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How to Peel & Cut a Butternut Squash (plus recipes!)

Learn exactly how to cut a butternut squash to use in all of your favorite fall recipes! With this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll learn exactly how to peel, cut, and cube a whole butternut squash in no time at all. Perfect for roasting and adding to soups, salads, grain bowls and more! All you need is a butternut squash, a vegetable peeler, a wooden cutting board and a sharp chef’s knife. Tons of delicious butternut squash recipes included!

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
0 mins
Total Time
15 mins

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It’s fall, you’ve got your butternut squash (or 10) and the recipe you’re making with it ready to go… but you’re wondering how on earth to cut this thing. I get tons of questions about how to cut a butternut squash easily and safely so that you can use it in tons of amazing fall recipes.

In this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll learn exactly how to peel, cut and cube a butternut squash in no time at all. It’s easier than you think, and I made you a simple video tutorial as well. Skip the expensive pre-cut butternut squash from the store and come back to this tutorial time and time again! Plus, I’ve got some of the BEST butternut squash recipes that are perfect for using you’re fresh cut butternut squash.

Once you master these knife skills be sure to head to our post to learn how to roast the best butternut squash!

Let’s get started, shall we?

butternut squash Moroccan stew in a bowl with a lemon wedge

Know your fall produce: which one is butternut squash?

Produce can be confusing. If I told you to go buy some squash, which one would you pick?! You might be surprised to find out that even zucchini is a squash. There are a few types of summer squash like zucchini and yellow squash, and then there are the beloved fall and winter squash like acorn squash, kabocha squash and even pumpkin.

Today we’re covering all things butternut squash, of course. If you’ve never bought one or cooked with one before you can find it by looking for a squash with a long neck and bulbous bottom. It’s typically a light tan color on the outside and is bright orange like a pumpkin on the inside. It’s naturally sweet and super versatile for both sweet and savory recipes!

hand holding butternut squash

Choosing the right butternut squash

Just like all fruits and veggies, butternut squash can be underripe, ripe and overripe. To pick a perfectly ripe squash look for:

  • Color. Ripe butternut squash will have a darker tan color than the rest. Avoid picking a squash with green patches on the outside as it is likely not ripe.
  • Feel. The butternut squash should also feel pretty heavy, which means it’s full of natural juices.
  • Sound. Give the butternut squash a knock with your knuckle — you should hear a hollow sound.

cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet

Tools you’ll need to cut a butternut squash

There are a few simple tools you’ll need to safely and easily peel and cut a butternut squash:

How to cut a butternut squash

You’ve got your tools, you’ve got your butternut squash, it’s time to peel and cut so that you can make some amazing fall recipes!

hands using a vegetable peeler to peel a butternut squash

Step 1: start by peeling the skin off of the butternut squash using a sharp vegetable peeler. It’s important to go around the butternut squash twice with a vegetable peeler or until you reach the orange flesh because the white flesh is much tougher and will not soften when you cook the butternut squash.

Safety tip: Make sure you grip the butternut squash with your other hand as you do this.

butternut squash cut in half with seeds

Step 2: use a sharp knife to cut off both ends of the butternut squash. You’ll cut about ¼-½ inch off each end so that there is no stem or root. You’ll be left with butternut squash that is flat on both sides so that it’s easier to prop up for the next step.

Step 3: next, place the butternut squash upright or vertically with the larger side down on a wooden cutting board that’s very secured to your counter. Because you’ve cut the ends off of the squash, it should be nice and stable. We don’t want the cutting board or squash to wobble as you cut it. Cut the butternut squash vertically down the middle with a sharp chef’s knife.

spoon scooping out seeds of butternut squash

Step 4: just like with a pumpkin, you’ll then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds of the cut butternut squash. Set aside to roast for later or discard them.

butternut squash halves on a baking sheet

Step 5: if you’re looking to roast a whole butternut squash to use for recipes like my Twice Baked Butternut Squash, you can finish cutting the butternut squash here and follow this tutorial to learn how to roast the halves!

Note: with this option, you can actually skip the peeling step and you won’t be eating the outside of the squash.

butternut squash being cut into slices and cubes

Step 6: finally, it’s time to slice and cube the butternut squash. Place the butternut squash cut side down, then cut each half in half. Slice each half into ½ inch slices. Depending on how large each butternut squash half is, you may need to cut each slice into additional slices. Then make crosswise cuts on your slices to create even-sized cubes.

butternut squash cubes on a cutting board

How much butternut squash will I get?

A two pound butternut squash will yield approximately 5-6 cups of butternut squash cubes. It’s perfect for roasting, sauteing, throwing in smoothies and more! Try it in the recipes below.

Learn how to roast the best butternut squash

Now that you have perfectly cut butternut squash cubes, you can easily roast them up for recipes or as a simple side dish! Get our full tutorial on how to roast butternut squash here.

autumn butternut squash caesar salad on a platter

Storing & freezing tips

Now that you have freshly cubed butternut squash, you can either use it in recipes right away or store it for later!

  • To store: place butternut squash cubes in an airtight bag or container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
  • To freeze: add your cubed butternut squash to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pop it in the freezer. Once the cubes are frozen, add them to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 10 to 12 months(!!). You can use the cubed butternut squash straight from the freezer to add to soups, stews or use for roasting!

butternut squash broccoli cheddar chicken couscous in a ceramic pot

See exactly how to peel and cut a butternut squash

Delicious recipes that use butternut squash

Get all of our delicious winter squash recipes here!

I hope you love this tutorial on how to cut a butternut squash! If you try this method be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

How to Peel & Cut a Butternut Squash

butternut squash cubes
Course How to
Cuisine American
Keyword how to cut a butternut squash, how to peel a butternut squash
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Serves 4

Learn exactly how to cut a butternut squash to use in all of your favorite fall recipes! With this step-by-step tutorial, you'll learn exactly how to peel, cut, and cube a whole butternut squash in no time at all. Perfect for roasting and adding to soups, salads, grain bowls and more! All you need is a butternut squash, a vegetable peeler, a wooden cutting board and a sharp chef's knife. Tons of delicious butternut squash recipes included!

Ingredients

  • 1 (2 pound) butternut squash

Instructions

  1. Peel the skin off the butternut squash using a vegetable peeler. It’s important to go around the butternut squash twice with a vegetable peeler or until you reach the orange flesh.

  2. Cut off the ends of the butternut squash. Use a sharp knife to cut off both ends of the butternut squash. You’ll cut about ¼-½ inch off each end.

  3. Cut the butternut squash in half vertically. Place the butternut squash upright or vertically on a wooden cutting board that’s very secured to your counter. We don’t want the cutting board or squash to wobble as you cut it. Cut the butternut squash vertically down the middle with a sharp chef’s knife.

  4. Scoop out the seeds. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds of the cut butternut squash. Set aside to roast for later or discard them.

  5. Cut each squash in half and then into slices. Place the butternut squash cut side down, then cut each half in half. Slice each half into ½ inch slices. After that and depending on how large each half is, you may need to cut the slice into additional slices, then make crosswise cuts to create cubes.

  6. Use your cubed butternut squash in soups, salads and more! Makes about 5-6 cups of butternut squash, depending on how large your squash is. Don't forget to learn how to roast butternut squash here.

Recipe Notes

2 pounds of butternut squash will yield approximately 5-6 cups of butternut squash cubes.

To store: place butternut squash cubes in an airtight bag or container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.

To freeze: add your cubed butternut squash to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pop it in the freezer. Once the cubes are frozen, add them to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 10 to 12 months(!!). You can use the cubed butternut squash straight from the freezer to add to soups, stews or use for roasting!

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