Cooking Winter Squash (In the Slow Cooker!)

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This is the perfect time of year to stock up on Winter Squash, but what do you do with them? Cooking Winter Squash can be done easily in your slow cooker! Learn how with these simple tips and get a few new recipes to take advantage of these delicious squash varieties while they’re in season!

This is the perfect time of year to stock up on Winter Squash, but what do you do with them? Cooking Winter Squash can be done easily in your slow cooker! Learn how with these simple tips and get a few new recipes to take advantage of these delicious squash varieties while they're in season! #slowcooker #wintersquash #hardsquash #crockpot 

Cooking Winter Squash

A few years ago, in the fall, I stocked up on bushels of winter squash. Since we were living in an RV, I didn’t have a garden and I couldn’t grow my own. But I ended up finding a good deal ($18 for 50lbs) so I stocked up! It had been a few years since I’d had this kind of abundance of winter squash in storage. So I set out to figure out the best way to cook it. I need something easy that didn’t take up so much time because let’s face it, no one wants to spend their time cooking winter squash!

Of course, I settled on my answer for just about anything cooking-related… cook it in the slow cooker! It’s so easy and only takes about 5 minutes of prep work. Plus, you can to do this with just about any kind of squash!

–Winter Squash stores very well in cold storage. Learn how to make your own frugal cold storage space.

Cooking Winter Squash

How to Cook Winter Squash

Cooking winter squash in the slow cooker is super simple. I start by washing the outside of the squash to get any dirt or leftover garden bugs off. Then the hardest part….cutting the squash in half. Use a sharp knife and go slowly, cutting around the entire squash until it pops in half.  Then, remove the seeds using a spoon. You might have to scrape to remove everything.

–Don’t waste those seeds! You can always dry them for a snack or check out one of these other Uses for Squash Seeds

Cooking Winter Squash

Place the prepared squash into the slow cooker, then pour about a pint of water into the bottom of the crock. (Make sure not to add cold water to a warm crock or you could end up making the mistake I made once – the bottom can easily break right off!)

–Looking for a Slow Cooker? See which one I use and find More of my Favorite Products!

Set your slow cooker on high for 6 hours. You can check on the squash periodically with a fork to see how it’s cooking.

Once your squash is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker. Using hot pads to hold the squash, scoop out the yummy insides!

Cooking Winter Squash

Spaghetti Squash

With Spaghetti Squash, cook as I mentioned above. When the squash is done, instead of scooping out the insides with a spoon, you will want to use a fork to get out all of the noodles.

You can make a simple side or even a main dish with spaghetti squash. Just take a little butter and minced garlic and fry together for a few minutes in a frying pan until the garlic is nice and tender. Toss the butter and garlic in with the cooked spaghetti squash noodles and you’ve got a meal!

–Here are a few more ideas with recipes using Spaghetti Squash.

Cooking Winter Squash

Smaller Squash

With smaller winter squashes such as Acorn, Carnival, Delicata, ect, you will simply cook as shown above. Then scoop out the meat with a spoon, and place it in a bowl. For a simple side, add a little butter and let some brown sugar melt into the warm squash. Yum!

Cooking Winter Squash

Butternut Squash

When cooking a butternut squash, you can cut them into large chunks so that they cook a little more evenly (instead of just cutting in half). Once these are cooked, unlike the other squashes, they stay in more solid shape, something like a cooked carrot.

Butternut Squash is good to eat in small pieces with some butter on top, added to soups or other dishes, or cut in long slices and baked like a french fry. If you keep imagining them like a cooked carrot, then you will be able to think of even more recipes that you can add them to.

–If you’re still struggling with this one, check out How to Cut Butternut Squash Easily!

It’s fun to have a large variety of squash because there are so many different dishes that you can make with them. I can’t wait to plant all different kinds in my garden again this summer so we can enjoy them next winter!

Looking for some more Winter Squash Recipes? Check these out:

Roasted Vegetable Soup Recipe
Simple Vegetable Pasta
Garden Vegetables Recipes With 5 Ingredients Or Less
One Spaghetti Squash = 2 Delicious Meals
11 Ways to Use Squash Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds

What is your favorite recipe using winter squash? Share in the comments section below!


This post on Cooking Winter Squash was originally published on Little House Living in October 2016. It has been updated as of October 2019.

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  1. Wow! That sure makes it easy! I am not a picky eater but I have never liked winter squashes. I wish I did because it just sounds so good.

    1. I didn’t really care for squash much growing up but I seem to like it better now. There are definitely kinds I like better than others though. My personal favorites are the acorns and carnivals while the baby loves the spaghetti squash.

  2. I have a supply of frozen pumpkin chunks that came from my garden. Would you use them just like Butternut Squash? Or do you have any pumpkin specific recipes ? I have used them to make pumpkin/apple soup.

  3. We cut butternuts in half, remove the seeds and in that space we put either shredded spinach and cheese, or pre-cooked mushrooms, both mixed with béchamel sauce, or, for a bit of luxury, cream, and then, after scoring the butternut part so the heat can reach it more quickly, bake them in the oven until the butternut flesh is soft. If they are really big, it might be an idea to cover the fleshy part with a bit of olive oil or cover the whole thing with a lid of some sort, so it doesn’t dry out.

