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How to Cook Butternut Squash Three Ways

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I love butternut squash—and since it's dead easy to cook, I think it loves me, too.

Learn three ways to cook butternut squash!

Learn three ways to cook butternut squash!

I love butternut squash—and since it is dead easy to cook, I think it loves me, too. On Thanksgiving, we usually serve butternut squash mashed up just like mashed potatoes, with a bit of butter melted into it. But it is even easier to just cut it in half and bake or roast it in the oven.

Here are a few different ways you can cook this extremely adaptable and delicious squash.

1. Roasted Butternut Squash Halves in the Oven

The simplest method to cook butternut squash is to cut it in half and bake it in the oven. Just be careful when cutting the squash. The skin is very tough, so you need to use a very sharp knife.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • Butter or olive oil, as needed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional spices: ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, or a cinnamon-sugar mixture
  • Water, for the pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash the squash and then cut it lengthwise down the middle.
  3. Scoop out the seeds.
  4. Lightly coat the exposed meaty parts of the squash with butter or olive oil.
  5. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
  6. For extra pizzaz, add a touch of ground ginger (or nutmeg or cinnamon). For a sweeter taste, use a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  7. Place the halves cut-side up in a baking pan. Carefully pour some water in the bottom of the pan so that the squash will steam in the oven.
  8. Cook until lightly browned and fork-tender, usually about 1 hour.

After cooking, you can either serve the squash in the skin or cut it into quarters. You can also choose to scoop out the squash meat from the skin. Some folks mash it or blend it, but I like it with a little more texture.

2. Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes in the Oven

This method is very similar to the one above—except rather than roasting halves, with the skin still attached, you remove the skin and cut up the squash into cubes or chunks before roasting. With this method, the cooking time is shorter.

The ingredients are the same as above, but we will omit the water.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash the squash and then peel the skin (you can use a peeler for this).
  3. Cut the squash lengthwise down the middle and scoop out the seeds.
  4. Cut the squash into cubes, roughly 3/4 inch to 1 inch in size. The exact size isn't very important, but all of the cubes should be roughly the same size so that they will cook evenly.
  5. In a bowl, mix the butter or olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and any additional spices you like (ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.).
  6. Toss the squash cubes in the butter or oil mixture so that each cube is lightly coated.
  7. Spread out the cubes in a single layer on a baking pan.
  8. Cook until lightly browned and fork-tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.

3. Butternut Squash in the Microwave

If you're short on time, using the microwave is a great hack! Just follow these easy instructions:

  1. Wash the squash and then cut it lengthwise down the middle.
  2. Scoop out the seeds.
  3. Place both halves, open face down, in a microwave-safe dish.
  4. Using a high setting, cook the squash for 5 minutes.
  5. Turn the halves over, so that the open sides are now facing up. Cook again for 5 minutes.
  6. Keep cooking for 2-minute intervals until the squash is soft and cooked through.
Butternut squash can be incorporated into side dishes, soups, stews, and salads.

Butternut squash can be incorporated into side dishes, soups, stews, and salads.

Recipes You Have to Try!

  • Garlic Delight: This Garlicky Baked Butternut Squash from Allrecipes looks delicious and is on my "to do" list for the next time I go to the supermarket. It's a very simple recipe: the idea is to add garlic, parsley, and Parmesan cheese to the standard baking method after cutting the squash up into cubes. From the photos, it certainly looks yummy!
  • Moroccan Flair: From Bowl of Delicious comes a fabulous recipe called Moroccan Spice Roasted Butternut Squash. The recipe incorporates aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, ground ginger, and cinnamon for a tasty Middle Eastern flavor.
  • Classic Soup: Butternut squash is great in soups because it lends such a wonderfully creamy texture. I really like this basic soup recipe from Whole Foods. The preparation is a simple one, but they also list several variations in case you want to spice things up a bit.

Comments

Donna Thomas on January 23, 2020:

I was told for allergies that my dog has to put ground turkey,rice and butternut squash......do I just dice it up and put in crockpot? Thanks

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 22, 2013:

Easy to follow and deliciously simple directions. Nice recipe.

Pauline on July 20, 2012:

I never made butternut squash. I am growing it in my garden. I thought I was getting the dark green zucchini but now I find out it is butternut squash. I will try some of these recipes as my garden is loaded with them. Thanks for the recipes.

joebill on March 04, 2012:

well i'll be dipped. got yurself a done good recipe there for a quality tastin squash you do. tasty stuff that ol butternut squash is.

Barbara on January 02, 2012:

I recently had butternut squash that was baked whole in the oven. Do you just wash it and put it in a 350 deg. oven until its tender?

