These crispy delicata squash rings make for a scrumptious fall appetizer brimming with smoky flavor and lots of crunch. Seasoned circles of delicata squash are coated in a combo of panko breadcrumbs and parmesan then lightly fried until golden, and come complete with a smoky ranch dipping sauce for extra mouthwatering flavor!
Delicata Squash, Not Just For Roasting
From butternut squash, to acorn squash, to spaghetti squash, to delicata squash, the possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking with all of these festive varieties.
Each type of squash has its own unique flavor and texture, as well as potential for being presented in a number of unique ways, with roasting or sauteing being among the most popular methods of preparing these colorful fall beauties.
Looking to have a little fun with delicata squash this year, and longing for a fresh and unique take on a preparation for it that would make for a tasty finger food/appetizer with some smoky, fall-like flavor, I decided to peel and slice it into rings, then give it a crisp, crunchy outer coating...
Taking my queue from onion rings, I turned sweet and mild delicata squash into crispy delicata squash rings, complete with a zesty ranch on the side for dipping.
The results? Absolutely irresistible!
So if you're hungry for a fresh new way to enjoy your delicata squash, and craving a bit of a departure from roasting, baking, or sautéing it, then this light, golden and crispy take is a fun little recipe to try out.
It's a slightly more indulgent way to enjoy this sweet, tender and vibrant fall beauty!
My Crispy Delicata Squash Rings Recipe with Smoky Ranch
Since delicata squash has a slightly oblong shape with a hollow center, peeling and slicing it into circles is a fun way to present it.
To create these crispy delicata squash rings, I simply take the sliced squash rings, season them with smoky spices such as smoked paprika, chipotle powder, plus granulated onion and garlic, then use a traditional dredging method to coat them in a panko and parmesan mixture.
A little dip in flour, then in whisked eggs, and finally in the panko and parmesan combination before a quick fry in hot peanut oil works like a charm, and creates that wonderful outer crust with lots of crunch and flavor to contrast the tender flesh of the squash.
And because we're talking crispy rings here, serving these with a zesty-smoky ranch dipping sauce only helps to enhance the natural sweetness of the delicata squash and brings lots of savory flavor to each bite.
Here's a peek at my crispy delicata squash rings recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prep my smoky ranch dipping sauce, and keep it cold in the fridge until ready to enjoy.
- Next, I peel my delicata squash and slice it into circles that are ¼ inch thick. I pull/scrape out the seeds and stringy bits, and then sprinkle my seasoning on the delicata squash circles
- Once the squash is prepped, I prepare my dredging station with flour, whisked eggs, and my panko-parmesan mixture.
- Next, I slowly heat my oil in a large skillet, just enough for a shallow fry.
- I dip each delicata squash ring into the flour, then the whisked eggs, and finally press into the panko mixture, then place onto a tray to hold until all the delicata squash rings are coated.
- Once the oil is hot, I add a few delicata squash rings in and fry them for roughly 3 minutes per side, until deeply golden and crispy. I drain the crispy delicata squash rings on a wire rack for a moment or two.
- To finish, I sprinkle on a touch more salt, pepper, and a few more spices if desired, and serve the crispy delicata squash rings while hot, with the smoky ranch on the side.
Crispy Delicata Squash Rings
by Ingrid Beer
These crispy delicata squash rings are a hot and delicious appetizer fit for the fall, complete with a smoky ranch dipping sauce!
Yield: 4 Servings (16 rings)
Nutrition Info: 245 calories per 4 rings (with 3 tablespoons smoky ranch dip)
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Crispy Delicata Squash Ring Ingredients:
- 1 ¼ pound delicata squash, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick circles, seeds and membrane removed (about 16 rings)
- Black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon granulated onion
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 eggs, whisked
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Peanut oil (or vegetable oil), for shallow frying
- Finely chopped cilantro or parsley, optional garnish
Smoky Ranch Ingredients:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (depending on desired spiciness)
- ½ (scant) teaspoon salt
- Pinch black pepper
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro or parsley leaves
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your smoky ranch ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the ranch, add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl, and whisk very well until completely combined and smooth. Cover and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to use.
- Next, gather and prep all of your crispy delicata squash ring ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Place the delicata squash rings into a large bowl, and sprinkle over them the chipotle powder, the smoked paprika, the granulated onion and garlic, plus a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper, and toss to coat.
- Set up your dredging station by adding your flour to a large shallow bowl, having your whisked eggs ready, and combining the panko breadcrumbs with the parmesan in another large, shallow bowl.
- Dip each delicata squash ring lightly into the flour, and tapping off any excess, then dip into the whisked eggs, then gently press into the panko/parmesan mixture. Place the breaded ring onto a large tray or baking sheet to hold, and repeat with the rest of the squash rings until all are coated.
- Next, add enough peanut or vegetable oil to a large skillet for shallow frying (should cover the bottom and come about a ½ inch up the pan), and heat the oil on medium-high until it shimmers.
- Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium, and add a few rings into the hot oil at a time, frying them on the first side for about 3 ½ minutes, then flipping and frying on the other side for about 2 minutes more, until the rings are golden-brown on both sides.
- Remove the crispy delicata squash rings and allow them to drain on a wire rack placed over a paper towel or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the freshly-fried rings with a touch of salt/pepper and/or additional smoked paprika or chipotle powder, if desired. Repeat with the rest of the delicata squash rings, until all are fried.
- To enjoy, sprinkle with a flourish of chopped cilantro leaves (if desired), and serve with some of the smoky ranch dipping sauce on the side.
Tips & Tidbits for my Crispy Delicata Squash Rings recipe:
- Choose smaller, narrower delicata squash for easy slicing: When choosing your delicata squash, opt for slightly smaller ones that are even and narrow, if possible. These are easier to work with, and yield circles/rings that are not too large.
- Peel your delicata squash before slicing: Because the skin of most squash is quite waxy and tough, it helps to first peel it off using a vegetable peeler, then cut the squash into rings. You can then pull the seeds and stringy bits from the center of the rings, even using a small paring knife to gently scrape any extra bits out.
- Season the delicata squash well: Since delicata (and other) squash has delicate flavor and needs added seasoning, be a little bit liberal with the salt and pepper to give lots of flavor to the squash rings. I like to add seasoning to the rings before frying them, and then sprinkle over a little extra salt/pepper and spices just out of the hot oil as well.
- Smoky ranch for dipping these crispy rings into: I've found that a zesty, tangy and creamy ranch is a terrific companion to these crispy delicata squash rings, as it brings out the natural sweetness of the squash itself. You can substitute a pre-made sauce of your choice, or pre-made dressing, but my homemade version is quick and easy, and loaded with flavor!
Hungry for more delectable squash recipes? Check out this Stuffed Acorn Squash, this Butternut Squash Casserole, this Spaghetti Squash with Sauteed Veggies, this Spaghetti Squash Casserole, this Butternut Squash Soup, or this Roasted Acorn Squash!