Slicing hard winter squash can be tricky because it is dense and tough, but we have a how-to guide that will make preparing your favorite squash dish a breeze. If you want to bake halves of squash in the skins (as pictured above), microwave it for about two minutes before cutting; this softens the skin and makes it easier to cut.
If you’re cubing squash for soup or roasting, you’ll need to peel it first. This is easiest if done in smaller pieces, especially if you’re using a large squash. In the example below, we use an extra large butternut squash. Begin by cutting a small slice from the bottom and the top, and slicing the squash across the width to create stable surfaces. Then, peel the squash. Once the skin is removed, slice each half lengthwise. This way you have four manageable pieces of squash.
Use a large spoon to remove the seeds and stringy pieces from the squash cavity. Save the seeds and roast them for a delicious snack or garnish.
You will now have cleaned quarters of squash with stable edges. Always place the flat side down on the cutting board to keep it from rolling and to make it safer to cut. Keep the fingers that hold the squash tucked under to prevent any accidents while chopping. Slice the squash across in 1” sections. Then, stack two sections at a time and slice lengthwise and then across to create 1” cubes. Now, you’re ready for a delicious roasted squash or warm slow cooker butternut squash soup, which we blogged about here.
Test Kitchen Tip: Dampen a clean paper towel and place it under your cutting board to prevent it from moving and sliding while you’re chopping.