Is Butternut Squash Keto-Friendly?

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Written by Bridget Nalwoga, Certified Nutritionist and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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Short answer: You can eat butternut squash on a ketogenic diet if you're careful. 1 cup of this vegetable contains 14.9 g of net carbohydrates, a relatively high amount. So if you're a fan of this food, you can include it, while watching your portion size.


It is hard to think about warm cozy dishes without thinking about squash vegetables. Squashes offer a comforting flavor, especially in the colder months of the year.

If it is getting cold where you are, it is only natural that you are craving some comfort dishes to bring you some warmth. But first, you have to ask yourself, is butternut squash keto?

In this guide, you will learn everything there is to know about this vegetable, including what exactly it is, its nutrition information, how it fits on a ketogenic diet, and how much you can have.


What is butternut squash?

Butternut squash is a vegetable that belongs to the winter squash family. Winter squashes are known for their hard outer cover and soft hearty flesh.

Butternut squash and all other squashes are actually fruits but are used in cooking as vegetables. It is so versatile it can work in both sweet and savory dishes. It can be used in a wide variety of dishes like soups, roasts, mashes, and bakes.

Squashes are a favorite among people looking for low-carb options, but is butternut squash low enough in carbs to fit on keto? Keep reading to find out.


Butternut squash nutritional information

Butternut squash is low in calories and in most other regards as well: as with many orange fruits and vegetables it is high in beta carotene (a form of vitamin A) and vitamin C. It’s also big on flavor!

Serving size: 1 cup of cooked, baked butternut squash cubes (205 g)

  • Calories: 82 kcal
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Net carbs (total carbs - fiber): 14.9 g
  • Total carbs: 21.5 g
  • Fiber: 6.6 g
  • Protein: 1.8 g
  • Vitamin C: 31 mg, 34% DV*
  • Potassium: 582 mg, 12% DV
  • Calcium: 84 mg, 6% DV

*% DV: the percentage of the total daily recommendation

Because of its low protein and fat content, it is best paired with ingredients like chicken, fish, beef, olive oil, and/or cheese. Plus nutrient-dense vegetables, of course!

Are butternut squash carbs keto-friendly?

From the nutrition information above, we see that it is quite high in both total carbs and net carbs. It barely contains any fat or protein, meaning it is not an obvious choice for a ketogenic diet.

But it’s so tasty! Is there some way to incorporate it?




Can you eat butternut squash on a ketogenic diet?

Yes, you can, but with some conditions.

You can only eat it on a ketogenic diet if you can exercise good portion control. This means that you have to carefully measure your foods as you serve or cook.

With a 1-cup serving having 14.9 g of net carbs, you may wonder why we are still recommending this dish on the ketogenic diet. That is because compared to other starchy vegetables, that’s next to nothing.

While some people are able to completely cut out starchy vegetables from their diet and never look back, some may find it very difficult. Being able to have something with some starch every now and then may help such people adhere to the diet longer.

It is important to note that if you have a very low daily net carb limit like 20 or 30 g, you cannot enjoy this dish.


How much butternut squash can you have on keto?

No matter what your carb limit is, it is not advisable to go beyond 1 cup per day.

If you eat 2 cups, you have spent more than half of your daily carbohydrate allowance on one meal if your carb limit is 50 g. (If your limit is 20 g, you’re way over).

You may want to consider eating just ½ cup to satisfy your taste buds without sacrificing too many carbs.


What kind of butternut squash can you have on keto?

Like all foods, the nutritional profile changes depending on how you prepare it. Some types may be able to fit on the ketogenic diet, while others have no place on it.

  • Roasted. This is the most common way of cooking butternut squash. Luckily, the dish remains ketogenic-safe after roasting.
  • Steamed. Steaming does not change much about food other than making it softer. This variety is therefore just as keto-friendly as roasted.
  • Boiled. Boiling, similar to steaming, doesn’t make food less ketogenic.
  • Mashed. This depends on what ingredients have been added to the mash. Adding butter or cream makes the dish more ketogenic, while adding milk or sugar does the opposite.
  • Caramelized. Sugar is used in this dish, making it very non-keto.
  • Sweet roasted. The sugar added to a sweet roast renders the dish non-ketogenic. However, if a low-carb sweetener is used, then the dish remains keto-compliant.
  • Canned. Read the ingredient list to see if any other ingredients have been added to the can. If still unsure, read the nutrition label to see the number of carbs per serving.




Keto-friendly butternut squash alternatives

While this squash can be keto-friendly, it is not exactly the ideal ketogenic food. So, here are some keto-approved butternut squash substitutes:

As you can tell, the best low-carb butternut replacements are other winter squashes.


Questions about eating butternut squash on keto

If you are still conflicted on whether to add this food to your ketogenic diet, keep reading to learn more.

There are many ways to make keto-approved butternut squash dishes. Some of these ways include roasting, steaming, boiling, and roasting.

For a quick roast, try this easy recipe.


  • 1 squash, peeled and cubed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C)
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Place the cubes on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil
  4. Add salt and pepper
  5. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown around the edges
  6. Flip halfway to get the cubes evenly browned
  7. Garnish with parsley
  8. Serve hot, warm, or cold

While butternut squash is often referred to as a vegetable, it is actually a fruit. It is low in calories, but too high in carbs to be considered an ideal keto vegetable. However, it can be incorporated into the diet in small amounts.

Yes, it can be, if you make your own soup at home using low-carb ingredients like coconut milk or cream. You can also roast the seeds and sprinkle them on top!

However, canned soups and those from restaurants may have ingredients like flour, corn starch, or added sugars, making them non-ketogenic.

Yes, you can.

To make butternut squash noodles, peel your fruit and spiralize it following your spiralizer’s instructions.

For a quick meal, toss the noodles in some garlic, olive oil, and salt and serve with a side of chicken. Remember to watch those portions of course.

Yes, but in small amounts. Roasted butternut seeds have 22 grams of net carbs per cup.

You can therefore enjoy them as a topping or part of trail mix or other recipe, but probably not as a stand-alone food.

Yes. 100 grams of  baked butternut squash has 7.3 g of carbs, while 100 grams of baked potato (without skin) has 20.1 g of net carbs, and 100 grams of baked sweet potato has 17.4 g net carbs.


Other low-carb veggies to eat on keto