Squash is a versatile vegetable that can range widely in color, texture, and size. You may be only familiar with a couple of varieties like zucchini and pumpkin, but did you know there are over 100 types of squash?
Of course, we will not cover all of them in this article. However, we will introduce you to the 32 common types of squash including spaghetti squash, carnival squash, patty pan squash, green eggs, and turban squash.
Thanks to its many uses, you are bound to find a squash that you can easily introduce into your diet or experiment with in your next meal.
This list may seem overwhelming and you may have no idea of how or where to start. So, we made sure to succinctly describe each one and give a few recipe recommendations. We will also include cooking tips that you can try.
Types of Squash
Squash is delightful and worth trying out, especially since there are endless possibilities when cooking with squash and we cannot wait for you to try one of these squashes out!
The acorn squash is a variety of winter squash and is named after its shape.
It has an acorn-like body with thick green skin. The skin has deep ridges in it.
It has a light buttery flavor but does not have an overwhelming taste. For this reason, it is easy to dress up with other flavors.
I am a fan of roasting acorn squash with little butter and brown sugar to bring out the natural sweetness.
Butternut squash is known to be the sweetest squash.
This fall vegetable has a lightly sweet flavor similar to a pumpkin. It is also easy to cut and peel due to its elongated shape and pale peach thin skin.
During the fall season, my favorite way to cook butternut squash is to roast it with cinnamon and maple syrup.
This sweet, caramelized delight is so tasty that you might forget you are eating a vegetable.
The carnival squash is a fun little gourd that has a sweet and nutty taste similar to butternut squash.
It looks like a tiny pumpkin with deep ridges. The skin is usually a mix of green and yellow, sometimes with bits of orange in the ridges.
My favorite way to cook these is to cut them in half and fill each half with a mixture of cooked spinach and lentils with a bit of feta.
Delicata squash is a variety of winter squash with a subtle sweet flavor.
It has an elongated, cylindrical shape with a cream-colored exterior and narrow green stripes that run down the length of it.
My favorite way to cook delicata squash is to roast thick slices in the oven and dress them with olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper.
The skin is thin and edible, so you do not have to peel it before cooking.
Kabocha has a deep, sweet, earthy flavor that many describe as a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin.
It has a round shape, deep green mottled skin, and a slightly bumpy texture.
Because of its sweet flavor, I love creating creamy soups using kabocha squash, onion, unsalted butter, chicken broth, milk, salt, and pepper.
You can also garnish it using fresh chopped parsley to really bring out the deep, earthy flavor of kabocha.
Pattypan is known for its unique round, shallow shape.
The name of this summer squash derives from “a pan for baking a patty.” They are usually light orange, but they are available in white or with spots of green. They have thin, edible skin.
Pattypan squashes have a fresh, green taste similar to a zucchini, which makes them very versatile for cooking. Pattypans are delicious when pan-fried and seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper.
Out of this entire list, spaghetti squash is my top favorite squash.
This squash earned its name due to its stringy texture, making it the perfect substitute for noodles.
Spaghetti squash is a large, elongated gourd and has a light yellow color. It has a mild, slightly nutty flavor that works well in many recipes.
My favorite way to cook spaghetti squash is to make spaghetti squash boats stuffed with pesto, spinach, mozzarella, and mushrooms.
Sweet Dumpling Squash
These pumpkin-shaped squash are usually pale yellow with deep green ridges.
With a name like this, it is little wonder they have a sweet and nutty flavor.
The meat of sweet dumpling squash tends to be dry as well, letting it quickly caramelize when roasted.
Sweet dumpling squash is delectable when you roast slices of it. Once roasted, pair it with your favorite creamy, sweet dressing. I usually pair it with a tahini maple sauce.
You may not know that zucchini are indeed a squash.
Typically, zucchini squashes are long, green vegetables that are often mistaken for cucumbers.
However, you can find them in a deep yellow or orange color. They have a mild flavor that is slightly sweet.
I frequently replace my noodles with zucchini. You can spiralize them to create “spaghetti” or use a peeler to make “pappardelle” noodles. Then, you can toss them in your favorite pasta sauce.
Banana squash has an elongated tapered shape and is usually a pastel orange color.
It has a sweet taste that is similar to butternut squash, which means you can use banana squash for any recipe that calls for butternut.
One recipe that really brings out the sweetness of banana squash is citrus glazed banana squash.
Peel and cube the banana squash and simmer it in butter, orange juice, apricot preserves, cloves, salt, and black pepper.
