SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Five Ways to Cook Butternut Squash | Family Economics

By Erin

It seems everywhere I turn these days; I find a great sale on butternut squash. Whether I’m at the farmer’s market or at the grocery store, this is the time of year the butternut squash reigns.

In talking with friends and family about the “queen of fall produce,” as I like to call it, I’m surprised that many people do not know how to cook butternut squash. 

It’s rather simple. Allow me to introduce you to five ways to cook butternut squash.

steam bake1. Steam-bake: Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Place the squash, cut side down, into a 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking dish, as shown in photo. Add ½ cup of water to the baking dish, then cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350˚ F for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before handling. Flip the squash over and scoop out the seeds and membranes and discard. Finally, scoop out the flesh and mash with butter, brown sugar or honey, and cinnamon. Serve as a side dish. Steam-baking is also a great way to make butternut squash baby food, or a puree to hide in baked goods, like cinnamon butternut squash muffins.

2. Roast: Slice the butternut squash into ½ inch thick half moon slices, or peel and dice the squash. Toss it with some olive oil, honey and cinnamon and roast at 400 F for 35 to 40 minutes. Try this Maple Roasted Butternut Squash.

3. Peel, then boil: Peel the squash and remove the seeds. Dice the flesh and boil for 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft. Use the squash to make a pureed soup, or mix with rice, risotto or couscous.

4. Microwave: Butternut squash can be cooked whole in the microwave. Cut several slits into the flesh to allow steam to escape as it cooks through. A medium butternut squashsized squash will take about 10 minutes to cook in the microwave. Remove carefully as it will be smoking hot. Let cool before handling and scooping out the flesh.

5. Bake: Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and place flesh side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for 30 to 40 minutes. The squash will be soft and tender when it has cooked through.

I hope that the next time you spot butternut squash at the store you’ll try one of these cooking methods.

Do you have any favorite butternut squash recipes?

64 Comments so far

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On Sunday, June 12, 2016, Pud from Hull, England. wrote

I cut butternut squash into chips (fries) and roast them in the oven on a high heat - they seem to caramelise and are really sweet. A great alternative to potato chips (fries)

On Wednesday, January 13, 2016, Eevee Wunder wrote

I like the way it tastes and the consistency if I wash it and cook it whole in the oven. When it's soft but not mushy, I cut it in half and remove the skin and seeds. I serve it sliced or mashed, alone or with other vegetables. It's great alongside salad, rice, kasha or fish. I usually only use half and save the rest. It's best if refrigerated in a sealed container. Roasting the nuts is fun and healthy.

On Wednesday, January 13, 2016, Cirnhoj wrote

B Squash makes excellent risotto. Unpeeled and diced and then half of it cooked with the onions and garlic, then mashed down a bit, then the rest added and cooked then the rice.

On Saturday, November 28, 2015, Dawn from Harrisonville, MO wrote

I cut a butternut squash in half, cut off skin, scoop out seeds and cut into small cubes. Then I put it in a large bowl with some finely minced garlic (if I'm using a rather large squash, I mince at least 4-5 cloves of garlic.) Then I drizzle a bit of olive oil and using my hands, toss it really well until it's coated with the oil. (NOTE: You do not want the squash to be sitting in oil!) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a deep baking sheet with foil. Lay out the squash with garlic on the foil - bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, turning the squash at least one time. When the squash is nearly done I make a pot of linguine or fettuccine, then top with the squash and and some honey flavored goat cheese...AMAZING! You can use regular goat cheese of course, but I've found the honey flavored goes really well with the garlic and pasta! I saw this recipe, or version of it, on a website about a year ago and make it ALL the time. Enjoy!

On Tuesday, November 24, 2015, judy wrote

being brought up in the northeast we always had hard squash almost year round but for the holiday dishes whipped butternut squash was a given a little nutmeg ,cinnamon , ginger ,butter salt and pepper yumm

On Sunday, November 8, 2015, Sprite wrote

I peel it the slice in half inch rounds. I take the seeds out when I get to that part. I pat the rounds dry and dip them in sweet muffin batter. Fry the batter with oven spray in a non stick skillet till lightly brown. Flip so both sides are browned. Put the rounds in the 350 degree oven as they come out of the fry pan. Bake 30 to 45 minutes till soft inside when tested with a fork. Serve hot instead of potatoes. Drizzle olive oil or melt butter on top if you like, but I don't need it.

