This Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Butternut Squash Skillet Recipe is an easy, luscious and heart one skillet dinner time favorite. This yummy butternut squash chicken dinner combines a flavorful parmesan cream sauce packed with garlic, spinach, fresh thyme and roasted butternut squash and chicken thighs. This one skillet meal will become a go-to dinner recipe for the fall and winter.
This post is a paid partnership with our wonderful friends at Lodge Cast Iron! As you know, we have been huge fans of their amazing cookware for years, and we use it in the majority of our recipes.
We utilized their Blacklock 12 inch skillet to make this hearty and delicious feast. Blacklock cookware comes triple seasoned, so that it’s naturally non-stick. It’s quite lightweight as well! This versatile skillet is now our go-to for dinners, desserts, roasted veggies and more. Thank you for supporting brands that help us in making awesome content!
Now, onto the recipe!
Ahhh, fall is here! So that means plenty of chicken and butternut squash recipes in our household. Chicken thighs drenched in a creamy, garlicky parmesan sauce with spinach, butternut squash and fresh thyme.
This dinner is all of our favorite things. Buttery, hearty, creamy, cheesy, herbaceous, savory and just a tad bit sweet from the butternut squash. It’s so easy to make all in one skillet. No mess, and the whole family will enjoy this. What a way to enjoy fall produce and extra veggies.
We’d like to mention that you can feel free to skip to the recipe card to get right into it if you prefer. We do answer a lot of common questions, as well as explain in more detail about different ingredients in the body of this post however!
There’s lots of process pictures to show step by step, as well as suggestions for making substitutions too. This recipe is also available as a Google Web Story, or you can just jump to the recipe video in the recipe card!
- Unsalted butter & olive oil – You will use a mixture of both for a complex flavor.
- Chicken thighs – We love bone-in, skin on the best since the skin gets so nice and golden brown and crispy, with a tender and juicy inside from the bone! Truthfully you could use anything you want, like chicken breasts.
- Seasonings – Italian seasoning, fresh thyme, kosher salt & pepper.
- Garlic – Don’t forget lots of finely minced garlic cloves.
- Butternut squash – The star of the show! Peel it, and cut it into large chunks.
- Fresh spinach – Frozen could be used as well, but you may want to drain some of the excess water first.
- Chicken broth – We love using chicken bone broth for extra flavor, nutrients, and even more protein. Regular chicken broth or stock will work great too.
- Heavy whipping cream – For an extra creamy and dreamy sauce.
- Parmesan cheese – To top. So good!
How to Make This Creamy Butternut Squash Chicken:
Prep all of your ingredients ahead of time, and preheat your oven to 375°F. It will make your life a lot easier when it all comes together. Peel and cut your butternut squash into bite sized chunks, dry off your chicken thighs with paper towels, mince the garlic, and prepare the fresh thyme to make your seasoning blend.
To make your seasoning blend, combine your Italian seasoning, fresh thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Use a little over half the seasoning to sprinkle over both sides of the chicken, reserving the rest for the butternut squash.
Add the chicken skin side down to a hot skillet, then cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Remove chicken from the skillet, then add in olive oil and the butternut squash with the remaining seasonings. Cook for 5 minutes or until butternut squash is lightly browned. Add in your the spinach and cook until wilted. Then, add in your garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, followed by the chicken broth.
Stir in the heavy whipping cream and shredded parmesan cheese to the skillet and cook until cheese is mostly melted, then nestle in the chicken thighs, skin side up.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese sauce is bubbling. Garnish with thyme sprigs and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy your butternut squash chicken!
What Does Butternut Squash Go Well With?
Butternut squash is such a lovely winter squash with an earthy, sweet flavor. Butternut squash is the ideal fall and winter produce item, because it goes quite well with sweet ingredients, warming spices, savory herbs, and plenty of proteins and vegetables. Basically, you can pair it with many different ingredients! We thought the savory flavor of thyme mixed with a creamy parmesan sauce were perfect. Chicken thighs are the perfect canvas for just about anything, so this butternut squash chicken dish is well-rounded and comforting with the flavor palate we chose.
How Can I Make The Skin On These Chicken Thighs Crispy?
While you can technically can use any cut of chicken you want for this, we do recommend chicken thighs with the skin on for a super yummy flavor and awesome textural element.