Buttercup squash has a rounded shape and a dark green color.
Sometimes, it may look like a seed or another squash is growing right out of the top of it. It has a sweet flavor and cooks to a creamy texture making it excellent for curries.
This sweet squash pairs well with apples. I recommend cutting it in half, filling the halves with an apple pie filling of your choice, and baking them at 400°F.
Crookneck squash is also known as yellow squash.
Its bulbous base leads up to a curved neck earning its name “crookneck.” The texture is watery yet tender and has a nutty, buttery flavor.
Because of its mild flavors, it can be used to make light, flavorful bread.
I enjoy making lemon bread, which calls for grated, squeezed dry squash, butter, sugar, eggs, greek yogurt, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, flour, baking powder, salt, and honey.
Hubbard squash has an otherworldly appearance that is truly unique.
It is bulbous in the middle, with two “necks” on either side. They are often found in white but can be found in green or orange as well.
Unlike most other squashes with mild flavors, the hubbard squash has a rich buttery taste and a velvety smooth, starchy texture.
Because of their rich flavor and smooth texture, they make a fantastic soup in the fall.
Despite it often being considered a different thing, pumpkin is indeed a squash.
They are usually bright orange with a lightly ridged body, though they can have white or green spots.
Pumpkins are most well known for their use during Halloween as jack-o-lanterns.
Outside of the spooky season, pumpkins have a sweet, nutty flavor that is great for everything from soup to pies.
Some spices that pair well with pumpkin are cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
Tatume is a rarer variety of squash that you can harvest in summer and winter.
The summer variety is small and round with dark green skin that resembles watermelons.
If they ripen longer on the vine, they will turn a golden yellow and may elongate.
Summer tatume has a fresh taste similar to a zucchini. You can either eat these raw, fry them with a bit of butter, or bake them in recipes that use pumpkin.
Tromboncino is a squash that looks like super elongated butternut squash.
Although it is usually considered a summer squash, it can be left to mature into winter squash.
As a summer squash, it has a light, green taste that is slightly sweet. As winter squash, it tastes similar to butternut squash.
Thanks to its sweet taste, I love tromboncino as a summer squash sliced up raw or thrown into a refreshing Greek salad.
This summer squash is elongated and tapered with pale yellow skin from the stem to a couple of inches away from the base.
It is a hybrid squash that was created from the crookneck squash.
This squash is nutty and sweet and has a dry, tender texture. The flowers that grow on the stem ends of the squash are also edible.
You can use zephyr squash in any recipes where you would use summer squash.
Bonbon squash is a variety of buttercup squash.
It is shaped like a flattened globe and is usually dark green in color with light green ridges.
When you first cut into this squash, it has a fresh scent like cucumbers.
When you cook bonbon squash, it develops a creamy texture and sweet flavor similar to honey.
To best appreciate the creamy texture, bonbon squash is best when roasted with a bit of salt and pepper.
Chayote is a unique summer squash that has a shape similar to a pear with bright green bumpy skin.
It has a bright, fresh yet mild flavor that is somewhere between an apple and a cucumber.
This summer squash is super versatile and you can use it as a fruit or vegetable depending on your dish.
I particularly love pairing the bright freshness and crispness of the chayote with red pepper flakes and olive oil.
Causa looks very similar to zucchini, with a shape that is slightly more bulbous.
You can find this squash in either green or pale yellow. The skin is very thin, and it is very tender.
It is a bit sweeter than a zucchini as well.
Causa is most often used in Middle Eastern dishes and out of all of them, I recommend trying out Lebanese Kousa, which is causa squash stuffed with juicy meat and rice.
Eight ball squash is a hybrid of zucchini though you would not guess it by looking at it.
It has a smooth, round shape like a ball that can range from the size of a softball to that of a baseball.
The outer skin is green with darker green stripes.
This summer squash is pale on the inside and tastes like a slightly nuttier Italian zucchini.
Its round shape makes it an excellent squash for stuffing.
Fortune squash may be so named because of its golden color.
It is a summer squash with a long narrow shape, like a slightly thicker zucchini.
This is a hybrid squash that is a little rarer to see at the moment. It is naturally resistant to diseases.
This squash has edible skin and a sweet, nutty flavor. The texture can be described as smooth and creamy. You could use this squash in most other summer squash recipes.
Gold rush squash is similar to fortune squash.
Gold rush, however, is smaller, similar to the shape of zucchini, and is a deeper golden yellow. Sometimes, it is referred to as a golden zucchini.
