Squash are some of the most diverse, versatile, and flavorful vegetables out there. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a delightful addition to any kitchen. Excited to learn more? Below, we’ll look at what squash is, the types, the 40 most common varieties, and we’ll give you a recipe idea for each one.
40 Types of Squash from A-Z
- Acorn Squash
- Baby Boo Pumpkin
- Banana Squash
- Blue Hubbard Squash
- Buttercup Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Calabaza Squash
- Cinderella Pumpkin
- Costata Romanesco Squash
- Cushaw Squash
- Delicata Squash
- Early Prolific Straightneck Squash
- Eight Ball Squash
- Fairytale Pumpkin
- Golden Hubbard Squash
- Golden Nugget Squash
- Golden Zucchini
- Jaune et Verte Squash
- Jarrahdale Pumpkin
- Kabocha Squash
- Lakota Squash
- Lebanese White Bush Marrow
- Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
- Marina di Chioggia Squash
- Pattypan Squash
- Queensland Blue Pumpkin
- Red Kuri Squash
- Red Warty Thing Pumpkin
- Ronde de Nice Squash
- Seminole Pumpkin
- Sweet Dumpling Squash
- Sweet Lightning Pumpkin
- Sweet Meat Squash
- Tatume Squash
- Table Queen Squash
- Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Squash
- Tondo di Piacenza Squash
- Tromboncino Squash
- Turban Squash
- Vegetable Spaghetti Squash
What is Squash?
“Squash” is a term used to refer to a group of vegetable plants in the gourd family. They’re also known as Cucurbitaceae. These plants produce fruits that are typically consumed as vegetables. There are several types of squash, and they can be broadly categorized into two main groups. Winter squash and summer squash. Let’s take a further look into the two different types!
Summer squash is harvested when their fruit is immature and their skin is tender They have a thin, edible skin and soft seeds. Popular varieties include zucchini, yellow squash, and pattypan squash. People regularly add them to sautés, stir-fries, or side dishes.
Winter squash is harvested when the fruit reaches full maturity and develops a thick, hard skin. As their name suggests, they can be stored over fall and winter. Common types include butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash. They are used in a wide range of recipes, like soups, stews, and casseroles.
Including squash in a healthy diet
Adding squash to your diet enhances meal diversity, and helps you get a broader range of nutrients. You can experiment with various cooking techniques to keep your squash-based meals interesting. And squash pairs well with healthy ingredients like lean proteins, grains, and vegetables. Think butternut and lentil salad with chicken, or a squash risotto.
Squash is a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and folate. These nutrients support overall health, including immune function, skin health, and heart health.
Squash is also rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, helps maintain a feeling of fullness, and supports healthy weight management. Fiber can improve digestive health and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Analyze nutritional information for any recipe
How do you prepare and cook squash?
Squash can be prepared and cooked in lots of ways, depending on how you want to eat them. You can sauté, grill, or steam summer squash. And use them in dishes like stir-fries and casseroles. Winter squash, on the other hand, is often roasted, boiled, mashed, or used to make soups and stews. The skin of some varieties should be peeled before cooking. Because there are so many types of squash, there are also lots of prep methods.
Let’s check out the A-Z of squash varieties.
Acorn squash is a small, rounded winter squash with a dark green, orange, or multicolored outer skin. The skin is hard and slightly ribbed, with a deeply ridged, acorn-like appearance. Acorn squash is tender, sweet, and nutty in flavor. It’s a versatile vegetable and can be roasted, baked, steamed, or even microwaved.
Here’s a recipe that you can try with this type of squash.
Baby Boo Pumpkin
Baby Boo pumpkins are a charming and petite variety of pumpkin. They obviously have a cute name, and that’s because they’re look like miniature versions of traditional orange pumpkins. The smooth, snow-white skin of Baby Boo pumpkins is often used to add a touch of elegance to autumnal decorations.
Although Baby Boo pumpkins are not typically used for carving, they are quite versatile in the kitchen. Their tender flesh is edible, and they can be used in everything from soups and stews to pies and roasted dishes. Their subtle, sweet flavor complements a range of ingredients and can add a unique twist to your favorite pumpkin recipes.
