The Absolute Quickest Way To Cut Butternut Squash

As temperatures lower and squashes fill up the bulk of produce aisles at supermarkets, the weeks seem to be full of creamy butternut squash soups, pies seasoned with squash and warm spices, pasta stuffed with the sweet and nutty orange-colored squash, and casseroles celebrating the fall vegetable. But before you get started on these cold-weather recipes, a painstaking wrestling match with butternut squash awaits. Most of us will arm ourselves with a blunt peeler that — let's be honest — has seen better days or a sharp knife that may slice a finger sooner than it makes a wedge in the squash. Worry not, however, for there is a better way to cut a butternut squash without wasting away precious minutes trying to prep it.

Butternut squash is infamous for having a tough and dense texture with skin that's too thick to get off easily. Thankfully though, all it needs is a few minutes in the microwave to loosen up and come right off. Once you cut off the tops and the bottoms of the butternut squash, you should poke holes all over its skin with a fork and pop the squash in a microwave for three and a half minutes or so depending on its size. After the squash has cooled and come back to room temperature, you should be able to peel the skin in seconds and chop the rest of the vegetable as you usually would.

Other ways to peel and cut a butternut squash quickly

Microwaving a butternut squash poked with holes is an ingenious way to get rid of its tough skin, but there are other ways still to peel and cut the squash without spending several minutes tussling with it. A popular trick making the rounds of social media promises that wedging a sharp knife into a squash (or any thick vegetable) and rocking it back and forth is one of the best ways to go. The gentle rolling of the squash helps the knife glide through it like butter, neatly cutting the vegetable into smooth and clean slices.

Another great way to peel and prep a butternut squash easily is to pop it in the oven, especially if you plan on roasting the vegetable anyway. The heat of the oven will soften it, making the skin incredibly easy to peel off and the flesh tender enough to be chopped without too much hassle. Alternatively, it's worth noting that the skin of a butternut squash is entirely edible. If removing the skin seems like more trouble than it is worth — no matter the trick that you use to make it easier — you can always leave the skin on. As the butternut squash cooks, the skin will lose its toughness and soften up enough for you to eat it with the rest of the flesh.