Butternut squash is super-easy to cook if you know this simple technique. Learn how to cook butternut squash whole and save yourself some hassle!
Have you ever bought a butternut squash, excited to enjoy it, but then got overwhelmed with the idea of peeling and cutting it? I’ve been there too, which is why I’m sharing my favorite and easiest way to bake butternut squash, as well as some additional options.
Video: Whole Roasted Veggies
Do I Need To Peel And Chop?
If you want beautifully caramelized and roasted butternut squash cubes, then yes. But depending on how you plan to use it, it may not be necessary.
Butternut 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. I’m not entirely sure what this is, but it might be a common allergic reaction and you might want to wear gloves to prevent it.
Helpful Tip: If you go the peel and chop route, try microwaving the squash first to make it easier. Use a fork to poke holes all over the skin, then microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften. After it cools, it will be easier to manage!
Easiest Method: Cook Butternut Squash Whole
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 squash soup or a puree for anything else. This mashed butternut squash is also delicious with this cooking method. 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!
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Line a 13″x 11″ pan with aluminum foil. Put the squash in a baking dish or baking sheet. 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 and you’ll see the beautifully tender cooked flesh.
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.
Podcast Episode: Making Butternut Squash
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this squash, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:Print
Butternut squash is super-easy to cook if you know this simple technique.
- 1 whole butternut squash
- 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 be a mottled brown and a bit shriveled on the outside.
- Cut it in half lengthwise.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh surrounding them. Discard.
- Peel off the peel and then use the remaining flesh.
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This post originally appeared in March 2018 and was revised and republished in September 2022.