On Friday, October 9, 2015, Cheryl near Niagara Falls, Ontario wrote

I love butternut squash but cutting and peeling it is such a chore. I learned a couple of years ago that I could throw the squash in the oven and bake it whole making it so much easier to prepare. I cover a cookie sheet with foil (sometimes the juices leak out) and set the oven at about 325. It takes a couple of hours in the oven to bake but it saves for much effort! I usually bake enough to have leftovers for a couple of days. After it cools enough to handle, I cut it in half, save the skin, seeds and membranes for our dogs (they LOVE it), scoop out the pulp and prepare it. We like it with butter, salt, pepper, and sometimes a little brown sugar. Sooo good....

On Monday, June 15, 2015, Mary from Scotland wrote

I just peeled and cubed, butternut squash, carrot and potatoes. Put them in my slow cooker with pork and left to cook for 12 hours. Just delicious

On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, Condo cook san diego wrote

I got a nice panini peeled,sliced, parboiled in micro,drizzle olive oil,roasted red pepper,sun-dried tomatoes hummus as the spread for the bread,a green of choice, spinach or kale ,grill and serve..oh olive oil on the outer slice, great with sour dough. or a good gluten free whole grain bread....

On Monday, February 23, 2015, B GOnatas wrote

Going to try to boil mine until tender, drain, then add a bit of butter or olive oil , pepper , salt and then put on a pan under the broiler. roast until lightly brown and use with my meat sauce today. So good for you, you can use it like noodles too if you cut it right. May keep half to use with my potatoes tomarrow, just mash together and serve like you would mashed potatoes.

On Thursday, January 8, 2015, Mitmite9 wrote

Does anyone have any opinion on whether butternut squash tastes better roasted or steamed? Martha Stewart's butternut squash/chickpea/tomato soup recipe says to roast the squash. 40-45 mins. I am going to steam mine (1/2 the time or less), but wondered if there's a noticeable taste difference. When I grew my own butternut, organically, the skins were so thin and tender, we didn't even have to peel the squash. That was wonderful. And the taste! If you can grow it, try it. A world apart.

On Sunday, October 12, 2014, Monica from Virginia wrote

We cut up the squash in peeled 1" pieces. Then we cut up about 3-4 apples (no peelings). I then added a can of crushed pineapple. Dash of salt. Baked it till the squash was tender, stirring occasionally. The apples we used were still intact, so get solid tart ones. We added a little bit of cinnamon. It tasted good warm and cold.

On Thursday, August 21, 2014, JRATL wrote

I thought my mother cut in half cleaned out seeds and boiled till tender. Don't see that so far on the methods. Then add butter.">

On Thursday, April 10, 2014, Dianne from Lancaster. uk wrote

microwave it ,then fry with onion,cooked and diced carrot, salt and pepper and some Clover You can also add lofat creme fraiche. My Chinese acupuncturist says it is good for the bowels!! All I know is it was yummy and fairly healthy.

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, Susan from Montreal wrote

It is delicious,once it's cooked of course, mixed with ricotta cheese.

On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, Christie jackai. wrote

I had never tasted butter squash until jan this year. I consider myself generally adventurous, and that includes food. So when isaw this new item displayed on the table at my job cafeteria, I decided to try it. I am glad I did. I enjoyed it and always picked it whenever I had lunch at work. Then I started thinking of adding it to my choice of food for home. Last week I picked up one at the grocery store. I was not sure how to cook it, and that's how I landed on this site. Anyway, I did not have patience to read your blog before cooking. So what I did was to dice it, put them in boil wTer for a few minutes. I'll tell you, I was surprised when I cut it open cos it was not what I expected. Anyway, so after that, I stir fried them in olive oil with salt and onions. They tastes great. I just have to be creative and find other ways I can make them to suit my taste. They are great, especially when they come out slightly crunchy. Bon apetit.

