Kentucky Tourism
Back to Stories

Kentucky Squash and Pumpkin Recipes

Squash and Pumpkin Recipe Faves from KY Cooks

Pumpkin and squash dishes are popular in Kentucky throughout the autumn months. You can find hundreds of recipes that incorporate these ingredients, ranging from pumpkin breads and pies to soups, smoothies and sopapillas. We’ve compiled a list of fall-flavored favorites from Kentucky cooks and culinary resources such as Kentucky Proud, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and A Taste of Kentucky. Enjoy!

From A Taste of Kentucky and courtesy of Fred and Jenny Wiche, Peanut Squash Custard is unusual because of the type of squash used. The couple said that it’s “so good it’s worth finding [peanut squash] and planting your own.”

Peanut Squash Custard

Yields 6 servings
1 peanut squash
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the peanut squash in half and place the halves cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, peel off the skin, and mash the squash in a bowl. Mix together the butter, baking powder, egg, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, flour, and milk and then add to the mashed squash, blending thoroughly. Pour the mixture in to buttered custard cups. Place the filled cups into a pan of water and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Also from A Taste of Kentucky, this easy-to-fix 9- ingredient dessert is a favorite of many guests of the White Pillars B & B in Russell Springs and a delicious alternative to pumpkin pie.

White Pillars Bed and Breakfast Pumpkin Crunch
Soon after the release of Linda Allison-Lewis’ Kentucky's Best — Fifty Years of Great Recipes, she was asked to do a guest cooking spot on a popular Lexington television station. She prepared this dish for the show hosts and by the time she wrapped everything up and was leaving the show “the receptionist winked at me and said the phones were ringing off the hook.”

Yields 12 servings
2 cups cooked and mashed pumpkin
12 ounces evaporated milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon salt
1 yellow butter cake mix
1 cup quick cooking oats or 1 cup chopped nuts
2 sticks butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together. Pour into buttered 13"x9"x2" cake pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix and oats or nuts over top. Pour melted butter over top of mixture. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm with whipped topping, if desired.
White Pillars Bed and Breakfast is a traditional southern home built in 1876.

This Citrus Squash recipe from the University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension Service is a unique dish that’s sure to whet your appetite:

Citrus Squash

Yields 6 servings
2 medium acorn squash
1/4 cup unsweetened orange juice
1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon reduced calorie maple syrup
1 tablespoon margarine
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Wash and cut squash in half. Remove seeds and pulp. Cut each half crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange slices in a greased baking dish. Pour orange juice and apple juice over squash. Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Drizzle sauce mixture over squash. Bake uncovered for 15-20 additional minutes, basting occasionally.

One can spend mouth-watering hours poring over all of the recipes found at Kentucky Proud. Search by ingredient or type of recipe desired (Appetizer, Bread, Dessert, Entrée, Salad, Sauce/Soup or Vegetable). Here’s a sweet and savory salad to try:

Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad

Yields 6 servings
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup cranberries, dried
6 oz spinach leaves
½ cup walnut halves
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

½ cup (4 oz) 100% apple juice
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp shallots, minced
3 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 425° F. Peel and cut squash into 1-inch chunks or cubes. Place on a sheet pan and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once. Add cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes of roasting.

To prepare the vinaigrette, combine apple juice, vinegar, and shallots in saucepan and boil over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, until the juice has reduced. Remove from stove and add the mustard and 1/3 cup of olive oil.

Place the spinach in a large bowl and add the roasted squash. Top with walnuts and grated Parmesan cheese. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad to lightly moisten and toss well.

Judy Parker Yeager ( is a KY native who collects recipes from many fans and sites. This Heirloom Pumpkin Fudge recipe is one from her Kentucky Recipe section, contributed by Joyce Pinson, of Appalachia. “Pinson said, “Sorghum and cayenne pepper make this fudge an extraordinarily rich and exciting treat.”

Heirloom Pumpkin Fudge
Yields 36-40 pieces
1 cup of milk, organic preferred
3 cups of pure cane sugar
3 Tablespoons Sorghum (I used Bourbon Barrel Foods for this one)
½ cup fresh pumpkin puree
Dash of sea salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon fresh cayenne pepper
4 Tablespoons butter unsalted and softened, organic preferred
1 teaspoon bourbon (I used Old Forrester Bourbon and you could substitute vanilla but LIVE a little!)

1. Line a 9 x 9 baking pan with aluminum foil. Butter generously.
2. In a heavy saucepan with tall sides add milk, sugar, sorghum, and pumpkin puree.
3. Over medium heat bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Be careful, the mixture tends to bubble up and gets very hot!
4. Once mix reaches a rolling boil, reduce to simmer bringing to softball stage…about 235-245 degrees. (Softball refers to dropping a few drips into a cold cup of water. If the mix holds together and you can form a ball with your fingers it is ready). Visually, there is a change in the mix as the sugar breaks down – it becomes more smooth and less grainy. This will take upwards of 20 minutes.
5. Remove from heat. Beat in butter, spices, and bourbon. (Mom sets the pan in a shallow dish of water to help cool.)
6. Keep beating until the fudge is dulls, losing its shiny gloss. Transfer fudge to buttered dish and allow cooling.
7.Use aluminum foil to carefully lift from pan. Place on cutting board. Cut into pieces. (I cut these fairly small, as they pack a flavor wallop.
8. Store in an airtight refrigerated container for several days.

Joyce Pinson is a certified master gardener, syndicated newspaper columnist, TV personality and public speaker who focuses on the farm-to-table movement and Appalachian Foodways when she’s not writing her blog,

Here’s a Pumpkin Pie tip from Our Kentucky Home and Gardens: The secret to achieving such a creamy taste and perfect texture of this pumpkin pie is to begin baking your pie, in a preheated 425 degrees for 15 minutes- do NOT remove pie from oven- turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue baking for and additional 45 to 50 minutes.

And one more tasty morsel – from (BMB Productions), which produces “Louisville at Home,” “Secrets of Louisville Chefs Live” and “Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs” offers recipes for Pumpkin Crème Brulee from Science Hill Inn, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train Acorn Squash and Cranberry Chutney and this pumpkin pasta entree compliments of Bistro Le Relais in Louisville:

Bistro Le Relais Pumpkin Pasta

Yields 4 servings
1 pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and diced and roasted till tender
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup mixed mushrooms (Oysters, Crimin, Shitake, ect...) chopped
1/2 an onion, diced
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
3 tbsp. Herbs (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme), minced
2 oz. white wine
2 oz. brown butter
3 cups Linguini or other pasta of your choice, cooked and cooled
3 oz. toasted walnut pieces
6 Fourme d' Ambert cheese (or other blue cheese of your choice)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Heat brown butter in a large skillet and add mushrooms, sauté until tender.
Add garlic and herbs along with pumpkin and squash. Toss to combine.
Add pasta and wine, tossing to evenly heat pasta. Taste for seasoning, and divide onto four plates. Top with cheese and walnuts.

Bon appetit!