Butternut Squash Gratin: A New Family Favorite Side Dish

Today’s post is going to be brief! There’s been a line-up of epic posts recently – all good things mind you, but it’s time for something short and sweet.

This butternut squash gratin is just that: uncomplicated, yet sophisticated in an understated way. We enjoyed it as one of our side dishes this past weekend for Canadian Thanksgiving, and here’s the crazy part: my kids ate it and asked for seconds. I know !

It’s not much to look at, but this autumnal casserole was the only dish that got completely polished off during our Thanksgiving feast. The squash! Talk about a testament to how good this gratin really is when it goes up against the likes of perfect mashed potatoes and wins.

No one turned down the gratin and it wasn’t just the children who were having seconds.

What’s the appeal?

From the diner’s perspective, it is light and fluffy, admittedly an admirable quality in a holiday meal, and the Parmesan seems to mellow out the strong ‘squashy’ flavor that seems to repel most kids, mine included. The early autumnal flavor of the butternut does come through, don’t get me wrong, but in the very best of ways.

From the cook’s viewpoint, this gratin is quick and easy, requires only basic pantry ingredients, and lends itself well to planning ahead. The squash can be chopped, cooked, cooled and stored the day before, leaving only assembly and baking on the big day. Alternatively, the gratin can be assembled in full, partially baked, cooled and stored; then 20 minutes before dinner, pop it in the oven to warm through and melt the cheese.

Butternut Squash Gratin

4.5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 120kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 3 cups butternut squash in ¾ inch chunks
  • 1 cup sweet onion finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan grated (or strong cheddar)
  • 1/3 cup Panko or breadcrumbs
  • Pepper to taste


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch baking dish, round or square.
  • In a medium pot, cover squash with cold water, place a lid on top and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, reduce heat so that the water just simmers and cook squash for about 15 min. or until tender. Rinse under cold water; drain. (Do-Ahead: at this point the squash can be stored for up to two days until you are ready to assemble the gratin.)
  • Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan and add onions. Sauté on medium heat, stirring often, until softened. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a medium bowl, beat egg, salt and mayonnaise together. Add 1/3 cup of Parmesan, panko, sautéed onion and squash and fold together gently to combine. Season with pepper and more salt, if needed.
  • Spoon in to prepared baking dish and top with remaining 1/3 cup of cheese. Bake 1 hour or until heated through and cheese is slightly browned. Serve hot.


Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 331mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5675IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Do-Ahead: Remove gratin from oven after 30 minutes and cool completely. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day. To serve: remove plastic wrap and place in hot oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Is winter squash a favorite at your dinner table?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Love butternut squash! I am always looking for new things to do with it. Never thought of it in a gratin before. Looking forward to trying this!

  2. I freaking love this recipe!

  3. Hi! Just had to add that this dish is amazing! During the holidays I searched for sides with squash and this came up. I made it and it was such a hit that I’ve been making it since, but as a main dish. I roast the squash and onion for about 30-40 minutes in a hot, hot oven, I double the cheese-egg mixture, and some pulled pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and viola(!), an all-in-one diner dish 🙂

    Thanks for the deliciousness!

  4. Hi Amy,

    I’m making this recipe tonight!

    Any suggestions for an alternative for the parmesan cheese? I’m trying to introduce squash to my family, and I have a son who can’t eat dairy. I’ve only had a bit of squash, and suspect that we could all use something like the cheese to help the flavor. We’re trying little bits of goat cheese in some recipes, but so far it hasn’t been a big hit.

    • Yeah, the cheese really makes the dish…Hmm, I guess perhaps a bit more mayo in the filling to make sure it’s moist. Add a little more salt, also, as the Parm provides some saltiness.


    • I know this is super late, but I’ve heard Cashew Cheese is really good. If no nut allergies might be worth a try.

  5. I’ve been trying to incorporate squash into our diet lately. I’ll let you know when we try this one. Thanks!

  6. I made this for dinner today… I liked it… next time I would add more butternut squash and less bread crumbs. Maybe also cook the butternut squash a little less since in softens in the oven.

  7. Made this last night and it was delicious, thanks for the recipe!!

  8. I am curious what the purpose of the bread crumbs are? My family is gluten free and I love the idea of this recipe so I would love to adapt it to our gluten free lifestyle and would love to know your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!!

    • The combination of egg and bread crumbs binds the dish together and gives it a lovely, fluffy texture.

      I’m not a GF expert, so I can’t tell you exactly what to sub, but let me think on it. perhaps ground almonds…

    • They make Gluten Free Rice Krispies which may be a good substitution for Panko

    • I know this comment is two years old BUT, just in case someone else stumbles on this recipe and checks the comments for a substitute for Panko, I’ve used plain pork rinds ground up in place of bread crumbs many times and it turns out well. I’m going to give it a try with this recipe as well.

  9. I made a double batch and shared one with my neighbor, if I’d have tried it before sharing, she probably wouldn’t have gotten my 2nd batch! I absolutely loved it, including my kids and husband who needless to say aren’t big squash eaters. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Sounds so good…. Can this be made and frozen about 2 weeks ahead?

  11. The print link on this page does not seem to work.

  12. Do you have any suggestions for subs on the mayo? Maybe Greek yogurt….?

    I really want to try this recipe out. It sounds delicious!