You can try a creamy soup recipe with this type of pumpkin.
Banana squash, or Cucurbita maxima, is a striking winter squash variety. It stands out for its large, elongated shape, which looks a bit like a banana! The flesh is sweet and nutty and can be prepared in many ways, including roasting, baking, steaming, or even mashing. Its flavor is often likened to sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
Here’s a quinoa salad recipe that you can try with the banana squash.
Blue Hubbard Squash
Blue Hubbard squash is a big vegetable! Typically, it weighs between 10 to 20 pounds. It has a rough, bumpy skin, which is a striking blue-gray color. The warts and irregularities on the skin give it a rugged and rustic aesthetic. Hello, fall table decorations!
The sweet, smooth-textured flesh of the blue hubbard squash is perfect for soups, stews, pies, casseroles, and more. It can be roasted, mashed, or pureed to create a wide range of flavorful and comforting dishes.
You can try a classic pumpkin pie recipe with the Blue Hubbard squash.
Buttercup squash is a winter squash known for its rustic round shape, dark green skin, and ridges or furrows.
Inside the tough outer skin, you’ll discover dense, vibrant orange flesh. It’s renowned for its rich and sweet flavor. It can be roasted, baked, steamed, or mashed, and it works well in various savory dishes such as soups, stews, risottos, and casseroles.
You can try this fall risotto recipe with the Buttercup squash.
Butternut squash is a popular and versatile winter squash all over the world. It’s known for its distinctive bell-like shape, creamy orange flesh, and sweet, nutty flavor. It is commonly used in soups, risottos, pasta dishes, and casseroles. Its natural sweetness also makes it an excellent choice for creating desserts like pies, muffins, and even soufflés.
Here’s a unusual enchilada recipe that you can try with this type of squash.
Calabaza squash is prominently featured in Caribbean and Latin American cuisines. It has a round to oblong shape, and its size can range from medium to quite large. And it often weighs between 5 to 20 pounds or more. The skin of Calabaza squash is hard, thick, and blotchy. You’ll often see shades of green, gray, or tan, and warty or ribbed features.
The flesh of Calabaza squash is a vibrant, rich orange color. And it’s known for its sweet and nutty flavor. Calabaza squash is often used in savory dishes such as stews, soups, and casseroles. Calabaza squash is also great in soups, sauces, and empanada fillings.
Here’s a recipe for empanadas that you can try with the Calabaza squash.
Cinderella pumpkin or Rouge vif d’Étampes has a fairy-tale-like appearance. It’s characterized by its striking deep-red to vibrant orange color. And its flat, squat, and deeply ribbed shape resembles the classic pumpkin carriage from Cinderella.
When you open a Cinderella pumpkin, you’ll find dense, sweet, and bright orange flesh. It’s perfect for both culinary and decorative purposes. In the kitchen, Cinderella pumpkins are prized for their flavor and versatility. They can be roasted, pureed, or used in pies, soups, stews, and other savory and sweet dishes.
Here’s a recipe that you can try with the Cinderella pumpkin.
Costata Romanesco Squash
Costata Romanesco squash is usually cylindrical in shape with tender, pale, creamy flesh. You might hear the flavor described as nutty, rich, and sweet. It is commonly used for sautés, grilling, roasting, and baking. Its texture is firm and meaty, which allows it to hold up well to different cooking methods. Like lots of other squashes, it can shine in both savory and sweet dishes.
Here’s a recipe that you can try with the Costata Romanesco squash.
Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash is a unique and versatile winter squash. It’s known for its elongated shape, blotchy skin, and sweet, nutty flavor.
This squash is frequently used in Southern and American cuisine in a wide range of dishes, including pies, casseroles, soups, and stews. Its unique texture and flavor make it a popular choice for both savory and sweet recipes. In some regions, it’s also used to make preserves and desserts like pies and custards.
Here’s a delicious polenta recipe that you can try with the cushaw squash.
Delicata squash is a winter squash that is relatively small and elongated – delicate, you might say! It typically measures about 6 to 8 inches in length. It has a cream-colored skin with green stripes or markings, which gives it an elegant and distinctive appearance.
