How to Cook Butternut Squash Whole

Butternut squash is super-easy to cook if you know this simple technique.

Butternut squash is super-easy to cook if you know this simple technique.

Back in December I bought a butternut squash and then never cooked it. It sat there on my counter staring at me for months. I couldn’t bring myself to cook it though because it seemed like such a time-consuming and annoying task.

You see, I’ve cooked butternut squash many times before. Each time, I followed the idea in recipes like this. Look at that ingredient list where it says “1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled and seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks.” It’s stated as though this is a simple task that will take a minute or two. In actuality, it can be a huge pain in the butt. The squash is large and round making it hard to hold in place. The skin is tough and can be tricky to get rid of using a vegetable peeler (although a good sharp one like this does the trick pretty well!). Then, as you peel and handle the flesh, your skin gets this weird coating that dries quickly and feels really weird and is hard to wash off (learn how to get this residue off here).

So you can totally see why I didn’t want to cook that squash!

Then I remembered my other vegetable nemesis, the beet. That one I’d go to cook and end up looking like I’d been in a slaughterhouse. The solution was to roast the beets whole, like described here. Life-changing! I love these roasted beets and make them for myself weekly now.

That butternut squash just had to go into the oven whole as well. And so it did. I cranked up the heat, poked a few holes in it and let it go. Amazing. The flesh cooks beautifully and even gets some caramelization at the edges. The skin peels off really easily, or you can scoop out the flesh.

This method for cooking butternut squash is perfect for if you want to make soup (recipe coming soon) or a puree for anything else. Note that if you want squares of browned squash, you will have to go with the standard method from above. But I think that once you try this, you’ll decide that squash is best when it’s so easy that you actually can’t wait to cook it. it’s definitely better than when it goes uneaten on my counter!

How to Cook Butternut Squash Whole

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Line a 13″x 11″ pan with aluminum foil. Put the squash in the pan. Poke it in 5-6 places with a sharp knife.

Roast until a knife or skewer goes in easily, 60-80 minutes. It will look all brown and a bit shriveled like this:

Cut it in half lengthwise.

Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh surrounding them. These seeds are edible and you can cook them like pumpkin seeds, but there are so few of them that it isn’t really worth it. I usually throw them out.

Then you can either scoop out the rest of the flesh to use or peel off the outer peel. It doesn’t really matter except that I find you get a bit more caramelized flavor if you peel the skin off rather than scooping the flesh out.

Once the skin is gone, you can use the butternut squash in a soup like this one:

The soup recipe is coming soon. Stay tuned!

Here are printable instructions for cooking butternut squash:


How to Cook Butternut Squash Whole

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings


Butternut squash is super-easy to cook if you know this simple technique.


  • 1 whole butternut squash


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a 13″x 11″ pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Put the squash in the pan. Poke it in 5-6 places with a sharp knife.
  3. Roast until a knife or skewer goes in easily, 60-80 minutes. It will be a mottled brown and a bit shriveled on the outside.
  4. Cut it in half lengthwise.
  5. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh surrounding them. Discard.
  6. Peel off the peel and then use the remaining flesh.
This post contains an Amazon affiliate link meaning that if you click on something and then buy something I receive a small commission. This is at no additional charge to you. All opinions are my own.


How to Cook Butternut Squash Whole

51 Responses to “How to Cook Butternut Squash Whole”

  1. Jo Zimny — May 6, 2020 @ 5:56 pm (#)

    I made this a few days ago, then turned it into soup. I think roasting it in its skin is definitely the way to go. I used a small offset spatula and slid it between the skin and the flesh and it made peeling the squash easier in some spots. I will definitely do this again! Thanks for the great recipe. :)

    • Christine Pittman — May 8, 2020 @ 11:47 am (#)

      You’re welcome, Jo! Sounds wonderful.

  2. Rachel — April 23, 2020 @ 5:04 pm (#)

    This is the best way to cook butternut squash.  Never comes out watery, and is quite beautiful.  I have never tried to peel it.  Tonight I will!

    • Christine Pittman — April 27, 2020 @ 9:31 am (#)

      Thanks, Rachel!

