What Are the Best Tips for Microwaving Butternut Squash?

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  • Written By: Cynde Gregory
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 28 May 2018
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Busy cooks looking for a quick way to prepare butternut squash need look no further than the microwave. Microwaving butternut squash works best with small or medium-sized squash. Cooking time will depend upon the size and density of the gourd, so a certain amount of monitoring is important. The skin needs to be punctured with a fork to avoid the moisture-dense interior from exploding during the cooking process, as well.

Cooking butternut squash in the oven or cutting it into pieces to boil on the stove top can take an hour or more. These methods fill the kitchen with steamy heat, and take up stove space. The first step in microwaving butternut squash is to clean it inside and out.

The hard, outer skin of the squash needs to be thoroughly scrubbed under running water to remove chemical residue as well as bacteria or insect parts. Soft or discolored spots indicate the squash may have been bruised or damaged, and these should be trimmed away. The squash should be cut in half, and the seeds removed. Although butternut squash has quite a bit of moisture in its flesh, microwaving butternut squash in a shallow dish with a little water speeds the cooking process and keeps it from drying out.


A tip for richer flavor is to add a little butter or high quality olive oil to the rounded hollow of each squash. As the butter or oil heats, it will seep into the squash’s orange flesh and flavor it nicely. Some cooks add a little orange juice or half a lemon to each squash bowl for extra flavor. Covering the squash isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does help ensure more even cooking.

It’s important to check the squash after several minutes to make sure it’s cooking evenly. Rotating the dish partway through the cooking time helps the heat get evenly distributed. Piercing the thickest part of the squash, which is usually located in the rounded hollow, is the best method to determine when the squash is cooked through. The squash should yield and permit the fork to penetrate both the flesh and the shell. If it isn’t done and the water has cooked away, add a little more water and continue microwaving butternut squash.

It’s no wonder that creative home cooks turn to butternut squash recipe ideas not only in autumn, when the vegetable is harvested, but all year round. Butternut squash is highly adaptable. It makes a simple and filling side dish served adorned with nothing but butter and a sprinkle of herbs. Butternut squash soups and casseroles are options, and butternut squash breads and desserts make surprisingly sweet treats. Cooking this vegetable in the microwave is the fastest way to finish the flesh so it’s ready for further preparation.



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