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Sweet and savory, buttery and crunchy, this mashed Butternut Squash Casserole with apples, brown sugar, and pecans has it all! The layered make-ahead side dish has been a family favorite for over 40 years, and it’s the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas table!

Overhead shot of a dish of mashed butternut squash casserole on a wooden table

Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole

This roasted and mashed butternut squash casserole recipe has made an appearance on my mom’s Thanksgiving table (and now on my own table) for over 50 years! As I understand it, Mom received the recipe from her friend when their husbands were in law school together. It has been served every fall since, because it’s that good.

Cooking apples in a cast iron skillet

Butternut squash casserole recipes are a staple in many households at this time of year, and this particular version is the absolute best. The layered casserole combines sautéed apples, roasted and mashed butternut squash, pecans, brown sugar, and butter in one decadent dish. It’s the perfect complement to a big turkey dinner, but it also works equally well with a roasted chicken on a cool, autumn, evening.

Adding mashed butternut squash to the top of a casserole

Ingredients for Mashed Butternut Squash Casserole

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for the butternut squash and apple casserole. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Butternut squash: roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the squash, which then gets whipped with butter and brown sugar.
  • Olive oil: to coat the squash before roasting.
  • Apples: I like firm-flesh apples that don’t break down and turn to mush during the cooking process. Good options include Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Braeburn and Pink Lady.
  • Salted butter: adds rich flavor to every layer of the casserole.
  • Brown sugar: for warm sweetness in every layer!
  • Salt: to balance the sweetness and enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Corn Flakes cereal: the perfect crunchy topping on this fall casserole.
  • Pecans: coarsely chopped for a toasted, nutty addition to the topping.

Sprinkling topping on a butternut squash casserole

Do you peel the butternut squash?

No, you don’t need to peel the squash before roasting. Cook the butternut squash with the skin intact. Once the inside of the squash is soft, you can scoop out the flesh with a spoon quickly and easily!

How to Make a Butternut Squash Casserole

This special casserole isn’t difficult to prepare, but it does require quite a few steps. As a result, it’s a great option to assemble in advance (preferably the day before a holiday). That way you’re not rushing or stressed in the kitchen, and you can just pop the casserole into the oven with the rest of your sides!

  1. Roast the butternut squash, then scoop out the flesh and mash in a food processor with butter, brown sugar and salt.
  2. Sauté apples in butter with brown sugar until soft.
  3. Transfer the apples to the bottom of a greased 2-3 quart casserole dish.
  4. Spread squash over top.
  5. Combine Corn Flakes, pecans, brown sugar and melted butter to make the topping.
  6. Sprinkle topping over the butternut squash.
  7. Bake, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for 25 minutes, or until heated through.

Square side shot of butternut squash casserole with pecans on top

What to Serve with Butternut Squash Casserole

This casserole is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday table, but it’s also a special side dish to serve with a big Sunday supper. Here are some entrees that pair nicely with the vegetarian side dish:

Make Ahead

To prepare this dish in advance, assemble the casserole as instructed, but do not add the Corn Flake topping. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter for about 1-2 hours to come to room temperature. Add the topping and bake according to the recipe instructions.

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Can you freeze Butternut Squash Casserole?

Wrapped tightly, the leftover casserole will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

How to Reheat Butternut Squash and Pecan Casserole

Cover the dish loosely with foil. Warm in a 350°F oven until heated through, about 20-25 minutes. Reheat smaller portions in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.

Side shot of butternut squash and apple casserole on a dinner table

Recipe Variations

  • What spices pair well with butternut squash? If you’d like to add some warm spices to this dish, try cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger, which will work really well with the brown sugar, too. For a different flavor profile, you could also add a dash of cayenne for some kick.
  • Replace the chopped pecans with chopped walnuts or slivered almonds if you prefer.
  • Butternut Squash Casserole with Meat: turn this dish into a sweet-and-savory entrée by adding a layer of browned sausage, shredded chicken or turkey, pulled pork, or cooked ground beef.
  • Feeding a larger group? Double all of the ingredients and assemble the casserole in a 9 x 13-inch dish. Add about 5-10 minutes to the total baking time, covering the top loosely with foil once the nuts are toasted and brown.