  13. Is it really grated Parmesan? It looks shredded in the picture.
    Thanks! Can’t wait to try this.

  14. This recipe is fantastic! I made it for Thanksgiving dinner last night and it was a huge hit. I substituted Veganaise for mayo, mixed onions and shallots, and doubled to recipe for 12 adults (I don’t think this actually yields enough for 8 decent-sized servings, but a double batch was perfect for everyone to have a helping, plus some leftovers). I will definitely be making again, and this is my new go-to recipe for Thanksgiving gatherings!

  15. Made this dish last night, it was a huge hit! Everybody loved it. The bulk of the dinner came from your recipes, the turkey, the stuffing, the gravy.Thank you so much.

  16. THIS is dinner tomorrow, thanks for the recipe!!!

  17. We made this for our Thanksgiving dinner, and there’s not a bit of it leftover! Thanks for a great recipe; next time (and there will definitely be a next time!) I will double the recipe.

  18. CAn you use Frozen Butternut Squash and if so – do you need to cook it first before putting in this recipe? Sorry if that seems like a dumb question – please let me know your advice!!

  19. Hi, I want to try making this and add ground turkey. Do you think this would work?

  20. Can the squash be baked to preserve the nutrients that are typically leaked out when veggies are boiled? I have made this once already and it is delicious!!

  21. Made this last night and it was sooo tasty! I added a little bit of allspice, which was nice. My only complaint was that it was gone too fast. I should have made more!

  22. Do you use plain or seasoned panko ?
    Is it grated or shredded parm chess?
    Thanks!!!!! Making tonight for Thanksgiving:)

  23. I’m trying this out today. It’s my secret weapon dish! Lol! I just wanted to let everyone know that marketside (Walmart) makes bagged cubed butternut squash. You can cook it in the bag in the microwave. I eat it all the time and it’s delicious.

  24. I know this is an old post but I just discovered it and can’t wait to try the recipes. Question about the squash – do you peel it? It looks peeled. When does that happen? I’m not exactly sure how to “deal” with squash as I’ve only made spaghetti squash before.

    • Good question. Yes the squash is peeled – do it first thing! You can use a knife or a heavy duty peeler.

      You’re going to love this gratin! Happy Thanksgiving.

  25. Hi, Love this dish!!!! I replaced the bread crumbs for Pepperidge Farm Parmesan goldfish I can’t believe how amazing the extra little flavour ads!!!

  26. Frederique says

    HMM! Love that this does not contain cream! I was jonesing for a “dauphinois” made with squash instead of potatoes and thought this recipe would likely work. I can have cheese but not cream as I am slightly lactose intolerant. Do you think I could mandoline the butternut squash raw, layer it whilst putting some of the mayo-egg-panko-parmesan mixture between each layer (like a lasagna), finish with the above mayo mixture and cook till tender before taking it out of the oven, finishing with parmesan and putting it back on broil? Would make an amazing side for my thanksgiving Duck confit (which I STILL don’t have a recipe for! Must call the mother in law in France!). THANKS!

  27. Charlotte from AZ says

    Aimee this recipe sounds awesome! We love all kinds of squash. I will me making this very soon! Happy Thanksgiving 2015 to you!

  28. Amanda Powers says

    5 stars
    Do you know if you can cook this in the slow cooker? We love this recipe but I am fighting for oven space this year.

    • I think it would work well. You won’t get the crispy topping, though. Be sure it has a good long time (maybe 3-4 hours on HIGH) so that the eggs get cooked.
      Happy Thanksgiving.

  29. Hey, very good website you have at this time there

  30. I’m going to try this for Christmas. My sister can’t eat onions though, so I have to make it without. I hope that doesn’t change it too much ! (definitely a challenge to leave out onions in many dishes – including the stuffing – but I want her to be able to enjoy the food as well|)

  31. 5 stars
    I made this to use up some butternut squash I had hanging around. I wanted a change from the usual “sweet” recipes that use brown sugar or maple syrup with Thanksgiving-y spices.

    I doubled the recipe, and split the difference between the parmesan and the cheddar – I mixed the parmesan in, but topped with cheddar. I also added a little thyme.

    I thought it was delicious. Sadly, it did not win over the squash-hater in the family – but I’m not sure that anything would. Everyone else liked it, though!

    It’s a nice easy recipe, and I like the fact that it doesn’t call for any exotic ingredient or a lot of complicated cooking. Just an easy way to make a tasty savory squash side dish.

  32. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and make it all the time! I changed and/or omitted a few of the ingredients, though, to make the dish entirely plant-based. I use Vegenaise instead mayonnaise, Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg instead of a chicken’s egg, and I completely omit the cheese. It’s soooo good, and my version is cholesterol-free and much lower in fat and calories. Great recipe!

  33. Looking for a yummy side dish for Thanksgiving and this sounds delicious!! I see an 8-inch dish serves about eight.. I know my Thanksgiving dinner will consist of about 30 people. Would I just triple the recipe and use a larger baking dish? Dish size and baking time suggestions?

    • Hi Katie, I would do four times the recipe. It is very versatile and can batch up no problem. You could bake it in two 9×13 pans or one very large pan. Baking time will only increase by about 10 minutes or so. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

      • Okay! I made four times the recipe and baked in a large dish! Came out perfectly and it was a hit for our Thanksgiving dinner! Everyone LOVED it!! Thank you for this awesome recipe!

  34. Can you use kraft Parmesan,I don’t have a grater

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