Butternut squash fritters are an easy, gluten free side dish. Made with grated butternut squash and chickpea flour, they bake up golden brown and crispy in the air fryer. Just like my original veggie cakes recipe, they can also be pan fried, if you don’t have an air fryer.
These crispy veggie cakes made from butternut squash also make a nutritious and delicious breakfast, with an egg on top.
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Gluten-free butternut squash fritters
I’ve had quite a few requests recently for making a gluten free version of veggie cakes. I thought this was the perfect recipe to start with – using grated butternut squash.
By swapping out all-purpose flour for garbanzo bean flour (also called besan), we gain protein and fiber, so it’s a more nutritious option. With that swap, we also make these gluten free.
Chickpea flour has been around for ages – we’re talking centuries, not just a decade or two. There are entire cookbooks written on chickpea flour. Plus, it’s a fairly inexpensive gluten-free flour.
How to make butternut squash fritters
The first thing we’ll need to do is grab the food processor and grate the butternut squash.
Next, mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the grated butternut squash and the eggs to the bowl and mix well. It will take a few minutes to mix everything until it is a uniform mixture, be patient.
As you keep tossing the mixture, you’ll notice it start to come together and you’ll be able to tell when it’s ready.
To make the butternut cakes, I used my favorite yellow scoop to portion the fritters. Lastly, place them in a pan, oven or air fryer to cook.
The ingredients needed for these squash veggie cakes are common ingredients in your kitchen, with the possible exception of the chickpea flour.
I sautéed the red onion before I added it to my mixture. This is personal preference. I wanted the onion to melt into the fritters, so I cooked them for about 10 minutes until they were soft.
You needn’t be bothered to do this if you don’t want to.
Until recently, I didn’t own an air fryer, and I didn’t want to. Because I have a convection feature on my oven, it seemed unnecessary.
Plus, they take up a bit of space, which is a precious commodity in my kitchen. Then, my friend gifted me hers when she bought a new one.
I had nothing to lose, because if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to feel bad about getting rid of it. Here’s what happened:
First, I tried the air fryer. The butternut veggie cakes browned pretty evenly all over. They were crispy, but not as crispy as the pan fried version. So far, we were off to a good start.
Next, I put a few in the oven with the convection fan on. As you can see, they browned, but not evenly. The air fryer fritters were a little dryer inside than the oven version, but not in a bad way.
I think the difference is the placement of the fan. In the oven, it’s behind the oven racks, and in the air fryer, the fan is above the food.
And, lastly, I pan fried a batch. As you can tell, they have a nice crunchy crust on the outside and stayed soft and fluffy inside. The downfall on this method is the fact that they are fried in a bit of oil. With the air fryer version, they get a light spritz of cooking spray.
Overall, I preferred the air fryer butternut squash fritters. They were crispy, they had great texture and it was a quick and easy cooking process. Two fritters clock in at just over 100 calories, so that’s enough to convice me.
As much as I resisted it, now I know what all of the fuss is about.
All in all, it was a great experiment and I actually love the air fryer. I think there will be many more recipes using it in my future.
I really hope you love this recipe. If you make it, snap a pic and share it with me either in the Fabulous Foodie Friends Facebook group or on Instagram by tagging @pookspantry and using hashtag #pookspantry.
Veggie cake recipes
If you are looking for more vegetable fritters that you can make in the air fryer, here are a few recipes for pan-fried veggie cakes that you can adapt to this cooking method.
- Curried cauliflower fritters
- Easy zucchini fritters
- Sweet potato cakes
- Potato broccoli cakes
- Green vegetable cakes
Still want more? I made a veggie cake eBook that you can download for even more recipes.
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- 1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and grated (6 cups grated)
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. salt (I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt)
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- cooking spray
- Grate butternut squash in a food processor or by hand. You should have roughly 6 cups. Set aside.
- Sauté red onion in a pan with a teaspoon or two of olive oil over medium heat for 8 - 10 minutes until soft, if desired. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine chickpea flour, chopped parsley, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Add onion, garlic, egg and butternut squash to the bowl. Toss for a few minutes until onions and butternut squash start to give off a little liquid and form a light batter with the chickpea flour.
- Preheat air fryer to 375°F / 190°C. Line the baking pan (or basket) with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.
- Use a cookie scoop or 1/4 cup measure to portion out fritters. Gently form them into patties, if desired, then place on lined pan.
- Lightly coat the tops with cooking spray and cook for 10 minutes. (Check on them during cooking to make sure they aren't getting too brown)
- Flip butternut fritters over and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before serving.
Because there are dozens of different air fryers out there, use your judgement when cooking in yours. If yours tends to run hot, reduce cooking time or the temperature. If it runs cool, increase temperature or cook for an extra few minutes.
To avoid any drips or mess inside the air fryer, I wouldn't place the batter directly in the basket without lining it with parchment or aluminum foil.
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Serving Size:2 fritters
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 105Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 605mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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