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The 5 Best Substitutes for Kabocha Squash

In today’s health-conscious world, cooking and eating kabocha squash is becoming more popular.

Kabocha squash has a denser texture than other squashes, but it has an equally sweet taste.

There are many reasons to cook with kabocha squash, including its earthy, hearty flavor.

It also stores well for several weeks in a cool, dry place, making it easy to keep on hand for cooking.

When cooked, kabocha squash has a sweet yet neutral taste.

Because of this, it will take on the flavor of any spices or other ingredients that are added to it.

However, to cook kabocha squash, you must boil or bake it before peeling and serving.

Kabocha squash is a hardy plant whose skin protects the inside from absorbing unwanted flavors from other ingredients when it is cut.

This can do cooking with kabocha squash a bit more time-consuming than other preparations for vegetables such as boiling and steaming.

If you are looking for an easier way to prepare kabocha squash, try finding substitutes.

This will save time when it comes to cooking and make eating the dish more enjoyable.

There are several types of winter squashes that you can substitute in a recipe calling for kabocha squash, and each has a similar flavor, so they are all good substitutes.

Keep on reading to learn about five of the best substitutes for kabocha squash.

What is Kabocha Squash?

what is kabocha squash

First of all, what is Kabocha squash? Kabocha is a type of winter squash.

It’s also called Japanese pumpkin or kabocha pumpkin.

Kabocha squash has a bumpy, dark green exterior.

Inside are orange-yellow fleshed cubes with a light, not overpowering taste.

Kabocha squash can be eaten in many different ways.

It can be baked, boiled, fried, and microwaved.

The seeds are edible too. They have a slightly salty taste which goes well with the squash.

When purchasing Kabocha squash, you should look for firm skin with no blemishes or soft spots.

Make sure the skin is green and not turning brown.

Also, avoid purchasing squashes that have been cut open – it’s easy to tell if they’ve been previously frozen.

The good news is, Kabocha squash is becoming more popular in the United States.

It’s nutritious and delicious.

Hence, it’s a fruit that’s definitely worth trying.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Kabocha Squash

Despite Kabocha squash’s divine taste, not everyone has access to this fruit.

Sometimes, it can be hard to find in grocery stores.

Furthermore, the average American would have difficulty identifying this large fruit.

That being said, there are several ways you can use Kabocha substitutes instead of Kabocha squash.

We’re going to list the top 5 substitutes for Kabocha squash.

Let’s begin.

1 – Butternut Squash

butternut squash

Butternut squash is similar to kabocha in taste, texture, and nutrition.

If you are having trouble finding fresh kabocha squash but can get your hands on some butternut squash, give it a try.

You can use butternut squash in the same way you would kabocha. It is versatile and microwavable.

Furthermore, it’s also great when baked or roasted.

Whether for an entrée or side, you can use butternut squash to substitute for kabocha.

However, note that butternut squash is pretty sweet and might add a little more sweetness to your recipes.

2 – Pumpkin


Even though pumpkin was not mentioned in the article on Kabocha squash, it’s actually a great substitute.

Pumpkin is a type of winter squash and tastes similar to kabocha.

Pumpkin, much like butternut squash, can be microwaved or baked in the oven.

The pumpkin becomes soft and has a neutral taste when it’s boiled – perfect for purees.

If you’re looking for something with more flavor, give the pumpkin a try sliced and roasted.

Pumpkin is not as sweet as butternut squash.

In addition, it can be used in the same way as kabocha for recipes such as soups, stews, casseroles, and pie fillings.

3 – Acorn Squash

acorn squash

When substituting kabocha for acorn squash, consider that the two have different textures.

Acorn squash is firm and has tough skin.

In addition, it’s a pale yellow color with dark green streaks – just like kabocha.

Acorn squashes are slimmer than kabocha. They also have less orange flesh.

They have a much milder flavor when compared to kabocha.

Turn it into a puree, or add some salt and pepper.

You can also add it to soups or stews. The possibilities are endless.

4 – Delicata Squash

delicata squash

Delicata squash is a type of winter squash similar to kabocha.

The skin and flesh tend to be firm and pale yellow or green in color.

It has dark green stripes compared to kabocha – which doesn’t have any.

Delicata squashes are a bit sweeter than kabocha.

However, it can be used in the same way as kabocha for recipes such as soups, stews, casseroles, and pie fillings.

When substituting for kabocha, it’s important to note that squash is very similar in nature.

The differences are in color and texture.

If you come across a fruit that looks like kabocha, give it a try.

It just might be your next favorite dish.

5 – Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is very unique winter squash.

In fact, it’s not even a type of pumpkin – which is what most people expect.

It should be no surprise that spaghetti squash looks different – it looks more like yellow zucchini.

The fruit has fleshy strands that are edible and have the taste and texture of pasta.

Spaghetti squash has a mild taste and makes the perfect pasta dish.

It’s also great boiled, microwaved, or baked.

The best part is that it’s whole, so you don’t have to do any prep work.

Just cook it and enjoy.


Kabocha squash is a healthy choice for any meal.

It’s low in calories and offers plenty of vitamins, minerals, and health benefits.

However, if you can’t find it or don’t like the taste, several substitutes will do just as good a job.

Depending on what you’re making, try one of these substitutes: butternut squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, delicata squash, and spaghetti squash.

Each one has a slightly different flavor, but they are all similar in texture and use.

Hence, you can use them interchangeably when cooking.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Kabocha Squash

The 5 Best Substitutes for Kabocha Squash
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Butternut Squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Acorn Squash
  • Delicata Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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