How to Peel Butternut Squash

Learn how to peel and cut butternut squash from our community of home cooks.

If you've ever tried to cook with a whole butternut squash, you know how difficult it can be to cut through its tough outer skin so you can get to the good stuff inside. After all, it's that protective armor that gives butternut squash — and all winter squashes — their extra-long shelf life (no more packs of pre-cut squash cubes moldering away in your fridge).

But, to save you from maiming yourself as you try to hammer your way through with a chef's knife and a mallet, Allrecipes home cooks are here to help by sharing their tips for peeling butternut squash the easy way.

Give one or all of these tips a try, and see what works best for you. You'll get to enjoy more fresh butternut squash in silky butternut squash soup or sweet and savory butternut squash side dishes with a minimum of fuss, and keep all of your fingers, too.

butternut squash cut in half and cubed
Photo by Meredith.

How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash

Vegetable Peeler Method

"The easiest way to peel a butternut squash is with a plain old vegetable peeler," says Allrecipes home cook Jab. "Peel it, then cut off the ends, slice down the middle, scrape out the goosh and seeds and then chop it up per your recipe instructions. Easy peezy!"

peeling butternut squash with a vegetable peeler

Here's how home cook GeekFeeder peels a butternut squash with a vegetable peeler:

1. Lay squash on its side. Cut into two halves, separating the "large ball" at the bottom from the "tube" at the top.

2. Cut the bottom from the large ball so you have two parallel flat surfaces.

3. Stand the ball on one flat face. Cut slices of skin off using a vegetable peeler, from top to bottom, following the contour of the ball as you make each cut.

4. Cut the top from the tube. Stand on one flat end. Cut slices of skin, from top to bottom.

5. After both pieces are peeled, cut each half in half (top to bottom) to expose seeds, which you scrape out and discard.

cutting a peeled butternut squash

Microwave Method

Some home cooks suggest microwaving the squash to soften the skin before cutting and peeling.

"Peeling tip: Before peeling, wash and poke holes in the squash, then put it in the microwave for 3 minutes. After it cools down a bit, you can easily cut and peel it." — jaydeu

"When I tried to peel it, it was so difficult I thought perhaps it was not ripe enough. So, I cut it in quarters, covered it with plastic wrap and threw it in the microwave for 8 minutes, let it sit and then peeled, cubed and roasted it." — what!mecook?

Oven Method

Home cook Miv suggests baking the squash at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for about 15 minutes before peeling.

"The simplest way to prepare a butternut or any other tough skinned squash is to roast it for 15 minutes, at about 150C, then you can cut it like butter, and the skin comes off very easily!" — Miv

Or Don't Peel It!

"I don't bother with peeling the squash, when baked the skin goes soft and is easy to eat, also it is nice to eat." — Don. Check out more tips on this oven method.


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