Iris M. Gross on December 01, 2011:

Hi embitca! I'm doing this tonight. Going to drizzle mine with butter pecan syrup & some pumpkin pie seasoning.

Kathy only YOU could screw up a simple squash. Joke. Her recipe is fine. Next time check your temperature.

Others: please don't assume everybody has a microwave oven. I have never had one and don't want one. I'm still alive.

Kathy on November 11, 2011:

Sorry, your basic receipe did NOT work. After 1 hour

the squash was hard as a rock. Just cutting it in half

is not enough. Needs to be cut in several pieces.

Thanks for the info about temp and water in dish.

holmes21 on October 19, 2011:

doing this with cinnomon and butter with a drizzle of maple syrup grams used to do this and was ooooooh so tasty!

Jonny on October 09, 2011:

Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmy in my tummy.

Doug on September 11, 2011:

Acorn squash is just as tasty made same way

John on August 28, 2011:

We've made a Mayan Hot Chocolate for years that is a chocolate base with pureed butternut squash blended in. Heavenly.

Jorden Dobson :) on August 23, 2011:

wow i got confused looked awful but tasted lovely

Emma (author) from Boston on June 07, 2011:

Renny, try the baked butternut squash with garlic recipe. You don't need to add any sweet flavor to squash for it to taste good *g*

Renny Poo on May 31, 2011:

i have never eaten butternut squash, but my father in law gave us 3 of them this evening. i am not much on the sweets. is there a way to prepare it that is not sweet??

Stefanie on May 17, 2011:

I roast my butternut squash with butter and fresh thyme. It is always tasty.

GiGi on February 03, 2011:

My grandma use to make butternut squash soup she would add the garlic and veggies to it(meat if desired). Tonight I'm going for the cinnamon,butter,brown sugar and nutmeg!

Barb on November 20, 2010:

If you pierce the skin before cutting in half and cook in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes, it'll soften, making the cutting much easier.

Debbie on October 20, 2010:

It was nice to find a place that shows how to cook it. THANKS!

allie on September 26, 2010:

this is very tasty!

cammie on September 21, 2010:

yum!! im cookin it right now hope it turns out good!!!

Risa on July 08, 2010:

I'm going to try to bake this butternut squash right now.

It sounds easy; bake at 350 for an hour with brown sugar and cinimon. Thanks for all of the suggestions; This website made me hungry!

Support Med. from Michigan on June 11, 2010:

I've never made butternut squash, have eaten it once; remember it being very good; and now I'm sitting here thinking about it and decided to search the hubpages to see what I could find. Thanks! Now I have to get to the fruit market, LOL!!!

Kendra on June 08, 2010:

Yum! Thanks... :)

Hannah on May 30, 2010:

I just grabbed an unidentified squash from the supermarket, turned out to be butternut. Thanks for all these great ideas on how to cook it easily!

bree on May 12, 2010:

sonds great.. im making this right now.. thanks for the idea

grandpa37 on March 04, 2010:

I'm going to try some in the slow cooker.

Gabriel on January 09, 2010:

Great recipe, worked like a charm. I made my first butternut squash this evening with your help.

jason angeli on November 13, 2009:

350 degrees bake for about an hr... add some nutmeg, brown suga and butter. u got an awsome side dish....

Darrin Forderer on November 02, 2009:

I baked the squash just like he said and the scraped out the stuff into a bowl added honey, brown sugar, nutmeg,butter, and milk didn't have cream but it turned out beautifuly

Melissa on September 26, 2009:

Great, easy recipe. It's amazing how good food tastes when it is cooked properly...I should share this recie with my mom...

Ashley Joy on August 26, 2009:

I have cooked with butternut squash quite often and it is excellent. I got a recipe at allrecipes.com for a butternut squash, apple au graten dish. That combo is wonderful!

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on December 03, 2008:

I admit it. I have never cooked it. Though I love it when others cook it. YUM! I might have to give in and try this.

Martha McKinnon on November 23, 2008:

I use to work at a cafe that made a wonderful roasted butter nut squash salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and Port soaked raisins. I am salivating just thinking about it.

We use to roast the cubes of butternut squash and sliced onions with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little rosemary and salt and pepper.

I love the simple tip for just cutting in half and baking - sometimes easier is better.

kevinlt9 from Gwynn Oak,Maryland on November 13, 2008:

I know a lot of people don't like Squash,I happen to love it.Great hub on how properly prepare it,I'm definitely going to try the garlic butternut squash recipe over the holidays,man that looks good!