20 types of squash
Discover some of the most popular types of winter and summer squash. We've also included cooking suggestions, from roasted squash to comforting soups.
Whether we're roasting it, shaving it for salads, grilling it, or simmering it into a comforting soup, our love for squash knows no bounds! This tasty vegetable is filling and delicious in all its varieties — and there are many different types of squash, including winter and summer squash.
Explore our top recipes, from hearty pasta dishes and soul-warming soups to refreshing salads ideal for scorching summer days. Discover more butternut squash recipes and head to Gardeners' World for more information about the different types of squash and tips on how to grow pumpkins and squash.
What is the difference between winter and summer squash?
Winter squash, such as butternut, spaghetti, acorn or pumpkins, have hard, thick skins, sweet, dense flesh and mature seeds, making them ideal for roasting, mashing or soups. Summer squash, like courgettes and patty pan, have tender, edible skins, edible flowers and a milder-flavoured flesh. They are best suited for barbecuing, griddling, frying or adding raw to salads.
What to look for when buying squash
When buying squash, choose ones that are firm, heavy for their size, and blemish or bruise-free. The skin should be matte and not shiny, indicating ripeness.
What's the best way to cook squash?
Winter and summer squash can both be roasted, but winter squash will take longer to cook. To roast, prepare your squash as needed, either peeled chunks or wedges, toss the squash in oil and any other flavourings you want, then roast at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for roughly 20 mins for summer squash and 30-40 mins for winter squash until soft and browned around the edges. Butternut squash can also be halved, seeded, stuffed, and roasted.
Barbecuing or griddling
Better suited to summer squash like courgettes, toss thick slices or halves in a little oil and barbecue or griddle for 5-6 mins on each side until you have char marks and the courgettes have softened.
Courgettes can be eaten raw but are best thinly sliced or peeled into ribbons and then seasoned with a little salt, which helps soften them before being dressed and used in salads.
How to store squash
To store squash, keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Winter squash can last for months, while summer squash are best used within a week or two. Cut pieces should be kept in the fridge and used within a few days.
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20 different varieties of squash
- Butternut squash
A great all-rounder producing dozens of small fruits with firm, tasty orange flesh that’s at its best drizzled with olive oil and then slow-roasted. Sample it in our butternut squash & cherry tomato crumble — an ideal choice for a cosy autumn supper.
Try many more cooking methods with our butternut squash soup recipes, butternut squash pasta recipes, roasted butternut squash recipes and winter squash recipes. Also, learn how to grow butternut squash with this helpful guide from Gardener's World.
This is your go-to pumpkin for Halloween, producing classic round fruits in brilliant orange that are made for carving and sweet to eat, too. Try it in our pumpkin pasta alla vodka, an easy pasta dish that has a depth of flavour provided by the vodka and chilli.
3. Crown Prince squash
The bright orange flesh of a crown prince squash tastes a little like sweet potatoes and has a dense texture. It makes for a lovely silky soup, like our pumpkin & bacon soup.
4. Acorn squash
Acorn squash derives its name from its distinctive shape. The lush, dark green skin cradles the sweet, nutty, bright orange flesh. Perfect for stuffing – give our stuffed baby squash with creamy mushrooms & tarragon a go as a spectacular veggie centrepiece for your Christmas feast.
5. Banana squash
Ditch traditional lasagne sheets for luscious layers of banana squash in this veg-packed butternut squash & spinach lasagne, crowned with oozing melted cheese. Although the recipe suggests butternut squash, the equally rich, sweet, earthy profile of banana squash is an ideal match. Plus, its substantial size is perfect for preparing generous servings.
6. Spaghetti squash
With their oblong form and stringy flesh, this squash variety offers spaghetti-like strands when scooped post-cooking. A fantastic, health-conscious, low-carb alternative to traditional pasta.
7. Kabocha squash
Savour the exceptional Kabocha squash, a renowned Japanese winter pumpkin cherished for its captivating, intense flavour. Its compact, dark green fruits house the vibrant yellow-orange flesh. Opt for Kabocha over regular pumpkin in our pumpkin stew, crafting a nourishing, low-fat dish ideal for those cosy winter dinners.
8. Harlequin squash
Harlequin squash flaunts its unique charm with striking gold and green fruits. Their natural sweetness levels are perfect for pan frying or roasting, producing beautifully caramelised flesh. Elevate our stuffed butternut squash recipe by substituting Harlequin squash and stuffing it with nuts, barley and herbs.
