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The Easiest Way to Peel Butternut Squash Is by Microwaving It

Melody has been an online writer for over five years. She is a genealogist who often writes about cultural ancestry and pet care.

Cucurbita Moschata has a hard outer skin

Cucurbita Moschata has a hard outer skin

Peeling Butternut Squash Is a Pain

I love butternut squash, don't you? While I enjoy eating it, I hate cooking it. Removing the skin is tedious work. Plus, because of the size, it can be difficult to hold on to. Just thinking about it makes me want to cross it off my grocery list.

I've learned an easy way to prepare this delicious side dish. All you need is a microwave-safe container, a microwave (of course!), and a fork. Well, having a butternut squash would be good, too. This method cuts your preparation time to just minutes. Isn't that worth giving it a try?

Step One: Prepare Your Squash

  1. Select a microwave-safe container with a lid. I used a container that had a steam vent on top. This makes for more thorough cooking and easier removal from the microwave.
  2. Wash the squash to remove any grit and dirt from the skin. If you are using a whole squash, cut it in half, and remove the seeds.
  3. Next, cut it into pieces to fit your container. If your container is large enough, you can halve the squash and cook each piece side by side. My container was a little small, so I cut my squash into chunks.
  4. Place the pieces in the container. Put a little bit of water in the bottom to prevent sticking. Place the lid on top with a little space to let the air escape or open the air vent if the lid has one.

Warning! Do not cook a whole squash in the microwave. I've heard horror stories. Even with air holes poked in the skin, the pressure can build up and it can explode. Don't take the easy way out. Cut it or chunk it before cooking.

You do not have to peel the squash! The skin comes off much easier after cooking.

I cut it into chunks so it would fit in my container

I cut it into chunks so it would fit in my container

Around the Kitchen

Step Two: Cook It

  1. Squash can take forever to cook in the oven, especially if it’s a large squash. I've found it’s much quicker in the microwave. I'm impatient. I'm always looking for the easy way out in the kitchen.
  2. Place your container in the microwave. Put the lid on. Leave a little space for steam to escape or open the vent. Heat on full power for 10 minutes. Test it with a fork. It should be soft. Let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.

On my first attempt, I was a little leery. I've had too many incidences of water evaporating and foods burning on the bottom. I checked mine at the 5 minute mark. Trust me, it wasn't anywhere near done. It was barely cooked. Another 5 minutes did the trick. It definitely needed 10 minutes to cook thoroughly.

Completely cooked, but skins are still intact

Completely cooked, but skins are still intact

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Read More From Delishably

Cooking Time Comparison

Cooking times vary depending on size and method. Baking whole sized, by far, takes the longest amount of time.

SizeMethodCooking Time


Baked in the oven

40-50 minutes

Cut in half


10-15 minutes

Cut into chunks


10 minutes

Cut into chunks


20-30 minutes

Step Three: Peel It

  1. Once your squash is cooled, you can peel it. Take a fork and gently slice away the skin. This was really easy with my chunks. If you’ve cooked a half squash, you might want to cut it into pieces that are easier to work with.

While I only used a fork, this might go easier with a butter knife. Hold the piece with the fork, then slice off the skin with the knife.

Compared to peeling an uncooked squash, this was a breeze. Half the time I'd end up peeling a finger along with the way. This whole process took me less than 3 minutes.

How’s that for easy?

Using a fork, the skin slides right off

Using a fork, the skin slides right off

But I Want to Cook It Later!

On occasion you might want to prepare and peel, but cook your squash by a different method. You may be creating a stew or some other dish where you need to have uncooked ingredients. No problem! Simply follow the steps above, but instead of cooking it fully for 10 minutes, microwave for 2-3 minutes. This will soften the skin and make it easier to peel.

It will still be somewhat difficult. However, if you've ever taken a peeler to a raw, uncooked squash, you will appreciate how much softer the skin is after microwaving.

Easiest way to peel for use later

A Good Source of Potassium

Why bother if it takes so much work to prepare? Aren't there other produce that are easier to prepare? First, it tastes so good. Unlike some winter squash, which can be bitter, it has a pleasant, sweet flavor. It is versatile and can be added to salads, stews, side dishes—you name it!

It's also a great source of potassium. Potassium is important because it aids in brain function and blood pressure management. Many people suffer from potassium deficiency, which leaves them with symptoms like drowsiness, anxiety, nausea, and irregular heartbeat.

If you suffer from low potassium, can't or don't want to take supplements, add butternut squash to your diet. One cup cooked squash contains 696 mg. of potassium. For some people it is easiest to get nutrients from food than supplements for a variety of reasons. If you're bored with potatoes and bananas, you've got another option to choose from.

I mixed some of mine with vegetables and made a sandwich

I mixed some of mine with vegetables and made a sandwich

An easy way to prepare Butternut Squash

© 2014 Melody Lassalle

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