Steamed Butternut Squash ♥
How to Steam Butternut Squash in a Collapsible Steamer Basket

How to Steam Butternut Squash in a Collapsible Steamer Basket ♥
How to steam butternut squash in a collapsible steamer basket. This is such a totally simple, totally clean and pure tasting way to cook winter squash. Here I'll show you how to steam pretty cubes of butternut squash (including the easy way to cut up the squash), it's one of the great joys of early fall!

Fresh & Seasonal. Great for Meal Prep. Easy Weeknight Supper. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly & Freestyle Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly.

Cooking Butternut Squash

It's a reflex, right, to roast butternut squash? No doubt, roasting butternut squash has earned its place in our kitchens, especially in winter.

But keep an open mind for just a minute, would you please? Because in the early fall? When butternut squash are so abundant? But it's still really too warm for roasting vegetables? Steamed butternut squash tastes so fresh and light and, well, perfect for this stage in the season.

Why Steam Butternut Squash? Steaming vs Roasting

Because the taste is so clean and pure, so very squashy, a golden canvas on which to paint your own favorite flavors.

It's not that steaming is better than roasting or roasting is better than steaming. It's that both techniques belong in a vegetable cook's repertoire.

With steaming, you get pure squash flavor; with roasting you get darker, denser caramelized flavor.
Steaming produces lighter, cleaner butternut squash; roasting yields something deep and sweet.

Learn How to Cut Up a Butternut Squash

Way back in the first years of A Veggie Venture, butternut squash stayed on my backburner. So there I was, a self-respecting Veggie Evangelist and I ignored one of the mainstays of vegetables, winter squash and particularly butternut squash.

Why? There's no question what held me back: I like ten fingers! All ten of them! I was unwilling to sacrifice a single finger to a squash, no-siree!

Here's the trick – and it takes all of six minutes to cut a butternut squash into cubes, definitely a good investment of time for how gorgeous steamed winter squash turns out. Better yet? I checked: yep, all fingers present and accounted for. Here's how you cut an unwieldy butternut squash into cubes. Do it once and you'll never look back.

IN WORDS First slice off the stem end and the blossom end, this will give you flat surfaces to steady your work. Then cut off the "neck" of a butternut squash, those are the pale brown ones with a round bulb on one end and a long neck – with a sharp knife, this is not hard at all. Then use a vegetable peeler or the knife to slice off the thick skin – some cooks prefer a vegetable peeler, I use a smaller knife vs a big chef's knife. Do keep the neck's flat end of the neck steady on a cutting board, slicing top to bottom. Then cut the neck into rounds about an inch thick, then stack a couple of rounds at a time to cut into cubes. That's it!

IN STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers, This is one of A Veggie Venture's top pages, it really helps people understand the mechanics of cutting up a butternut squash.

MORE Butternut Squash Resources

How to roast a whole butternut squash
How to roast butternut squash halves
How to make "pumpkin" purée with kabocha squash, it's DIY pumpkin!

How to Roast Vegetables 15 Tips & a Master Recipe for all Vegetables

Just updated. First published way back in 2007!


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4

1 very large butternut squash (neck only) or 1 medium butternut squash (whole squash) or 2 small butternut squash (whole squashes)

1 tablespoon butter
Salt & pepper

Wash squash well, peel and cut the neck of the squash (for a very large squash) or the entire squash (for medium or small squashes) into cubes, here's how to cut, peel & cube a butternut squash and keep all ten fingers. You want about a pound of cubes.

Set about an inch of water to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven, just enough to not touch the bottom of the steamer basket, not so little that the pot will run dry. Arrange the cubes evenly in a collapsible steamer basket. Lower the basket into the pot, cover and let steam, adjusting heat to maintain a fast boil below the steamer basket. The squash will be cooked after about 30 minutes – since timing can vary depending on the size of the cubes and the age of the squash and the heat of the steamer, check for doneness after about 15 or 20 minutes, then gauge from there.

Drain the water, drop the cooked squash back into the pot with butter, salt and pepper. Toss gently, the edges are soft.

The "neck" is the sweetest, easiest-to-cut part of a butternut squash, that's the long, cylindrical piece on the stem end. If you start with a large four-pound butternut squash, the neck alone will yield about one pound of squash cubes. But if you want to use the whole squash, choose a medium-size squash and use the whole thing or two small squashes, also the entire thing.

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Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2007, 2015, 2019 (repub) & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Thank you for featuring winter squash prep methods! I am terrified of these veggies :) The only thing I ever end up doing with winter squash is roasting it. This is a great alternative.

  2. I'm sure it's my imagination, but I always think the flesh from the neck of the butternut tastes better than the part surrounding the seeds. Is it because the neck is easier to cut?? I often make butternut squash soup using just the neck, and the remaining part, after I remove the seeds, gets roasted for another use. Weird, eh?

  3. This year I planted a new variety of butternut called "Very Big Squash." What a catchy name, huh. But this squash has a VERY long neck and therefore a lot more squash meat than regular butternut. And they really are very big, some close to two feet long. I recommend it very highly. The plant has been very prolific too.

    Now I'll have to try steaming since I've never cooked butternut that way.

  4. Girl Alanna, you know how many of us can relate to that preface of: what self-respecting... (lol) Each day, I discover something new and different about the food I've been eating and all my life :)

  5. My method - take squash, put it in oven for an hour (or more when I forget about it). Don't cut it open or anything and it steams in its own skin. Take it out of the oven and the skin virtually falls off. This is roasting, but the end result is exactly the same as steamed - and no struggling at all with the raw vegetable.

  6. Guess what I got at the farmers' market yesterday? Yup, butternut squash (got delicata too), and it's cubed up and cooking in my Dutch oven (do they still call soup pots Dutch ovens?) I don't peel it though, just wash, cube and steam...try it. You also get fiber and vitamins & minerals from the skin, and it isn't at all hard. If you are making soup the skin is orange anyway so doesn't turn the soup green. Thanks for blogging on this great sweet vegetable. A sure sign of fall!

  7. I didn't think about the seeds Lydia...thanks for the idea...always used to do that with pumpkins. And eating the seeds is eating the "whole food."

  8. I'm glad you walked away from this with all your fingers, Alanna! Looks great, too.

  9. Hi Alanna...
    I have a love-hate relationship with winter squash, since it was a butternut I was prepping on the night I ended up in the emergency room as a result of an errant knife...(details too painful to recount, but in the end no permanent damage was done...) Kelly's comment took me back, and reminded me why I usually use Anonymous's roasting method these days.

    BTW, the link to Tomato Bread Pudding IV took me back! We were sort of nuts in those carefree bygone days...

    best, S

  10. Hi Alanna, I find a serrated peeler does the job quickly--and safely. Since I got one, it's become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.

  11. Get an OXO Good Grips Y-peeler. It makes peeling a whole butternut squash a snap. It's the only peeler that's up to the job. I don't even cut the neck off until the whole squash is peeled. I slice it and cut it into chunks using a Chinese vegetable cleaver like this one.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna