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6 Ways to Use Cushaw Squash (and Why You Should Buy One)

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How to use a cushaw squash and why you should get one today
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » 6 Ways to Use Cushaw Squash (and Why You Should Buy One)

The cushaw squash is not one that is readily found in the grocery store, but one pass through your local farmer’s market or pumpkin patch and you will likely see one. They are hard to miss with their vibrant green stripes and large size. Because of it’s size, I resisted buying one for quite some time because I was intimidated by the thought of trying to use it all!

When I finally worked up the courage to go for it, I was pleasantly surprised. I bought it at a local pumpkin patch for just $4.00 and I was determined to use every last bit of it. As it happens, this squash is extremely versatile and with the help of my little taste testers, we had no trouble finding several delicious ways to use it!

What is a Cushaw Squash?

The cushaw is a variety of winter squash and is originally from the south of Mexico. It is a large (sometimes up to 20 pounds!) squash with a characteristic green and white striped pattern. It has a mildly sweet taste and behaves like a pumpkin or delicata squash when it is cooked. It is high in vitamins C and A which make it excellent for your immune system.

After its wonderful flavor and affordable price, my favorite thing about this squash is that it is resistant to the squash vine borer which has wreaked havoc on my own squash plants on more than one occasion. This makes it easy to grow your own and because it preserves so well, you can enjoy cushaw all year long.

So let’s recap: the cushaw squash is easy to grow, resistant to pests, easy to store, versatile to cook with, good for you, inexpensive, and yummy! What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Preparing a Cushaw

Preparing CushawI have talked before about freezing a cushaw in cube sized pieces in order to keep it for later use, but there are many other ways to use and prepare this type of squash. I began by washing the dirt off of the skin and cutting off the stem. I then sectioned it into 3 large pieces by cutting the neck into two sections, leaving the large bulb shaped bottom for last. I joked that I would need a hack saw to get through it, but it was actually no more difficult to cut through than a large pumpkin.

How to Preserve Cushaw Squash

The top section of the neck I sliced in half the long way. I peeled the skin off the first half with a vegetable peeler and cut it into 1” cubes. The other half I sliced it into 1” wedges. I did not peel the skin off because I didn’t feel it was necessary. The wedges and cubes would be used to make a simple roasted side dish.

Moving on to the middle section, I again peeled it with the vegetable peeler and began cutting it into 1” cubes until I had 2 pounds (or 10 cups). These would be for squash soup. The rest I cut into ½” cubes and divided this pile in half. I allotted about 4 cups to make a sweet dish and the other 4 cups to be saved for a delicious side.

Steaming CushawNow for the bottom piece. I cut it in half and scooped out the seeds. Save them! They make a wonderful roasted snack. Don’t worry about peeling this part. I cut it into large hunks and put it in a steamer basket. I was (barely) able to fit it all into the steamer basket in my large stockpot. I added about 3 inches of water to the pot and steamed for about 20 minutes, then tested it after 20 minutes by poking it with a fork in several places to make sure it was all tender. Once it was done, I pulled it out one piece at a time and, using a knife, cut away the skin. It came off very easily. Then, I put all the flesh back into my stockpot (removed the water first) and pureed it with an immersion blender. You can also use a food processor or high powered blender for this part, but immersion blenders make the job so easy!

This is where this squash really made me happy. Once it is pureed, you can literally do anything with it! It can be used as a substitute for pumpkin puree to make muffins, pie, cheesecake, lattes, pancakes, and chili just to name a few. I made smoothies and then froze the rest in 1 or 2 cup quantities to use later.

Ways to Use a Cushaw

1. Roast It

Perhaps the easiest way to use a cushaw squash (or any winter squash really) is to simply roast it in the oven. Any desired spices can be used and you can customize this however you’d like. I often make big batches of roasted squashes and other vegetables on the weekend and have in the fridge to add to soups, casseroles, or other meals on busy nights.

Roasted Cushaw

Roasted Cushaw Squash Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Calories 124kcal
Author Katie Wells


6 -8



  • In a large bowl, toss cushaw cubes with olive oil, rosemary, and sea salt.
  • Spread evenly on a large baking sheet.
  • Cook in 400°F oven for 15 minutes.
  • Stir and cook for 10 minutes more.


Nutrition Facts
Roasted Cushaw Squash Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 124 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 0.7g4%
Sodium 396mg17%
Carbohydrates 21.9g7%
Fiber 6.8g28%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 1.8g4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


To make roasted slices instead of cubes:Brush or spray with olive oil. Lay flat on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

2. Cushaw Soup

Cushaw Squash SoupThe natural sweet taste of cushaw lends itself perfectly to a sweet and savory soup. Naturally gluten free and dairy optional, this soup is delicious on its own. For a full meal,  consider adding some pre-cooked chicken or sausage for protein.

Click here for the recipe.

3. Pumpkin Pie Spiced Cushaw

Cinnamon Cushaw SquashCushaw’s sweet taste and firm texture make it similar to apples when seasoned with honey and cinnamon. For a healthy and delicious dessert in just a few minutes, saute some cushaw cubes in a large skillet with some butter, honey, coconut milk, and pumpkin pie spice to create a taste similar to baked apples.

Feeling like an overachiever? A cushaw can literally be dinner (as a soup) and dessert (like this recipe) in the same day with several pounds left over to freeze for another meal, considering you can usually get one of these for under $5.00, that is an amazing deal! View the recipe here.

4. Lemon Pepper Cushaw Recipe

Savory lemon pepper cushaw squash recipeLemon pepper makes everything better … at least in my opinion. I started making my own lemon pepper seasoning years ago and I add it to everything along with some garlic powder and salt. I’m convinced that practically any spice would pair well with winter squash because of the mild flavor (curry powder anyone?), but I really love this savory lemon-pepper flavored cushaw squash recipe. Check out the recipe here.

5. In a Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Spice Smoothie with Cushaw squashNot sure about the idea of putting squash in a smoothie? Since cushaw squash makes a great substitute for pumpkin in recipes, it is perfect in a pumpkin pie smoothie. It is slightly more sweet than pumpkin and naturally high in vitamins. It pairs well with pumpkin pie spice, coconut milk, banana, yogurt, and honey in this recipe. Here’s my cushaw pumpkin pie spice smoothie recipe.

6. Roasting the Seeds

How to roast winter squash seedsAnd if you didn’t get enough out of your squash already, you can toast the seeds for a tasty, crunchy snack. Seasoning them is a matter of preference. You could sprinkle them with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey for a sweeter snack or use any combination of your favorite spices. Just don’t forget to save a few and dry them to grow next year, they are easier to grow than pumpkins and can substitute for most winter squash. You can probably grow a big crop with just a few seeds in a small area of your backyard. Check out how to roast cushaw seeds here.

Have you ever cooked with cushaw squash? Let me know your favorite way to prepare it below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


25 responses to “6 Ways to Use Cushaw Squash (and Why You Should Buy One)”

  1. Richard Thornton Avatar
    Richard Thornton

    4 stars
    The Cushaw Pumpkin is NOT from south of the border. Like most winter squash varieties in the US and the summer squash, it was selectively domesticated by the Native Americans of the Southeast. Cushaw is the phonetic spelling of the name of the Upper Creek Indians, who lived in the mountains of Georgia and Alabama. The Coosa River is named after them. Needless to say, since I live in the Georgia Mountains, my cushaw vines grow like Kudzu. I get some monster fruits from flowers that bloom early in the season.

    Thank you for the recipes. I am a divorced and single male, so didn’t know what to do with the mega-squashes or how to save their nutrition for winter.

  2. Molly Avatar

    5 stars
    Very thankful for all the great ideas in this post. I am growing Cushaw for the first time and had no idea how huge they would get. Your post will get passed along to everybody I give one of these monsters to so that they won’t be as overwhelmed as me, lol.

  3. Jack Brown Avatar
    Jack Brown

    I grew up in west central Illinois calling them field squash. My grandmother used a few for pies at the holidays. Grandpa liked it better than pumpkin, but the light color was turned an ugly grey color when the spices were added. Fast forward 50 years and I tried my hand at raising produce for local farmers markets and saw them in my seed catalogs advertised as cushaw pumpkins. After checking they are classified as a pumpkin variety . They milder a milder flavor and depending on the variety either light lemon yellow or pastel salmon flesh and make great pies. As mentioned earlier they don’t have an appealing color when made using spices, but using pumpkin spice extract makes gorgeous lemon yellow pie (yellow variety) that will make you think lemon cream pie until you taste it. Careful with the extract to much and I got some bitterness. About a teaspoon for quart of filling (enough for a deep 9 inch crust) worked for me with Watkins brand extract. I buy a couple a year since I give up the produce business. Cut it into large chunks an bake at 352 F until the skin is easily pierced by a knife (about 1 hour). Let cool scrape the flesh off of the skins (much easier than peeling raw), puree, freeze 2 cup batches per pie. A can of sweetened condensed milk , two large eggs, two cups pumpkin puree, and one teaspoon pumpkin spice extract. You can use it in your preferred recipe substituting two cups of pureed cushaw for one can of canned pumpkin.
    The puree is great for soups,cookies, and breads as well.

  4. Tina Avatar

    I roast cushaw then purée and spread out on my dehydrater trays and dry. When dry, grind to a powder and store for use in soups, breads, pies, side dishes. Just add enough liquid (apple juice, water, or stock, depending on what you are making) to make a paste similar to its original texture and continue with recipe as if it were fresh. Takes up a lot less room when it’s dehydrated!

  5. Janny Avatar

    I didn’t have enough zucchini to make relish (due to squash bugs killing my plants), so I added in shredded cushaw. The relish turned out a beautiful golden color and is a relish I relish…haha. I also baked some cubed cushaw with cinnamon, rosemary and maple syrup. I’m making muffins with the baked yummylious squash. Definitely going to grow it next year, if just to starve to squash bugs!

