Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash with Dried Cranberries and Pecans – Cooking with Kids Recipe

This recipe brings two words to mind… Happy Family!  I was pleasantly surprised that my whole family ate and enjoyed this recipe.  My sweet little Mason even thought it was dessert.  It must be the touch of honey and cinnamon.  I am happy letting them think their vegetables are dessert 🙂

Full disclosure – this recipe isn’t 100% kid friendly.  Cutting up a butternut squash takes a bit of muscle, so I encourage parents to dice the squash before kids start.  Don’t let that discourage you, there’s still plenty for little ones to help with. I truly think that it was their involvement in making it, that made them want to eat it.

Before you start cutting into your squash, check out my new video demonstration.

OK, let’s get to it. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chef knife (for adult only)
  • Cutting board
  • Peeler
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Spatula or spoon
  • Baking sheet


Every child’s ability varies depending on maturity or cognitive and physical ability.  Parents need to use their own discretion when assigning tasks.  These are general guidelines for the Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash with Dried Cranberries and Pecans.

18 months – 3 years old:

  • Name and count ingredients with child
  • Add ingredients to squash – take caution if the pan is hot

Ages 3 – 5 years old

  • All of tasks from younger than 3 years old
  • Measure and count ingredients
  • Chop pecans with rolling pin, meat tenderizer, or anything that would break pecans part
  • Drizzle the honey over squash
  • Sprinkle in cinnamon
  • Gently mix ingredients together – may need to remind them to be gentle to prevent squash from breaking apart

Ages 6 – 7 years old

  • All of the younger tasks
  • Use peeler to remove outside layer on squash

Ages 8 – 12 years old

  • All of the younger tasks

Lily adding the squash to the pan

Mason adding squash to his pan

Mason adding olive oil

Lily seasoning the squash

Lily and Mason tossing it all together

Lily crushing pecans

Lily drizzling squash with honey

Lily adding pecans and dried cranberries


  • Wash everyone’s hands!
  • Clean all work surfaces before starting.
  • Leave tasting until the end. Your child(ren) might not understand the difference between a ready-to-eat ingredient and a raw unsafe ingredient.
  • It is okay for your kitchen to get a little messy.
  • Keep in mind that your child is learning, so patience is key!

Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash with Dried Cranberries and Pecans

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 8 - 1/2 cup servings
Calories: 151kcal
Author: Stacey Weichelt, RDN, CD


  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup pecans roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Wash the outside of the butternut squash. Peel, de-seed and dice squash into ¾ inch x ¾ inch pieces. See video for details on how peel, de-seed and dice a butternut squash.
  • Spread squash evenly across baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400F for 35-40 minutes or until tender.
  • While squash is baking, roughly chop pecans to the desired size. I typically quarter them however feel free to leave them whole or finely chop.
  • Remove squash from oven and sprinkle with dried cranberries, pecans and cinnamon. Drizzle honey and cinnamon over squash mixture and gently mix. Serve immediate.


To transform this into a dessert, try adding mini marshmallows on top.


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