Butternut squash can seem so intimidating to use in recipes if you don’t know where to start. It’s important to know how to properly peel and dice this hearty squash. Learn how to handle this vegetable, and once you get it down, you’ll be enjoying your favorite fall recipes in no time!
There are a lot of different methods out there, and opinions about the best way to peel and cut butternut squash. They’re similar, with slight variations on which area you’ll start with first. I’m here to share the way I find most useful in the kitchen. As you get more comfortable, you might find that given your tools, a certain order works better.
Very Important Steps Before Beginning
Before I dive into the step-by-step process of tackling a butternut squash, the first and most important thing to note is that you need a very sharp chef’s knife to cut through the squash. This is so important because butternut squash is thick and dense, it can be difficult to cut through.
On that note, the other important thing before getting started is to make sure you have a stable cutting surface. You can place a damp paper towel under your cutting board, or use the grip shelf liners. I just happen to have extra pieces of those and they work perfectly for stabilizing the cutting board.
How to Peel Butternut Squash
The first thing I like to do is peel the squash. Some methods start by cutting the ends off before peeling, however, I like being able to hold the top stem while peeling, and it gives me extra room, knowing I will eventually be cutting off those ends.
If the bottom is not steady, you may want to go ahead and cut it off to start.
I start peeling the squash holding it at about a 45-degree angle and working my way down the curve using a vegetable peeler. You can also stand the squash on its end and peel directly down if that feels better. Keep in mind it can get slippery!
Slice and Dice
With the squash peeled, set it on its side and cut off the ends, if you haven’t done so already.
Then, cut the squash in half. If you need to, stand it on the flat bottom for stabilization.
You’ll see the seeds are in the bottom, round part of the squash. As you would with melons, scoop out the seeds and discard them.
Now with the seeds removed, place the half cut side down, and slice into equally sized strips. From there, you can dice the strips into equally sized pieces. When you get to the top half of the squash, the slices will be half circles. They will need to be cut into strips themselves before dicing.
Once the squash is cut into the desired sized pieces, you can roast the squash or proceed with the recipe you’re using.
Preparing Squash in Advance
Cut butternut squash in advance as part of your meal-prep to make weeknight dinners a breeze. Simple store the diced squash in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use; it will last about 4-5 days but may dry out a little, so it is better to use sooner rather than later.
Butternut Squash Recipes
- Butternut Squash and Pear Crostini
- Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Soup
- Broccoli and Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Pecan Glaze
- Wild Rice and Arugula Salad with Butternut Squash
- Cheesy Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash Sauce
- Butternut Squash Ravioli
How to Cut a Butternut Squash
- 1 butternut squash
- Peel the squash: Holding the squash at about a 45-degree angle and use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin off of the squash. Alternatively, you can slice off the bottom of the squash for an even base and stand it upright to peel.
- Set the squash on its side and cut off the top and bottom, if you haven't done so already. Then, cut the squash in half. If you need to, stand it on the flat bottom for stabilization.
- Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard them.
- Now with the seeds removed, place the half cut side down, and slice into equally sized strips. From there, you can dice the strips into equally sized pieces. When you get to the top half of the squash, the slices will be half circles. They will need to be cut into strips themselves before dicing.
- Once the squash is cut into the desired sized pieces, you can roast the squash or proceed with the recipe you’re using.