How To Peel and Cut A Butternut Squash

Learn how to peel and cut a butternut squash (safely!) with this step-by-step tutorial!

How To Cut A Butternut Squash -- a step by step photo and video tutorial | gimmesomeoven.com

Hey everyone!  I’m kicking off a new little series on the blog today that may pop up randomly here and there when I feel like it — How-To Tuesdays!

I receive lots of questions here on the blog about how to cut or how to peel or how to de-seed _   ____  __.  So I thought it would be fun to team up with my new videographer, Laura, to publish some new step-by-step tutorials and videos to walk you through some of those tricky cooking challenges.  That said, though, I’d rather you all be the ones to come up with the topics for this series so that they’re genuinely helpful to you.  So please holla back in the comments with any of your requests!  Would you like videos on how to cut different ingredients (i.e. onions, pineapple, mangoes, pomegranate, etc.)?  Or videos on how to make kitchen basics (i.e. chicken stock, quinoa, brown butter, whipped cream, perfectly scrambled eggs, etc.)?  Or how to use different kitchen tools or knife skills (i.e. mandolin, pasta maker, etc.)?  Well, you name it, we’d love to help out with it.  So stay tuned!

In the meantime, I thought we’d kick things off today with a step-by-step tutorial that I think may come in extra “handy” this fall, especially if you’re looking to save all of those precious fingers of yours while chopping up one of the season’s most popular ingredients.  You know, that one that we all love to eat, but dread having to chop up.  Yes.

We’re talking about how to peel and cut butternut squash!

When I first started teaching myself how to cook, I absolutely loved buying and eating butternut squash.  But after a few too many close encounters with my chef’s knife almost dicing my digits, I decided it was time to study up on how to properly (and safely) peel and cut butternut squash if I was going to continue enjoying it for years to come.  Turns out, it’s actually pretty simple.  And now, years later — and dozens of butternut squash, and dozens more delicious butternut squash recipes later — I love my butternuts more than ever.  And I love chopping them up with all 10 fingers still in tact.  😉

So for anyone else who’s interested in learning how to peel and cut your first butternut squash, or even for any of you who might like a little refresher, here’s a quick photo tutorial plus a new video tutorial to help you out!

 

 

How To Peel & Cut Butternut Squash -- an easy step-by-step tutorial | gimmesomeoven.com

Alright, first off, let’s talk tools.  When cutting butternut squash, you definitely need a sturdy cutting board, a sharp vegetable peeler, as well as some sort of metal spoon to help scoop out the seeds and pulp.  But most importantly, you need a good sharp chef’s knife.  And I do mean sharp.  I have a hunch that most butternut-squash-cutting injuries come less from bad cutting techniques, and more from dull knives that require you to have to cut with much more force.

So when cutting butternut squash, be sure to put your knife sharpener to use beforehand and get that blade extra sharp.  Then it should make your slicing and dicing all the safer.

For easier cutting, you’re also to slice the butternut squash in half and pop it in the microwave for 4-5 minutes before cutting, which will soften it up a bit.  (<– Just be careful, it will be hot!)
How To Peel & Cut Butternut Squash -- an easy step-by-step tutorial | gimmesomeoven.com

Alright, to begin cutting the butternut squash, lay it on its side, and use your sharp chef’s knife to carefully slice about 1/2-inch off the top of the squash.
How To Peel & Cut Butternut Squash -- an easy step-by-step tutorial | gimmesomeoven.com

Then repeat by slicing about 1/2-inch off the bottom of the squash.  These flat surfaces will help you stabilize the squash when it comes time to cut and dice it later.  (Discard the top and bottom ends of the squash.)

Next, use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel all of the skin off of the squash, while carefully holding the squash with your other hand. (Discard the peel.)

