Skip to Content

5 Best Substitutes for Delicata Squash for Home Cooks

When it comes to the colorful array of gourds that starts to infiltrate our markets and grocery stores in the fall, the unsung hero, the Delicata squash, shines in the shadows, beloved for its sweetness and ease of preparation.

Its unique oblong shape and streaky greenish-yellow color have made it a favorite vegetable among healthy eaters and food bloggers alike.

However, if you’ve reached for the Delicata only to find it’s out of season or unavailable, fear not. There’s a plethora of satisfying alternatives that can step into your dish without missing a step in the flavor or nutrition department.

5 Substitutes for Delicata Squash to Consider

1 – Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is the crown prince of the gourd family. Its tan-yellow color and subtle bell shape make it a standout, just like its more delicate cousin, the Delicata.

The butternut, with its slightly sweet, nutty flavor, is fantastic in just about any recipe calling for Delicata, and its flesh retains a smooth texture when cooked, perfect for mashes and soups. This squash generally weighs between 2 and 3 pounds, which is a great guideline for swapping it into your recipes that demand Delicata’s signature taste.

2 – Acorn Squash

Acorn squash, not to be confused with the aardvark from Arthur, is the dark horse of the gourd kingdom. Like the Delicata, it’s easy to prepare and its ridges are more than just for show—they’re perfect interlocking pieces that can be sliced or scooped to great effect.

Acorn squash boasts a more earthy flavor than the Delicata, but when roasted or sautéed, it harmonizes well in many recipes. Its creamy texture is ideal for soups and stews, making it a versatile switch.

3 – Classic Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are the all-American quarterback of the vegetable world. They’re a favorite at the Thanksgiving table and acclaimed for their dark orange, richly flavored flesh.

While not a squash per se, these root vegetables are a powerhouse and do wonders when slipped into recipes that originally called for Delicata squash. They’re a bit sweeter and can be denser than Delicata, but with a little culinary finesse, they do the job deliciously.

4 – Kabocha Squash

Kabocha squash, also known as the Japanese pumpkin, may have a stout, unassuming exterior, but inside, it’s a vibrant-orange, richly textured delight that’s just waiting to be a part of your culinary adventures.

With a sweet flavor and dry, fluffy texture after cooking, Kabocha stands in excellently for Delicata in recipes such as roasts or casseroles. It does require a bit more time to cook than its delicata counterpart, but the rewards are well worth the patience.

5 – Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a peculiar gourd that, when cooked, yields a stringy flesh that miraculously resembles strands of spaghetti. While its texture is notably different from the creamy, smooth flesh of the Delicata, it’s an interesting alternative that can add a whimsical touch to your meals.

Its mild flavor pairs well with various seasonings and sauces, making it a fun and healthy addition to your dinner menu. While it may not be the best replica of Delicata in a dish, it’s an intriguing option for those willing to try something new.

Recipes with These Substitutes

Once you have your hands on one or more of these substitutes, the possibilities for delicious meals are endless. Try out a few of these recipes that feature these alternatives to Delicata squash and see which ones become your new favorites:

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto

Butternut squash effortlessly steps in for Delicata squash in this classic Northern Italian dish that’s creamy, rich, and oh-so-delicious. A combination of caramelized onions, buttery butternut squash, and fresh sage make this a favorite fall recipe that will have your dinner guests begging for seconds.

Acorn Squash Soup with Curry

This squash soup has a silky, smooth texture that’s the perfect canvas for the bold flavors of curry. Swap out Delicata for acorn squash to make it slightly more hearty and robust without sacrificing any flavor.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Transform your classic Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole by using roasted sweet potatoes instead of delicata squash for a slightly sweeter, more vibrant dish. Top with marshmallows for a truly indulgent treat.

Kabocha Squash Curry

This flavorful Japanese curry is even better when made with Kabocha squash instead of Delicata. The rich, earthy flavor of the kabocha provides the perfect compliment to the spicy curry sauce.

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

For a healthier twist on traditional pasta primavera, swap out the noodles for spaghetti squash. Its mild flavor pairs perfectly with fresh vegetables and a light cream sauce for a guilt-free indulgence.

sweet potato and sage risotto

Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

A twist on the classic Northern Italian dish, this creamy risotto features sweet potatoes and sage for a comforting fall meal.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 540 kcal


  • Large pot
  • Medium saucepan
  • Spatula


  • 2 cups sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 fresh sage leaves chopped


  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced sweet potatoes and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
  • In the same pot, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Add arborio rice to the pot and stir constantly for 1 minute.
  • Pour in white wine and cook until it has been almost entirely absorbed by the rice.
  • Slowly add vegetable broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring until almost completely absorbed before adding more.
  • After about 30 minutes of stirring and adding broth, the rice should be tender and creamy. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped sage leaves and cook until crispy, about 1 minute.
  • Serve risotto in individual bowls and top with cooked sweet potatoes and crispy sage leaves.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 540kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 12gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 1440mgPotassium: 377mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 10239IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 256mgIron: 3mg
Keyword sweet potato and sage risotto
Did you make this recipe?Mention @CooksCrafter or tag #CooksCrafter!
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating