How to Cook Delicata Squash Using Our Test Kitchen's Best Methods

Get our favorite delicata squash recipes and some expert preparation tips.

Delicata squash is a small, oblong squash with orange-yellow flesh and a taste similar to sweet potatoes. While it may be new to you, delicata squash was first introduced in 1894. Back then, it had a much shorter shelf life and was harder to grow. In the early 2000s, scientists at Cornell University bred a heartier delicata squash, and it began making its comeback. The skin is thin and tender enough to eat after cooking, which sets it apart from some other winter squash varieties. It's high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium. Its small size makes it an ideal candidate for slicing or stuffing with any kind of filling you can dream up. Learn how to cook this squash and discover what may become your new favorite winter vegetable.

Delicata Squash
Greg Scheidemann

How to Cook Delicata Squash

Cooking delicata squash is a little different from other types of winter squash, such as butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash. The skin is thinner and its flesh is more tender, so it cooks much faster, usually with the skin left on, and preparation is quite simple. Here are some basic methods for cooking.

How to Bake a Delicata Squash Whole

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut delicata squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Brush the cut sides lightly with olive or canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the cut sides up on a large baking sheet ($8, Target). Bake about 35 minutes or until tender.

Test Kitchen Tip: Save the delicata squash seeds and roast them for a tasty snack.

How to Roast Delicata Squash

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut the delicata squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut the halves crosswise into ½-inch thick slices and toss with olive oil and desired seasonings. Place the slices on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast about 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender and golden, turning once.

Pork Ginger Delicata Stir-Fry
Jason Donnelly

How to Cook Delicata Squash on the Stovetop

To preserve the moisture in your delicata squash, try poaching it. Cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut the halves into 1-inch pieces. Place 1 cup of liquid (water, chicken broth, apple juice or cider) in a large skillet; add the squash. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Cook, covered, 6 to 8 minutes or until the squash is just tender.

You can also prepare the squash on the stovetop by cutting it into bite-size pieces and adding it to your favorite stir-fry (like our pork and ginger recipe).

How to Choose Delicata Squash

Delicata squash should have solid, blemish-free skin. The skin should be a creamy color with bright green, and sometimes orange, stripes.

How to Store Delicata Squash

Because of its delicate, thin skin, delicata squash is not a great candidate for the kind of long-term storage of other winter squashes. Store it in a cool, dark place, but plan on using it within a few weeks. Once it's cut, cover it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5 to 6 days. If it gets slimy, or dark in color, you'll want to toss it.

Sausage-Stuffed Delicata Squash
Scott Little

Now that you know how to cook delicata, put this tender winter vegetable to good use in some of our favorite delicata squash recipes. Get more Test Kitchen tips on cutting and prepping different varieties of winter squash.

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