Suppose you find yourself with a delicata squash recipe and a lack of delicata squash; no need to worry. Find the 11 best delicata squash substitutes with similar taste and texture. With these delicious alternatives, you won’t even miss the delicata!
Delicata squash is a beloved winter squash variety and for good reason. It has a sweet yet mild flavor, tender edible skin, and the rich creaminess that winter squash is known for.
This increasingly popular squash also has a long, tubular shape that makes it perfect for stuffing, slicing, and cubing. I love adding roasted delicata squash to put on salads, grain bowls, chili, and more.
Perhaps you want to make a delicious fall recipe that calls for delicata squash and you are unable to find it at the grocery store or farmer’s market.
Fortunately, the winter squash family is broad and versatile. There are several substitutes you can add to your squash recipe that will taste just as exquisite!
Best Substitutes for Delicata Squash
Jump ahead to your substitute of choice by clicking on the links below.
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet Dumpling Squash
- Acorn Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
- Patty Pan Squash
- Carnival Squash
- Sugar Pumpkin
- Spaghetti Squash
- Yellow Squash
Uses for Delicata Squash
Delicata squash is popular this time of year because it has so many uses. This vegetable is fantastic served alone as a side dish or as an ingredient in a variety of fall-themed dishes. From fall risottos to chili to autumn salads, delicata squash is a delicious way to add sweetness and dietary fiber while making a meal more satiating. There is no end to the uses for this versatile vegetable, but here are a few great uses for it:
- Sauteed into stir-fries, hashes, and omelets
- Roasted on top of salads, grain bowls, and as part of vegetable medleys
- In soups and stews
- Pureed for creamy soup, baked goods, and pasta sauces
- Roasted with butter and brown sugar for a sweet side dish
- Halved and stuffed with a variety of vegetables and protein
Delicata squash is a delicious, sweet winter squash with a tender, edible skin. However, there are many reasons one may want to substitute a different vegetable in place of delicata in a recipe.
For one, delicata squash is a seasonal squash that can be hard to come by during other parts of the year.
A substitution may also be necessary if you don’t like delicata squash or you’re unable to find it in your area.
Fortunately, there is a wide variety of other squash varieties and similar vegetables that make excellent substitutes for delicata squash. You can enjoy all of your favorite recipes, even if you can’t use delicata squash.
1. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash, the sweetest of winter squash varieties, is a fall favorite.
Its luscious, sweet, and abundant orange flesh boasts a creamy texture. Unlike delicata squash, its inedible skin requires peeling, but it makes an excellent delicata substitute.
Butternut squash can be cubed, pureed, or thinly sliced, making it suitable for most recipes.
2. Sweet Dumpling Squash
Surprisingly similar to delicata squash, sweet dumpling squash is another fall delight with edible skin and a sweet, mild flavor.
With similar thin green stripes on pale yellow skin, you may not even notice the substitution!
This small, attractive squash is perfect for slicing, roasting, or stuffing.
3. Acorn Squash
A popular member of the winter squash family, acorn squash is known for its dark green skin that turns orange as it ripens.
Acorn squash has an edible skin and orange flesh with a buttery flavor. It is a great squash for stuffed squash, pureed soups, and roasting.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Delicata squash is frequently compared to sweet potatoes, so this is an excellent substitute. With a similar sweetness, soft and creamy texture, and wide availability, sweet potatoes are perfect to replace the delicata squash in a recipe.
I would use sweet potato in salads, vegetable medleys, and hashes that typically call for delicata.
5. Patty Pan Squash
Patty pan squash is a tasty vegetable known for its unique scalloped flower-like shape. With thinner skin and a milder flavor than delicata, this summer squash is a great substitute.
Patty pan is perfect for months when delicata squash is unavailable or for those who like a less sweet squash. Much like other summer squashes, it is best eaten when it is small and tender.
6. Honeynut Squash
A relative of butternut squash, the dainty honeynut is among the sweetest squashes. Newer to the squash family, honeynut is known for its rich, sweet flavor that is described to have notes of honey and butterscotch with nutty undertones.
These small but mighty squashes are much easier to handle than full-size butternut squash and are a great substitute for roasted delicata squash.
7. Carnival Squash
Carnival squash, a delightful cross of acorn and sweet dumpling squash, boasts a gorgeous appearance and delicate texture. While resembling the sweet dumpling squash, it distinguishes itself with vibrant orange stripes.
With its sweet, nutty flavor, carnival squash serves as an excellent alternative to delicata squash and is highly recommended for any delicata recipe.
A different take on the substitution, potatoes are a unique yet delicious replacement. Potatoes have a similar texture and starchiness, but they are significantly less sweet than squash.
Potatoes make a great substitute for delicata squash in curries, soups, and stews. Red potatoes, yellow potatoes, or russet potatoes would all make excellent substitutes.
9. Sugar Pumpkin
Did you know that pumpkins are part of the winter squash family? It’s not surprising that pumpkin would make a great substitution for delicata squash.
Sugar pumpkin, also called pie pumpkin, is one of the sweet pumpkin varieties that make a fantastic puree for baked goods, soup, and more. While it doesn’t have an edible skin like the delicata, the meat of a pumpkin would make a good substitute.
10. Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is a unique winter squash variety that is frequently used as a nutritious noodle alternative. With its lightly sweet, earthy notes, you won’t notice much of a difference in flavor.
While the texture is different, spaghetti squash is a fun, stringy squash that will make any dish exciting. It would make a fun substitution in stir-fries and salads.
11. Yellow Squash
While it is a summer squash rather than a winter squash, yellow squash is quite similar to delicata. It has a thin skin and tender flesh with a mild flavor.
Yellow squash is less sweet than delicata squash, making it a perfect substitution for savory dishes.
Other Winter Squash Varieties
The above list includes all of my favorite substitutes for delicata squash, but there are even more winter squashes that you may want to try!
Any winter squash would be a valid substitute for delicata because they all have a starchy texture and a slightly sweet taste. Here are a few more squashes you can use in place of delicata:
- Buttercup squash
- Kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin)
- Red Kuri
- Hubbard squash
- Turban squash
Delicious Squash Recipes
If you’ve read this far, you are probably a fan of winter squash! Whether delicata or another variety, winter squash is a versatile, delicious, and nutritious vegetable. Try one of these tasty substitutes in another recipe:
- Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque
- Autumn Harvest Soup
- Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy winter squash?
A wide variety of winter squash is available at the local grocery store starting around September and lasting into December. As they are long-lasting vegetables, I recommend stocking up and storing them in a garage, basement, or root cellar. Winter squash can be more challenging to find later in the winter and the rest of the year, though it is possible.
What squash looks like delicata squash?
The squash that most looks like delicata is the sweet dumpling squash. Both varieties have pale yellow flesh with green stripes and deep ridges. If you want a substitute that will go unnoticed, sweet dumpling squash is an excellent option.
When is delicata squash in season?
Delicata squash grows throughout the summer and is harvested in the fall. Because it is a storage vegetable that can last many months without preservation, delicata squash is in season during fall and winter.
Can you eat delicata squash skin?
Yes, one of the many appeals of delicata squash is its tender, edible skin! Once cooked, the skin is a delicious, nutritious part of the squash.