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Easy Tip For Cutting and Peeling Winter Squash

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Easy Tip For Cutting and Peeling Winter Squash

If you love roasting winter squash like Butternut, Delicata, etc but dread peeling and cutting it (or fear losing a finger), I just learned a great tip today that I thought was worth sharing.

Yesterday I posted a recipe for roasted winter squash, and someone left a comment with this wonderful tip (THANK YOU!), so naturally the first thing I did this morning was grab my squash and test it out. Worked like a charm! Here’s how easy it is to do…

Step One: 

Pierce the skin of the squash with a fork or knife all over.

Step Two: 

Microwave the squash anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes, or longer if needed depending on the size.

Step Three:

Let it cool, them start peeling and cutting! The microwave softens and loosens the skin, making it fall off more easily. 

Easy Tip For Cutting and Peeling Winter Squash

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65 comments on “Easy Tip For Cutting and Peeling Winter Squash”

  1. How can you make it easier if you dont have a microwave?..I really want to try the air fryer butter nut squash

  2. Avatar photo
    Christine Wilson

    The cutting and peeling instructions are what I have done with spaghetti squash . It works quite well. I haven’t bought butternut squash for a long time because it is so hard to cut and I never considered using the microwave method. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Great for hard winter squash. But why peel Delicata squash?

    The rind on Delicatas is pretty, tender & edible. 

  4. Any advice on softening the skin in an oven , particularly a Breville convection toaster oven). I love the sound of this recipe but don’t, have a microwave! I’ve been staring at a small butternut squash for a while now and any advice I’ve seen is always microwave based!


  5. I made this tonight in my Instant Pot. It was so good and flavorful!  My grandsons ( 7 and 8) asked for more. We all gobbled it up.  Will make again. Worth the effort.  ?

  6. A peeler with a ceramic blade makes peeling butternut squash much easier!!!  I will definitely use the microwave to make the cutting the squash easier (and save fingers!!).

  7. Great tip, definitely going to try this! The last time I tried cutting a raw squash (3 years ago), I ended up with 5 stitches in my thumb. Since then, I either roast whole or buy the pre-cut!

  8. OMG. THANK YOU. I had hand surgery a month ago and any peeling is rough let alone giant squash like kabocha! Life saver!

  9. Delicata is the one squash that you DON'T have to peel before eating. The skin becomes soft and delightful during the roasting process. I can't recommend this for any other squash.

  10. Thanks for all your amazing recipes Gina and to everyone else for posting their little changes or added suggestions….I love this idea….Any suggestions on how to peel sweet potatoes? They kill my arm and shoulders 🙁

    1. I NEVER peel sweet potatoes!  The skin (immensely edible) is where the vast majority of nutrients lie.

  11. Holy cow….using these instructions cut the cutting/peeling time in half! I love using pumpkin and butternut squashes in the fall, so thanks for sharing this tip!

  12. An additional tip from my husband….use an ice cream scoop to easily remove the seeds and stringy stuff from the middle. Works great for pumpkins, too! Also, I use a cleaver for making the initial cuts. The large, heavy blade goes through the squash easier than a chef's knife.

    1. Avatar photo
      Sandi Sonnenberg

      Love the ice cream scoop idea. My spoons have smooth edges and make it difficult to scrape out the seeds.

  13. My husband used the Flavor Bible a few years ago with some Delicate Squash and came up with a wonderful recipe. Cut in 1/2. Roast in the oven skin down with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste for 20-25 minutes at 400-425. Roast the seeds as well. Then top with lime juice and cilantro and the roasted seeds. Eat the flesh and skin. Very tasty!

  14. I peeled and cut a butternut squash the other day, and got this weird residue that stuck to my hands all night – I googled it and sure enough it's a thing! So weird, I'll just roast in half or buy the pre-diced next time!

  15. I have also put the whole butternut squash into a 350 oven for 10', let cool-skin peels off easy as a cucumber.

  16. I wish I had know this last Sunday when I cut so much squash I ended up with 2 small blisters from chopping so much! I can't wait to use this next time!

  17. Great post – thank you! I do something similar with Spaghetti squash….. after a bit soft, cut in half and continue in the microwave…… then cook and/or season…..

  18. I sure wish I'd known this sooner. I could have saved so much time over the years. Oh well, now I know!

  19. I recently saw a tip somewhere about microwaving a butternut squash for about 2 min (punch a hole or two) ; cool and you're able to peel more easily. I tried it and it works! No more buying pricey diced butternut squash anymore!!!

  20. I like to cook them in a crock pot. I put a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom to keep it clean and cook on high for 4 hours, cut it in half and then scoop out the seeds. No need to pierce or anything. Sweet potatoes are also wonderful this way. Baked potatoes take less time.

  21. Avatar photo
    Elizabeth King

    I don't have a microwave anymore so I just have to do it the old way. However with Delicata squash you don't need to peel it as the skin is edible; It is a delicious little squash & very easy to prepare.

  22. Avatar photo
    Sherry Klusman

    Can't wait to try this….I too have a history of almost losing a finger due to a knife slipping when I tried to cut my spaghetti squash in half. I have the produce man cut and wrap it for me now — free of charge. Much easier!

  23. Thank you so much for this tip! Skinning butternut squash has always been a huge pain for me.

    Lifestyle by Joules

  24. Interesting.

    As has been stated, it isn't necessary to peel delicata. Due to the thinner skin, it will soften during cooking and is perfectly edible.

    1. I just made Delicata last night and forgot how hard it was to cut, esp with arthritis in my hands. I needed a hatchet!

  25. I hate trying to peel butternut squash, it's dangerous!!! Will definitely try this – many thanks x

    1. I eat alot of squash instead of potatoes. I have been using a peeler for a long time.It works so well. I leave the skins on cut it in half.turn it up side down on a cookie sheet and bake is so good cut into pieces,salt,pepper,olive oil,garlic.I put it in foil packets and cook on the grill

  26. I've had a similar tip for swede (not sure what you call it in the USA I'm in UK) to make easy swede mash put swede in microwave on full power for 15 to 25 mins. Do not peel or Pierce it at all beforehand put it in whole. It 'sings' as it cooks. When done cut the top off and scoop out your lovely hot mashed swede.

  27. Avatar photo
    Sarah Koshiol

    I got a serrated peeler a few years ago, it cuts through squash flesh with ease! I can peel and cut an entire butternut squash in about 5 minutes flat.

    1. Avatar photo
      Sarah Koshiol

      The one I have is from Pampered Chef.

  28. Avatar photo
    Jessica Richter

    This is a great tip. If I am going to be mashing or blitzing the squash, I buy it already cooked and mashed in the freezer section. It is CHEAP and saves me so much time.

  29. You don't have to peel delicata squash, it's 'delicate' skin is edible! I never peel that one and that's why it's my favorite squash! It's also really really tasty.

    P.S. Peeling butternut squash always gives me contact dermatitis so I have to wear gloves. So tasty but such a pain to prep! Another plus for delicata!

    1. Avatar photo
      Skinnytaste Gina

      This works with any squash, I also did this today with butternut and it worked like a charm!

    1. There are tons of wonderful recipes that start out with peeled, sliced or chunked squash. Squash bread pudding and squash and potato gratin are two. If you' et never had to peel a squash for a recipe, you're missing out on a lot of good stuff! Thanks for the tip, Gina. You just saved me a lot of time!

  30. Avatar photo
    Jackie Talamantes

    Thank you so much. I have been splurging for the pre-diced in my produce section but this will save so much money!