Trying to find a substitute for kabocha squash? I’ve got you covered. Depending on your whims for flavor and texture, you have several choices.
Despite its deliciousness, kabocha squash can be hard to locate or out of season.
Luckily, you can swap kabocha squash in your favorite dishes with other squash varieties. So let’s talk about the best of them and maybe, a few other surprising ingredients 😉
What is kabocha squash?
Kabocha squash, like butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash, is a Cucurbitaceae member. Japanese pumpkin or squash are other names.
The Ainu people of Hokkaido, Japan, speak “kabochimu,” from which “kabocha” comes.
Kabocha squash is green with bumps or ridges and weighs 2-5 pounds. While rough, the skin is edible. It has sweet, nutty orange flesh.
Speaking of kabocha health benefits, it’s an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Its high fiber content may aid digestion and regulate blood sugar levels.
This Asian squash appears often in Japanese stews, tempura, and even desserts. It can also be roasted or baked as a side dish or mashed for pie or pastry filling.
Outside of Japan, kabocha squash is used in salads, pasta, and tacos as a healthy, tasty ingredient.
Substitute for kabocha squash: 8 best ideas
Because of its sweet, nutty flavor, butternut squash is a popular kabocha squash alternative. Its texture and versatility in recipes are comparable too. It’s also more accessible at grocery stores.
When substituting pumpkin for Japanese squash, keep in mind that pumpkin tends to have a more watery texture.
- Acorn squash
Acorn squash can also substitute for kabocha squash. It’s considered a winder squash although it belongs to the same species as summer squashes.
Acorn squash tastes sweet and nutty and resembles kabocha squash. It’s a little drier, so you may want to add more liquid to your recipes.
I found that acorn squash roasted with cinnamon and maple syrup had a slightly less sweet and creamy flavor, but still delicious!
- Delicata squash
Delicata squash tastes like kabocha squash—sweet and nutty. Despite its softer texture, it can be used in most kabocha squash dishes.
Delicata squash is also great for baking or roasting. It’s fitting to put in salads, tacos, and other dishes as a healthy vegan alternative.
My article on delicata squash substitutes provides more info about this variety of winter squash. You’ll also find delicious alternatives, including acorn squash.
- Hubbard squash
Hubbard squash tastes sweet and nutty like kabocha squash but is bigger and thicker. Its flavor and texture are worth the effort to peel its tough skin.
Hubbard squash added a dense texture and a slightly nutty flavor to my squash muffin recipe. It was a nice complement to the sweet and spicy muffin.
- Sweet potato
Several recipes can substitute kabocha squash with sweet potato. It tastes and feels like kabocha squash, making it a good substitute.
Sweet potato tends to have a sweeter flavor. It’s also easier to peel than kabocha squash, making it an ideal choice for curries and stir-fries.
Adding sweet potato to my roasted kabocha squash hummus provided a nice level of sweetness to the dip. It also boosted the nutritional value.
I also have a post about 12 delicious sweet potato alternatives. Click it and share your thoughts!
- Butternut squash
Another alternative to kabocha squash is butternut pumpkin, commonly known as butternut squash. Its taste and texture make it a convenient replacement.
I love butternut pumpkin in any form! Its sweet flavor works in both savory dishes and desserts, either roasted or mashed.
Several recipes can substitute kabocha squash with butternut squash puree. It tastes like fresh butternut squash, making it a practical substitute.
Feel free to check out this article to find your best alternative to butternut squash. Naturally, kabocha is included as well.
- Spaghetti squash
Spaghetti squash can substitute for kabocha squash in recipes. Despite its unusual chew, it can be included in a wide range of dishes.
As it turns more watery when cooked, you’ll want to squeeze out as much extra liquid as possible before using it in a dish.
- Buttercup squash
Buttercup squash tastes similar to kabocha squash. Its orange-yellow flesh has a sweet and nutty flavor that makes it ideal for soups, stews, and curries.
Like kabocha squash, buttercup squash is firm, dense, and dry. When cooked, it will hold its texture well.
Substitute for kabocha squash FAQs
No, kabocha squash isn’t the same as buttercup squash. They’re similar in texture and flavor, but kabocha’s orange-yellow flesh is a little sweeter.
Kabocha squash has a little sweetness, although it’s not quite like the sweetness of sweet potatoes.
Kabocha squash is also known as Japanese pumpkin or Japanese squash.
Delicata squash is a great alternative to kabocha squash in soup. It’s easy to prepare and has an edible rind.
No, kabocha squash isn’t the same as acorn squash. Acorn squash has ridged, dark green skin, while kabocha squash is green or orange.
Yes, you can substitute kabocha squash for acorn squash. It has a similar but sweeter flavor and firmer flesh.
BOTTOM LINE: Now that you know the finest substitutions, you can use them in your favorite dishes without sacrificing the health benefits of kabocha squash.
You’ll make a tasty meal with butternut squash, acorn squash, delicata squash, hubbard squash, pumpkin and more. If kabocha squash is unavailable or out of season, you have lots of other possibilities!
I hope you had a great time reading about these substitutes for kabocha squash. Leave a comment below and tell me what you think!