This Hack Makes Cutting Hard Butternut Squash a Breeze

Stop struggling to cut sturdy winter squash — this social media hack changes the game.

Raw two butternut halves a wood board
Photo: CarlaMc/Getty Images

As soon as harvest season arrives and summer squash makes way for winter squash, butternut is on my shopping menu almost every week. Packed with nutrition (did you know 1 cup has nearly half of your daily value of vitamin C?), budget-friendly, and incredibly versatile, cooking with butternut squash never gets old.

What does get old, though, is attempting to wrestle it while raw to remove the stem and seeds that hide inside. Apparently, I'm not alone. "Tricks to cut butternut squash" has more than 2.5 million Google search results. While attempting to make Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup, Butternut Squash Fries, Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce, Butternut Squash Noodle Soup with Turkey, and more this winter alone, I've worked my way through a handful of hacks myself.

How to Cut Butternut Squash

What worked best was piercing the squash skin with a knife to allow steam to escape, then microwaving it whole on a heat-safe plate for 3 minutes. That tenderizes the flesh enough to reduce the muscle power required, while also taming the slippery factor. (This is one of a handful of methods for how to peel butternut squash our Test Kitchen approves of, by the way.)

Prior to discovering a new technique on Instagram, I had never felt super comfortable cutting the uniquely-shaped and shockingly sturdy squash raw — using just a knife and cutting board. I always felt like I should probably have a First Aid kit within arm's reach just in case.

But now, thanks to @sidneyraz who's known for his "life hacks, tips, tricks, and more things I didn't know until my 30s," I have a new method to try the next time I'm preparing a butternut squash recipe.

A New Trick For Cutting Squash

"Here's something I didn't learn until my 30s," Raz says. "Rocking a thick vegetable back and forth makes it easier to cut," he explains, before cutting to a clip of him demonstrating the tactic.

Here's how:

  1. Place the butternut squash on the cutting board lengthwise, with the stem and root end parallel to the cutting board.
  2. With your non-dominant hand holding the bulb end of the squash and your dominant hand holding a sharp chef's knife, place the blade edge about 1 inch below the stem end.
  3. Gently rock the squash back and forth on the cutting board, and the knife should slide far more easily down the flesh since friction helps speed up the process.

From there, you can use a vegetable peeler to swiftly remove the skin and continue slicing or dicing into any shape, far easier than before. That flat top surface should help make the whole task more stable to manage.

As the TikTok-ers say, I was today years old when I learned this tip. But, as part of my continued quest to make dinner prep easier and more efficient, I can't wait to give this a shot!

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