How to Cut Butternut Squash (Easily!)

Cutting up a winter squash can seem so difficult and overwhelming that sometimes it seems more worth it just to buy it canned or frozen. But fresh butternut squash is so delicious, can easily be grown in your garden, and is typically much more cost-effective. Today, I’m going to share with you how to cut butternut squash, and this method only takes about 5 -10 minutes!

A large butternut squash can be intimidating...learn how to cut butternut squash easily to make diced squash for soups or roasting, in just 5 minutes! #howto #butternutsquash #howtocutbutternutsquash #usingbutternutsquash #wintersquash

How to Cut Butternut Squash

We love winter squash in our home. Butternut, spaghetti, acorn, carnival…you name it, we will eat it! Acorn is my personal favorite but butternut runs at a close second just because it’s so versatile. I use it to make a flatbread, add it into spaghetti sauce, dice it into soups, make noodles out of it, and so much more.

I’ve been posting my meal prep pics on my Instagram page for a little while now and I’ve had so many questions about how to cut butternut squash. I’ve been growing winter squash in my garden for several years now. When you have dozens upon dozens of winter squash in your root cellar, you learn pretty quickly what the easiest way to cut them up and use them is!

–Learn more about creating a DIY Cold Storage and Frugal Root Cellar Ideas

Ok, let’s do this. 🙂

 

Whole Butternut Squash

Start by washing your squash. No, it doesn’t matter if you grew it, if you bought it at the store, or if someone else gave it to you, it still needs to be washed. Even though we are going to peel it, we don’t want the dirt to get in our nice clean pieces of squash.

Butternut Squash Cut in Half

Cut your squash. You will want to cut the neck or the slimmer part of the squash off of the bottom, rounded part of the squash. Set the bottom aside, for now, we will get to it later.

Be sure to use a sharp knife to cut the squash. A dull, knife that is too small will only make your life difficult. I use a Rada Stubby Butcher Knife. You can find them in our Little House Living store.

Cutting the Top off a Butternut Squash

Next, cut the top (the part with the stem) off of the neck. Don’t cut off more than you have to but do try and make the neck one cylindrical piece. If the top is still slightly rounded you will have to do extra peeling.

How to Peel Butternut Squash

Peeling a Butternut Squash

Set the neck upright and begin “peeling” the outer shell off of the squash with your knife. If the neck of your squash is too long to do this safely, cut it in half and peel both halves separately. Continue the peeling all the way around the squash until all of the outer parts of the squash are gone.

You don’t want to peel too deeply, however, you do want to remove the green lines on the sides of the squash.

Cut Bottom Off Butternut Squash

Now let’s do the bottom half. Most tutorials skip this part and tell you to “use the bottom later” or to toss it. There is still plenty of good squash down there and it’s not that hard to get it all! So you want to start with the bottom in a similar way to the top. Use your knife to cut the bottom off the squash.

Cutting a Butternut Squash

Set the bottom upright on your cutting board and peel the outer shell off with your knife. Just like you did with the top.

De-seeding a Butternut Squash

Now to deal with the seeds. Cut the bottom in half and use your knife or a spoon to cut out the seeds. Easy!

–Don’t toss those seeds! Here are 11 Uses for Squash Seeds that you can try.

Butternut Squash Meat

Cost-Effectiveness of Fresh Butternut Squash vs Frozen

Look at all of that delicious butternut squash meat! Once you get the hang of cutting and peeling the squash, it will only take you about 5 minutes to do this from start to finish. This is such a cost-effective way to use winter squash. One pound of canned or frozen squash usually costs me around $2.50 – $3, a whole, fresh butternut can usually be found for about $0.50-$1 per pound. Of course, there is a bit of waste from the peel but there are actually several things you can use that for too!

Here are some suggestions for what to do with your butternut squash peelings:

  • Toss them in the freezer and add them to your next batch of homemade vegetable broth for extra flavor
  • Use them in your garden compost. If you want them to break down quicker, give them a little rough chop first.
  • Feed them to your chickens or other livestock. Goats especially, love squash peels. (Wild animals, such as deer also love them!)

