This squash-based version of carb-laden mashed potatoes is ready to take over as a holiday side dish must-have. The browned butter may seem like a high-flying feat, but it’s a cinch to make, and its nutty, toasty deliciousness takes any kind of mash to a whole new level.

Chef’s tip: Many supermarkets now sell packages of chopped butternut. You can roast these as a recipe shortcut.


  • 1 large butternut squash
  • oil, for roasting
  • ¼ tsp salt, plus pinch for roasting
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 3 tbsp sliced pecans


  1. Heat oven to 400°. Slice ½ inch off bottom and top of squash, then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds; brush flesh with oil and sprinkle on pinch of salt. Place squash, cut-side down, on a baking sheet and roast until a knife can easily pierce flesh, about 45 minutes.
  2. Heat butter in a heavy-bottomed (and preferably light-colored) saucepan over low heat until melted. Raise heat to medium and cook butter, stirring and scraping the bottom often with a rubber spatula, until it foams and smells nutty and the color turns golden-brown. Do not let butter turn a dark brown, which means it has burned. Take pan off heat and immediately transfer butter and any browned solids to a heat-proof bowl to cool.
  3. Scrape flesh of squash into a bowl and add browned butter, cinnamon, and ¼ tsp salt. Mash together.
  4. Place squash in serving dish and drizzle on maple syrup, if desired, and scatter on pecans.
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