How to Cook Butternut Squash: 5 Delicious Methods


Beneath the inedible skin of a butternut squash lies a sweet and nutty flesh. Once you peel and slice the squash, there are endless uses. Here are five simple cooking methods to choose from, depending on how you plan to enjoy it. Whether you’re making sides, soups, or stews, these methods will tenderize this delicious gourd.

Roasting Butternut Squash (Whole)

You can roast whole butternut squash halves by cutting them down the center and leaving the skin intact. Remove the seeds, brush with olive oil, and cook cut-side down. Depending on the size, cook for 30 to 45 minutes for a 1 ½ to 2-pound squash. Serve the slices as a side dish or scoop out the flesh. This method tastes great with butter, salt and pepper, or a sweetener like honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup. You can even stuff the centers with a protein filling for a complete meal.

Roasting Butternut Squash (Cubes)

To release the moisture from the cell walls and enhance flavors, the solid flesh needs high heat, around 400°F (204°C). Toss the 1-inch cubes with olive oil, salt, and spices for extra flavor. Cook until you can easily pierce them with a fork or knife, about 20 to 25 minutes. This method is perfect for meal prepping.

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Steaming Butternut Squash (Cubes)

Steaming is a quick way to soften the flesh without adding any additional oil if you’re looking for a low-fat method. In a covered pot, let the superheated steam from boiling water (100°C or 212°F) cook the vegetable in 10 minutes or less. Make sure to season well, as this method does not add any additional flavor.

Boiling Butternut Squash (Cubes)

To infuse the gourd with flavor, boil 1-inch pieces in salted hot water for about 9 to 11 minutes until fork tender. Drain well to prevent them from becoming mushy and diluted in flavor.

Microwaving Butternut Squash (Whole)

Cut the squash in half and cover each half tightly with plastic wrap. The steam trapped by the plastic wrap helps soften the flesh in about 9 minutes. Use the higher power setting to cook each half efficiently.

Microwaving Butternut Squash (Cubes)

For tender cubes in just 5 minutes or less, add a small amount of water to a microwave-safe container with the squash cubes. Cover with plastic wrap to trap the heat and cook. Stir halfway through the cooking process.

Instant Pot Butternut Squash (Whole)

You can prepare a whole butternut squash in the pressure cooker. Place it on the trivet to elevate it for more efficient steaming. Add one cup of water and pressure cook on the manual high-pressure setting for 8 minutes. Increase the time as needed depending on the size and doneness, but no more than 10 minutes for a 4-pound squash.

Instant Pot Butternut Squash (Cubes)

To cook diced cubes of squash quickly and easily, use an electric pressure cooker. The built-up pressure elevates the temperature, tenderizing the cubes in just 3 minutes. The overall cooking time, including pressure build-up, is about 15 minutes.

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Don’t Waste the Seeds!

After scooping out the seeds, remember that they are edible! Just like pumpkin seeds, you can roast them. Remove the fibrous pulp, wash and dry them well, and toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper, or other desired seasonings. Place them on a sheet pan and roast at 350°F (177ºC) for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until crunchy.

Try These Butternut Squash Recipes

  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
  • Roasted Whole Butternut Squash
  • Butternut Squash Pasta
  • Butternut Squash Tacos

Now that you have learned multiple cooking methods for butternut squash, you can explore various healthy recipes for sides, soups, and stews with this versatile vegetable. Enjoy the deliciousness and nutritional benefits of butternut squash in your family cuisine!

Family Cuisine

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