How To Peel And Cut Butternut Squash


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Butternut squash is delicious and versatile. But this wonderfully curvy vegetable can be intimidating to prepare. Here’s the easiest way to peel and cut butternut squash (safely).

Once you’ve mastered the art of peeling and cutting, enjoy a variety of butternut squash recipes like my butternut squash soup, kale and butternut squash frittata or roasted butternut squash salad. Now let’s dive into the steps.

Bowl of cubed and cut butternut squash.

How To Choose A Ripe Butternut Squash

Butternut squash are abundant during the fall and winter months, but did you know that there is a way to choose ripe ones out of the bunch? If you’re headed to the market to pick up some squash, here’s what to look for.

  • Look at the color: while a squash’s color doesn’t change as drastically as a banana, it’s skin color and texture will tell the difference. Look for a squash that’s a solid beige color with a soft, matte finish. There should be no signs of shininess, cuts, brown patches, or green discoloration.
  • Test the shell: The outside shell of your squash should be hard and firm. If you feel any soft spots, it’s past its ripe days.
  • Make sure it’s heavy: A ripe squash should feel heavy for its size. If it’s feeling lighter than expected, it either isn’t ripe yet or is too old at that point.
Holding butternut squash in hand.


How to Soften Butternut Squash Skin

If you’ve cut into a raw butternut squash before, you know that the skin is notoriously tough. It can also make it more dangerous to slice. So to make the cutting process a little bit easier, you can soften the butternut squash. The secret here is to prick the squash all over with a fork, pop it in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, and voila! It’s safer and easier to cut.

How To Peel Butternut Squash

First, cut off about 1/4 to 1/2 inch off each end with a sharp knife.

Then, you can peel the squash whole, running the peeler down the length. Or, what I recommend doing is cutting the bulb portion off and peeling the bulb and neck separately. It’s just easier to handle.

But either way, the most important thing is making sure you have a very sharp Y peeler. A Y peeler gives you a far better grip than a swivel peeler, so it’s my preferred tool.

Cutting and peeling butternut squash.

How To Cut Butternut Squash – in 5 Easy Steps

Once you’ve peeled the skin, it’s time to whip out your best kitchen knife to get slicing. Here’s the process:

  1. Cut the bulb off. If you haven’t already done this before peeling, lay the squash on its side on top of your cutting board and cut the bulb off. This will leave you with 2 pieces.
  2. Slice the bulb and neck in half. Stand each piece upright on their flat end on your cutting board and slice right down the middle.
  3. Scoop out the seeds. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds of the bulb end. You can discard the seeds, or set them aside and roast them. They’re tasty and perfect for for garnishing fall recipes.
  4. Cut the squash into strips. Take each quarter (flat side down) and slice into strips. You can cut these as thick or thin as you’d like, though I usually keep them between 1/2 to 1-inch thick.
  5. Dice the squash pieces into cubes. Place a few strips on top of each other, slice lengthwise, then dice into cubes. Again, the sizing of the cubed pieces is all up to you!
Cutting butternut squash in half and removing the seeds.
Slicing and dicing butternut squash into cubes.

Once you peel and cut butternut squash a few times you’ll be a pro. It really does get easier the more you do it!

And if you love butternut squash… you probably also love other winter squash. Learn how to cook spaghetti squash next!

Bowl of cubed and cut butternut squash.

How To Peel And Cut Butternut Squash (Easily)

5 from 8 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Butternut squash is delicious and versatile. Here's the easiest way to peel and cut butternut squash safely. And don't forget to watch the video below for a step by step tutorial!




  • 1 butternut squash


  • Lay the butternut squash on its side and cut both ends off. Cut about 1/4-1/2 inch off the top and bottom of the squash.
  • Cut the bulb end off the squash, which will leave you with 2 pieces.
  • Using a Y peeler, peel off the skin.
  • Turn each piece upright sitting on its flat side. Cut each piece lengthwise and scoop out the seeds using a spoon. You can discard these or save them for roasting.
  • Lay each piece on it's flat cut side and slice into strips of your desired thickness.
  • Place a couple of strips on top of each other, then slice and dice into cubes.


Calories: 337.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 87.68g | Protein: 7.5g | Fat: 0.75g | Saturated Fat: 0.16g | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 2640mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 16.5g | Vitamin A: 79725IU | Vitamin C: 157.5mg | Calcium: 360mg | Iron: 5.25mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Butternut squash, How to cut butternut squash, How to peel and cut butternut squash, How to peel butternut squash
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I love your recipes and how you make things so easy and explain things we may not know how to do, fabulous, thank you… love getting your dinner choices….

  2. Lisa, I read this article, and will try peeling and cutting squash this way next time. But so far, my method, I bought a stainless steel Japanese pull saw from a woodworking store. (I use this for food only, not wood) I keep it in a drawer in my kitchen and this saw works just fine with butternut and other squash. I have never met a squash that I did not like.

  3. Your posts really stick out the content is interesting and simple to understand. Despite reading a lot of other websites, I still like yours.

    1. I was attempting my first recipe using butternut squash that wasn’t already peeled and cubed from the store and this was SO helpful. the pictures really helped me because i need the visuals to assure myself that i’m doing it correctly. THANK YOU!!5 stars

  4. Can roasted halves or cubes of Butternut Squash be frozen?
    Since using many of your recipes I am much healthier. Thank You

  5. So VERY nice to see someone offering practical advice to the next generation of aspiring cooks! Your tips and techniques are truly helpful but more importantly healthful.
    Keep up your great efforts, they are making a positive difference in the world!5 stars