How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash

Want to learn how to peel and cut butternut squash? You’ve come to the right place. Learn my tips and tricks in this step by step tutorial so you can prep your butternut squash before cooking it. It’s easier than you think, and you just need a few tools to make it happen.

A bowl of chopped butternut squash on marble

I used to purchase pre-cut butternut squash whenever I found a recipe that needed to use it… except these diced squash were always a bit bigger than I wanted… and I still needed to cut them down.

Our CSA sent us some butternut squash years ago, and I was intimidated to try breaking it down until I did and was surprised to learn that it wasn’t too challenging for me.

You just need three tools and your butternut squash! Y’all ready to learn all my tips and tricks?

Recipes with butternut squash that you need to try ASAP: Tortellini Butternut Squash Pasta with Pancetta and Spinach | Butternut Squash Arugula Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Love vegetables and side dishes? Check out my Side Dish Recipe Index for inspiration.

A butternut squash on a white cutting board

What you need to do this technique

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In my opinion, the most important part of this recipe is having a sharp knife because you want to be able to slice clean through the butternut squash, which can be tough sometimes.

So make sure your knife is sharp and the blade is decently long so you can cut easily.

And that’s it!

A collage showing how to peel a butternut squash

How to peel butternut squash

To start, you need to wash off the squash and pat it dry with a kitchen towel. Yes, seriously. This is important.

Slice off the top (by the stem) and the bottom. This will make the following steps easier.

Use a vegetable peeler. I do not have a Y-shaped peeler, but I hear it’s perfect for peeling this. My regular ‘ol vegetable peeler* (affiliate link) worked on the skin of my butternut squash.

Tips on peeling butternut squash:

  • I start peeling the length of the butternut squash, taking my time and gripping the squash with one hand while the other works the peeler. Work slowly and carefully so you don’t catch yourself with the peeler—that will leave a mark!
  • When you’ve reached the bulbous part of the squash, switch up the direction you’re moving the peeler. I follow the curve of the squash itself, almost like I would when peeling an apple in a circular motion, to remove the peel from that part.
  • Make sure that you’ve removed the peel and any remaining green/white pieces left behind.

Once your squash is peeled, proceed to the next step!

A peeled butternut squash on a white cutting board

How to cut butternut squash

First and foremost, slice your butternut squash into two halves, cutting down length-wise from the top to the bottom. Make sure the squash sits flat on the larger, more bulbous part, as this will provide a more firm base.

Next, scoop out the seeds and pulp. You can do this with a spoon or an ice cream scoop (or a scooper for cookies). I prefer the spoon because I can more easily handle it.

Cut the butternut squash. Slice the squash into half moons. From there, if you want to dice it into cubes, slice those in half, length-wise, then cut those slices into bite-sized pieces.

You can roast butternut squash in any shape—including leaving it split down the middle in two large pieces. I like to do this for soup or purees.

From here, feel free to use your prepped butternut squash in whatever way you want! There are so many excellent butternut squash recipes, too, so have fun with it!

Want to know what to do with the butternut squash? You should learn How to Roast Butternut Squash, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup or try out Tortellini Butternut Squash Pasta with Pancetta and Spinach!

A collage showing how to dice a butternut squash

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the easiest way to cut butternut squash?

Use a sharp knife to slice off the ends. Set it flat on a cutting board, then slice down the middle. From there, remove the seeds and pulp, then cut into your desired shape.

How do you soften butternut squash so you can cut it?

You do not have to do this, so long as you feel confident in your knife skills.

If your butternut squash feels unnecessarily challenging, you can cut slits into the sides of the squash and cook it for 3-4 minutes in the microwave. (The slits will help steam escape from the squash and loosen up the skin.) Let it cool off a bit before peeling the skin, if desired.

How do you peel a butternut squash without a peeler?

You can simply use your knife to slice off the skin of the butternut squash. Work slowly and carefully to remove it, working in long strips.

Do you have to peel butternut squash to eat it?

No! You can eat the skin, so you don’t have to peel it. However, I like to peel it whenever I’m dicing the squash to use in various recipes.

Close up of diced butternut squash
A bowl of chopped butternut squash on marble
Yield: 6 servings

How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Want to learn how to peel and cut butternut squash? You’ve come to the right place. Learn my tips and tricks to prepping your butternut squash before cooking it. It’s easier than you think, and you just need a few tools to make it happen.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. butternut squash (or larger!)

Instructions

Peel the squash

  1. Wash the squash. Run it under hot water, then pat dry with a kitchen or paper towel.
  2. Slice off the top and the bottom.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the squash. Start peeling the length of the squash, gripping the vegetable in one hand to hold it steady while you peel. Work your way around the squash. When you reach the bulbous part, switch the direction of the peeler and peel in a circular motion, following the shape of the vegetable until the entire peel has been removed.

Cut the butternut squash

  1. Slice the squash down the middle, length-wise.
  2. Remove the seeds and pulp using a spoon or a scooper tool.
  3. Cut the butternut squash. Slice the butternut squash into half moons, then cut those in half, length-wise.
  4. Dice those into bite-sized pieces.
  5. NOTE: You can leave your butternut squash halved and roast it this way or also roast it in the half moons. The final cut of your butternut squash should depend on the recipe you’re making.
  6. Use the butternut squash in your recipe, and enjoy!

Notes

How to store: Transfer the cut butternut squash in to an airtight storage container. Store in the fridge for 3-5 days. Use as needed.

How to freeze: Place the cut roasted butternut squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer it to the freezer, checking around 4-6 hours to confirm the squash is frozen through. Transfer to an airtight freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Depending on the recipe, you can use this frozen or you might need to defrost in the refrigerator.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1 serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 60Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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