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:
I'm Christine Pittman, a cookbook author and busy mom of two. My recipes are made from scratch, they're quick, and they're fresh. I started this website over 10 years ago and I'm delighted that over a million people now come to visit every month to try my recipes. Thank you for visiting and for joining me on this delicious journey!Find out more about me here.
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