How to Cook Butternut Squash: Our 4 Favorite Ways
When you see grocery stores putting out all the great winter squash varieties, you know it’s fall. But some of them look odd and can seem intimidating to prepare. If you’re wondering how to cook butternut squash, we’ve got you covered.
This bright orange veggie “boasts plenty of excellent nutrients,” says Gena Hamshaw, RD, author of The Full Helping blog. It’s an excellent source of vitamins A and C, a good source of vitamin E, and packs about 7 grams of fiber in every baked or roasted cup. “Butternut squash is also lower in carbs than potatoes, in spite of having a similarly satisfying, starchy texture — and it’s versatile,” she adds.
Whether you want to know how long to cook butternut squash or how to cook cubed butternut squash, you’ll find all the answers — and a delicious recipe — below.
How to Cut a Butternut Squash
Cutting butternut squash is actually pretty easy. Using a sharp knife, follow these steps from Hamshaw. Be careful, as the squash can be slippery.
- Cut a thin layer off the top and bottom.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off in lengthwise strips.
- Cut the squash in half crosswise (separating the skinny top from the round bottom). Then cut each half lengthwise.
- Using a large spoon, remove the seeds.
- Cut the four quarters into equal-sized cubes.
4 Ways to Cook Butternut Squash
While it’s safe to eat butternut squash raw, “some of the nutrients, including beta carotene, are better absorbed when it’s cooked,” says integrative medicine dietitian and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Robin Foroutan, RDN. Try these ways to cook butternut squash and see how you enjoy it most.
1. How to Cook Butternut Squash in the Oven
You can roast butternut squash in cubes or halves, Hamshaw says.
- Place the cubed butternut squash on a lined baking sheet. Toss with a teaspoon of so of vegetable oil or melted butter and any seasonings, if desired.
- Roast at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until the squash pieces are browning at the edges and tender throughout.
- Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. “No need to peel it if you’re happy to eat the squash directly out of its skin,” Hamshaw says. (Or you can eat the peel.)
- Place the squash halves on a lined baking sheet. Coat with a teaspoon of vegetable oil or melted butter and any seasonings, if desired.
- Roast at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is incredibly tender (poke it with a fork to see).
2. How to Cook Butternut Squash in the Microwave
Cooking butternut squash in the microwave is fast. Hamshaw recommends choosing a smaller squash if you go this route.
“The depth of flavor isn’t as good from microwaving as it is from roasting, but microwaving is a good way to cook butternut squash before puréeing it,” she adds.
Follow her steps:
- Leave the skin on, but trim the stem end and cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds.
- Place the squash halves on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for about 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Check the squash every few minutes, rotating it as needed for more even cooking.
3. How to Cook Butternut Squash Noodles
Butternut squash noodles are a delicious alternative to pasta. If you have a spiralizer, use that. If you don’t, Hamshaw recommends using a julienne peeler to make “noodles.” You can cook these in several ways:
- Gently sauté in a teaspoon of vegetable oil for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Roast at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes.
- Steam for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through.
4. How to Steam Butternut Squash
Steaming butternut squash allows you to cook without oil and retains more nutrients than boiling the veggie since you don’t submerge it in water. Follow these directions:
- Cube your butternut squash as directed above.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and fit it with a steamer attachment.
- Steam the squash for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until all of the pieces are fork-tender.
Try This Butternut Squash Recipe
Butternut squash makes for a thick, creamy, satisfying soup without the need to add any cream. This Vegan Butternut Squash Soup takes only 10 minutes of prep time, making it a great choice for busy fall weeknights.
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