Savory Butternut Squash Muffins
For easy fall baking, look no further than these Savory Butternut Squash Muffins, which combine roasted butternut squash, leafy greens, fall herbs, and Parmesan cheese, resulting in easy-to-make flavorful muffins.
We’re going savory – and packed full of fall flavors – for this month’s muffin recipe. And yes, I’m sneaking this in right before Thanksgiving in case you need a super easy holiday-worthy side — but these are also delicious any time in the fall.
Side for any old weeknight dinner? Yes. Served alongside some scrambled eggs with breakfast? Also yes. Crumbled on top of a bowl of chili? Count me in.
Whether you like them room temperature, warmed in the oven, or toasted with a little bit of butter, these butternut squash muffins are the perfect side for any time of day.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Olive Oil
- Butternut Squash: These would also work well with sweet potatoes, sugar pumpkins, buttercup squash, or acorn squash.
- Buttermilk: Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to whole milk if you don’t have buttermilk on hand.
- Dijon Mustard
- Kale: Substitute in other favorite leafy greens, like collard greens, chard, or spinach.
- Parmesan: Use shredded Parmesan cheese – preferably freshly shredded – rather than the powdery kind that comes in a can.
- Flour: To keep these muffins gluten-free, substitute in a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose baking mix for the all-purpose flour.
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Salt and Pepper
Easy Mix by Hand Muffins
- Prep the Squash: Peel and cube the butternut squash, toss it with some olive oil and salt and pepper, and roast until soft and just starting to brown.
- Mix Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, olive oil, and mustard. Stir in the squash, kale, Parmesan, and sage.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pepper to the bowl and gently mix until no streaks of flour remain.
- Bake: Scoop the batter into muffin cups and bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, followed by an additional 13-15 minutes at 375°F.
Roast Squash for the Best Flavor
You’ll notice that these muffins start with roasted squash. Yes, this takes some extra time. The good news is that you can do this ahead of time – roast your squash a day or two before making muffins! Or roast an extra large squash and use the remaining squash for another dish or to add to salads during the week.
But I promise, there is a reason why we’re going to actually roast the squash first and not just microwave it or grate raw squash into the muffins, as you’d do with zucchini.
Roasting causes the natural sugars in the butternut squash to caramelize, imparting a sweet and slightly nutty flavor to the squash, resulting in the creation of new flavor compounds. Furthermore, as the squash roasts, the water content is reduced, concentrating the flavor of the squash.
While grating or microwaving/steaming the squash technically works, we’d miss out on all the extra flavor compounds achieved by roasting and the concentrated squash flavor!
Recommended Tools to Make Butternut Squash Muffins
Tips and Tricks for the Best Savory Butternut Squash Muffins
- Roast the Squash: Roast the butternut squash before adding it to the batter. Roasting removes excess moisture, which concentrates flavors and prevents the muffins from becoming soggy.
- Fold Gently: Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Overmixing can lead to dense muffins.
- Scoop into the Pan: Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to transfer the batter into the muffin tins. This helps equally divide the batter to ensure uniform baking.
- Golden and Crispy Tops: Start the muffins at high heat for the initial rise, then lower the temperature slightly and bake until the tops of the muffins are golden, slightly crispy, and spring back when pushed with a finger.
- Cool on a Wire Rack: After 5 minutes, remove the muffins from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Cooling the muffins fully in the pan traps steam and results in soggier muffins.
- Serve Warm: While also great at room temperature, warming the muffins in a 350°F oven for 5-6 minutes helps crisp the tops back up. The muffins are also delicious lightly toasted with butter.
- Muffin Storage: These butternut squash muffins can be stored at room temperature for 2 days, refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
More Savory Bread and Muffin Recipes
- Everything Bagel Babka
- Pizza Babka
- Bacon Cheddar Chive Bread
- Italian Herb Tomato Bread
- Guinness Irish Soda Bread
- Garlic Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 1/2 cups (375 grams) peeled, cubed butternut squash in 1/2 inch pieces - from approx. 1 to 1.5 pound small butternut squash
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 packed cup (45 grams) chopped kale
- 1 cup (100 grams) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with a few grinds of salt and pepper. Arrange the squash in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Grease a muffin tin or line the wells with parchment paper muffin liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and mustard until well combined. Stir in approximately 2/3 of the butternut squash, the kale, Parmesan, and sage. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl and gently mix, just until no streaks of flour remain.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan, dividing equally among the 12 wells. The batter will almost fill each well. Press the remaining butternut squash onto the top of each muffin.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F, then turn the oven temperature down to 375°F (do not open the oven door) and bake for another 13-15 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the muffin comes out with a moist crumb and the top springs back gently when pressed. Cool muffins in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then run a sharp knife just under the domed edges before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Overmixing can lead to dense muffins.
- Use an ice cream or cookie scoop to transfer the batter into the muffin tins to equally divide the batter within each well.
- Muffins that have cooled can be warmed in a 350°F oven for 5-6 minutes or placed in a toaster oven to heat up and re-crisp the tops before serving.
- Store leftover butternut squash muffins at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.