Don’t know how to cut a butternut squash? Fear not, fellow foodie! In this article, we’re spilling the beans (or should we say, the seeds?) on how to slice, dice, and conquer that deliciously challenging veggie like a pro. Let’s dive in and squash those kitchen fears!
Welcome to the wonderful world of butternut squash! If you’ve ever looked at this peculiar-looking vegetable and wondered, “How on earth do I cut this thing?” – you’re in the right place. Don’t let its tough exterior and odd shape intimidate you. Cutting a butternut squash can be really easy once you’ve got the hang of it.
In this article, we’re going to teach you the art of cutting and preparing a butternut squash. Whether you’re a seasoned chef looking to perfect your technique or a kitchen newbie hoping to tackle a new culinary challenge, we’ve got your back. Grab your apron and a trusty knife, and let’s embark on a squash-slicing adventure that’ll leave you feeling like a veggie virtuoso in no time!
How to Pick a Good Butternut Squash
Before you get to cutting your butternut squash, you’ll need to go to the grocery store and buy one! If you’ve never bought a butternut squash before, don’t be intimidated — it’s actually a really straightforward process. Here’s how you’ll pick a good, ready-to-cut butternut squash:
- Look it over – when you’re looking for a butternut squash, do a quick visual scan — you’ll want a squash that is dark beige in color without green spots, green streaks, or any deep cuts (surface scratches are totally normal). You’ll also want to stay away from shiny or waxy looking butternut squash and, instead, go for squash with a matte finish. Lastly, take a look at the stem — you’ll want to grab a stem-intact butternut squash vs. a stemless one.
- Pick it up – once you’ve scoped out (visually) a squash that meets the above criteria, pick it up! It should feel heavy for its size.
Best Knife to Use When Cutting Butternut Squash
A really sharp chef’s knife is going to be your best bet here. While butternut squash isn’t quite as difficult to cut as other squash varieties (like spaghetti squash, for example), it still isn’t easy. Using a nice, big, sharp knife (sharp is KEY here) will ensure the safest cutting experience possible.
How to Cut a Butternut Squash
You’ve got a couple of choices when it comes to cutting your butternut squash. You can either half it or cube it, and which you choose will depend entirely on how you plan to use your cut butternut squash.
If you’re cubing your butternut squash, it’s likely that you’ll be roasting it and enjoying it as a side dish. While this process is a little bit more tedious than the other option (halving your squash), it’s still pretty easy. Here’s what you’ll do.
Step 1: Lay your squash on its side and slice off the top and bottom off of it.
Step 2: Once the top and bottom are cut off of your squash, you’ll need to get a nice, heavy handled peeler and and peel the skin off of the squash.
Step 3: Because the bottom (wider) portion of the squash has seeds and goop in it, you’ll want to separate that from the neck of the squash next. To do this, simply cut the neck from the wider portion of the squash (this should be just about in half).
Step 4: Once the neck and wider portion of the squash are separated, you’ll want to stand each of these pieces up (with one flat, cut-side on the cutting board and the other pointing toward you) and slice them in half lengthwise.
Step 5: The neck of the squash won’t have any seeds to scoop out, but the wider portion will. Once it’s cut in half, take a serrated spoon (a regular one will work too if that’s all you have) and scoop out the seeds.
Step 6: At this point, you should have 4 large pieces of butternut squash. From here, you’ll want to slice each of those pieces into ½-inch-thick half moons.
Step 7: Take each of your half moons and cut them into ½-inch cubes!
This is definitely the simpler, more straightforward way to cut your butternut squash. If you’re halving your squash, it’s probably because you’re going to stuff it, mash it, or blend it into curried butternut squash soup. Here’s how you’ll do it:
Step 1: Lay the squash down on its side on a sturdy cutting board, and using a sharp knife, slice through the entire thing lengthwise.
Step 2: Scoop the seeds out of the cavities of the wider portion of the squash and discard.
How to Use Cut Butternut Squash
Simply roasting your squash is always a great option, but I encourage you to get creative with your butternut squash too! Here are a few really delicious uses for butternut squash:
Frequently Asked Question
While there are all kinds of hacks for making spaghetti squash (a squash quite famous for being especially difficult to cut) easier to cut, I haven’t found that necessary with butternut squash. Using a sharp knife should get the job done just fine.
If you’re cutting your squash ahead of time to get some meal prep out of the way (this is a fantastic time-saving move, by the way), store it in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the fridge for 4-5 days, until you’re ready to use it.
Absolutely! This works best for cubed butternut squash, and the easiest way to do this is to spread the cubed squash out on a sheet pan (lined with parchment paper, if you wish) to freeze for 2-4 hours. Then, once frozen, transfer the cubed butternut squash to a freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag for long-term freezer storage.
If you’re storing your cut butternut squash in the refrigerator, I recommend using it within 4-5 days. If you’re storing it in the freezer, though, it’ll last for up to 9 months.
You’ll want to avoid any butternut squash that has soft or moldy spots. This is typically the tell-tale sign that the squash is past its prime.