On Monday, March 17, 2014, BJ in Bowie wrote

I bought some already cubed, added slivered red onion, dried cranberries then drizzled olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Baked in a shallow dish at 375 for 30 minutes. One of my new favorite side dishes! Even my picky husband loved it.

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, Paula wrote

My first time making butternut squash and i actuallygot the kids to eat Iit!! I slivered red onion and bacon and cooked in the frying pan until bacon was crispy. While that cooked I peeled and diced my squash and one fuji apple and placed in a mixing bowl. I added some cinnamon, nutmeg, kosher salt and pepper. To the bacon and caramelized onion, after draining the fat I added 2 tablespoons of butter and the diced mixture. I covered the frying pan and cooked on medium heat for about 35 minutes stirring occasionally. Once cooked I added roasted pine nuts and served. A definite hit!

On Sunday, February 9, 2014, Ann wrote

I love the recipe for cooking whole in fuss, no muss, no bother. 10-15 cooking time is great also since all other methods take a half hour to one full hour.Thank you so much...I love butternut but have a difficult time cutting it when raw; this recipe is the perfect solution for me!

On Sunday, February 2, 2014, Cass from Philly wrote

Loved reading everyone's comments. I am finding that I really enjoy the versatility of butternut squash and can't wait to try the spinach and onion and parmesan cheese recipe here. Also, I've used the oven method for both roasting upside with olive oil, salt and pepper...and also roasting with skin up in 1/2 inch of water. Next time I will try the microwave. I made butternut squash soup that got raves from even the 11 year old.

On Wednesday, January 8, 2014, Dina from california wrote

thanks so much for recipes. Ilike all squash but today the first time I try this kind and I like the best for me is the bake with salt and pepper and olive or butter in alumunun foild

On Wednesday, December 11, 2013, linda wrote

Try adding chicken sweet potato and kale to the previous soup recipe. Use the squash cubed. Don't add sugar. Keep it healthy

On Wednesday, December 11, 2013, Joan, who doesn't cook anymore. wrote

Thank you, good recipe for microwave butternut squash.

On Tuesday, November 12, 2013, Kevin from London/Mexico wrote

You should not "discard" the seeds and membranes. That's wastage of food. Membranes can be mixed with the pulp of the squash. And with te seeds you can make a delicious snack (better than peanuts!). Wash the seeds with a bit of water. Then add one teaspoon of salt and mix everything, place them on a tray in the same oven you cook the butternut. When the salty humidity evaporates you will be left with crunchy salty seeds! In Mexico they call them pepitas!

On Thursday, November 7, 2013, Chef Bill from Ft Lauderdale wrote

Butternut squash is great diced then steamed until slightly crisp. I chill it and add it to garden salads along with walnuts or pine nuts. It lends itself well to lime and cinnamon.

On Tuesday, October 29, 2013, Kelly from Arizona wrote

Try adding butter and some cinnamon. It really gives it some additional flavor

On Wednesday, October 23, 2013, Alex the Squashhater wrote

This gives several ways to cook the squash, but what about ways to make it palatable? I had never eaten pumpkin, butternut or any other kind of squash before coming to north America at the age of 36. I find pumpkin pie totally revolting, and I have never tasted a squash recipe that belonged anywhere but in the bin. What other vegetable needs additives such as maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, curry powder, etc,. to either disguise its taste or cover up its lack thereof? I'm not surprised it is cheap at the moment because I wouldn't take it as a gift! So why am I looking for a recipe? Well, I am searching for a recipe for a friend who was presented with a butternut from a neighbor's garden. I think I'll tell her to cut the thing open, scoop out and gently roast the seeds, and chuck the rest away. :)

On Tuesday, October 22, 2013, heidi from hudds wrote

What does butternut squash taste like?

On Sunday, October 6, 2013, Jill wrote

Bake it until it's soft, peel/mash, sauté a little spinach and mushrooms, cook organic brown rice, mix all together. Top with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Amazing!

On Sunday, August 11, 2013, keepnitreal wrote

what did I do wrong. I steamed it to soften so I could mash it like I do with banana squash but it was so slimy and wet I had to drain it and it was still to slimy to mash... I threw I out

On Thursday, August 8, 2013, Robbie from Stevenage wrote

Is there any healthy way of eating Butternut Squash without all the Oil and Grease ?

