Air Fryer Roasted 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!
Air Fryer Butternut Squash
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.
This dish is super simple to make and very hands-off, once you’re done prepping. Simply toss everything together in a large bowl, transfer to your air fryer basket, and cook, shaking a few times, so everything cooks evenly.
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 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 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, folks ask me which air fryer I recommend. I have tried over a dozen different air fryers in the past couple of years, and my favorite, hands down, is the ZenChef PRO XXL Air Fryer from Zeny, who is sponsoring this recipe.
I’ve been using the ZenChef air fryer daily (sometimes twice a day!) for a few 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) to allow better air flow.
The ZenChef also has a small feature that’s a big deal to me: an off button! No other air fryer I’ve owned has a simple button for turning it off. Since cooking times vary with many recipes (including this one), it’s nice to be able to just turn it off when it’s done, rather than unplug it while it’s still running, which doesn’t feel super safe for some reason.
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.