When you cut open a Delicata squash, you’ll find smooth, golden-yellow flesh with a rich, sweet flavor. It’s often likened to sweet potatoes, and the texture is creamy and tender. And Delicata squash is highly versatile and easy to prepare. It is suitable for roasting, baking, and even microwaving due to its thin skin. Actually, it’s also great in stuffing, soups, and side dishes!
Here is a parmesan crusted Delicata recipe you’ll love.
Early Prolific Straightneck Squash
Early Prolific Straightneck Squash or Yellow Summer Squash is a popular and fast-growing summer squash variety. Even more, it’s known for its vibrant yellow color, tender texture, and mild, slightly sweet flavor.
People often sauté, grill, roast, and incorporate them into a wide range of recipes. It is often used in stir-fries, casseroles, and as a side dish too. In fact, it’s loved for easy and quick summer cooking!
Here’s a recipe for a sauteed side dish.
Eight Ball Squash
Eight Ball Squash or Eight Ball Zucchini is a summer squash known for its small, round shape and mild flavor. It is suitable for grilling, roasting, sautéing, and stuffing. Also, it can be added to salads, side dishes, or used to add a creative element in recipes. Its particularly convenient for individual servings. Think dinner party sides!
Here’s a stuffed zucchini recipe that you can try with the eight ball squash instead.
Fairytale Pumpkins have a captivating and whimsical appearance. It has a deeply ribbed, flattened shape with a bright orange skin. Similar to many pumpkins, you’ll often see blotchy skin.
Often people roast, bake, or purée it. Its sweet, flavorful flesh makes it great in soups, pies, muffins, and all kinds of savory or sweet dishes.
Here’s a soup recipe that you can try with this pumpkin.
Golden Hubbard Squash
Golden Hubbard squash is a winter squash that is a cousin of the Blue Hubbard squash. It’s known for its large, teardrop-shape with a thick, bumpy skin. Maybe not the prettiest pumpkin, but definitely full of character! Also, its color ranges from dark green to golden orange. Even more, its flesh is sweet and nutty. As you might expect, it’s a great choice for roasting, baking, and a variety of savory and sweet dishes.
Golden Nugget Squash
Golden Nugget squash is a petite winter squash. It typically measures about 3 to 4 inches in diameter, and weighs 1 to 2 pounds. It’s known for its small, round shape and smooth, vibrant, golden-orange skin. Also, its ribbed skin makes it one of the prettier types of squash – great for table decor!
How do you cook it? Just like other edible winter squash, Golden Nugget Squash can be roasted, baked, steamed, or used in soups, stews, and casseroles. As well as its sweet taste, its small size makes it a great choice for individual servings.
Here’s a mashed side dish recipe that you can try with Golden Nugget squash.
This is a popular summer squash variety appreciated for its distinctive appearance, mild flavor, and versatile culinary uses. It is also a member of the gourd family and is characterized by its elongated, cylindrical shape, which can grow to various sizes but typically ranges from six to eight inches in length. Unsurprisingly, it looks like a golden-colored version of the standard Zucchini.
Here’s a simple grilled vegetable side recipe that you can try with Golden Zucchini.
Jaune et Verte Squash
The French phrase “Jaune et Verte” translates to “Yellow and Green”. So when it’s used to describe summer squash or zucchini, it refers to the yellow and green colors of its skin.
This type of squash can be used in recipes that call for either yellow or green zucchini. You can slice it, dice it, add it to salads, stir-fries, pasta, or use it as a pizza topping. It’s also suitable for grilling, roasting, sautéing, and stuffing. Another reason chefs love it? Its vibrant, colorful skin.
Here’s a delicious tomato and squash salad recipe that you can try with this type of squash.
The Jarrahdale Pumpkin is a distinctive and visually striking variety of winter squash that is known for its unique appearance, sweet flavor, and culinary versatility. As a result, they are ideal for making soups, stews, curries, pies, and other baked goods. The sweet and nutty flesh of the Jarrahdale Pumpkin pairs well with spices and complements both savory and sweet dishes.
