The 11 Best Substitutes For Butternut Squash

What can I use instead of butternut squash? You can use any winter squash, including acorn squash, kabocha squash, buttercup squash, carnival squash, delicata squash, Hubbard squash, pumpkin, sugar pumpkin, and turban squash. If you don’t have any squash available, sweet potatoes or carrots also work well as replacements for butternut squash in many dishes.

Butternut squash is an oblong, medium-sized winter squash with a hard tan-color skin and bright orange flesh. It is packed with vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. It can be used as the basis for dishes like butternut soup or paired with other ingredients. Butternut squash can be successfully replaced with most other winter squashes in recipes.

Best Substitutes For Butternut Squash

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash are smaller than butternut squash but are also considered winter squash. They have tough, green outer skin, and the inside flesh is typically slightly lighter than butternut squash.

The main difference when using acorn squash as a substitute for butternut squash is the texture.

While butternut squash has a smooth texture, acorn squash tends to be more fibrous and stringy, so it doesn’t work well in soups as a replacement for butternut squash.

Acorn squash is a good substitute for butternut squash when roasted or baked.

Kabocha Squash

Kabocha squash is also known as Japanese squash or Japanese pumpkin. It has a dark green exterior, but the flesh is orange, similar to butternut squash.

Although the exterior looks very different from butternut squash, the texture and color of the flesh are almost identical. Kabocha squash is notably sweeter than butternut squash.

Kabocha squash can be used in all the same recipes where butternut squash is required.

Buttercup Squash

Buttercup Squash is also a winter variety squash that is very similar in appearance to Kabocha squash. It has a hard green outer skin over the orange flesh.

You can use buttercup squash as a substitute for butternut in all recipes. Since it isn’t stringy, it also works well when making soup.  

Carnival Squash

Carnival squash is a small winter squash variety. They have an interesting, mottled exterior and are a gorgeous combination of acorn and sweet dumpling squashes.

The flesh of carnival squash can be substituted in any recipe where butternut squash is required.

It has a sweet taste, and the non-stringy flesh can be mashed to replicate the same smooth, creamy texture of butternut squash.

Delicata Squash

As its name suggests, Delicata squash is a thinner-skinned variety of winter squashes.

These pale-skinned squash with thin green stripes are instantly recognizable at markets and are related to pattypan squash and zucchini.

Another name for Delicata squash is sweet dumpling squash. The only difference is that Delicata is a long tubular shape and sweet dumpling squash has a rounder shape.

If you need a substitute for butternut squash, Delicata squash has a very similar taste and texture. The color of the flesh is slightly paler than butternut squash.

You can confidently replace butternut squash with Delicata or sweet dumpling squash in all dishes.

Hubbard Squash

Hubbard squash can be as big as 20 pounds, and the thick outside skin can come in a range of colors, including dark green, grey, and orange.

The inside flesh is always orange and has a pleasing, sweet, slightly nutty taste.

Note that Hubbard squash is not the easiest to peel, so a good trick is to divide the squash into big sections. Then roast the pieces and scoop out the softened flesh to use in other dishes.

Use Hubbard squash as a substitute in equal quantities in any recipes that call for butternut. It works well baked, roasted, or boiled.


Pie pumpkin is a versatile replacement for most winter squashes. Note that most Halloween pumpkins are not the same and have been specifically cultivated to have thin skins to be easy to carve.

Only pie pumpkins can be used as a worthy substitute in recipes to replace butternut. The decorative pumpkins are edible but don’t offer much in terms of texture or taste. 

Pie pumpkins have thick orange flesh and can be used as a stand-in anywhere you need butternut squash.

It may not be as sweet and nutty as butternut squash, so you will need to add some extra spices if needing a rich taste of butternut squash when making soup.

Sugar Pumpkin

Many people only think of sugar pumpkin in autumn when it’s time to make pies, but these versatile and delicious little pumpkins can work well in dishes where you need butternut squash.

Do not confuse sugar pumpkins with the decorative jack-o-lantern-type pumpkins that are everywhere in the fall.

Look out for the label that indicates that the gorgeous orange pumpkin variety you are buying to eat is a sugar pumpkin, or you will be disappointed with the lack of taste.

Like butternut squash, sugar pumpkins have fine, creamy orange flesh, so they work well as a substitute.

Turban Squash

Turban squash is a visually distinctive squash with a protruding top section. It is an heirloom variety squash that predates 1820.

The taste is similar to butternut, although the thick skin can be much more difficult to cut through. Be extra careful when using a knife to carve through the tough exterior of Turban squash.

Use Turban squash confidently in any recipe where you need butternut squash. It can be boiled, roasted, or mashed and is an excellent substitute when you need butternut squash.


Carrots are common orange root vegetables that are not related to butternut squash. However, if you need a substitute, they can provide a similar sweet taste, creamy texture, and rich orange color.

Boiled, mashed carrots can work well as a substitute for butternut squash in stews, pies, and soups. Use chunks of carrot instead of butternut squash to add warm orange color when roasting vegetables.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are an excellent alternative when you don’t have butternut squash. They are available year-round and may have white or orange flesh.

The cooked sweet potato will provide a similar texture and sweet taste to butternut squash in pies and hearty meals like casseroles or curries.

Choose sweet potatoes with orange flesh if you need to mimic butternut squash more closely.