How Do I Peel Butternut Squash?

Amanda R. Bell
Amanda R. Bell
Butternut squash soup.
Butternut squash soup.

Butternut squash is a nutritious addition to a meal, yet it can be difficult to peel off the outer skin. To start, find the sharpest knife that you have available, as working with a dull knife is more likely to result in a kitchen mishap. Then, cut off either end of the vegetable to create stability. In order to peel butternut squash effectively, it is best to use a serrated vegetable peeler to slice off the thick, outer skin, and work on the vegetable in two sections: the base and the neck.

As with any type of meal preparation, a sharp knife is essential when you peel butternut squash. Using a dull knife will force you to press down harder into the vegetable, limiting the amount of control that you have over the knife and increasing the chances of the knife slipping out of your hand or moving in a direction that you do not want it to move. If the knife you are using cannot cut through a ripe tomato without crushing it, it is likely dull.

The odd shape of this vegetable makes it difficult to keep still while peeling. To create a base for it to rest on, cut off approximately 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) from the bottom and top of the vegetable. When cutting the bottom, try to do so as straight as possible, so that the squash can sit on its own on the cutting board.

To peel butternut squash, use a serrated vegetable peeler. This kitchen tool, which has small teeth on the blade, will make it easier to remove the thick skin of the squash. If you do not have one, a standard potato peeler with a smooth blade will work, although it is important to be careful and not attempt to dig too far into the vegetable, as the peeler can become stuck. When using this variety, it is typically best to peel butternut squash skin in layers, rather than attempting to remove all of the skin at once.

With the vegetable resting steadily on a cutting board, slowly run the peeler over the outer layer of skin, starting from the base of the neck and working down, applying slight pressure. Work away from your body, and keep your hands away from the path of the peeler; this will help to prevent any injuries should the tool slip while you peel butternut squash. Try to work in small, long sections, and continue peeling until all of the skin is removed from the base. Then, work slowly around the neck of the butternut squash, being careful in deep curves to prevent the peeler from sticking or slipping.

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    • Butternut squash soup.
      By: Studio DER
      Butternut squash soup.