If you’re looking for a way to cook squash, as easy as possible, this is it. Instant Pot Butternut Squash can cook in as little as 8 minutes! Today, I’ll show you 2 different ways to cook it.
How Do You Steam Butternut Squash in the Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot cooks with steam pressure, so you’ll need to start by pouring a cup of water into the bottom of the stainless steel pot. The water will heat up during the cooking cycle, to create the steam pressure that seals the pot.
Place a trivet or steamer basket in the bottom of the pot, to help keep the squash lifted out of the water. Then add the squash on top of that! It really couldn’t be easier.
How Long to Cook Butternut Squash
There are two fool-proof ways to cook a butternut squash in the Instant Pot. You can cut it in half first, or cut it into smaller, 1-inch cubes. (Be sure to save the seeds! Roasted squash seeds are a delicious snack.)
Here are the cooking times:
- Butternut squash halves: 25 minutes (+ 10 minute natural release)
- Butternut squash cubes: 8 minutes (+ quick release)
Keep in mind that it can also take up to 10 minutes for the pot to pressurize, so be sure to add another 10 minutes to either of the times above to get a clear picture of the total cooking time.
The cubes are still faster than roasting the squash in an oven, and there’s no risk of burning it if you get distracted.
Are you supposed to peel butternut squash before cooking?
You do not have to peel a butternut squash before cooking it.
If you don’t want to peel the squash first, cutting it in half will save you that step. Just cut it in half and scoop out the seeds!
When the squash is cooked, you can scoop the tender insides out with a spoon.
Can you cook a whole butternut squash in the Instant Pot?
Technically, yes, you can cook a whole butternut squash in the Instant Pot (without cutting into it), but it will take a LOT longer than you might expect.
Because this variety of squash has a thick “neck” (the area that is dense with no seeds), it can be very difficult to cook that area evenly, all the way through.
I tried several times to cook a whole butternut squash, without cutting it in half first, and even after 50 minutes of pressure cooking, the dense “neck” of the squash still wasn’t cooked all the way through.
My guess is that it will take over an hour to get that part of the squash totally tender. Especially considering the fact that a whole butternut squash takes up to 90 minutes to cook in the oven. By comparison, you can cook a whole pumpkin in only half that time, due to the difference in density.
Since you can cook a squash that’s cut in half in only 25 minutes of pressure cooking time, I think it’s worth the effort to cut the squash first.
Tip: If you find it challenging to cut the squash in half lengthwise, try cutting it in half cross-wise first. Then, you can cut the stem off the top, and set “neck” of the squash down flat on a cutting board.
It will be much easier to slice through the middle of the squash this way, and then you can cook the squash in 4 pieces for the 25 minute cooking time.
How to Use Cooked Butternut Squash
Now that you have cooked butternut squash on your hands, you can use it in several different ways. Butternut squash puree can be used as an alternative for pumpkin in nearly any pumpkin recipe.
Below you’ll find some ideas to use it up!
- Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta (my favorite)
- Easy Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Curried Butternut Squash Soup
- Flourless Pumpkin Bars
- Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
- Creamy Pumpkin Tomato Soup
- Fall Mason Jar Salads
I can’t wait to hear what you try!
Instant Pot Butternut Squash
- 1 (2 to 3 pound) Butternut squash
- 1 cup water
How to Cook Butternut Squash Cubes:
- Peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler, then cut the stem and bottom off. Cut the squash in half at the bulb, then cut each section in half again, making 4 pieces. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, and save them for roasting later. Cut the squash into roughly 1-inch cubes.
- Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the Instant Pot, then arrage a steamer basket over that. Transfer the squash cubes to the steamer basket, then secure the lid. Move the steam release valve to "Sealing." Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button to cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. It will take roughly 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure, so the screen will read "On" until then.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, immediately perform a quick release by moving the steam release valve to "Venting." Be careful that your hand isn't over the vent, because steam will shoot out of the top. When the floating valve in the lid drops, it's safe to open the lid. The squash should be very tender and easily mashed with a fork.
How to Cook a Halved Butternut Squash (No peeling!)
- Use a sturdy knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise. If it's difficult to cut, you can cut it in half cross-wise first, at the bulb part of the squash, and then cut those two pieces in half again. You want to make sure the dense "neck" part of the squash is cut in half, so that it will cook evenly.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, and reserve them for roasting later. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the Instant Pot, then place a trivet directly over that. (I use the trivet that came with my machine, but a steamer basket will work, too.)
- Place the squash halves on the trivet, then secure the lid. Move the steam release valve to "Sealing." Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button to cook at high pressure for 25 minutes. It will take roughly 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure, so the screen will read "On" until then.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. When the screen reads L0:10, you can move the steam release valve to "Venting" to release any remaining pressure. Be careful that your hand isn't over the vent, because steam could still shoot out of the top. When the floating valve in the lid drops, it's safe to open the lid. The squash should be very tender and easily mashed with a fork.
- Use a spoon to scoop the tender cooked squash out of the shell, and use it in your favorite recipes that call for butternut squash or pumpkin puree.
- Cooked butternut squash can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can freeze it for up to 6 months for longer storage!
Need more Instant Pot tutorials?
Browse my collection of Instant Pot recipes, or check out my best-selling book, The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook, for step-by-step directions and photos for every single recipe.
If you try this Instant Pot Butternut Squash tutorial, please leave a comment below letting me know how it works out for you. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too! We can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to use butternut squash?
Questions and Reviews
How did you know I had a butternut squash sitting on my counter? LOL I just followed your directions (cut it into quarters) and the squash is perfectly tender! Mine was pretty big, so I’m going to use half of it to make the butternut squash pasta sauce you posted, and I’m going to freeze the rest for later.
Thank you! I have used this a lot lately, my mom had a bumper crop of butternut squash and this lets me cook it quickly to use for a lot of different recipes.
I really appreciated this info a few months ago. My mom had a serious bumper crop of butternut squash so she gave me a few. This recipe was very helpful to process the squash so it was ready for multiple recipes.