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Learn how to cook whole butternut squash in a crock-pot. Using a slow cooker is the easiest way to make it without peeling or cutting it first!
Just plop the gourd into a slow cooker with the skin on and the seeds inside. You don't risk cutting your finger with a knife. And it literally takes 1 minute to prep.
It's the only way to cook squash with tough outer skin, like spaghetti squash, in my humble opinion. The creamy flesh is always perfect!
This guide provides information on the slow cooker method and how to store butternut squash in the freezer. And you'll want to do that so you always have it on hand to quickly make fall recipes, like butternut squash soup.
You'll need to buy just one thing: butternut squash smaller than your crock-pot. Of course, you can cut an end off, but the point of using a slow cooker is avoiding that step.
The process of cooking whole butternut squash in a crock-pot is simple!
- Place a cleaned gourd inside the crock and close the lid.
- Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low or until the outer skin is tender and easy to work with. You should be able to pierce it with a fork.
- Allow it to cool, then carefully lift it out. It will be hot, so use a rag or oven mitts. Cut it in half and scoop the seeds out of the small section. Roast the seeds or toss them.
- Use a spoon to gently scrape the soft flesh from the skin.
Below are tips based on questions I often receive about cooking butternut squash in a slow cooker without cutting it first:
- Rinse the outside flesh (before cooking it) just like you would for any vegetable before cutting it.
- You don't need to poke holes in the outer flesh of the butternut squash. If you are concerned, go ahead and stab it a few times.
- There's no need to add water to the bottom of the crock-pot. As the butternut squash cooks, a little liquid is released. However, always follow the directions that come with your slow cooker if they are different.
- Butternut squash is done when a fork easily pierces the outer flesh. Although you don't want to repeatedly remove the lid, definitely take this step until you get a feel for the process using your particular appliance.
- Cook time is about 3-4 hours on high and 4-6 hours on low.
- The cook time is very forgiving. An extra hour does not negatively impact the final result.
- Butternut squash will be VERY hot and soft when it's done. Turn off the slow cooker and allow it to cool.
- Use washable oven mitts to lift the squash out of the crock-pot to a nearby plate. Or...use a crock-pot liner.
- If you have room, you can cook more than one butternut squash at once. But don't stack them.
- In my experience, a two-pound Butternut Squash yields 3 cups of puree.
How to Make Puree
Once you've removed all the flesh, butternut squash puree is ready to use in a recipe. I'm always pretty satisfied with the consistency.
However, you can pulse it in a food processor or use an immersion blender to make it even smoother. The consistency will also be thinner. This step may be necessary when making natural baby food.
Butternut squash will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Keep it in an airtight container or bag. By the way, raw cubes of butternut squash will stay good in the refrigerator for about 5 days too!
How to Freeze Butternut Squash
Butternut squash that has been properly frozen is safe to eat for about 6 months. However, we recommend using it within 2-3 months for the very best taste.
Store it in portion sizes that you might need in the future. We suggest ½ cup portions. To do this, fill the wells of a muffin tin, plastic containers, or a plastic bag with puree and freeze it.
When ready to use the frozen butternut squash, remove it to the refrigerator to defrost overnight.
Or microwave it. The amount of time will depend on the size of the frozen container. As a rule of thumb, ½ cup of frozen butternut squash puree takes about 1 minute to defrost in the microwave on high. Stir and cook at 30-second intervals after that until warmed through.
We initially freeze the puree in a muffin pan and then transfer the frozen blocks to a plastic bag.
Ways to Use Butternut Squash Puree
Once you cook butternut squash in a crock-pot, delicious fall recipes are a breeze to make. Here are some ideas:
- Soups are generally finished in under 30 minutes when the primary step is out of the way.
- Baked Goods - Replace pumpkin puree with butternut squash puree in any recipe. We did this to make
- Pasta Sauce - Make a pasta sauce that will be equally delightful on noodles, pizza, lasagna, or any recipe that calls for spaghetti sauce.
- Baby Food - Check out the tips by Momtastic for feeding babies squash.
- Mashed Butternut Squash - Simply season and serve!
More Squash Recipes
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How to Cook Whole Butternut Squash (Crock-Pot)
- 2 pounds butternut squash
- Wash outside of butternut squash.
- Place the whole butternut squash in the slow cooker and cover with lid.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 4-6 hours or until a fork is easily inserted into the flesh.
- Allow squash to cool for about 10 minutes and then carefully remove butternut squash from crock using washable oven mitts.
- Cut butternut squash in half, remove and discard seeds.
- Scrape flesh into bowl and stir. If desired, use a food processor or immersion blender to achieve a thinner consistency.
- Season with salt and pepper enjoy, use in another recipe or freeze for later use.
This recipe was originally published on 10/17/18 and was updated to improve the reader experience.