*If your peeler is not very sharp at all or if you don’t have one, you can also slice the squash (peel-on) horizontally in half as shown in the next step below, then use the chef’s knife to just make vertical cuts to slice off the peel.  
How To Peel & Cut Butternut Squash -- an easy step-by-step tutorial | gimmesomeoven.com

Once the entire squash is peeled, lay the squash on its side and slice it down the center.  Then slice each of the two halves down the center to form four quarters of the squash.  (Actually, I goofed on the order with these photos — it’s safer to make a vertical cut down the center of the squash first, rather than cutting it horizontally through the center, but either will work.)  ;)How To Peel & Cut Butternut Squash -- an easy step-by-step tutorial | gimmesomeoven.com

Once the squash is quartered, use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds and pulp out of the cavities in the lower two quarters of the squash.  (Discard the seeds and pulp.)How To Peel & Cut Butternut Squash -- an easy step-by-step tutorial | gimmesomeoven.com

Then your squash is officially ready to cut!

Just place the flat sides of the squash against your cutting board, and then carefully cut it into your desired size/shape of pieces.  Keep in mind that the smaller your pieces, the faster your squash will typically cook (especially if you are roasting or sautéing the squash).  I typically cut mine into 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch cubes for roasting, but the size/shape of the cut is totally up to you.

How To Peel & Cut Butternut Squash -- an easy step-by-step tutorial | gimmesomeoven.com

Once your butternut squash is cut, you can either cook it immediately.  Or you can refrigerate it in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze it in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

And voila!  Your squash is now ready to go!

If you need any butternut squash recipe recommendations, here are a few of my favorites:

Happy Squash-ing!

How To Peel and Cut A Butternut Squash

Learn how to peel and cut a butternut squash (safely!) with this step-by-step tutorial and video.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash

Directions:

  1. Lay the butternut squash on its side on a large, sturdy cutting board. Use your sharp chef's knife to carefully slice about 1/2-inch off the top of the squash.  Then repeat by slicing about 1/2-inch off the bottom of the squash.  These flat surfaces will help you stabilize the squash when it comes time to cut and dice it later.  (Discard the top and bottom ends of the squash.)
  2. Next, use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel all of the skin off of the squash, while carefully holding the squash with your other hand. (Discard the peel.)  *If your peeler is not very sharp at all or if you don't have one, you can also slice the squash (peel-on) horizontally in half as shown in the next step below, then use the chef's knife to just make vertical cuts to slice off the peel.  
  3. Once the entire squash is peeled, lay the squash on its side and slice it down the center.  Then slice each of the two halves down the center to form four quarters of the squash.
  4. Once the squash is quartered, use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds and pulp out of the cavities in the lower two quarters of the squash.  (Discard the seeds and pulp.)  Then your squash is ready to cut/dice however you'd like!
  5. To dice the butternut squash, place the flat sides of the squash against your cutting board, and then carefully cut it into your desired size/shape of pieces.  Keep in mind that the smaller your pieces, the faster your squash will typically cook (especially if you are roasting or sautéing the squash).  I typically cut mine into 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch cubes for roasting, but the size/shape of the cut is totally up to you.
  6. Once your butternut squash is cut, you can either cook it immediately.  Or you can refrigerate it in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze it in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

How To Cut A Butternut Squash -- a step by step photo and video tutorial | gimmesomeoven.com

Leave a Comment:





Comments

  1. Kari — November 1, 2009 @ 8:50 pm (#)

    Wow, I really wish I had found this a couple of weeks ago…before I nearly chopped half my fingers off trying to peal and cut my first butternut squash. Thanks for the info!

  2. Amy — November 25, 2010 @ 12:30 pm (#)

    Some years ago, my mother helped me out with the easiest way to make butternut squash…just cut in half, seed, wrap each section tightly with plastic wrap and microwave. The meat of the squash gets cooked and you just it scoop out from the skin. Whatever works best for you.

  3. L. Darnell — July 6, 2011 @ 6:14 pm (#)

    Thanks for this, I had given up trying to get to the wonderful goodness inside this squash!

