How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash Step-by-Step
A sharp knife and a few easy tricks are all you need.
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.
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.
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.
Step 3: Cut the Top Part Lengthwise
Take the top cylindrical part and cut the whole thing in half from top to bottom.
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.
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).
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.
Setp 7: Then Cut the Strips Into Cubes
Cut the strips crosswise so that you create 1-inch square cubes.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.