bake them for 35 minutes or until the surface becomes a golden brown color. Sprinkle with salt.
✎ Recipe Notes
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.
I now follow this technique for all squash/pumpkin recipes.
It works every time! I love adding some additional seasonings, like the recommended ground ginger and cinnamon, but also some fresh sage and rosemary work so well too.
This method is great to use for meal prep - I love to add the roasted squash to soups and salads!
I'm so happy to hear that! I like the addition of fresh sage and rosemary!
I have made this several times, and it always works so well. I will be preparing it for Thanksgiving with maple and cinnamon - a simple and delicious side dish. It is also lovely with a little smoked paprika, and any leftovers can be used in a salad the next day.
That's great Britt! It's certainly an excellent side for Thanksgiving!
This squash is not common at our local grocery stores but I thought it looked interesting. This was a delicious recipe. I did add cinnamon before roasting and it made the house smell so good! I tried a piece with maple syrup. Yum!!!
Thanks Diane! So glad you enjoyed it with cinnamon and maple syrup!
You mention roasting at 375 and at 400. Which have you found works best?
Hi Risa! I roast my kabocha at 400 degrees F. It gives it a slightly caramelized surface that I prefer. If you have trouble cutting into the kabocha, you can roast it at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes to soften it up. But for the actual roasting part, I set my oven to 400. Hope that helps!
Really really good. I add a bit of cinnamon sugar at the end when I take it out of the oven. This really intensifies the sweetness of kabocha squash and tastes incredible!
We love this kabocha squash recipe. Added maple syrup and pumpkin spice, absolutely delicious.
First time roasting kabocha squash and it came out so good! I think I'll try adding some spice to it next time. Delicious!
I drizzled maple syrup on top of the kabocha pieces a few minutes before it came out of the oven and it was excellent! The slightly crisp pieces were delicious! I'm looking forward to having this again tomorrow.