AmericanHolidaysSide Dishes

Butternut Squash Gratin [Muffin Tray Recipe]

Thinly sliced butternut squash dressed with a creamy, spiced sauce are the perfect size prepared in a muffin tray. Topped with panko and Gruyere.

butternut squash gratin prepared in a muffin tray

Butternut Squash Gratin

You’ll thank us for avoiding the shame of standing in front of an open fridge in the middle of the night, scooping up tasty slices of leftover Butternut Squash Gratin from a massive casserole dish.

Our take is prepared in cute single serving sizes thanks to a handy muffin tray. You can make just enough for each guest. And maybe one extra for that midnight raid.

butternut squash gratin with breadcrumbs

These little cuties are even tastier than traditional recipes thanks to a spicy cream sauce that helps bind the butternut squash slices together.

Mix heavy cream, Chinese five spice, light brown sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and Kosher salt together and let thin slices of butternut squash absorb all the flavor.

butternut squash gratin with fried sage

To ensure the butternut squash maintains its shape, you’ll want to refrigerate the filled muffin tin and place a heavy pan over the foiled-covered top to make sure all the layers are tightly compressed.

Then the magic happens in the broiler once you’ve removed each serving (gently) and topped them with panko and Gruyere.

Suggestions and Alternatives for Butternut Squash Gratin

  • You can make this recipe in a typical casserole or baking dish.
  • Gruyere cheese has a lovely melt and doesn’t take long to reach a gooey consistency under the broiler. If can’t get Gruyere, Swiss cheese is the best substitution.
  • We love using Japanese Panko because it’s always super crisp and light. If you can’t get it at your local grocery store, you can use finely chopped croutons to ensure a good crunch.
  • Here’s a great tutorial if you need a primer on how to prep raw butternut squash.

Other Wanderspice Holiday Dishes:

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Butternut Squash Gratin with Panko Breadcrumbs and Fried Sage

Butternut Squash Gratin

A perfect-sized Butternut Squash Gratin baked in a muffin tray, autumn spices and saucy cheese with a crisp panko top. 

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 604 kcal


  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese shredded
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 2 tbs. Chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 1 cup Japanese panko


  1. Peel and reserve the top section of the butternut squash.

  2. Using a Japanese mandoline, slice butternut squash into half inch rounds.

  3. Reserve rounds and set aside.

  4. Using a medium-sized pot add heavy cream, Chinese five spice, light brown sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and Kosher salt.

  5. Bring to a slow simmer on medium heat, about four minutes.

  6. Immediately add butternut squash rounds and cook until tender, about five minutes. Shut off heat. 

  7. Using a muffin tray gently remove rounds using a slotted spoon and fill. Be gentle when filling the pan. 

  8. Once muffin pans have been filled with butternut squash rounds cover with aluminum foil add a large heavy bottom skillet or pan on top, press and refrigerate immediately.

  9. Allow to cool for at least two hours. 

  10. Once cooled gently remove foil and use a small paring knife to cut around the edges to remove gratin. 

  11. Turn pan upside down and allow to come up to room temp. About 20 minutes.

  12. Next, add a spoonful of reserved heavy cream mixture to each gratin.

  13. Using a medium-sized bowl add soft butter, panko, and Gruyere cheese. Mix well and add about one tbs. on top of each serving.

  14. Broil until panko mixture looks golden brown and cheese starts to get melty.

  15. Fry fresh sage leaves for garnish.

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