Cutting a Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash Noodles

Squash Noodles

One of the ways we like to use butternut squash is to make squash noodles. I have this inexpensive Peeler that I use to make all kinds of veggie noodles. Just cook the noodles in a bit of chicken broth for a few minutes and they are so yummy.

Diced Butternut Squash

Dicing Butternut Squash

You may also want to dice up your butternut squash. I do this just like I cut up potatoes, in slices and then into dices. We roast these by putting a bit of olive oil and salt over the diced squash on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees until tender. I also add diced squash into all kinds of soup. It makes a wonderful substitution for carrots, sweet potatoes, or just a great addition to the soup.

Pureed Butternut Squash

If you want to puree your butternut squash, you would dice it and then place it in boiling water on the stovetop until tender. Let it cool and then place in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. You can use it or freeze it at this point.

–Pureed Butternut squash is a great first food for baby! Check out these other ways to save money when Budgeting for a New Baby

Cut Up Butternut Squash

If you aren’t into butternut squash yet, I hope this post has gotten you excited! This healthy and cost-effective veggie is a staple in our home and I hope it will be in your home too, if it isn’t already.

If you are looking for the knife I highly recommend for cutting winter squash, you can find the Rada Stubby Butcher Knife here.

Here are some other Squash Recipes you might enjoy:

Cooking Winter Squash (In the Slow Cooker!)

Roasted Vegetable Soup Recipe

One Spaghetti Squash = 2 Delicious Meals

Preserving Pumpkin

Yellow Squash Cheddar Biscuit Recipe


Now you know how to cut butternut squash! Is this how you’ve cut it up before? Will you try this method?

This post on How to Cut Butternut Squash Easily was originally published on Little House Living in October 2017. It has been updated as of October 2019.

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16 Comments

  1. Your post is perfectly timed for me! We’re having guests this weekend, and when given some choices for dinner, one declared her love of butternut squash. I was planning to roast it in the oven, and now I know how to peel it without risking injury. Your photos are very helpful. Thanks!

  2. I do butternut squash and sweet potatoes in the slow cooker. Put the squash or potatoes in and cook on low 6-8 hours until tender.

  3. I have a random question but still related to cutting up squash.

    How do you keep your hands clean?? I hate that sticky film that always happens on my hands when I cut up squash. It stays on my fingers for forever and is so uncomfortable! Not sure if that makes sense?

    How do you prevent that, or how do you get your hands clean if it’s inevitable?

    1. I always get that too. I just wash my hands right away after cutting the squash and then a few more times after with a good dish soap. It doesn’t go away completely but gets rid of most of it. We eat so much zucchini/squash/winter squash that I think I’ve started to just ignore it for the most part!

  4. i cannot mess with a butternut squash until it is fully cooked. i didnt find out until i broke out in painful blisters, and my skin turned painfully red, that many people are allergic to the raw peel between the outside and inside.

    there is a layer, that is like acid when it is in its rawest form. i was almost 50 when this happened, and have not been able to peel or chop raw butternut squash ever since.

    now i have to cook it, and the chemical compounds in the flash and peel change, then it can be gutted and taken care of, and only then.

  5. This is how I learned to cut up squash and melons when I worked in a kitchen! The chef taught me that the first rule of cutting things up safely is to create a flat edge on the food.

    1. I haven’t posted it yet. It’s basically 1/2 cup squash puree + 1 cup arrowroot powder + a bit of salt and oil. I spread that on a piece of parchment paper, lay another piece on top and roll it pretty thin, like a pizza crust. Then I bake until it’s no longer gooey 🙂

  6. What kind of peeler do you use to make noodles? What kinds of things do you use your puréed squash in? Thanks in advance.

  7. Well this is no easier than what I already do. And using the knife to peel like that takes off more squash than my peeker

  8. I just put a whole squash on a baking sheet and bake it till it’s done. Slice it down the middle and scoop seeds out. You can cut it in chunks or slices or scoop it out. So easy.