On Tuesday, July 30, 2013, Wendi in Tampa wrote

The fastest easiest way (since I don't like cutting one in half uncooked) is MICROWAVE!!!! I just did what you said--pierce skin and then 10 minutes! Easy to cut in half then, seeds removed,a little nutmeg and butter YUMMY

On Sunday, July 21, 2013, Deb in GA wrote

I like it mashed with sour cream, minced green onions and salt/pepper. Wonderful!

On Saturday, July 6, 2013, betty from n.c. wrote

I did not know how to prepare squash. glad this is on the internet. thank you for the info. now I know what kind I had and how to prepare it.

On Sunday, June 9, 2013, Leslie wrote

I use mashed up butternut squash instead of pumpkin in my regular pumpkin pie recipe. My family likes it better than pumpkin!

On Tuesday, March 5, 2013, Uncle Mok wrote

@ Dot, I use a regular hand-held potato peeler with a fat handle and that seems to work best. It's easier to handle if you peel it as a first step, before cutting off the ends or halving it. I use butternut squash alot to puree and 'hide' in sauces for pasta and the like. I found that It also adds a nice texture to chili. In our home, we use at least two of these per week, and often more, because it is so versatile and nutritious. For me, it is simplest to boil/steam and then puree the squash, and use it right away in a sauce or freeze it for future use (in a large zip freezer bag and freeze in a large flat square for fast/easy defrosting later).

On Saturday, March 2, 2013, Dot wrote

It is very time consuming to peel it. Does anyone have a quick way to do this? I want to chunk it and then put it in soup.

On Sunday, February 17, 2013, Smitts from Victoria BC wrote

These all sound so good,the frying it looks like something i would try but going to go with the baking method tonight.Cheers thanks for the help.

On Saturday, February 16, 2013, SUNSHYNE fm NOLA wrote

Trying for the 1st time will bake it. I got some cube style from Sam's...will use the baking methods. But need to know can I freeze the uncooked ones. I hv some much don't want to waste.. Maybe I can roast them next time. Can someone please Help me.. Hope I like it with honey & cinnimon frm the oven. Here goes.. Thanking u in advance

On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, MInna from Chicago wrote

I put the squash in the microwave for 15 minutes. It was not nearly cooked. I know that my microwave is not very powerful but I can't believe that a butternut squash of average size can be cooked in the microwave in 10-15 minutes. I subsequently put the squash in a pan of water and put the temperature for 350. It has been in the oven for 1 hour and is almost cooked.

On Monday, February 11, 2013, Theresa from La Mesa, California wrote

I like to substitute speghetti squash for speghetti. This last time, however, I put my speghetti sauce over steamed butternut squash. It was deeeeeeelicious, as Mom would say. Good for those of us trying to eat healthier.Enjoy!

On Thursday, January 24, 2013, Julie from Florida wrote

Thanks for the yummy ideas! I just put my butternut squash in the oven.....used the syrup and salt & pepper. I also stuck in some potatoes with parmesan cheese and onions. :)

On Wednesday, January 23, 2013, mumge from NY wrote

I cooked butternut squash for the first time last week and fell in love. I saluted sliced onions in olive oil until transparent and then added peeled cubed squash and water to cover. Bringing mixture to a boil then reducing to a simmer-cooking until all water was absorbed, add sugar salt and pepper stir to mix well and service. Rave reviews from my family.

On Sunday, January 20, 2013, Ruth from London wrote

Peel and de-seed a medium sized butternut squash and cut it into half inch cubes. With no added water, microwave for 10-12 minutes on full power in a covered dish. Add a lump of butter and loads of freshly ground pepper and mash. Great with a roast, just as a vegetable or as a tasty snack. Can be cooled and refrigerated and reheated very successfully in the microwave. Just delicious and so easy.

On Monday, January 7, 2013, Sven, CA wrote

I also usually like to eat the seeds. If already cooked, just eat them, or take them out before cooking to roast separately with some olive oil and salt.

