Butternut Squash Gratin

squash gratin

This winter squash casserole can be made the morning of your dinner and kept covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it. I steam the squash cubes prior to putting them in the casserole to ensure that the squash are tender in the completed dish. Steam the squash cubes until they are slightly “undercooked”. They should still be slightly firm after steaming.   The microwave can be used to steam the squash.  The squash will cook completely when in the casserole.


  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 5 cups of cubed squash), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or sage (substitute 1 teaspoon dried thyme or sage)
  • ¼ teaspoon mace
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup cream
  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ¾ cup grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare the squash by placing it in a microwavable bowl.   Pour one cup of water over the squash and top with plastic wrap.   Microwave until squash is just tender….about 4 to 5 minutes.   Remove from microwave and drain.   Can be made the day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat (if you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, you can transfer the mixture to a casserole dish for baking).   Add the onion and garlic.   Cook over medium heat to soften and light caramelize the onions.   Add the brown sugar or maple syrup and stir to combine.

Add the squash to the onion mixture.  Add the spices, salt and pepper to the squash and toss to combine.    Add the broth and cook until it is almost absorbed.   Stir in the heavy cream and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes (use the addition ¼ cup based on the size of your skillet.)

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and toss with the breadcrumbs and parsley.     Sprinkle the cheese over the squash and top with the breadcrumbs.    Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.   Let rest 5 minutes before cooking.


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