9. Sweet dumpling squash
These winter squash have white and green colouring with a sweet, mild flavour. Try one in our creamy baked gnocchi with squash & spinach instead of butternut. Surprisingly, you can whip it up in just 30 minutes with a microwave, and your guests will be none the wiser.
10. Red kuri squash
This squash is medium-sized, round and has a deep red-orange hue. Its shape resembles an onion, and it tastes best in soups and casseroles. Try a twist on our spicy pumpkin soup by substituting traditional pumpkin with this delightful squash. Don't forget to save the seeds for toasting and garnishing – they add a lovely crunch to complement the velvety soup.
11. Turban squash
Turban squash boasts a truly distinctive appearance, resembling a pumpkin with a small pumpkin “crown”. Its mild flavour makes it an ideal addition to salads after roasting. Try it in our roast squash & hummus winter salad, a nutritious delight loaded with beta-carotene and vitamin C, bolstering your immune defences with every bite.
12. Buttercup squash
With their captivating shape, these squash varieties remain fresh well into late winter, offering a buttery-sweet and satiny texture when baked and mashed. Use it in our roast sweet potato, squash & garlic mash, a twist on traditional mash that elevates your roast dishes. This versatile recipe can be effortlessly adjusted to feed any number of guests by doubling or halving it, and it's dairy-free, catering to vegan preferences.
13. Hubbard squash
The petite, finely-grained Golden Hubbard squash is a true gem, offering light-coloured, flavourful flesh. It's an excellent choice for freezing and ideal for soups like our Thai pumpkin recipe. This soup boasts a velvety texture, courtesy of creamy coconut milk and packs a punch with the distinctive Thai flavours of lemongrass, ginger, and red curry paste.
14. Carnival squash
As far as aesthetics go, this squash is a true beauty. While its orange and green speckled skin can grace your home decor, don't overlook its culinary potential. When stuffed and baked, it transforms into a mouthwatering delight. Consider filling it with wild rice, fennel, apple, pomegranate seeds, and pecans to create a showstopping stuffed pumpkin centrepiece tailor-made for an autumnal vegan or vegetarian dinner party.
15. Honeynut squash
Introducing the honeynut squash, a sweet hybrid of the butternut variety. Resembling a petite butternut, it packs a unique flavour punch. Give it a shot in our hasselback butternut squash with tahini yogurt & gremolata. The honeynut's smaller size ensures each guest gets their own delectable portion.
16. Patty pan squash
Patty pan squash, those petite, sunny-hued wonders, boast a light, nutty flavour. Elevate your seasonal menu during sunnier months by incorporating them into dishes like our creamy summer squash risotto, infused with garlic and thyme. Not only is it easy to prepare, but it's also versatile, serving a gathering of four to six with ease.
Learn more on how to grow patty pan squash.
17. Chayote squash
The distinctive green, pear-shaped chayote squash is a common sight in Mexican and Latin-American grocery stores. In many households, it stars in comforting stews or takes the stage as a steamed side dish. Chayote is also popular throughout Asia and among some island nations. Its mild flavour is often compared to cucumbers, and it can be served raw or pickled.
Try it in place of cucumber in our smacked cucumbers recipe.
Courgette, a beloved summer staple, stands as one of the most versatile squashes, gracing grocery store shelves throughout the year. Enjoy it raw, grilled or spiralised into noodle-like strands. Elevate your weeknight dinner game with our 25-minute wonder, courgette chilli & mint with pearl couscous. The courgettes and couscous demand minimal prep, while the vibrant combination of mint, chilli, garlic and lemon forms a zesty dressing that'll leave your taste buds dancing.
19. Crookneck squash
Crookneck squashes, sporting their club-shaped base and curved neck, come in smooth or rough textures, encasing a creamy flesh with a nutty flavour. For a twist, swap courgettes with these vibrant gems in our courgette, green bean & feta salad. Marinate the crookneck squash, green beans and feta in a blend of olive oil, garlic, thyme, chilli and zesty orange. It's a dish flavourful enough to stand on its own, yet also a superb complement to barbecued meats.
20. Cousa squash
Cousa squash, often found in the Middle East region, is a stouter, shorter version of courgette with a lighter colour and a mildly sweet flavour. However, they can be elusive in regular grocery stores, often needing to be home-grown. Cousa squash, like most summer squashes, has a thin skin that's easy to peel and cut through. Make it the star of the show in our herby courgette & white bean salad by ribboning and dressing in a simple mustard and honey sauce.
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