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Ingredients

Honeynut Squash: Butternut's Sweeter, Cuter Cousin

Sorry, butternut: Honeynut roasts better, tastes sweeter, and has become our new go-to squash.
By Published Aug. 23, 2022

In 2009, plant breeder and Cornell professor Michael Mazourek was challenged to create a better, tastier version of the butternut squash—and just a few years later, he debuted the honeynut squash, a new, distinct cultivar.

The caramel-colored honeynut squash looks similar to a butternut, with one major difference: It’s tiny, standing a modest 6 inches tall. But don’t let its diminutive size fool you. Because the honeynut contains significantly less moisture than the butternut, it has a more concentrated earthy sweetness and a denser texture than its larger counterpart. 

This difference became evident when we tried the two side by side in the kitchen: Honeynut squash formed a thicker, denser puree than butternut did and roasted more deeply and evenly, resulting in slices with well-browned exteriors and rich,creamy interiors. In both cases, the flavors of the two squashes were similar, but the flavors were notably more intense and focused in the honeynut samples.

Ready to seek out this squash for yourself? Here’s everything you need to know about shopping for, storing, and cooking honeynut squash.

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Shopping for Honeynut Squash

Honeynut squash is available in many grocery stores and farmer’s markets across the country. The squash changes from zucchini-green to orange when it’s ripe, so for the sweetest flavor, look for specimens that have very little or no green. The squash should be smooth, with no wrinkles.

Storing Honeynut Squash

Because honeynut squash has thinner skin than butternut, it doesn’t hold as well. Store it in a dark place at room temperature and cook the squash within a week or two of purchasing it.

A Honeynut Squash Recipe

When roasted, honeynut browns more quickly, deeply, and evenly than butternut squash. Here’s a simple way to roast honeynut squash.

1. Halve and seed squash (no need to peel it). 

2. Slice squash into ½-inch wedges.

3. Toss wedges with oil, salt, and pepper.

4. Roast squash on a baking sheet on the lowest rack of a 425-degree oven for about 30 minutes, rotating the sheet and flipping the squash halfway through roasting.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.