It's never been easier to prepare butternut squash! With these three simple methods, you can find the perfect way to prepare butternut squash in the microwave.
- 1 medium butternut squash, between 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 pounds (1 - 1 1/4 kg)
- 1 - 2 tablespoons (14 - 28 g) butter or olive oil
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Method 1: cubed butternut squash
- Peel the skin off the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler or knife. If using a knife, it will be easier to peel the squash if you cut it in half crosswise first, right before it begins to curve outwards. (See note 1.)
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop the seeds out with a small spoon (a grapefruit spoon works great for this!).
- Cut the butternut squash into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes.
- Place the cubes in a large microwave-safe bowl. Season the butternut squash cubes with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the cubes to distribute the seasoning.
- Add 1 - 2 tablespoons (14 - 28 g) butter or olive oil to the bowl (optional).
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water overtop the butternut squash.
- Cover the bowl with microwave-safe plastic wrap, leaving at least a 1 inch (2.5 cm) gap between the top of the squash and the plastic. Also, leave at least a 1 inch (2.5 cm) space uncovered to serve as a vent. Alternatively, cover the bowl with a vented lid designed for use in the microwave.
- Microwave the butternut squash on high for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the plastic wrap or lid (there will be steam in the bowl and hot water droplets trapped under the lid!). Stir the squash, and replace the plastic wrap/cover as described in step 7.
- Microwave for an additional 5 - 6 minutes on high, or until the butternut squash is tender (you can test this by piercing a piece of squash with a fork; if the fork slides in with little resistance, the squash is done). (Again, use caution when removing the lid due to accumulated steam in the bowl and/or hot water droplets trapped under the lid.)
- Gently stir the squash. Taste the squash and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Method 2: halved butternut squash
- Cut the stem off the butternut squash. Cut a small, shallow slice off the side of the rounded portion of the squash (this is optional but will make the squash more stable when cutting it in half). Lay the squash on its side with the flat cut portion down.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out of the squash with a small spoon.
- Place the squash halves on a microwave-safe plate, flesh side up. Drizzle the squash with 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter. Sprinkle the squash with salt and pepper to taste.
- To cut down on spatter, cover the squash with a paper plate or paper towel. Microwave the squash on high for 15 - 17 minutes, or until the squash is tender (you can test this by piercing the squash with a fork; if the fork slides in with little resistance, the squash is done).
- To serve, you can cut each squash half in two, for a total of 4 servings (or, for 2 large servings, serve as-is). Then, enjoy it like a baked potato, scooping out the flesh with a spoon, with additional toppings like a pat of butter or a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar. Or, you can scoop the flesh out into a serving bowl and mash it with additional butter or oil (optional), and season with more salt and pepper (if needed) and/or additional seasonings of your choice.
Method 3: whole butternut squash
- Pierce the whole butternut squash with a fork multiple times, all over the squash. Make sure the punctures are at least 1/3 inch (8.4 mm) deep or more. This step is very important, because without places for the steam to escape during the cooking, the squash could explode in the microwave. If you aren't able to make deep punctures with the fork, you can also use the tip of a paring knife if that's easier.
- Place the squash on a microwave-safe plate.
- Microwave the squash on high for 14 - 16 minutes, or until the squash is tender (you can test this by piercing the squash with a fork; if the fork slides in with little resistance, the squash is done).
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise (careful, the inside will be steamy!). Scoop the seeds out of the squash with a small spoon.
- Serve the squash in the peel or scooped out into a bowl and mashed as described in step 5 of method 2 above.
If you did not cut the squash in half crosswise before peeling, you can cut a small, shallow slice off the side of the rounded portion of the squash after it's peeled. This will make the squash lay flatter, so it will be more stable when making that big lengthwise cut.
The prep and cook times listed at the top are for method 1, cubed butternut squash. The prep time for method 2 is about 3 minutes, and for method 3, about 1 minute. Please follow the individual cook times listed in the recipe instructions for each method.
Because microwaves vary in power, you may need to adjust the cook times slightly. For reference, I tested this recipe with a 1000 watt microwave.
The cook times listed are for a medium butternut squash weighing between 2 1/4 - 2 3/4 pounds (1 - 1 1/4 kg). You will need to adjust the cook times if your butternut squash is a little larger or smaller.
I don't advise using a squash that is much larger than 3 pounds, particularly for the halved and whole squash methods. I haven't tested these methods with a squash that large so I can't say how the results would be.
When removing the cover from the cubed squash after cooking, be careful to avoid the trapped steam that has accumulated inside the bowl, and hot water droplets clinging to the plastic wrap or lid. Likewise, when cutting open the whole squash after cooking, there will be some steam trapped inside, so just use caution to avoid burning your hands or face.
Feel free to include other spices and herbs to suit your tastes beyond the salt and pepper listed in the recipe. Here are some additional seasoning suggestions: cinnamon, smoked paprika, cayenne, rosemary, sage, or thyme.
The nutrition information below was calculated to include 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt. The nutrition information listed is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
- Calories: 177
- Sugar: 6.2 g
- Sodium: 159 mg
- Fat: 6 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 32.7 g
- Fiber: 5.6 g
- Protein: 2.9 g
- Cholesterol: 15 mg
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