Comparing Winter Squash

Acorn Squash

  • Appearance: shaped like an acorn of course!
  • Available: All year
  • Size: 1-2 pounds
  • Nutrition:9 grams of fiber per cup, 25% DV of potassium
  • Ideal for: roasting with the skin on due to tough exterior

Buttercup Squash

  • Flavor: sweet pulp
  • Texture: firm and somewhat dry but rich, similar to a sweet potato
  • Ideal for: baking with the skin on, steamed, or pureed

Butternut Squash

  • Appearance: orange flesh
  • Available: All year
  • Flavor: mild & sweet
  • Nutrition: excellent source of vitamins C & A, > 6 grams of fiber per cup
  • Ideal for: roasting or tossed in stew or smoothies

Carnival Squash

  • Background: Hybrid of acorn & sweet dumpling squash
  • Flavor: sweet, buttery, and rich when roasted
  • Ideal for: roasting, can be used in any recipe as a substitute for acorn or butternut squash

Delicata Squash

  • Appearance: oblong with green stripes and yellow
  • Flavor: sweet
  • Texture: smooth and creamy
  • Ideal for: roasting or stuff with savory fillings such as whole grains
  • Pairs with: parmesan, nuts, and woody herbs like rosemary for a savory spin

Hubbard Squash

  • Appearance: dark green, orange, or pale blue rind
  • Flavor: sweet
  • Texture: grainy
  • Size: up to 20 pounds
  • Ideal for: mashing or pureeing into a sauce or filling for a pie

Kabocha Squash

  • Background: Kabo0cha is Japanese for “squash”
  • Appearance: smooth and yellow
  • Available: All year in green & red varieties
  • Flavor: sweet with notes of honey, becomes custardy when cooked
  • Nutrition: less fibrous than the others
  • Ideal for: soup when pureed or as pie filling with the skin on due to tough exterior

Red Kuri Squash

  • Background: Sometimes called the baby red hubbard, native to Japan
  • Flavor: chestnut-like
  • Texture: smooth & creamy yellow pulp
  • Ideal for: roasting in the skin and scooped out due to the hard rind

Spaghetti Squash

  • Appearance: pale yellow
  • Flavor: mild, slightly sweet
  • Texture: crunchy, stringy flesh resembling noodles
  • Nutrition: lower in vitamin A than the others
  • Ideal for: using in place of noodles when cooked, top with olive oil or tomato-based sauces

Sugar Pumpkin

  • Background: one of the most popular winter squashes, commonly canned and available at supermarkets
  • Appearance: squat
  • Available: All year
  • Flavor: sweet
  • Nutrition: < 50 calories per cup
  • Ideal for: roasting or pureeing into a soup, oatmeal, or pie filling and other desserts

Sweet Dumpling Squash

  • Appearance: most petite, weighing < 2 pounds
  • Flavor: sweet with a tender edible rind
  • Ideal for: cutting in half, stuffing, and roasting for a quick & colorful meal



Moore, Marisa. “Winter Squash”. Food and Nutrition. November/December 2016. 30-31.


One thought on “Comparing Winter Squash

  1. I love this post by Michelle Smith, RD. It is so comprehensive and clearly describes the differences in each of the many different kinds of squash. Thank you, Ms. Smith !!!


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