How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash Step-by-Step

A sharp knife and a few easy tricks are all you need.

Updated on November 14, 2023

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Photo by: Laura Agra

Laura Agra

Learning how to prepare butternut squash for cooking is an excellent skill to master and less difficult than it might seem. All it takes is a good sharp knife and some simple sleight of hand. Learn how to cut butternut squash with this step-by-step guide, and you'll be on your way to delicious soups, salads and more in no time. Plus, get some of our favorite butternut squash recipes.

Photo by: Laura Agra

Laura Agra

How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash

Step 1: Remove the Skin

Grab a sturdy peeler and start peeling off the skin. The skin is thick, and underneath the top layer you may see a muted tan-orange color with streaks of green. Keep peeling. You want to keep going until you get down to the bright-orange flesh, which usually means a couple of passes with the peeler. You can also use a paring knife.

Can You Eat Butternut Squash Skin?

It's important to note that while many people choose to remove butternut squash skin (and this is best practice for soup making, where you want smooth results), you can 100% eat roasted butternut squash skin. Slice butternut squash into crescents and roast it with the skin on. The skin will become tender in the oven and melt in your mouth. So much work avoided.

Microwave Hack for Easier Butternut Squash Peeling

Microwaving the squash will make it much easier to peel. Simply slice off the top and bottom, poke the squash all over with a fork and microwave it on high for about 3 minutes. When it's cool enough to handle, peel the squash. The softened flesh will make peeling (and slicing) way easier.

Photo by: Laura Agra

Laura Agra

Step 2: Slice Crosswise

With a large, heavy knife, on top of a secure cutting board, slice off the top of the squash, then slice the squash in half crosswise, right at the top of the bottom bulging part.

Photo by: Laura Agra

Laura Agra

Step 3: Cut the Top Part Lengthwise

Take the top cylindrical part and cut the whole thing in half from top to bottom.

Photo by: Laura Agra

Laura Agra

Step 4: Cut the Bottom Part Lengthwise

Cut the bulbous bottom in half from top to bottom. You will see a cavity filled with seeds in each half.

Photo by: Laura Agra

Laura Agra

Step 5: Scoop Out the Seeds & Strings

Trim off the bottom stem edge of both bottom halves, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any strings (if you’ve ever cleaned out a pumpkin, this will be a familiar task).

Photo by: Laura Agra

Laura Agra

Step 6: Cut the Top Into Strips

Cut the long, upper halves into 1-inch-thick planks (or to the thickness you desire), then cut those planks into 1-inch-thick strips.

Photo by: Laura Agra

Laura Agra

Setp 7: Then Cut the Strips Into Cubes

Cut the strips crosswise so that you create 1-inch square cubes.

Photo by: Laura Agra

Laura Agra

Step 8: Repeat with the Bottom Pieces

Cut the bottom halves into 1-inch-thick strips, and then cut those crosswise into 1-inch pieces (the bottom half will not yield such symmetrical cubes, but that’s fully OK).

Photo by: Laura Agra

Laura Agra

Step 9: Now You're Ready for Cooking

Now you are ready to cook your squash! Cut-up squash can be cooked in the oven, or it can be sauteed and finished with some liquid to help it cook through, or it can simply be added to simmering broth and then pureed into soup.

Butternut Squash Recipes

Put your cubed butternut squash to use in some of our favorite recipes.

Food Network Kitchen Step by Steps

Learn how to cut butternut squash to make roasted butternut squash cubes

Photo by: Lucy Schaeffer

Lucy Schaeffer

A cold-weather power player, these roasted butternut squash cubes are delicious in salads, on grain bowls or as a side dish to all sorts of hearty fare.

Food Stylist: Anne Disrude
Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

FN_10_2010 COVER 156139.tif

Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin,Food Stylist: Anne DisrudeProp Stylist: Marina Malchin

Top these personal pumpkin bowls crunchy pepitas, sourdough bread crumbs or a dash of paprika, and be prepared for everyone to ask for the recipe.

Whole wheat or multigrain penne, cremini mushrooms, fresh oregano and tender forkfuls of butternut squash combine in this wholesome pasta dish.

Food Network Kitchen’s Hummus Dips, Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash Hummus Dip

Food Network Kitchen’s Hummus Dips, Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash Hummus Dip

Photo by: Kate Mathis

Kate Mathis

This creamy butternut squash hummus is studded with salty feta, sweet pomegranate seeds and fresh arugula, making it an irresistible appetizer or addition to a mezze spread.

Food Network Kitchen
Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili
Healthy Eats
Food Network

Food Network Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Protein-packed black beans, turkey and sweet butternut squash give this chili richness, while cumin, coriander and a splash of apple cider vinegar keep the flavors bright and balanced.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

This classic winter warmer is rich with chicken broth and cubed butternut squash, and makes an excellent starter or lunch alongside a green salad and crusty bread.

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