On Friday, January 4, 2013, Fred from Ottawa wrote

I boil a mixture of half butternut squash and half potato and then mash them with a bit of margarine, skim milk, and soy cheese. It's a nice change to plain old mashted potatoes. I also like boiling butternut squash with frozen peas. It's a nice way to dress up a plain vegetable. All that boiling? Give me a break: I'm a bachelor with simple tastes and a busy schedule.

On Thursday, January 3, 2013, Emperor Kaioyus's mommy wrote

Thank you for including the microwave cooking instructions. I love easy breezy lol

On Tuesday, December 25, 2012, Lori from Texas wrote

Made squash for the first time today! #1 Even my kids loved it. My husband said he wouldn't mind having it once a week. Thank you!

On Saturday, November 24, 2012, Melissa from Jupiter, FL. Owner of soaps up dude. wrote

Im going to try #1 for my sons baby food. I have roasted acorn squash this way and it turns out beautifully. We stuff the acorn squash w wild rice for a nice side dish to steaks (for mom and dad:)

On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, Ned New Forest England wrote

cut lengthways scoop out seeds etc with grapefruit spoon, brush with olive oil, fresh milled salt and black pepper. Place peeled shallot in cavity roast/bake at 230 oC for 30 mins

On Sunday, November 11, 2012, Food Experimentor from Maryland :) wrote

I sauteed in the pan, sliced some onions, chopped parsley, salt & pepper and butter, with splash of cinnamon-- GREAT!

On Sunday, November 4, 2012, Ebony from Alabama wrote

IM going to try the soup for Sunday dinner hopefully it turns out good.

On Sunday, October 21, 2012, liz wrote

butternut squash soup -6c diced butternut squash -2 cans (14.5oz each) chix broth -1 medium onion, chopped -1/4tsp salt -1/4tsp ground black pepper -2-3Tbsp maple syrup -1/4tsp ground cinnamon -sour cream for garnish 1)in 5qt electric slow cooker combine squash, broth, onion, salt and pepper 2)cover and cook on high for 3-4hrs or low for 6-8hrs, or until squash is very tender 3)use hand-held immersion blender to puree soup until smooth. or puree in blender and return to slow cooker. stir in maple syrup and cinnamon. season with additional salt/pepper to taste 4)to serve, ladle hot soup into bowls. top with a dollop of sour cream -from "slow and easy" by natalie haughton

On Thursday, October 11, 2012, asdg wrote

it was okay #1 i wish there was a way to add more flavor

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, Jenny from Virginia wrote

I just did #1 and it is AWESOME!! Thanks!

On Saturday, October 6, 2012, Cathy from Goose Creek ,SC wrote

My husband and I love this cut in cubes and grilled n a tinfoil packet with salt, pepper, olive oil and a sprinkling of herbed Parmesan cheese blend. My mother in law even raves about it! Imagine that!!!

On Monday, September 10, 2012, Amy from San diego wrote

I have a recipe for butternut squash rolls :) the kids LOVE them! And yes you can freeze the squash. I usually bake up several and then puree it and freeze it.

On Tuesday, August 28, 2012, Jackie wrote

Can you freeze or can butternut squash?

On Sunday, August 19, 2012, pugface fro Savannah,Ga wrote

rosting is great. thanks for the instructions. 400" might b e to high a temp for the oven. they burn easy

On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, Julie from Raleigh wrote

Squash fries- slice unpeeled neck of butternut squash thinly, 1/4 inch thick for very crisp. Place slices on cookie sheet or pizza pan, brush with melted butter and bake in hot oven 450 until one side brown. Turn and brown other side. Watch as easy to overcook and burn.

On Thursday, August 9, 2012, Kassy from nebraska wrote

When i bake mine i put a tbs of butter and some brown sugar. Salt and pepper. Then bake

On Thursday, July 26, 2012, eve from springfield wrote

My mom used to slice it up and fry it in butter. Not so healthy but really really good!

On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, Julie wrote

Julie from Citrus Height I love these recipes. So good with butter salt and pepper. My kids and their friends even love it.

On Thursday, June 28, 2012, billie from carthage nc wrote

Thanks for these recipes. I love squash of all kinds but was not sure how to prepare these


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