Tips for the Best Butternut Squash Casserole

  • Use firm-flesh apples that won’t break down into mush during the cooking process. Good options include Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Braeburn and Pink Lady.
  • Corn Flakes add a unique flavor and a crunchy texture that’s hard to replicate with a different ingredient. I highly recommend using the Corn Flakes instead of breadcrumbs or some other substitute. That said, if you really don’t care for the Corn Flakes, you might try coarsely crushed Ritz crackers instead.
  • If prepping the casserole in advance, do not add the Corn Flakes topping until right before baking. Otherwise it will become soggy.
  • When preparing the casserole in advance, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for 1-2 hours before baking. Otherwise you will need to extend the baking time in order for the casserole to fully heat through.
  • Keep a close eye on the topping while the casserole bakes. The nuts can burn easily, so you may need to tent the dish loosely with foil during the final few minutes. This will prevent excessive browning on top while the inside of the casserole heats through.

Overhead shot of a serving spoon in a dish of layered butternut squash casserole with apples

More Thanksgiving Sides to Add to Your Holiday Menu

Overhead shot of a dish of mashed butternut squash casserole on a wooden table

Butternut Squash Casserole with Apples and Pecans

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 595 kcal
Sweet and savory, buttery and crunchy, this mashed Butternut Squash Casserole with apples, brown sugar, and pecans has it all!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 lbs.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium apples, thinly sliced but not peeled (about 1 ¾ lbs.)
  • 7 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups Corn Flakes cereal
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Rub olive oil on the flesh, then place the squash flesh-side down (skin-side up) on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in a 425°F oven for 35-40 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  • While the squash roasts, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Add the sliced apples and ¼ cup of the brown sugar. Sauté the apples until they're soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the apples to a greased 2-quart or 3-quart casserole dish. Leave the juices from the apples in the skillet -- you don't need them in the casserole dish.
  • While the squash is still warm, but cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scoop out the cooked flesh. Place the flesh in a food processor or blender. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, ¼ cup of brown sugar, and salt; process until smooth. You don't need to melt the butter, since the warm squash will melt it as they mix. Spread the whipped squash on top of the sautéed apples in the casserole dish.
  • Coarsely crush the Corn Flakes; place them in a small bowl. Add the chopped pecans and the remaining ¼ cup of brown sugar. Combine with 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle the topping over the squash.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 25 minutes, or until heated through. Keep a close eye on the casserole as it bakes, since the pecans have a tendency to burn easily. You may need to tent the top of the dish loosely with foil during the final 5-10 minutes to prevent excessive browning on top.

Notes

  • Use firm-flesh apples that won't break down into mush during the cooking process. Good options include Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Braeburn and Pink Lady.
  • Corn Flakes add a unique flavor and a crunchy texture that's hard to replicate with a different ingredient. I highly recommend using the Corn Flakes instead of breadcrumbs or some other substitute. That said, if you really don't care for the Corn Flakes, you might try coarsely crushed Ritz crackers instead.
  • If prepping the casserole in advance, do not add the Corn Flakes topping until right before baking. Otherwise it will become soggy.
  • When preparing the casserole in advance, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for 1-2 hours before baking. Otherwise you will need to extend the baking time in order for the casserole to fully heat through.
  • Keep a close eye on the topping while the casserole bakes. The nuts can burn easily, so you may need to tent the dish loosely with foil during the final few minutes. This will prevent excessive browning on top while the inside of the casserole heats through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casseroleCalories: 595kcalCarbohydrates: 99gProtein: 8gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 496mgPotassium: 677mgFiber: 8gSugar: 39gVitamin A: 11110IUVitamin C: 36.6mgCalcium: 94mgIron: 18.8mg
Keyword: butternut squash and apple casserole, Butternut Squash Casserole, Butternut Squash Casserole with Brown Sugar and Pecans, mashed butternut squash casserole
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This post was originally published in November, 2013. It was updated in October, 2021.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Butternut and apple are not a pairing I would have thought to put together, but oh my goodness, this looks fantastic! I also love the sound of the Corn flakes, pecans and sugar topping. I’m thinking that could make a really good apple crumble topping! 🙂

