Creamy Mashed Kabocha Squash

TheGreenTurnip Score: 7

If you are not already a fan of kabocha squash, I am confident this creamy, dreamy Mashed Kabocha Squash will win you over!


In Japan kabocha is called “pumpkin.” Even in the States, kabocha is sometimes labeled as “Japanese pumpkin.” Kabocha is usually easy to find with other winter squashes in most grocery stores. Trader Joe’s typically carries it in the fall.


Kabocha has a beautiful dark green skin and bright orange flesh. Here are just a few reasons to start loving kabocha:

  1.  It has a flavor similar to (but honestly better than) butternut squash with 2/3rds the calories and less than half the carbohydrates.
  2. You can eat the peel! Even in this mash, there is no need to remove the peel. After cooking, the peel gets soft and delicious. Just mash the peel together with the flesh. Easy!TheGreenTurnip_CreamyMashedKabochaSquash_5.jpg
  3. Kabocha has all kinds of great vitamins and minerals (or so my vegetable sommelier textbook tells me).
  4. It cooks quickly! Compared to other winter squashes, kabocha quickly becomes tender and soft, even after a quick microwave or boil. Or, slice it thinly and roast it for a flavor that easily rivals sweet potato fries.


This Kabocha Squash Mash is an amazing alternative to mashed potatoes. It has a fewer calories, more vitamins, and a beautiful orange color!

Admittedly, this mashed kabocha is pretty luscious with cream cheese and bacon (K’s personal favorite). (I think he just likes eating the leftover bacon for breakfast. I tried to leave out the bacon last time and he protested.) Honestly though, the flavor of the squash is so good – buttery, nutty, and slightly sweet – that this mash would taste just as good without the bacon and even if you reduced the cream cheese!


Since there is some variation in the size of kabocha, I suggest that you add the milk slowly until you reach the desired consistency and texture. If you add less milk, the texture is fluffy and light; add more and it becomes a little denser and creamier. Make it to suit your tastes! It’s delicious both ways.

This recipe makes enough for a week’s worth of medium portions for 1 person (about 10 medium portions).


Kabocha squash, 1 small squash

Cream cheese, ½ cup

Bacon, 2 slices

Milk, 1/3 cup

Salt, 1/3 teaspoon

Pepper, to taste

Parsley, a bunch

  1. Fry the bacon. Drain on paper towels and crumble. Roughly chop the parsley.
  1. Cut the kabocha squash in quarters. Remove the seeds. Roughly chop into 1” pieces. Microwave for 8-10 minutes (or until tender). Gently mash.
  1. While the squash is warm, mix in the cream cheese. Add the bacon, parsley, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. (If the mixture seems dry, add more milk as needed.) Cover and store.


Adapted from “かぼちゃとクリームチーズのデリサラダ” from “作り置きサラダ”.

Want to learn more about simple, Japanese-inspired weekly meal prep? Read “What is Make Now & Eat Later”


Come back on Monday! New recipes and musings on Japan posted here every week. Want to find out about my journey to learn Japanese? Read 4 Reasons NOT to Learn Japanese.

3 thoughts on “Creamy Mashed Kabocha Squash

    1. J LeClair says:

      Hi Lori! Thanks for your question. Yes, kabocha is easy to find in American grocery stores. In California, I found it in ordinary stores like “Ralphs” and “Albertsons.” More upscale, I am sure you can find it in Whole Foods. And Trader Joe’s often carries it. In other words – Yes! 🙂 Happy squash hunting~ Jessy

      Liked by 1 person

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