“How to Cook a Butternut Squash: how to cut a butternut squash” is a method my little sister taught me. Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash yields tender, sweet, unbelievably delicious cooked butternut squash and you don’t have to wrestle the big beastly hard raw squash or go anywhere near it with a knife until it’s already practically ready to cut itself.
My little sister and I were having a texting marathon the other day. We were talking food, because that’s what families do. She was telling me the menu she was preparing for a ‘thank you’ party they were throwing for their local friends.
I was chatting about my Roasted Fall Vegetables and Italian Sausage Sheet Pan Meal which contains beaucoup butternut squash. She texted me: “Did you know you can cook a butternut squash by itself in a crockpot while you’re at work all day? New favorite meal.”
Excuse me, what? I texted back questions about “Do I jab it?” “Do I halve it?” “Do I do anything to it?” She said, “No! Just put it in there, cover it, and cook it.”
“I DID NOT KNOW THAT! OHMYGAWSH. Where’d you learn that? It’s brilliant.” Her response? “I thunk it. Then tried it. :)” I love having smart siblings.
Of course, you know I had to try this. I ran out the next day -because her text came AFTER I had run my one and only errand of the day and changed into my tatty old yoga pants with the holes in unmentionable places- and snapped up three butternut squash.
Squashes? Squashii? Plural of squash. Three of them. Why three? The plan was to plop one into a slow-cooker by itself to cook à la Christina, and nestle two in a second slow-cooker together for experimental purposes.
If I was going to see how to cook a butternut squash in a slow cooker, I was going to see whether I could do two at the same time. Why two slow-cookers? I reasoned that if you’re going to cook something in a slow-cooker for 8 hours, you might as well get the most out of those 8 hours.
Unlike the “jab it and nuke it” method, this requires nothing more than stuffing your whole butternut squash (or two) into a slow-cooker and letting it rip. There’s no wrestling with a hard gourd and sharp implement. This is where it’s at.
Because once you know how to cook a butternut squash and how to cut a butternut squash, you’ll use cooked butternut squash in a multitude of ways. As a base for a creamy soup, as a purée that we serve like mashed potatoes, or as a substitute for pumpkin in cookies, in smoothies, in cakes, and more) having a goodly amount of it on hand is a real convenience.
If you, like my sis, have a little one at home, it makes a great first food. My nephew Donovan demonstrates the fine art of wearing cooked butternut squash in the above picture.
Go on. Take a minute to admire his beauty. I don’t mind. In fact, I insist. No really. I’ll wait here while you admire him.
The beauty of knowing how to cook a butternut squash and how to cut a butternut squash is two-fold:
- You don’t have to wrestle a whole squash with a knife and risk taking your fingers off at the knuckles. How to cut a butternut squash is as easy as get it soft first, THEN do it.
- Drop it (or them!) in and forget about it for 8 hours. It doesn’t get much easier than that for a perfect, delicious, healthy side dish to a plethora of fall dishes.
How to Cook a Butternut Squash and How to Cut a Butternut Squash
Don’t worry about jabbing it with a knife several times (like you do in a microwave or oven baking method). I really mean it when I say drop it in and go. Oh sure, you may want to, say, SCRUB it first, but that’s all the prep required.
When the squash is done, it’ll be easily pierced with a sharp knife at it’s thickest part. At that point, you can use a silicone oven mitt or a couple pairs of tongs to transfer it to a cutting board.
And keep in mind that it might be done in as little as 6 hours but that 2 additional hours won’t hurt it. You could probably even go as long as 9 hours without harm to the finished product.
The longer it cooks, the more caramelized the squash becomes. Translation: Sweeter and tastier.
Cut it however you like, but I find it easiest to slice it in half lengthwise for the purposes of scooping out the strings and seeds. This process, incidentally, is almost infinitely easier AFTER cooking than attempting it before cooking.
After you’ve scooped the strings and seeds out, use a spoon to scoop the perfectly cooked squash away from the skin. At that point, you can mash it with butter, salt, and pepper (and a glug of dark maple syrup if you know what’s good for you), or put in an airtight container and use within a couple of days.
If you want to store it longer than that, mash it well and freeze in ice cube trays. After solid, transfer to a zipper top freezer bag. You can thaw a cube to add to baby’s dinner or use as many cubes as you’d like to flavour/thicken hearty fall soups, add to baked goods, or use frozen in smoothies! Talk about tasty nutrition!
How to Cook a Butternut Squash: How to Cut a Butternut SquashRate Recipe
- 1 butternut squash washed. You can use up to 2 squash.
- A slow-cooker
- Arrange the butternut squash (or squashes) in the slow-cooker. Put the lid in place and set the slow-cooker to LOW. Cook for 8 hours on LOW or until the squash is easily pierced at the thickest part of the neck with a sharp knife.
- Use tongs or hot pads to carefully transfer the hot squash to a platter. Let it stand 5 to 10 minutes, slice in half lengthwise, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and strings, then scoop the flesh from the shells.
- You can use the squash in this state or mashed and you can use it immediately or refrigerate or freeze it for later use.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
did you make this recipe?
Make sure to tag @foodiewithfam on Instagram and #hashtag it #foodiewithfamily so I can check it out!
Maureen Thomas says
Ots 110am Squash is in the crockpot. Looking forward to butternut squash with maple syrup and butter for breakfast. Weird breakfast food but so is cold pizza. Yum
Actually, that sounds delicious!
So did two work as well as the one did?
Two small-ish ones that fit easily into the slow cooker worked just as well!
Do you add water to the crock pot with the squash before turning it on to cook it?
Hi Maryanne! Water is completely unnecessary in the crock pot with this recipe. Just plunk your squash in and let ‘er rip!
G. Bruscher says
Can you cut them in half, clean them out of seeds and cook with butter and brown sugar in the slow cooker?
Absolutely! I just prefer to plonk them in there whole so I don’t have to wrestle a whole squash. 🙂
Have you tried this with Acorn or any other kind of squash?
Yes indeedy! If it fits, it works. I love it with acorn squash!
Lisa H. says
Thank you so much for sharing this supremely easy method of cooking a butternut squash. My crockpot has its first of many (I’m sure!) butternut squash in it right now.
You’re welcome and I’m so glad you like it, too!
Love the idea. Made a wonderful creamy butternut squash soup…yummy for our cold wintery days in Oregon!
what if you want to add brown sugar to carmalize the butternut squash instead of maple syrup.When should I do that if you say I can and then can I put it in my refrigerator til the next day to carry it to my kids house. Ihave two that I want to do. Great idea. Never heard of it Thank you so much for any answers.
Hi M! I’d say you’d probably want to split the cooked squash, sprinkle with brown sugar, and then pop it under the broiler!
Thank you! I have a Butternut squash sitting on counter, a volunteer from our compost. Tomorrow we shall have Butternut squash with our dupper
Your sister is a genius! I threw a whole butternut and two yams in my slow cooker last night adter reading this. This morning I have squash nirvana and my whole day is free from cooking duties. Thank you both for the nap that awaits me.
My sister is brilliant. 😀
I’m so glad you liked the short cut to squash! 😀
Could you cook it on high for a shorter time?
Hi Laura- The only real difference between HIGH and LOW on a slow cooker is the amount of time it takes to get up to temperature. I haven’t tried it for a lower amount of time on HIGH, honestly, because generally I’m on my way out the door when I am plopping the squash into the slow cooker. I can’t see a reason why NOT to try it, though, so please do let me know the results if you give it a shot! I’m betting other folks are wondering the same thing!