Peel out!

If you've ever tried to cook 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 forgetting that bag 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.

Photo by Meredith

Related: Get all our top-rated butternut squash recipes.

Top Tips: How to Peel 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!"

Photo by Meredith

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

1. Lay on 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, 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.

Photo by Meredith

Microwave Method

"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 though 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

"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

Why Bother Method

"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.

Photo by Meredith

Here's why prep tips are so helpful:

"I have never cooked butternut squash before so I didn't know that after you cook the squash that you are supposed to scoop the inside out of the "rind". I found that out after I mashed it up and it was still hard. I spent a good hour trying to pick the rind out of the mashed squash." —Krystal James

WATCH: Simple Roasted Butternut Squash