Kabocha Squash Thanksgiving Recipe


Here’s a great weeknight meal idea or a great healthy snack. After you try our recipe for Kabocha Squash Thanksgiving recipe, it just might be one of your new favorite winter squashes.

And this recipe is not only just for Thanksgiving, it can be enjoyed at Christmastime or any time of year when the squash are available.

Kabocha Squash Thanksgiving recipe

What is Kabocha Squash?

A Kabocha squash is also referred to in some locations as a Japanese pumpkin. It can be seen across a holiday table and is known for its rich flavor that tastes somewhat like sweet potatoes. It’s known to have a bit of a nutty flavor that makes for a wonderfully savory side dish.

chopped ​​raw pumpkin put on wooden cutting board

Because of its orange flesh and similar sweet flavor, many people compare it to sweet potatoes, or acorn squash which comes from the natural sweetness of the squash.

The skin of the kabocha squash is typically green or orange in color, has a textured surface and can be peeled with a vegetable peeler if desired, or baked with the skin in place.

How to Store Kabocha Squash Thanksgiving Recipe

How you store your kabocha squash depends on the state it’s in. For example, whether it’s cooked or not, will determine how it should be stored.

A whole squash can be stored for several weeks, in a cool dry place such as a garage or barn. The ideal temperature for storing whole winter squash is 38F degrees – 40F degrees. You don’t want them to be so cold that they’ll freeze or so warm that they’ll rot.

Once your squash has been cooked, the best place to keep it is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The easiest way to add it to your storage container might be layered with parchment paper.

Kabocha squash can also be frozen. It’s best when sealed in a freezer bag and dated and labeled with the contents for future reference and use.

How Long Will Kabocha Squash Last?

Room temperature. Cooked kabocha squash will last at room temperature for up to 2 hours with a room temperature that’s between 40F degrees to 90F degrees.

For a room temperature that’s more than 90F degrees, you can store cooked squash for no more than 1 hour. After that the food is considered to have gone bad.  

Refrigerator. Kabocha squash that’s been prepared and cooked, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. It should be stored in an airtight container for the best results.

Freezer. Your cooked squash can be stored in the freezer using an airtight bag that’s dated and labeled with its contents for up to 2 months.

How to Make Kabocha Squash Thanksgiving Recipe

Following are our step-by-step instructions for how to make Kabocha squash Thanksgiving recipe.

This dish is one of the most savory dishes and is festive for a holiday meal or any occasion you desire to have a delicious side of winter squash.


baking sheet
parchment paper
cutting board
vegetable peeler (optional)


1 kabocha squash

3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil

2 tablespoons garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon maple syrup

¼ teaspoon soy sauce


The best way to prepare your squash is to wash it well then slice it in half using a sharp knife. Using a medium bowl to discard any unwanted portions, scoop the seeds and the stringy pulp from the squash. Set aside.

If you choose to remove the skin from the squash that can be done with a vegetable peeler before the squash is sliced.

Prepare your squash by slicing it into thick slices. This is our favorite way because it’s then easy to roast it and manage it in an even layer.

Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer.

Preheat your oven to medium heat, 400F degrees and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, and garlic cloves and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and tender.                               

Let cool slightly, serve and enjoy. This dish can be a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner or everyday occasion.

What Can You Do With Kabocha Squash Seeds?

Like pumpkin seeds, you’ll want to remove the kabocha seeds before consuming the oven-baked squash. This can be done in advance of baking the squash. Kabocha seeds taste delicious after they’ve been oven roasted.

You can eat them plain like sesame seeds or sunflower seeds, or you can use them as a salad topping to be eaten with other foods.

To roast your kabocha seeds, remove them from the squash and rinse them to clean them. Then place them on a parchment lined sheet pan and sprinkle them with sea salt.

Roast them in the oven at 400F degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the desired doneness is achieved.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to Kabocha squash Thanksgiving recipe. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to respond.

What squash is best for Thanksgiving?

There are various kinds of winter squash that are best for Thanksgiving. Some of the classic favorites include Kabocha squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, and acorn squash. These types of squash are generally cooked in the oven and provide a nice, savory flavor.  

Can I use kabocha squash instead of pumpkin?

Yes, Kabocha squash can be used instead of pumpkin if desired. It works well as a pumpkin substitute and some of your guests might not even guess that you’ve used it.

Do you have to remove the skin from kabocha squash?

You don’t have to remove the skin from a Kabocha squash before it’s cooked. However, in some cases, depending on its use, you might not choose to eat the squash’s skin.

Is kabocha squash better than butternut squash?

Whether kabocha squash is better than butternut squash is a matter of personal preference.

The flavors of the two squash are certainly somewhat similar and the color and texture is similar as well. Both types of squash have an orange flesh inside and somewhat of a nutty flavor that can be sweet or savory.

Related Ideas

Following are some other popular Thanksgiving recipes that you might enjoy.

Grandma’s Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
The Best Copycat Aunt Peggy’s Sweet Potato Souffle
Crack Green Beans

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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