Most people say that the gold rush tastes the same as zucchini, though some people say that it tastes a little sweeter.
For that reason, this squash can be used anywhere where you might use a zucchini. It is also delicious raw.
Honey bears are a variation of acorn squash.
This winter squash has a round shape, much like a small pumpkin with deep green skin.
On the inside, it has a bright yellow to orange color. It has a sweet flavor and creamy texture.
The best way to enjoy this squash is to cut it in half and sprinkle it with a bit of butter and cinnamon before roasting it. It will practically taste like a dessert.
Green eggs are adorable tiny squashes that fit right in the palm of your hand.
They are usually a deep green color, though they can sometimes be orange. Green eggs are a variation of a similar squash called Golden Egg.
They are excellent for grilling as you simply need to cut them in half and place them on the grill.
The smoky flavor from the grill would go fantastic with the nuttiness of green eggs.
Honeynut squash is the hybrid between a butternut and buttercup squash.
The result is a light orange squash with a bell-like shape similar to the butternut squash.
Honeynut squashes are usually about half the size of your average butternut squash.
This squash has a creamy texture and is very sweet. You could really use this squash in a meal or as a dessert.
One popular flavor combination for this squash is honey, lemon, and cinnamon.
Papaya pears are named after their papaya-like shape.
This relatively new summer squash variation is usually vibrant yellow with specks of white and green.
The skin on papaya pears is thin and delicate, so you do not have to peel them before eating.
They have a mild summer squash flavor that is delicate and sweet. It can be used in any recipe that calls for summer squash.
I recommend steaming papaya pears to enhance the natural sweetness.
At first glance, a red kuri squash may look like a red onion that is sometimes called an onion squash.
However, upon a closer look, you will see it has a bulb-like shape with a deep red color.
Red kuri squash has a creamy texture and a mild nutty flavor with some earthy notes. Some people say it is similar to a chestnut.
This onion-shaped squash works in any recipe that calls for butternut squash.
Sunshine kabocha has a flattened globe-like shape and is a vibrant dusk sort of orange.
Most will often have pale yellow stripes or spots as well. Its golden orange flesh has a tender, smooth texture similar to pumpkin.
Sunshine kabocha is highly recommended for baking. It also has a sweet and nutty flavor that is perfect for any dessert including pudding, spice cake, pie, and creme brulee.
It also works as a sweet side dish.
Turban squash looks, unlike any other squash.
It looks like a smaller squash growing out of another, much like a turban on someone’s head.
The skin is multicolored, often sporting streaks of orange, white, and green.
It has a smooth yet dry texture and is sweet, similar to pumpkin or hazelnuts. Due to its unique shape, this type of squash is popular for stuffing.
Everything from sausage to soup can be held inside this squash.
The yellow squash is just another name for the yellow or golden zucchini.
The flavor is very similar to green zucchini, but some people say yellow squash is slightly sweeter.
If you are tired of using green zucchini, you can substitute it with yellow squash.
While all zucchini is excellent raw, I recommend sautéeing it in a skillet with a little olive oil over medium-high heat and topping it with parmesan and salt to taste.
Yokohama is a rare heirloom variety of squash that dates back to a treaty between Japan and the United States.
It was named after the first port in Japan that allowed trade from the United States.
This squash is small and has a very bumpy skin with a deep green to almost blue color.
One recipe I love using Yokohama in is udon soup, which has miso and soy sauce flavored udon noodles and radish.
Types of Squash
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Carnival Squash
- Delicata Squash
- Kabocha Squash
- Patty Pan Squash
- Spaghetti Squash
- Sweet Dumpling Squash
- Zucchini Squash
- Banana Squash
- Buttercup Squash
- Crookneck Squash
- Pumpkin Squash
- Zephyr Squash
- Eight Ball
- Gold Rush
- Honey Bear
- Green Eggs
- Papaya Pear
- Red Kuri
- Sunshine Kabocha
- Yellow Squash
With such wide varieties of squash, there is absolutely one out there for every flavor preference, diet, and recipe need.
From the fresh golden zucchini to the nutty flavored sweet dumpling squash, you can make anything from savory meals to the sweetest of desserts.
As a general rule of thumb, most summer squashes can be used interchangeably with other summer squash recipes, while the same can be said for winter squash and winter squash recipes. You can also swap out squashes with others that have a similar flavor profile and texture.
Whether you like your squash fried, raw, in dessert, or as a soup, there is a squash for any type of recipe your heart desires.
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