A couple of pointers for getting the chicken skin crispy (and keeping it that way!) would be to make sure they are dried off with paper towels really well before cooking them. Another tip is to take the chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking. Getting the chicken to room temperature will help get a nice sear on the skin. Make sure your skillet is quite hot. To do this, preheat over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes. When you drop water onto the skillet, it should sizzle and evaporate right away.
When cooking, we will add the seasoned chicken thighs skin side down first to a hot skillet and press them in with tongs. You want to maximize contact with the pan to ensure it gets crispy everywhere!
Lastly, just leave the thighs alone for 3-5 minutes before moving them at all. Fun fact, things naturally release themselves from the pan when they are ready. If you go to move the chicken thigh and it feels stuck, give it another minute or so before trying to move it again. Lastly, when you add these chicken thighs back to the skillet before everything goes into the oven, nestle them into the squash and cream sauce mixture with the skin side up, and don’t smother them with sauce. This will ensure that the meat is nice and juicy, but the skin stays crispy.
Should I Debone The Chicken Thighs For This Recipe?
This is one of those things that is truly all about your preference. For this recipe, we prefer to leave the bone-in, because it helps keep the chicken moist and juicy while cooking.
When it comes time to dig in, the chicken will be so tender that it falls off the bone! If you prefer not to leave the bone in, check out this great guide. Just make sure you save your chicken bones for later, you can turn them into a great stock! Simply throw the chicken bones into a freezer bag, and freeze them until you collect enough to make some homemade chicken stock. Here’s some recipes and instructions for how to do that!
Can I Make My Own Italian Seasoning Blend?
Yes! For this butternut chicken recipe the Italian seasoning blend is such a lovely and savory blend of herbs. Of course you can use store-bought, or you can make your own! It’s so easy and cost effective to make your own Italian Seasoning blend at home. The best part is you can always just add a bit more of your favorite herbs to ensure it fits your tastes.
Here’s how we fix ours up:
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp + 1 tsp (or 4 tsp) marjoram
1 tbsp + 1 tsp (or 4 tsp) dried thyme
1 tbsp + 1 tsp (or 4 tsp) basil
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp sage
*Makes 24 teaspoons or 4 tablespoons
What’s The Best Way To Reheat Leftovers?
You can store the leftovers of this chicken and butternut squash recipe for up to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container. To reheat, the best method we think would be to place them back in the skillet, and cook it on low for about 10-15 minutes (covered) until the chicken is warmed thru. You could also pop it in the microwave for a quick fix, but this makes the chicken a little tough, as well as make the skin soggy. Alternatively, broiling on low (placing the skillet further away from the broiler), for about 15 minutes would be great, since the skin will crisp up and everything will be warmed through!
Here’s More Cast Iron Chicken Dinners You Will Love:
- Jalapeño Popper Chicken Skillet
- Pepperoni Pizza Chicken Skillet
- Keto Bacon Wrapped Brown Sugar Chicken
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Until Next Time,
Briana & Chamere
Chicken and Butternut Squash Recipe with Parmesan Sauce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 pounds organic chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
- 1 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 300 grams butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about half of a medium butternut squash)
- 8 ounce fresh spinach
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken bone broth (could sub chicken stock or chicken broth)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 ounces parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
- To garnish: thyme sprigs, grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, combine all of your dry seasonings, salt and pepper. Sprinkle seasoning all over the chicken on both sides. Save and set aside the remaining for the squash.
- In a hot skillet, add the butter, and then the chicken thighs skin side down. Allow to cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip, and then sear for another 4 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Add your olive oil, butternut squash, and remaining seasonings to the skillet and mix. Cook until squash is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add in your fresh spinach and wilt. Once wilted, add in cloves until fragrant, about 30 second. Stir in, your chicken broth, heavy whipping cream and parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.
- Add the chicken thighs back into the skillet, skin side up. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375°F, until the cheese is bubbling. Garnish with fresh parmesan and thyme sprigs.
- Eat within 5 days and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- 8 net carbs per serving.
- Feel free to use chicken breasts in place of thighs if you prefer.
- Chicken bone broth, regular broth or stock will work perfectly fine for this recipe.
- If using frozen spinach, make sure to thaw and squeeze out extra water beforehand.
These nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy and are only estimates. We cannot guarantee the accuracy.