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How to Pick, Peel, Cut and Roast Butternut Squash

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Fall is here and it is officially squash season! Cue all of the creamy fall soups, hearty salads, and oven roasted sides. But just how do you go about picking, peeling, prepping, and cooking the most perfect squash? I'm here to help! Butternut Squash is a fan favorite, but it can be a little intimidating! With its large size, slippery smooth skin, and odd shape, it is somewhat difficult to peel, cut and prep. Follow my step by step guide (with photos!) below for fool proof instructions starting with how to pick the most delicious squash. After this, you will be peeling and prepping your butternut squash with ease! Plus, I've also included my favorite ways to cook this delightful gourd.
roasted butternut squash

Step 1: Selecting the perfect butternut squash

There are a few things you will want to consider when it comes to selecting your squash. Luckily, even a not-so-great butternut squash is usually stilllll pretty darn great, but over-ripe or under-ripe could mean a lack of flavor, dryness, or mushy texture. Follow these tips to avoid those downfalls and be armed with tools to pick the sweetest and most flavorful of the bunch!

  1. Skin: Look for squash that is a deep orangey beige and even in color without any bruises, cuts or blemishes. You also want to find a squash with a matte finish, no gloss.
  2. Weight: Pick up a few and select a squash that seems heavy for its size. Kind of like a melon, a squash that feels too light isn’t ripe yet!
  3. Stem: Select a squash with a dark brown stem attached. If the stem has popped off that may be a sign that it is past its prime.

Step 2: Prepare your squash for peeling

Prepare your squash by giving it a gentle rinse, light scrub, and drying completely. Next, microwave your squash for 30-60 seconds to loosen and soften the skin slightly. Doing this will make it much easier to peel.

Step 3: Cut off ends

Place your squash on a cutting board on a flat, stable surface, and use a sharp chef’s knife to slice off the stem at the top, as well as the bottom. Discard.

Step 4: Peel

I like to use a y-shaped vegetable peeler like this one as it provides good leverage and control. Place your squash on a stable, flat surface and peel top to bottom to remove skin.

Step 5: Slice in half

Stand your squash up on the bottom end on a flat, stable surface, and carefully slice it in half lengthwise.

roasted butternut squash

Step 6: Scoop out seeds

Use a medium-sized spoon to scoop out the seeds and strings. These seeds can be washed and roasted just like pumpkin seeds if desired!

how to peel butternut squash

Step 7: Slice in half again

This time, lay your squash halves cut-side down on your cutting board and carefully slice them in half crosswise to have 4 even sections.

how to prep butternut squash

Step 8: Slice into strips

Cut each of the 4 sections lengthwise into 1″ thick strips.

how to cut butternut squash

Step 9: Slice strips into strips

Stack 2 or 3 of the sections at a time on their side and slice into 1″ x 1″ strips.

how to roast butternut squash

Step 10: Cube!

Take those stacks of strips and carefully slice into 1″ x 1″ cubes. Now, you’re ready to roast!

how to roast cubed butternut squash

How to roast the best butternut squash

Roasted butternut squash is a delicacy, I swear. It is sweet, savory, tender, crisp, caramelized, and somehow feels like both a savory meal and a dessert at the same time! Because of this, it is a delicious addition to so many different recipes. Soups, salads, pasta, curries like this one, buddha bowls, and more. Follow these simple steps to achieve the tastiest, slightly crisp, perfectly tender, caramelized squash!

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a large metal baking sheet (or two) with foil and spray lightly with oil.
  3. Add your squash cubes to a bowl and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. About 1-2 TBSP for a medium-large squash.
  4. Next, sprinkle with salt and pepper and give them another good toss.
  5. After seasoning, spread evenly on a baking sheet, using two if needed to not overcrowd.
  6. Place into the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and use a metal spatula to flip.
  8. Return to oven and roast for another 10-15 minutes until golden.

What seasonings to use on butternut squash

Butternut squash is so delicious and flavorful on its own, that I rarely add anything besides salt and pepper. However, depending on your recipe, there are some herbs and seasonings that compliment it wonderfully!

  • Sweet: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
  • Savory: Garlic, cumin, and paprika
  • Herby: Sage, rosemary, thyme, or oregano

Is butternut squash healthy?

Absolutely! Butternut squash is a nutrient-dense complex carb. It is high in Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B6, Calcium, and magnesium. A 1 cup serving has 63 calories, 0.1g of fat, 16g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, and 1.4g protein. This makes it a wonderful addition to any meal!

Jackie Akerberg

Author of the Clean Vegan Cookbook, Food Blogger and Recipe Developer from Des Moines, Iowa. 

Jackfruitful Kitchen has proudly been featured in Forks Over Knives, Vegan Bowls, Vegan Food and Living, and DSM Magazine.

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Slice strips into strips
5 from 1 vote

How to Roast Butternut Squash

A step by step guide for the perfect roasted squash.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Course: Learn with Jackie
Cuisine: Learn with Jackie
Keyword: butternut squash, how to, learn with jackie
Author: jackfruitfulkitchen


  • knife
  • Oven


  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a large metal baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with oil.
  • Add your cubed squash to a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Spread in an even layer on the lined baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd.
  • Roast for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and use a metal spatula to flip.
  • Roast for another 10-15 minutes until golden.
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4 Responses

    1. Hey Rosemarie, I am so happy that you find this tutorial helpful!! I know a lot of people don’t love the peeling process which is why I wanted to reiterate that it doesn’t have to be scary!! I hope you enjoy your butternut squashes soon 🙂

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