    1. I’m planning on bringing this dish to a relatives house for Thanksgiving dinner. Can it be made the day before? If so, what are the directions for storing and baking? Love all your recipes! Thank you! Lori

      1. Hi, Lori! Absolutely — we always make it ahead. Here are the directions:

        To prepare this dish in advance, assemble the casserole as instructed, but do not add the Corn Flake topping. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter for about 1-2 hours to come to room temperature. Add the topping and bake according to the recipe instructions.

    1. No, that’s the recipe, and it has plenty of great flavor. But, just like any recipe, feel free to add more seasoning to make it the way that you like it. Recipes are merely a suggestion to get you started! I hope that you’ll give it a try. 🙂

        1. Hi, Jan! You can substitute with any typical casserole topping that you like. Rolled oats would probably work, but they won’t be quite as crunchy or slightly sweet like the Corn Flakes. I bet crushed Ritz crackers would also work!

      1. 5 stars
        This is delicious! Taste like a crustles pie. I used less brown sugar in the filling and topping because I prefer less sweet and added a bit of cinnamon and vanilla to squash. Also, cut down on butter some but didn’t miss it in final dish as it tasted so yummy! Will make again and double recipe to place one in freezer for another time…it’s that good

        1. Wonderful, Lola! Thanks for your note and for sharing your changes. So glad that you enjoyed it!

      2. How big of a squash do I need If doubling the recipe? Actually how much of everything if doubled do I need? Help appreciated. Thank you.

        1. Hi! The recipe calls for 1 large butternut squash that’s about 3 lbs., so if you want to double the recipe you’ll need 2 large butternut squash (about 3 lbs. each, or 6 lbs. total). You’ll need to double all of the other ingredients as well, so 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 8 medium apples, 14 tablespoons of butter, etc.

          Hope that helps, and enjoy!

  2. Is there a reason not to peel the apples? I have a family member that cannot eat the peels, will peeling cause the apples to get too mushy?

    1. Hi, Linda! The peels add some texture and help hold the apples together, but you can absolutely peel the apples if you prefer. I would use firm apples that won’t break down easily when baked — such as Granny Smith or Honey Crisp. Enjoy! 🙂

  3. Hi, I want to make this recipe for Thanksgiving. Can you tell me how many ounces of the butternut squash is needed for this recipe. I like purchasing the squash already peeled and cubed and then roasting. It would be helpful to know what the yield should be.
    Thanks!
    Deborah

    1. Hi, Deborah! It’s such a great Thanksgiving dish. 🙂 I hope you love it!

      A 3-lb. squash should yield about 4 1/2 cups of uncooked 1-inch cubes after you’ve removed the peel and seeds. I don’t know exactly how much those cubes would weigh, but you can purchase the pre-cubed squash and just measure it that way. Hope that helps!

      1. Hi Blair,
        Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I did a test run tonight with 12 oz of the squash and adjusted down the rest of the ingredients. It was delicious! I will definitely be making the full recipe for Thanksgiving and am confident it will be a hit! Thanks again!

  4. 5 stars
    This looks fantastic. I will try for sure. But is this served as a side dish “with turkey dinner” or as a dessert? Thanks!

    1. We always offer it as a side dish with Thanksgiving dinner, but it would also be tasty with vanilla ice cream for dessert (like a crisp)!