  3. Dayna — February 17, 2020 @ 8:06 am (#)

    I second the comment about not needing to remove the skin. I never remove it, when roasted it gets caramelised and is SO delicious, I eat squash filled like a jacket potato, they are fun to grow throughout the year and their shelf life is incredible :)

    • Christine Pittman — February 18, 2020 @ 10:12 am (#)

      Thanks for your feedback, Dayna! Yum!

  4. Lou — January 3, 2020 @ 1:08 pm (#)

    I roasted one yesterday and found it very messy to remove the skin-can you elaborate on how you do that? Maybe I should’ve cooked mine a bit longer….the scooping method was a mess and time consuming and maybe because of the olive oil I couldn’t imagine trying to use a vegetable peeler on it b/c it was so squishy and slippery..thanks!

    • Christine Pittman — January 15, 2020 @ 3:19 pm (#)

      Lou, I’m honestly not sure. I cook butternut squash like this all the time and I just use my fingers to peel off the skin. It comes off easily. Maybe you’re right and it wasn’t cooked long enough.

  5. Paula B. — December 26, 2019 @ 6:41 pm (#)

    Thank you so much for this easy version. The last WW mtg I went to someone was raving about how satisfying Butternut Squash soup was and I have been dying to try it. Now I’m actually looking forward to it!

  6. Sarah L — December 21, 2019 @ 10:01 pm (#)

    I never have one staring at me because I never buy them. Now that I know how easy it is, I will buy them. Thanks.

    • Christine Pittman — December 23, 2019 @ 1:27 pm (#)

      Awesome, Sarah!

  7. Angelica — December 20, 2019 @ 1:58 pm (#)

    I’ve had a butternut squash in my pantry for way longer than I want to admit. I’ve been scared to cook it! They’re intimidating! I’m going to finally give it a go with your easy instructions!

    • Christine Pittman — December 23, 2019 @ 1:12 pm (#)

      You can do it, Angelica!

  8. Saundra K. Warren — December 18, 2019 @ 7:42 am (#)

    Never tried any squash except zuchinni

    • Christine Pittman — December 18, 2019 @ 11:11 am (#)

      Trying new things is great, Saundra!

  9. Cheryl — December 13, 2019 @ 10:54 pm (#)

    I like squash, but I’ve never cooked it.

    • Christine Pittman — December 17, 2019 @ 9:54 am (#)

      Time to try something new, Cheryl!

  10. Jennifer Phillips — December 11, 2019 @ 9:39 pm (#)

    I love cooking it this way.

    • Christine Pittman — December 12, 2019 @ 4:08 pm (#)

      Me too, Jennifer!

  11. Susan P. — December 9, 2019 @ 11:01 pm (#)

    I’ll have to try this next time. I’ve peeled, cubed and boiled, peeled, sliced and roasted, cubed and roasted but never cooked whole.

    • Christine Pittman — December 12, 2019 @ 3:48 pm (#)

      Time to try a new method, Susan! Have fun!

  12. Calvin — December 7, 2019 @ 8:20 pm (#)

    Squash is so healthy, and butternut, spaghetti squash is my favorite.

    • Christine Pittman — December 9, 2019 @ 11:08 am (#)

      Spaghetti squash is tasty too, Calvin!

  13. Debbie Yoder — December 6, 2019 @ 3:44 pm (#)

    My Mom cooked squash alot because we had a garden,love it with butter and pepper!

    • Christine Pittman — December 9, 2019 @ 10:39 am (#)

      That’s wonderful, Debbie!

  14. Tina Woo — December 6, 2019 @ 12:45 am (#)

    I’ve always cut my butternut squash in half and roasted them cut-side down. This is easier (and no risk of injury trying to cut through that danged hard skin)

    • Christine Pittman — December 9, 2019 @ 10:29 am (#)

      Exactly, Tina! No battling to cut it in half this way!

  15. Deborah Waddell — December 5, 2019 @ 10:26 am (#)

    I will now try cooking a butternut squash!

    • Christine Pittman — December 5, 2019 @ 2:42 pm (#)

      Great, Deborah!

  16. Roberta Hause — April 5, 2019 @ 2:32 pm (#)

    I am cooking a Tukey at the same time and it has to be at 325 degrees. How long do you think it will take thesquah at a temp 100 degrees lower?