Here’s a vegan curry recipe that you can try with this pumpkin – it’s robust enough to stand up to the falvors and cooking method.
Kabocha squash is round with a bumpy, rough, and hard skin. While it often has a deep green or orange color, some varieties have a spotty or striped appearance.
Because it’s so versatile, Kabocha squash can be roasted, steamed, boiled, mashed, pureed, or used in soups and stews. Also, its sweet and creamy flesh is perfect for making pies, curries, tempura, and a wide range of side dishes. In fact, in Japan, it’s a common ingredient in tempura and nimono (simmered dishes).
Here’s a simple roasted Japanese pumpkin recipe to use it in.
Lakota squash is a small to medium-sized, teardrop or onion-shaped fruit. Additionally, it features a brilliant red-orange or deep scarlet skin with slight ribbing. This type of winter squash is highly versatile. Of course, it can be roasted, baked, and steamed. Also, it can be pureed to make soups, pies, and side dishes. Its sweet and creamy flesh pairs well with both savory and sweet ingredients.
Here’s a Southern-style baked recipe which pairs well with Lakota squash.
Lebanese White Bush Marrow
Lebanese White Bush Marrow or Lebanese White Bush Squash, is a summer squash with a mild flavor and tender texture. Because of its mild flavor, it complements a wide range of flavors and ingredients. And people sauté, grill, roast, or add it to soups, stews, and casseroles. With this in mind, you’ll often see it in Mediterranean or Middle Eastern dishes.
Put it to good use in this casserole recipe.
Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
Long Island Cheese Pumpkin is a notable and traditional pumpkin variety. Due to its flattened, cheese-wheel shape and sweet, flavorful flesh, Long Island Cheese Pumpkin is suitable for roasting, baking, or pureeing. People add it to pies, soups, casseroles, and other savory or sweet recipes. And its unique appearance also adds decorative value to fall and holiday displays.
Here’s a healthy breakfast oatmeal to use this type of squash in.
Marina di Chioggia Squash
Marina di Chioggia Squash is an Italian heirloom winter squash. Also known as Chioggia Squash, it’s well-known for its rugged, warty appearance and rich, sweet flavor. As a matter of fact, it can be roasted, baked, used in soups, stews, and other savory dishes. Additionally, its sweet and flavorful flesh is perfect for making pies, muffins, and other sweet treats as well. And you’ll never struggle to identify it either!
Here’s a baked quinoa recipe perfect for Marina di Chioggia Squash.
Pattypan squash or scallop squash is a visually appealing summer squash. And it’s well-known for its small, round, and scalloped shape. Besides that, the flesh of Pattypan squash is tender, pale in color with a mild, slightly nutty flavor. Also, it’s delicate flavor makes it a versatile ingredient. It works well in Thai curries.
Pattypan squash can be sauteed, grilled, roasted, or stuffed. Due to its unique shape, it is often used as a decorative element in dishes. For example, smaller Pattypan squash make ideal individual servings.
Here’s a burek recipe that you can try with pattypan squash.
Queensland Blue Pumpkin
Also known as Australian Blue Pumpkin, this winter squash is known for its flavor, large size, blue-gray skin. This blueish pumpkin has a sweet, dense flesh. For this reason, it can be roasted, baked, and steamed. Or, used in soups, stews, and casseroles. Not only that, its sweet, dense flesh make it a valuable choice for creating hearty and flavorful dishes. It is often used in savory recipes as well as in sweet preparations like pies, muffins, and bread.
Here’s a recipe for muffins that you can try with the Queensland Blue Pumpkin.
Red Kuri Squash
Red Kuri squash, Hokkaido pumpkin, or Japanese squash, is a vibrant and flavorful winter squash variety. When you cut open a Red Kuri squash, you’ll find smooth, dense, and golden-orange flesh with a sweet, nutty flavor.
Red Kuri squash can be used in numerous ways. Also, it’s suitable for roasting, baking, steaming, and mashing. It’s often used in soups, stews, risottos, and curries. Why? Its sweet and nutty taste adds depth and flavor to the dish.
Here’s a recipe jumping on the hot honey trend which uses this type of squash.
