Kabocha Squash FAQ

What is kabocha squash?

Kabocha squash is a Japanese pumpkin. Kabocha is just the Japanese word for squash. The squash is dark green (though it can have orange-y spots too) and very firm.  The inside of the kabocha squash is orange, and it hardens as it ripens. You can usually find them at Asian markets but I’ve seen them at the farmers’ market and various Whole Foods as well.


Kabocha squash are usually about 2-3 pounds (the ones I get are around 2 pounds), but I think that they can get much bigger than that. Be careful not too eat it too often – you can get carotenemia (orange skin). I prefer kabochas over butternut squash.

Kabocha Squash Nutrition and Kabocha Calories

Kabocha squash are high in beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamins B1 and B2, and more.  I’ve found different nutritional info online.

  • This site lists kabocha squash at 60 calories per 100 grams (272 calories per pound), but…
  • This site lists kabocha at 30 calories per 85 grams (160 calories per pound).
  • Too much confusion, so – just give me my kabocha squash :) They are a great part of a healthy macrobiotic diet.


How to Cook Kabocha – Kabocha Recipes

I have a ton of kabocha squash recipes.

How to Steam Kabocha – Steamed Kabocha Recipe

  • Cut the squash in chunks (throwing away the seeds, but you could roast the seeds separately if you wanted to)
  • Steam the kabocha pieces for about 5-7 minutes.  You should be able to pierce it quite easily with a fork when it’s done.
  • The kabocha pictured below is topped with parmesan.


Kabocha Salad Recipe

You can also toss the steamed kabocha in a salad.  This crazy salad was:

  • a base of romaine
  • sauteed veggies (cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, daikon)
  • steamed kabocha
  • pickled lettuce (something I got @ the Chinese market)
  • parmesan
  • trader joe’s raspberry vinaigrette


Kabocha Fries Recipe

Another great way to enjoy kabocha is kabocha fries.  In this case you can follow the directions for my butternut squash fries, or you can simplify it a bit by microwaving the kabocha chunks for 5-7 minutes, then sticking them under the broiler for 5 minutes or so (until they get crispy).  Try dipping the fries in my homemade unsweetened ketchup.



What’s your favorite way to eat kabocha?  If you haven’t tried it yet, what’s your favorite way to eat another squash?  (And if you haven’t tried it, what are you waiting for?)

19 Replies to “Kabocha Squash FAQ”

  1. >>Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin. Kabocha is actually just the Japanese word for squash.<<

    Actually 'kabocha' is not the Japanese word for squash. It is their word for 'Cambodia' which is where the Portugese imported the squash for the Japanese in the 1500's.

    Great recipes…!


  2. Maggie….actually Wiktionary says it si the word for a japanese Winter Squash but that is not the complete etiology. oh well…it is good to eat!

  3. I love that, both Maggie and Phd Donald…I never knew anything about Kabocha before, It is very sweet tasting, sweeter than pumpkin, I think.

  4. OHH myy GODD…..first, I am obsessed with squash of all kinds and although I have never tried Kabocha specifically, I can tell I will LOVE it…..i have to try it ASAP. Second, I love shiratake noodles and that recipe looks like something I would make for myself. I really want to try it out! Lastly, I am so excited I found your blog!!! I will definitely be stopping by regularly.

    Great Job =] lovelovelove!!!

  5. Hi,
    I love your blog and recently discovered it! I thank you for the yoga podcast too! I am a nutritionist, personal trainer and group x instructor and for me the kabocha is the staple of my diet!
    I eat at least 4 lbs. of it daily! I did wish I knew the EXACT calorie count, however. I think it is the best kept secret food for keeping you lean. It helps me maintain and extremely low level of bodyfat.
    Thanks again for sharing your kabocha recipes!

  6. LMAO, you had me at “sometimes vegetarian”, but an FAQ about Kabocha squash?

    We must be twins separated at birth. I’m so happy I found you….I must call Jerry Springer and get us on his show.

    I love you sista!


  7. Just chiming in re: the Doc,

    The Japanese word for Cambodia is カンボジア (Kanbojia). かぼちゃ (Kabocha) is the word for squash, although they call it a pumpkin when they translate it to English. Your history is correct, and the Japanese absolutely have a penchant for shortening words. However, in modern times, kabocha = pumpkin (be it green or orange).

    Greetings from Tokyo,


  8. this is an awesome pumpkin, we have Asian neighbors and they introduced us to these pumpkins. tried to 2 ways and cant wait to try it in a salad and possibly cupcakes. it is delicious

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  11. I went for sushi and my Itamae for the last thirty-five years, Mako-san served miso cured (pickled) kabocha. It was so good I bought one to make it myself.

  12. Hi Maggie, just chiming in on an older article you wrote about Kabocha Squash. At that time you found sources that varied regarding calories. Add to that Nutritionix.com, which rates 245g of squash at 245 calories. If you find any site that rings definitive, would welcome your thoughts. Best regards.

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