  6. Kimberly Avatar

    I had never bought a cushaw until the other day & the lady told me she made her pie with only cinnamon & said it was better that way. She didn’t remember the amount she used & I can’t find any recipe that doesn’t have the usual ginger, nutmeg, etc spices. I want to know if anyone has ever used only cinnamon & how much.

  7. Samia Avatar

    I am amazed to some of you say that cushaw squash is mildly sweet, good tasting, etc. I grew 5 Cushaw types (Japanese Pie Squash variety) and they have no sweetness whatsoever.

    This must be the reason that Ruby Browning Vice (commenting above) adds sugar and cinnamon to her baked cushaw squash dish.

    Anyway, yesterday I made pumpkin pudding out of a roasted Cushaw Japanese Pie Squash that I roasted first, and the sugar & spices & cream of course make it taste almost like a standard issue pumpkin pie. Can’t let food go to waste. Everything can be rescued!

    1. Linder Henry Avatar
      Linder Henry

      I’m with you. I am 70 years old, been eating Cushaw for years. I have never had one that was sweet. I cook mine on the top of the stove in a cast iron skillet, cubed with sugar, vanilla, butter. I let it cook down until it browns. Stirring often. Everyone that tastes it love. I’m going to try some of the other recipes I’ve seen on this forum. They are relatively hard to find here in North Louisiana and most people I meet don’t know about them. This time I’m going to save some seeds for planting.

  8. Donna Avatar

    Wellnessmama, have you ever pressure canned this squash? I am going to try canning butternut squash soon, and am wondering if this one would be good that way too.

  9. Suze Avatar

    5 stars
    Currently growing them in garden. These are Lincoln cushaw from Lincoln farm. They are white skinned, orange inside. Fixing first one right now by boiling in large pot to soften. Then plan to fix like pumpkin pie, without crust.

  10. Cheryl Avatar

    So happy to find this post….ardently the seed company put Cushaw squash seeds in the cantaloupe packet…and I now am growing a bumper crop of cushaws!! I had never even heard of them before! Missing the cantaloupe but excited to try these recipes for Cushaw!

  11. Debbie A. Avatar
    Debbie A.

    Wonderful! Bought my first cushaw which weighed in at 17 lbs and want to preserve it to get the most out of it. Did you cook the neck cubes and slices before freezing?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Nope, just chopped and froze. I’m sure that other sources would recommend blanching or cooking first, but I had great results with just freezing it so I always skip the extra step.

    2. Debbie Anemaet Avatar
      Debbie Anemaet

      That’s great! Thanks for the quick reply. I checked it out online and sources like Allrecipes said you can just freeze them raw too.

  12. Ruby Browning Vice Avatar
    Ruby Browning Vice

    I was raised up on cushaw. It makes much better pies than pumpkin. Just cube and cook in water until soft, Drain, mash, then drain excess water off. Use any pumpkin pie recipe except use cushaw. Also it is delicious cubed, cooked until slightly soft, drain, then put lots of butter, sugar and sprinkle of cinnamon and cook in a pyrex dish in oven for about 30 minutes. Good with meatloaf & soup beans or anything. You can also bake slices in oven. Coat with olive oil (coconut oil) or butter, sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top and bake until soft. Youcan cook, drain, mash, and drain excess liquid, then freeze in containers amounts for recipes you may use.

    1. Robin Avatar

      I think what I use must be a cushaw, but they are white/creamy colored, no stripes. Large, orange inside. My father-in-law grows them, and now we do, but he calls them ‘crookneck squash’. We also cook and drain, then drizzle with butter and cinnamon/sugar, and a little Karo syrup drizzle and bake–so light, not dense at all. Delicious. Can’t decide whether it counts as a vegetable side, or a dessert.

      1. Barbara Avatar

        I had a 20# cushaw that I made soup with last night and two pies today and still have a quart of puree left over. Cushaws are green and white stripe, sometimes with a blush of orange. The crookneck squash is what the Amish use to make pumpkin pies. They also call them gooseneck squash.

    2. Jerilyn Meecey Avatar
      Jerilyn Meecey

      It sure does make the best pies , we like it better than pumpkin !

  13. Mandy Avatar

    Do you think I could find one of these squash in Alabama? I love squash of all types and I want to try one!

  14. Courtney Thomas Avatar
    Courtney Thomas

    I used them last year in fritters (shredded), risotto (roasted), enchilladas, Mac and cheese, and pancakes. Soooo tasty!

  15. jennyann Avatar

    Love the cushaw and never heard of it until we moved to GA. I use it in a pie (like Pumpkin) but flavor with lemon, nutmeg and cardamon. Also use as any pumpkin muffin/doughnut recipe with the same spices. My family prefers cushaw to pumpkin bc of the light taste.

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