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Butternut Squash Risotto


Butternut Squash Risotto is a creamy, cheesy, savory dish that is easier to make than you might think! It’s the perfect Fall dish. Simple enough for a weeknight meal, but feels fancy enough for a special occasions.

butternut squash risotto in a white bowl butternut squash risotto in a white bowl on a marble countertop

What is Risotto?

Risotto is a creamy Italian dish that is made by cooking a starchy, short grain rice in broth until it becomes creamy. It is one of those dishes that just sounds fussy. It’s usually served at nice restaurants and feels completely unattainable (or unrealistic..) for a home cook.

But risotto is actually very easy to make! It just requires a bit of patience, and a lot of stirring. But we promise, the end result is totally worth it!

Butternut squash risotto in a white and blue ceramic pot with cheese and a grater in the background.

How to Make Butternut Squash Risotto

Truly, this dish couldn’t be easier to make. For this recipe we started with raw butternut squash, but it’s a great place to use up leftover roasted butternut squash also!

  1. Saute the onions until softened, then add the squash. Cook for a couple minutes to start to soften and brown, then add your rice. You’ll want to use a short grain rice for risotto because of the high starch content. That’s what makes it so creamy! The most common rice in risotto is arborio rice, but you can use regular rice in a pinch! Barley is another alternative that will work for risotto!
  2. Simmer your chicken broth in a separate pan and keep warm while you cook your risotto. You’re going to add it to your rice, one ladleful at a time, stirring until the liquid is absorbed by the rice before adding more.
  3. Stir, stir, stir! The secret to creamy risotto is low heat and constant stirring. This can be a great job for older kids that are comfortable around the stove.
  4. Once all of the liquid has been added and your rice is tender (but not mushy!) stir in your cheese and fresh herbs. We love the flavor of fresh sage with the butternut squash, but basil is delicious too! If you are using leftover roasted veggies you can stir them in at this point also.
butternut squash in a white and blue ceramic pot with a ladle

What goes with Butternut Squash Risotto?

We typically eat this as a main dish, because it is so hearty. But it can also make a pretty spectacular side dish when served with chicken or pork! I usually serve it with a fresh salad. This Fall Harvest Salad pairs so perfectly with the Fall flavors of the risotto!

butternut squash in a white plate with a white pepper grinder on a marble countertop

More Vegetarian Dinner Ideas:

butternut squash risotto in a white bowl
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4.2 from 14 votes

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto is a creamy, cheesy, savory dish that is easier to make than you might think! Simple enough for a weeknight meal, but feels fancy enough for a special occasions.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time28 minutes
Total Time43 minutes
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 506kcal



  • In a saucepan over medium heat, bring chicken broth to a simmer. Reduce heat to low.
  • Add olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until it begins to soften.
  • Add the butter, garlic and butternut squash to the saucepan and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the rice and cook for another minute or so until the rice is translucent.
  • With a ladle, add about 1 cup of the chicken broth. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed. Add remaining broth about 1 cup at a time, continuing to allow the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. 
  • Stir often and cook until squash is tender and risotto is creamy, about 25 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and fresh herbs and serve.


Calories: 506kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 361mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g
Keyword : Butternut Squash Risotto


Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Hi Amy,
Freakonomics Radio (I’m a money geek, too)
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thank you for the recipe. it spurred me to try it the first night i saw it. i opted to make it a bit more healthy/vegan and went with brown rice (half long grain and half jasmine) and low sodium vegetable broth. all ingredients were organic and we omitted the optional items. it was delicious. our dinner guest and the kids all wanted seconds. we ended up using with just 2 TBL olive oil and 3 cups butternut squash. cooking time increased to 40 minutes with the brown rice. i had never made risotto before and about halfway through realized i was supposed to cook it with the lid on when adding each cup of vegetable broth. thank you again. we’ll do it again.

Thank you for trying it with Brown rice! I have been meaning to, but was concerned it would take forever on the stove. I think I can handle 40 minutes!

I am LOVING this site! Thanks so much for doing this!

I wanted to offer one suggestion: for those parents who work full time (or in my case, full time and also run a part-time business on the side) maybe offer “quicker alternatives”. Though I would love the luxury of standing over a stove for 20 minutes, I don’t always have the time! 🙁 Looking for really quick healthy meals for my 3yo. Found a few on here, but some of them that I really want to try, I will most likely not have time or energy to. 🙁 Thanks for considering my suggestion and for putting up such a great site!

Amy, do you think I can used a bag of frozen butternut squash chunks with this recipe? I may have to half the chunks for my 1 1/2 year old. Looks so yummy. Can’t wait to make it!

I love listening to podcasts as I cook too! Focus on the Family is always a go to site for me as well as Dave Ramsey:) Thanks for the great healthy recipes!!

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Made this last night. It was fabulous. My 2 kids loved it, so did my husband and I. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks

If you buy the butternut squash already cubed from the store, do you cook it first before adding it, or do you just cook it in the olive oil?

I’ve never made risotto before but have always wanted to try! When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it! For a first time risotto maker I felt the recipe directions weren’t specific as I know risotto needs to be made step by step or else can be a flop. As I got the my last cup of chicken stock I realized my butternut squash was still pretty hard and my rice was al dente. At this point I looked further into risotto recipes and read that a lid should be placed after each pour. As for my butternut squash I guess cubes wouldn’t be the right cut if I want them to soften quicker. Hopefully next time will be better!