  4. Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki — October 2, 2013 @ 12:11 pm (#)

    FYI – I kept the seeds and roasted them in the oven. SO YUMMY. :)

  5. Karen — November 25, 2013 @ 11:26 am (#)

    One thing I do to make it easier to peel- pop the whole squash in the microwave, and nuke on high for 3 minutes. It. Does not cook the squash, but does make it quite a bit easier to peel…

  6. Becki — September 28, 2015 @ 7:55 am (#)

    I love butternut squash but it so hard to peel so I don’t cook it that often.  I always cringe though when I see how expensive it is cubed in the produce section.  I will have to give you method a try – I agree – sharp knife is key here.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 1st, 2015 @ 9:07 am

      Yes, we definitely think you should give this method a try — let us know what you think (and be careful)! :)

  7. Kristine | Kristine's Kitchen — September 28, 2015 @ 8:15 am (#)

    This is such a great post! I love butternut squash and it is such a pain to peel and chop! I don’t have the sharpest vegetable peeler, so I use my knife to carefully slice off the peel as you suggest. :) After looking at these photos I’m craving some butternut squash soup!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 1st, 2015 @ 9:07 am

      Thanks Kristine, we’re glad this helped!

  8. Heidi @foodiecrush — September 28, 2015 @ 8:38 am (#)

    I like to use a sharp serrated knife so I can saw the tough skin off. I’ll have to put the peeler to work instead. 

  9. Marie Warne — September 28, 2015 @ 9:25 am (#)

    I have to buy my butternut squash ready-chopped because I get a weird skin condition when I touch the flesh. After doing research, I found this below about irritant contact dermatitis (ICD). It’s not dangerous but it’s really annoying and uncomfortable. My husband doesn’t get it, neither does my daughter. Strange. 
    From wikipedia:
    “Many plants cause ICD  through their spines or irritant hairs. Some plant such as the buttercup, spurge, and daisy act by chemical means. The sap of these plants contains a number of alkaloids, glycosides, saponins, anthraquinones, and (in the case of plant bulbs) irritant calcium oxalate crystals – all of which can cause CICD.[6]

    Butternut squash and Acorn squash have been known to cause an allergic reaction in many individuals, especially in food preparation where the squash skin is cut and exposed to the epidermis.[7] Food handlers and kitchen workers often take precautions to wear rubber or latex gloves when peeling butternut and acorn squash to avoid temporary Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) dermatitis[8] A contact dermatitis reaction to butternut or acorn squash may result in orange and cracked skin, a sensation of “tightness”, “roughness” or “rawness”.[9]”

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 1st, 2015 @ 9:06 am

      Wow, that’s so interesting Marie, we didn’t know that! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Emily R — September 28, 2015 @ 10:14 am (#)

    This is perfect timing, as I plan on making your 5-ingredient butternut squash/arugula/goat cheese pasta tomorrow night! I’ve never bought/cooked a butternut squash in my life…so this will be helpful :-) 

  11. Lady O — September 28, 2015 @ 11:06 am (#)

    We just pierce it, bake it until tender, and then process. Super easy.

  12. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — September 28, 2015 @ 12:40 pm (#)

    Rich bought me a wide peeler for butternuts and I think I fell more in love with him as a result. It’s a game changer!! 

  13. Carlie — September 28, 2015 @ 1:30 pm (#)

    Just FYI I know some people (myself included) that have a weird skin reaction to butternut squash flesh while its raw. Now I always use gloves with handling. The reaction was on the palm of my hands, they were dry and tight and felt like a layer of elmers glue had dried all over them, and displayed an orange tint. Took a few hours to go back to normal.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 1st, 2015 @ 9:06 am

      Thanks for sharing Carlie, that’s good to know!

  14. Senika @ Foodie Blog Stalker — September 28, 2015 @ 1:36 pm (#)

    I have a butternut squash on my counter that’s been staring me down! Now I feel confident to give it a go, thanks Ali! 

