I love butternut squash soup and Butternut Enchiladas and roasted butternut squash, but I used to avoid making them because I hated cutting the squash. It seemed like a herculean task to get a knife through the hard-as-a-rock squash, and it just wasn’t worth it. I think a chainsaw was mentioned once or twice.
But then I got a new knife. And life changed. Well, maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic. But cutting squash got a whole lot easier!!
How to Cut a Butternut Squash
1. Get a good knife. A heavy, sharp chef’s knife is best. (This is the knife that gets the biggest workout in my kitchen. It works great!)
2. Wash the squash.
3. Break off the stem.
You can use the back of a knife to “knock” the stem off, but I usually hit it against my cutting board and it breaks right off.
4. Peel the squash, if desired.
Just as a good knife makes cutting the squash easier, a good peeler can really zip through the job. Not all peelers are created equal. I’ve used some that I would’ve happily traded for a butter knife.
I really like the OXO Peeler. It’s easy to grip and cuts sharp. I also like my Swiss Peeler. It has a carbon-steel blade and is super sharp. You hold it differently than the OXO peeler, and for some vegetables this fact makes the job a little easier.
Don’t try to use a paring knife to peel the squash. It makes the job much more difficult (in my opinion).
5. Off with the neck!
Once the squash is peeled, make a cut where the neck and the body (bulb end) of the squash meet. Be sure to use a good knife for this job. Here’s the knife I use.
Be sure the squash and the cutting board are secure and stable so things don’t start to move just as you start to cut, causing your knife to slip.
6. Cut the neck in half lengthwise.
Place the cut end on the board and slice down from the top. You can also lay the squash down on the cutting board and cut the long end, but the squash can roll while you are trying to cut, so this method isn’t as safe.
7. Cut the body (bulb end) in half lengthwise.
Now you should have four pieces: two neck halves and two bulb halves.
8. There are two ways to remove the seeds from the seed cavity.
The first way is to use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. The sharper the spoon edge, the easier this is.
The second way is to slice the squash body first …
… and then cut the seeds out with one swipe of a knife.
I prefer the second way because sometimes the seeds have a lot of strings and fibers attaching them to the seed cavity, and I get impatient with scraping through all those strings. And they get all tangled up on my spoon. Cutting seems much quicker to me.
9. Once you have the squash body cut into slices, lay the neck down on the cut side and cut the neck into slices.
10. If you want cubes, cut the slices into cubes.
Viola! You now have beautiful squash cubes ready for your favorite recipes ….