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Boiled butternut squash is the fastest way to cook it! It comes out sweet and tender, ideal for eating as a side or using in recipes.

Boiled Butternut Squash
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Want a fast way to cook butternut squash? Roasted butternut squash is one of the tastiest ways to cook this popular vegetable: but it can take up to 45 minutes with preheat time. Enter, the fastest way to cook squash: boiled! This Boiled Butternut Squash takes just 5 minutes to cook: combine that with chopping and boiling the water and it’s just about 20 minutes total. Eat it as a tasty healthy side dish, or use it in recipes like enchiladas, risotto, or lasagna.

How to make boiled butternut squash

Butternut squash boils in just 5 to 6 minutes. That’s loads faster than the cook time for roasting, which is 30 to 35 minutes. The squash comes out sweet and tender, though you don’t get the lovely caramelized exterior that roasting provides. But it’s worth it if you’re using the squash in another dish; we love boiling squash for when we make lasagna. Here’s what to do:

  • Peel and chop the squash. Tips on that are below!
  • Boil 5 to 6 minutes. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and boil for 5 to 6 minutes, until fork tender. Taste test a piece to see if it’s done.
  • Drain and season. Drain the squash, then season it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the additional seasonings of your choice.
Boiled butternut squash

Tips on how to peel and cut squash

Butternut squash is notoriously difficult to peel and chop. Here’s the method we use, which makes it much easier to tackle it’s irregular shape. Watch the video first, then follow these steps:

  • Chop off the neck first. Using a large chef’s knife, cut off the top of the butternut squash. Cut off the neck right where the neck meets the base.
  • Peel: Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin of the neck and the base. A serrated vegetable peeler works better than a normal peeler, which tends to slip.
  • Remove the seeds: Slice the base in half, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  • Chop the neck: Cut a flat edge on the side of the neck, to use as a base. Cut the neck into roughly 1/4″ slices. Cut the slices into strips, then turn the strips and chop them crosswise to create cubes.
  • Chop the base: Slice off the end of the base and slice it into roughly 1/4″ slices. Then chop the slices crosswise to create cubes.

Ways to season boiled butternut squash

This boiled butternut squash tastes great with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. We like adding a hint of garlic powder, which elevates the flavors. Because we used this boiled squash for our Butternut Squash Lasagna, we kept it very simple. But if you’re serving it as a side dish, you may want to add one or more of these flavors to elevate it:

  • Parmesan cheese
  • Finely chopped sage or thyme
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Maple syrup
  • Chopped pecans
  • Cumin and chili powder
Butternut Squash Lasagna

Or, use it as a component in these recipes!

You can also use boiled butternut squash as a component in recipes. Because it’s such a fast way to cook squash, it’s ideal when used in these butternut squash recipes:

What are you using your boiled butternut squash for? Let us know in the comments below!

More boiled recipes

While boiling doesn’t sound glamorous, it’s a great way to quickly cook foods: and it’s very healthy! Here are a few more boiling methods we like to use:

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Boiled Butternut Squash

Boiled Butternut Squash

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Boiled butternut squash is the fastest way to cook it! It comes out sweet and tender, ideal for eating as a side or using in recipes.


  • 2-pound butternut squash (medium)
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Other flavor adders: Parmesan cheese, finely chopped sage or thyme, butter, maple syrup, chopped pecans, etc


  1. Peel and cut the butternut squash into small cubes about 1/2-inch thick. (Go to How to Cut Butternut Squash for a video! A serrated vegetable peeler works best.)
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes until fork tender (test a piece to see if it is done).
  3. Drain, then place in a medium bowl. Mix with the olive oil, kosher salt, garlic powder and fresh ground black pepper. Add additional seasonings as desired.
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Adeline Rupp says:

    We really like butternut bread. I also make spicy butternut soup. Thank you for this recipe for the puree. I have lots of these and hate to let them go to waste.

  2. Bill says:

    If you’re going to add the 5 minutes to preheat the oven you might as well add the 5 minutes to get the water to boil

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can you boil an eat butter squash without peeling the skin off

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      No, it would not cook well.

  4. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!