  17. cococook — December 30, 2018 @ 10:10 pm (#)

    We have been microwaving butternut and acorn squash for ages. Really fast and so easy, no worries about removing a finger while trying to cut them. Never been able to peel them while raw. After they’re cooked, we add some spices, butter and maybe some sugar and generally mash them after scooping out of the shell (peel, whatever). Delicious. My next project is to sous vide the acorn that’s been sitting out in the pantry. Going to give the skin a good wash and seal the whole thing in a zipper bag. I haven’t determined the time yet for this project, but shouldn’t be too hard to do since you can’t overcook sous vide. But, I think the flesh is going to be quite moist since there won’t be a way for the steam to escape. Wish me luck. 😅

  18. Jg Gonsalves — December 11, 2018 @ 2:44 am (#)

    You can cook any squash the whole method. No hassle with peeling and deseeding before!
    Yippee! Your instructions taught this 75 yr old man something new.

    • Christine Pittman — December 11, 2018 @ 2:57 pm (#)

      Fantastic! Don’t you just love learning cooking tips? It’s one of my favorite things!

  19. Beth — November 7, 2018 @ 7:06 pm (#)

    Hi, you dont need to peel the squash at all. After it is roasted whole, the skin dissipates into the soup without detection. Saves much time and no waste.

    • Christine Pittman — November 14, 2018 @ 11:26 am (#)

      Beth, I have never tried eating the skin after it is roasted. I always just use the insides. I’ll give it a try next time. Thanks for the tip!

  20. Dana — October 27, 2018 @ 8:09 pm (#)

    How long to cook 2 at a time?

    • Christine Pittman — October 29, 2018 @ 11:52 am (#)

      In the oven, put them side by side on a pan and cook for the same amount of time as instructed. The amount of time won’t change just because you’ve put two in the oven at the same time.

  21. Renee Rolling — October 11, 2018 @ 11:46 am (#)

    I have had a butternut squash sitting for three weeks and I just put it in the oven whole with some sweet potatoes. Happy Autumm cooking for me. THANKS

    • Christine Pittman — October 29, 2018 @ 12:14 pm (#)

      You’re welcome!

  22. Letitia Berkey — September 23, 2018 @ 12:55 pm (#)

    Loved it! Sprinkled pumpkin pie spice on it and drizzled with maple syrup! That poor, dejected squash sat on the kitchen table for three weeks while we ate the acorn and spaghetti squashes! Thanks so much!

    • Christine Pittman — October 29, 2018 @ 12:43 pm (#)

      I’m delighted that you liked it. The seasoning and syrup sound like amazing touches. Great idea!

  23. Carolyn Farman — September 15, 2018 @ 8:38 am (#)

    Peeled one of my butternut squash and cubed it and then cooked it. As it was cooling I tasted it tasted pretty good but I wanted it a little sweeter so I sprinkled cinnamon on it and stirred it up good and that was delicious.
    This morning I have a smaller one to do and I think I’m going to try it in the microwave and see how that does. Wish me luck

    • Christine Pittman — September 21, 2018 @ 3:04 pm (#)

      Good luck!

  24. Lucy — September 9, 2018 @ 6:24 am (#)

    You can cook it even more quickly whole in a microwave. About 20 minutes. The bulbous end cooks before the narrow end as it is hollow.

    • Christine Pittman — September 10, 2018 @ 9:05 am (#)

      Lucy, I’ve never tried microwaving it. This is great. Thanks!

  25. Cambell — August 31, 2018 @ 10:41 am (#)

    Thank you so much, your instructions are so clear and easy and straightforward to follow…wish I had stumble onto your website sooner, thank you Christine

    • Christine Pittman — September 10, 2018 @ 9:13 am (#)

      You’re welcome, Cambell. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  26. 2pots2cook — March 26, 2018 @ 6:44 am (#)

    Love butternut so much ! Thank you for easy-to-understand instructions !

    • Christine Pittman — March 26, 2018 @ 1:49 pm (#)

      You’re welcome!

Leave a Comment

Fill your busy life with great food!

Sign up to get my quick recipes and useful tips by email and receive my air fryer ecookbook as a free thank you gift.