  15. MomQueenBee — September 28, 2015 @ 2:43 pm (#)

    To make the seeding process easier, use a grapefruit spoon. It cuts right through those stringy attachments. 

  16. Kelly — September 28, 2015 @ 9:24 pm (#)

    Thank you for this tutorial!

  17. Lexy9 — October 1, 2015 @ 8:32 am (#)

    Hi, I’m suprised that you want to peel this pumpkin as the skin is so thin you don’t even need to peel this.

  18. Nancy Wilson — October 1, 2015 @ 12:07 pm (#)

    Hi Ali,
    Thank you so much for developing this tutorial. I am publishing a butterbut squash recipe roundup on our blog next week and linking out to your article will make a perfect addition.

    Best,
    Nancy Wilson, RD

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 2nd, 2015 @ 4:19 pm

      Hi Nancy, very cool, we look forward to checking it out! :)

  19. Carol H. — October 10, 2015 @ 7:15 pm (#)

    Thank you for the tutorial, because of it I bought my first one and will try one of your recipes!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 11th, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

      Awesome Carol! We’re happy it inspired you, and we hope you’ll find this method helpful! :)

  20. Debbie — October 18, 2015 @ 1:05 am (#)

    This is such a great way of doing it!    Thanks

  21. azurleigh — October 31, 2015 @ 10:42 am (#)

    Thank you so much for the hints about peeling butternut squash. Solved a hugh issue.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 1st, 2015 @ 10:26 pm

      No problem, we’re happy you found this helpful!

  22. Pamela — April 2, 2016 @ 8:07 pm (#)

    God bless you for this.  This was very helpful.

  23. kris — October 6, 2016 @ 9:42 am (#)

    If you buy your squash already peeled & cut how much do I need for this recipe? 1 Cup, 2 Cups, or how many ounces of squash?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 7th, 2016 @ 8:36 pm

      Hi Kris! We’re not sure which recipe you’re referring to?

  24. barbara — October 30, 2016 @ 3:41 pm (#)

    Hi,  How many cups of squash is this??  TX

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 9th, 2016 @ 8:58 pm

      Did you mean to ask about how much squash to use in the butternut squash soup recipe?

  25. Sophia — November 29, 2016 @ 9:33 am (#)

    Never really sure on how to peel butternut squash! Thanks for sharing this information, will be sure to use it next time!

  26. Beth — November 29, 2016 @ 2:16 pm (#)

    I would love to see a tutorial on how to properly cut and peel a mango!

    Thanks :)

  27. Susan — November 29, 2016 @ 2:18 pm (#)

    Excellent instructions!  You were really smart to use the kind of peeler you did, because it really saves your knuckles (I have an antique potato peeler, which has a bar across the top instead of the long handle, but it works the same way).  Another thought for doing this is to wear rubber gloves.  The reason I say that is because the next to last time I tried to peel and cut a butternut squash, I ended up with some kind of nasty gluey stuff dried on my hands that was very difficult to get off.  It may have just been that one squash, but I’ll be wearing gloves from now on.

    As for video subjects, mango and pomegranate would be excellent topics.  I do know how to do mangoes, and found instructions for pomegranate, but no longer know where those instructions are…  Which is why I love that you provided written instructions to go along with the video.  :-) 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — December 7th, 2016 @ 12:24 pm

      Thanks so much for your feedback, Susan! :)

  28. Sherrie — November 29, 2016 @ 2:31 pm (#)

    I would love to see a tutorial on slicing mangos.  I feel like I waste a lot of the fruit by leaving too much of it on the core.  How about a video lesson on making crepes?  I’ve always been nervous to try that one.

  29. Maria — November 29, 2016 @ 7:10 pm (#)

    This is great. After cutting my thumb cutting butternut squash (3) at Thanksgiving  I bought new knives on black Friday. Hoping this will help as I love butternut squash soup. I think I also need a new and sharp peeler. Thanks of the tips.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — December 7th, 2016 @ 8:49 pm

      You’re very welcome! :)

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