How to Prepare and Cook Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri squash, or orange Hokkaido pumpkin, has smooth flesh and a rich, sweet flavor that shines through in pies, soups, and side dishes. Here's how to choose, prep, and cook this flavorful winter squash.

Red Kuri Squash or Hokkaido Pumpkin
Red Kuri Squash or Hokkaido Pumpkin | Photo via Bigstock.

Meet Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri squash is a teardrop-shaped winter squash with a distinctive orange skin. It shape is similar to a hubbard squash, but it's much more manageable in size. Its skin is hard but thin, and is edible once cooked. Red Kuri has creamy yellow flesh, with a smooth texture and taste similar to cooked chestnuts. In fact, the word "kuri" is Japanese for chestnut. Like many other winter squash, Red Kuri is a powerhouse of health: It's a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and iron.

Red Kuri Squash Cut Open
Red Kuri Squash Cut Open | Photo via Bigstock.

Choosing Red Kuri Squash

These hefty squash typically weigh three to four pounds each. Choose a squash that is heavy for its size, has even pigmentation, and no soft spots. If stored in a cool, dry place, Red Kuri will last for several months. Once you cut it open, wrap the unused portions in plastic, store them in the fridge, and cook the squash within a few days.

Preparing Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri squash are difficult to peel, so they are almost always cooked with their skin on. You can cook them whole or halved, or sliced into wedges or cubes. Don't waste the seeds -- scoop them out and toast them like pumpkin seeds. If you're cooking a whole squash, be sure to pierce the skin in several places so steam can escape. After cooking, the skin softens and becomes edible.

Cooking Red Kuri Squash

The smooth and sweet Red Kuri squash pairs well with creamy ingredients like dairy and coconut milk. These squash also go well with herbs, beans, curry, and spices. Try it in casseroles, soups, curries, or bake it into pies and muffins. Red kuri squash is a great substitute for acorn squash, and other squash varieties that don't need to be peeled before cooking. Here are some of our favorite recipes to make the swap.

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash | Photo by Nicholio.

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash is a great way to show off Red Kuri's bright red skin. Filled with wild rice and cornbread, you can easily transform this vegetarian side dish in to a main course by adding a bit of crumbled sausage or cooked turkey.

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup
Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup | Photo by Buckwheat Queen.

Warming and comforting, this Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup will pop with color and flavor using Red Kuri squash instead of butternut. Canned coconut milk makes this spiced soup extra creamy.

Here's how to be sure you're using the right coconut milk for your recipe.

Hungry for More?

Learn about more varieties of winter squash, like butternut squash, buttercup squash, sweet dumpling squash, kabocha squash, and acorn squash.

Get top-rated recipes for all kinds of winter squash.

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