Some foods are a little trickier to figure out how to cut than others, and butternut squash is one of those due to its size and shape. You might be more likely to buy the pre-chopped or frozen butternut squash out of convenience, but nothing beats the flavor of freshly cut squash.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to cut butternut squash the easy way to give you the confidence to try it at home! No prior cooking experience required.
The first thing you’re going to need is a sharp knife. You might think that a sharp knife will increase your risk of injury while chopping, but actually the opposite is true. Having a sharp blade allows the knife to do most of the work for you, and results in a clean cut through.
The tools you will need to cut a butternut squash are:
- A sharp chef’s knife — If there’s one thing you’re going to invest in for your kitchen, it should be a good quality knife. My personal favorite are these Shun 8’ chef knives.
- A large cutting board — For produce, I recommend wood cutting boards because they are safe and easy on the knives. Never cut on a hard stone or glass cutting board. It will dull and/or damage your knife over time.
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Step 1: Trim of both ends of the butternut squash.
To do this, I find that rolling the squash back and forth as I work my knife through makes this step easier. The purpose of trimming off both ends is to find a flat surface to work from.
Step 2: Remove the seeds.
Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds from the inside into a trash bowl.
Step 3: Find the shape of the curve and cut the squash in half.
Most butternut squash have a point at which one end starts to curve, or bell out. Cutting the squash in half at this point gives you two similar shapes to work with.
Step 4: Remove the skin.
Standing each half of the butternut squash upright, use your knife to peel off the skin from the outside, working your way around the squash until all of it has been removed. You could also use a vegetable peeler for this. For the bell-shaped half, curve your knife with the shape of the squash to remove as much skin and as little flesh as possible.
Step 5: Time to cube.
To cut the butternut squash into cubes, you’re going to use a 3-step knife technique. I call this, “plank, strips, cubes”.
First, cut each half of the squash into ½” thick planks. Dividing each group of planks in half, place the largest flat surface on the board. Cut the butternut squash into ½” thick strips, or fries, keeping the squash grouped together. Once your strips are cut, turn at a 90 degree angle and cut ½” cubes.
The key here is to keep your squash grouped together as you work through each step. This makes the cutting process seamless and efficient.
Now you have cubes of butternut squash!
Related post: The Nutritional Benefits of Butternut Squash
There are multiple ways to cook with butternut squash, but my favorite way is to roast it. The higher temperature caramelizes the natural sugars and creates a silky texture.
To roast butternut squash, preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly coat a parchment-lined baking sheet with cooking spray and place the butternut squash in an even layer on the sheet. Coat the top with cooking spray and lightly season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes or until fork tender.