How to Cut Butternut Squash in 4 Easy Steps

A sharp knife, a steady hand, and these easy steps are all you need to squash this task.

Cutting up a big, unwieldy butternut squash can be scary—it's one of the most challenging types of squash to cut—especially if you're not sure where to start. But like any overwhelming task, the trick is to split the chore into more approachable steps. This is the safest, most efficient way to cut butternut squash, and it only takes four easy steps.

Once you've conquered this challenge, prepare yourself for step two: how to roast butternut squash. Still figuring out how to use your chopped-up butternut squash? We recommend butternut squash pizza.

How to Cut Butternut Squash

What You Need

  • Chef's knife or cleaver (or another sharp, heavy knife)
  • Cutting board
  • Y-shaped peeler
  • Spoon with a sharp edge (such as a soup spoon)
  • Kitchen towel or paper towels (optional)
  • Butternut squash
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Break It Up

Here's a helpful tip for cutting a butternut squash (or any other roly-poly, oddly shaped vegetable): Break it down into manageable pieces. It's easy with a butternut because it has a natural waist. It's pear-shaped, to be sure, but just above the round bottom is an obvious change in shape. That's where you want to start.

Lay the squash down on its side and, using your sharpest, heaviest knife (your go-to chef's knife or a cleaver), cut all the way through the squash to split it into two more regular-shaped pieces. Cut off the ends, too. And remember, a sharp knife is always safer than a dull one. If you haven't sharpened lately, now's the season.

02 of 04


It's best to peel squash after cutting it, because the smaller pieces are a lot easier to handle. Use the sharp-edged Y-shaped peeler and a decent amount of pressure to remove the squash skin. While you can cook with the squash's skin on, butternut skin isn't very good.

A note on that sticky film that might accumulate on your hands: It's actually a kind of sap and can leave your hands feeling somehow chalky and waxy at the same time. Too yucky for you? Use the kitchen towel to hold the squash in your non-dominant hand and peel with your other one.

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Remove the Seeds

The top half of your squash (let's call it the neck) has no seeds. Set this piece aside.

With the bottom, rounder half, use a sharp-edged spoon to remove the seeds and stringy membranes. Use a spoon that's slightly thinner at the edge and easy to handle, such as a soup spoon. Scoop out the seeds and discard.

If you're making soup and want extra credit, simmer the seeds with some veggie or chicken stock before you add them to the rest of your soup ingredients for an extra squashy (that's a good thing) batch.

04 of 04


Slice, dice, chop, and/or spiralize. Work on one manageable half of your squash at a time, using your sharp, heavy knife to chop the squash into pieces of your desired size (bite-sized pieces work for most uses).

Use your newly honed butternut-cutting skills anywhere a big one crops up. But know that these same principles—manageable parts and the right, sharp tools—make any kitchen task easy to squash.

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