    We roast pieces of pumpkin in the oven with salt and pepper, or cinnamon and heated honey and then when done, we put a bit of olive oil on them (if required, but it really isn’t necessary) and eat as a yellow vegetable with our main meal. Alternatively, you can mash the roasted pumpkin and add chopped beef or any meat, chopped onion, thyme or dill and a bit of oil or butter, and have it with rice as a meal in itself

  4. Another idea for acorn squash… cut in half, remove seeds, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, dot of butter, drizzle of maple syrup or a little brown sugar, and put sausage in the cavity and bake in a tightly covered pan with a little water for an hour or so. Was passed to me by my mom, so I have no exact recipe. Its a method thats great to experiment with. Now I wanna try your crock pot method! Thank you!

  5. I cube up winter squash and toss it with olive oil, Cajun seasoning, a little garlic powder and a touch of dark brown sugar. Also, for slow cooking in a crock pot, consider adding some lemon juice, cardamom, and honey. Ambrosia!

  6. Hey! I too have had a lot of squash in cold storage this year but I learned from another blog about a year ago that you can dehydrate squash, powder it and save it a ziplock! Her idea was for making super simple portable nutritious baby foods but I’m short on freezer and cupboard space so this is great for me! (Especially since my cold storage isn’t very reliable and I had to cook up 3 squash that were trying to rot) You just add a little sweetener if you like, purée squash (or anything else you want to powder, fruits or veggies) and spread on a fruit roll tray or a piece of wax paper works for square drying racks since the purée usually isn’t really runny. Dehydrate until it cracks (once it cools down it should be crisp, not leathery) then powder in a blender and store!

  7. 4 cups cubed hubbard or butternut squash cooked.
    1/4 cup mayo
    3/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
    big pinch or 3 of dried dill
    mix the mayo and sour cream together with the dill and pour over the squash.
    serve hot.

  8. I just got some Sweet Betty or Sweet meat squish and I would like to find out how to cook them any ideas? would love to here from any one who cooks them thanks jerry

  9. This is my first autumn with a slow cooker. I’m glad to know I can use it to cook winter squash! We usually get a lot of them from our CSA farm share.

  10. For me, the problem isn’t how to cook the hard winter squashes, but how to get them open! Finally found out we can use a good vegetable peeler on Butternut squash (yay!). Smaller squash I just wedge in my sink & carefully cut open with a French knife.
    The really big ones (40# Musqueee du Provence or Hubbard)? We put several layers of clean newspapers down on the sidewalk & thump them down on it several times to bust them open! We have to do it before we let the chickens out, though!

    1. Oh I hear you there! I finally got a nice sharp, long knife that works pretty well but so far my best method of opening them is just making my husband do it 🙂

  11. Hi Merissa, Thanks for the information and inspiration for cooking squash in the slow cooker! Blessings, Janet

  12. I love squash and we eat a lot of it in my household. I have never tried cooking it in a slow cooker but it sounds so simple. I will definitely be giving it a try next time.

  13. Could you post a few of your favorite recipes using squash. I am having a hard time getting my kids to eat it. Any tips?

  14. Mashed cooked pumpkin can be frozen in small amounts to add to dog food if you have a dog with digestive problems. Our older lab loved the pumpkin and it seemed to help her stomach.

    Also roasted butternut chunks sprayed with olive oil is so good! and Easy, too. Thanks for all your suggestions Marissa. Love your blog! Betty

  15. I had only had acorn squash as a kid with a ground beef in the center it was good. Then working at the nursing home I learned to like squash, beets and other Veg’s. To bad my husband doesn’t like them, doesn’t know what he is missing ! Will have to try the slow cooker for the squash. Put in a baked potatoe for him, squash for me all in one pot !( I use a tin bread loaf pan for the potatoes in the slow cooker, set it on top the meat ) Enjoy these last few days of fall the colors are so pretty here now..

  16. My recipe for winter squash cooking is prepare them as you did for the slow cooker but turn them upside down so the liquid doesn’t pool in the hollows and place them on a cookie sheet in the oven–by the time the roast is done so is the squash and the dimensions of the squash won’t matter–about an hour will do it

  17. Acorn squash and other small varieties can also be cooked in the microwave. I use the baked potato setting. After cooking they are easy to slice open and scoop out the seeds for your chickens. Or scoop into a colander the insides then rinse releasing the seeds for baking

  18. Also did you know that winter squash is better in pies than pumpkin? Either sieve cooked squash or scoop directly into a food processor add spices sugar and a can of evaporated milk plus an egg or two and pour the results into an uncooked pie shell for pie or a greased casserole dish for custard. Then bake and enjoy the fact that you just made a pie with only one dirty dish! Win win

  19. Thank you so much for this lesson on cooking winter squash. I haven’t been very successful in the past but you’ve given me inspiration to try again using your slow cooker method.

  20. You’re featured on Inspire Me Monday. 🙂 This looks like a great way to cook up that winter squash!