Red Warty Thing Pumpkin
The “Red Warty Thing” Pumpkin is true to its name. And yes, that’s the real name! It’s widely known for its warts or protrusions. It has a bumpy and textured appearance. For instance, it has bumpy and textured skin. Also, it’s reddish-orange with warts and growths of various sizes and shapes.
It might not sound great, but it does taste good! The Red Warty Thing Pumpkin can be roasted, pureed, or used in various recipes for soups, pies, and other dishes. Its sweet and creamy flesh complements a variety of flavors, and it can be both a decorative and a culinary centerpiece. This pumpkin variety is well loved for Halloween displays, as you can probably tell!
Here’s a warming winter lentil and pumpkin soup recipe that uses them brilliantly.
Seminole Pumpkin is a remarkable heirloom pumpkin variety. It has a long and rich history among the Native American Seminole tribe in Florida. While the flesh of Seminole Pumpkin is dense, smooth, it has a vibrant, deep orange color. Because of its sweet, nutty, and earthy flavor, it’s highly desirable for a range of savory and sweet recipes. In general, you’ll see it in soups, pies, stews, casseroles, and bread. Also, its sweet, flavorful flesh is great for baking and roasting.
Here’s a stuffed pasta recipe which works well with the Seminole pumpkin.
Sweet Dumpling Squash
Sweet Dumpling squash is smooth and firm. As well as that, it’s usually creamy white or pale yellow with dark green stripes or markings. Also, it’s super small with a diameter of around 4 to 6 inches! So, it’s a a great choice for personal portions!
When you cut open a Sweet Dumpling squash, you’ll find tender, orange flesh that boasts a sweet, nutty flavor. Even better, you can roast, bake, steam or stuff them. Speaking of stuffing, here’s a stuffed pumpkin recipe that you can try next time you invite guests over for dinner!
Sweet Lightning Pumpkin
Sweet Lightning Pumpkin is a distinctive and eye-catching pumpkin variety. What does it look like? Its striking, marbled skin is mix of orange and white colors. It’s named because the skin gives the appearance of lightning-like streaks.
Beyond looks, Sweet Lightning Pumpkin is a great ingredient too. When you open one, you’ll discover smooth, dense, and sweet flesh with a flavor that is often described as nutty and slightly sweet. Also, from a cooking standpoint, it works in a variety of dishes, including soups, pies, muffins, and other savory and sweet recipes.
Sweet Meat Squash
Sweet Meat squash is a winter squash variety that is well-recognized for its large and elongated shape. The flesh is deep orange to golden in color and is known for its rich, sweet, and nutty flavor. This flavor is often compared to that of sweet potatoes and has a pleasant and savory quality.
Sweet Meat squash is highly prized for its versatility and flavor. Culinarily speaking, its sweet and nutty flesh makes it an excellent choice for baking and roasting. You’ll often see it in pies, purees, soups, and casseroles.
Here’s a recipe for pumpkin pie squares and candied pecans that you can try for a twist on the classic dessert.
Tatume Squash, also known as Tatuma or Mexican Zucchini, is a summer squash variety commonly found in Mexican cuisine. The flesh of Tatume Squash is tender, pale green or white, and has a mild, slightly nutty flavor. Also, this squash is prized for its versatility in the kitchen. For example, you’ll see it in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, but it works really well in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food too.
Not only that but its mild flavor and delicate texture make it an excellent addition to dishes that highlight the fresh, seasonal flavors of summer. Black bean enchiladas are the perfect way to use this type of squash.
Table Queen Squash
Table Queen Squash is a compact winter squash. In terms of appearance, it typically measures around 6 inches and weighs 2 to 3 pounds. It has smooth, hard skin that is dark green in color and has deep ridges. The flesh of the table queen squash makes it great for roasting, baking, steaming, or mashing. It’s well-suited for soups, stews, casseroles, and pies, as its sweet, dense flesh adds depth and flavor to recipes.
Here’s a recipe for cinnamon rolls that you can try with the Table Queen Squash.
Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Squash
Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Squash is an heirloom squash. Appearance-wise, it has a creamy color and subtle ribbing. Its flesh is dense, smooth and incredibly sweet. Taste-wise, the flesh is often compared to that of a sweet potato.
Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato squash is highly versatile and can be prepared in various ways. It is suitable for roasting, baking, steaming, or mashing. You’ll also see it used in soups, casseroles, pies, and other savory or sweet dishes. Try it in a classic sweet potato pumpkin soup.
Tondo di Piacenza Squash
As its name suggests, Tondo di Piacenza squash means “round” in Italian. And it tells us that it’s from Piacenza, Northern Italy. The squash has a flattened, round shape with a diameter of about 3 to 4 inches. In terms of appearance, it’s pale green, and it may feature subtle ribbing or scalloped edges. Taste-wise, it’s tender, creamy, and boasts a delicate yet sweet flavor.
This type of squash is suitable for sautéing, grilling, roasting, and frying. Also, its unique shape and pleasant flavor make it ideal for stuffing with various fillings. It looks impressive too! Pumpkin pie crisp is a good way to use it.
Tromboncino squash has an S-shaped form. As for the size, it often exceeds two feet in length! It has smooth, pale green skin. Also, in terms of taste, it has a pale, tender flesh with a mild, slightly nutty flavor. This flavor is more delicate compared to other summer squash varieties, making it versatile for various culinary uses.
Tromboncino squash can be used lots of different ways. It works well for sautéing, grilling, and roasting. Because of that, it suits dishes like stir-fries, frittatas, and casseroles. Its unique shape also makes it particularly well-suited for spiralizing into “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) for a low-carb alternative to pasta or noodles. Try these sesame zoodles and find out for yourself!
Turban squash is multi-colored. For instance, you’ll often see it in deep green, orange, yellow, and white color variations. Not surprisingly, it gets its name from its turban-like appearance with bulbous base and a flared top.
Turban squash has a dense, vibrant orange flesh with a sweet, nutty flavor. The flavor is often described as rich and slightly sweet. So naturally, it can be roasted, baked, pureed, or used to make soup. While Turban squash is sometimes used in cooking, it is more commonly celebrated for its decorative value. It’s often featured as a centerpiece in autumn and holiday displays, both indoors and outdoors, as its unique shape and vibrant colors add a touch of whimsy and elegance to seasonal decor.
But if you do want to cook with it (and why not, after you’ve used it for your decor?!) here’s a roasted squash, feta, and beetroot recipe that you can try.
Vegetable Spaghetti Squash
Vegetable spaghetti squash has an elongated oval shape. Size-wise, it varies from 8 to 14 inches or more. It’s usually pale yellow or golden, with a slightly ribbed texture.
What sets spaghetti squash apart? When it’s cooked, its stringy, noodle-like flesh appears. Also, when the flesh is scraped with a fork, it transforms into long, slender spaghetti-like strands. As a result, they’re great in a wide range of dishes. Finally, these “spaghetti” strands are mild and slightly sweet flavor.
Here’s a meatlball casserole recipe that you can try with spaghetti squash.
FAQs about Squash
No, the edibility of squash skin varies depending on the variety. Some types of squash such as the summer squash varieties, like zucchini and yellow squash, have tender, edible skins. Winter squash varieties typically have thicker, tougher skins that are usually removed before eating. Always check the specific variety and recipe for guidance on whether to peel the skin.
Popular winter squash varieties include butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash.
Yes, there are many unique and heirloom types of squash worth exploring. Notable examples include Cinderella Pumpkin, Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, Red Warty Thing Pumpkin, and Tatume Squash, among others. Importantly, these varieties offer distinct flavors and textures that can add diversity to your culinary repertoire.
You can store winter squash for several months in a cool, dry location. It’s essential to shield them from direct sunlight and maintain proper air circulation. Storing them individually is advisable to prevent one squash from affecting the others in case of spoilage. On the other hand, because summer squash is more perishable, it should be refrigerated and consumed within a few weeks.
Yes, you can use many types of squash, especially those with captivating shapes, colors, and textures, for decorative purposes in fall displays, center pieces, and seasonal arrangements. Common selections for this purpose include Cinderella Pumpkins, Red Warty Thing Pumpkins, and other unique varieties.