Making a whole butternut squash in your crockpot is the easiest way to cook one up. Not cutting. No peeling. And it takes just minutes to prep! And after, you are left with perfectly cooked butternut squash to use in all kinds of ways!

A cooked butternut squash on a cutting board with a spoon.

Buying and cooking a whole butternut squash is the most cost efficient way to enjoy this cool weather squash. However, a raw butternut squash is a *pain* to cut and peel. Seriously, so many people won’t buy a whole butternut squash because they find prepping one a total time suck.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be! Butternut squash can easily be cooked whole in your slow cooker. And cutting into a soft, perfectly cooked squash is *so* much easier. The flesh of the squash will literally fall away from the skin, so there is no need to peel. And once cooked, you can slice open the squash and scoop out the seeds without breaking a sweat.

This crockpot butternut squash is a great part to add to meal prep. Throw a whole squash into your slow cooker and let it cook to perfection while you are busy doing life. And then your will have amazing cooked butternut squash to add to meals all week long or freeze for future use!

This recipe is

Vegetarian, vegan, plant based, gluten-free, Paleo, nut-free, and Whole30 compliant. It is also an easy recipe to make as part of meal prep!

A butternut squash on a cutting board. A hand is holding it and is puncturing the squash with a knife.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to add water to the crockpot when cooking a whole butternut squash?

You don’t have to but I find that the squash cooks more evenly when water is added to the slow cooker with the whole squash.

Is pricking the squash before cooking needed?

I find it is best to prick the squash before cooking with a sharp knife so that the squash cooked evenly

Can I make a whole butternut squash in my Instant Pot if I don’t have a slow cooker?

You sure can! Here is my method:

  1. Wash your squash and puncture it 8-10 times with a sharp knife.
  2. Pour 1 cup of water into your Instant Pot.  Place the IP metal trivet inside and place butternut squash on top.
  3. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position.  Cook at HIGH pressure for 25 minutes. If you are using a large squash, you might need to cut in half to help it to fit in the Instant Pot and also increase cook time to 30-35 minutes. FYI: It will take your Instant Pot about 10 minutes to get up to pressure.
  4. When cook time is complete, use a natural release for 10 minutes and then carefully quick release the remaining pressure and remove the lid of the Instant Pot.
  5. When cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the pressure cooker and carefully cut in half. Scoop out seeds and discard. Scoop out the cooked flesh of the squash and discard the peel.
A whole butternut squash in a crockpot. Water is being poured into the crockpot.

Can I use the slow cooker setting on my Instant Pot to make cook a whole butternut squash?

Instant Pots do have a slow cooked setting. However, I have found it to be less than awesome and to cook at an extremely low heat. I personally do not use the slow cooker setting on my Instant Pot to cook anything. However, if you do, know that it will take significantly longer than the recommended time in this recipe to throughly cook your butternut squash.

Is it possible to make a whole squash in your oven if you don’t have a slow cooker?

Yes, roasted a whole squash in your oven is also a possibly.

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Use a little oil to grease a large casserole dish or lipped baking sheet. Having an edge to your baking dish is important since your squash might release some water while baking.
  2. Wash your squash and, using a sharp knife, carefully poke 10-12 holes the squash.
  3. Place the squash in your prepared baking dish.
  4. Roast for 60-80 minutes (if using a bigger squash, it will take longer). Your squash is done when a fork or knife and easily go into the flesh.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow the squash to cool for about 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
  6. Carefully transfer the cooked squash to a cutting board (it will still be hot inside). Cut it in half lengthwise.
  7. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh surrounding them. Discard.
  8. Remove the peel (it should easily come off) and then use the remaining flesh as desired. 
A cooked butternut squash on a cutting board cut in half. A person is scooping seeds out of it.

How to select a butternut squash

You are at the store or market, staring at a pile of butternut squash. How do you know which squash is a good one? Here are a few things to look for when selecting a whole butternut squash to cook in your crockpot.

  • Pick a squash that doesn’t have any bruises, soft spots, or dents.
  • A good butternut squash should be firm and have some weight to it.
  • If the squash still has its stem, it should be dark brown.
  • The squash should be light orange in color. If it has green spots, it means it isn’t quite ripe. If there are brown spots, it means it is starting to go bad.

Chef’s tips and tricks

Know your slow cooker. They all cook a little differently (annoying, yes, but true). Every brand and model of slow cooker cooks a different temperature. A “high” temp on my model might be different than your’s. So if your slow cooker is new to you, be sure to watch the butternut squash a bit more closely until you become familiar with how your crockpot cooks. You will know it is done when the squash can easily be pierced by a fork.

Pick a squash that will fit in your slow cooker. Just saying! Squash a slow cookers both come in lots of sizes, so keep that in mind when buying a squash.

A butternut squash cut on in hand on a cutting board. A person is using a spoon to scoop out the cooked flesh from the skin of the squash.

How to store your squash after cooking

I find it best to “process” the butternut squash after it is done cooking in the crockpot. Luckily, this is super easy! You just cut it open, scoop out seeds (and discard), scoop out the flesh of the squash into air-tight containers, and discard the skin of the squash.

Fridge: Store cooked and cooled butternut squash for up to 5 days in an air-tight container.

Freezer: Transfer cooked and cooled squash to a freezer safe container and freeze for future use for up to 3 months or longer!

Recipes to use your cooked butternut squash in

A hand holding a mason jar of cooked butternut squash.
5 from 4 votes

Crockpot Butternut Squash

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Cuisine: American
Course: Side Dish
Making a whole butternut squash in your crockpot is the easiest way to cook one up. Not cutting. No peeling. And it takes just minutes to prep! And after, you are left with perfectly cooked butternut squash to use in all kinds of ways!

Ingredients
 

  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 2-3 pounds
  • 1 cup water

Equipment

  • slow cooker

Instructions
 

  • Wash your butternut squash and carefully puncture it 6-8 times with a sharp knife.
  • Place whole squash in a slow cooker and add water.
  • Cook 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. You will know your squash is done when it can easily be pierced with a fork or knife.
  • When cool enough to handle, cut in half and scoop out seeds. Discard. Scoop out flesh from the skin of butternut squash. Enjoy warm as a side dish or let cool and store in fridge or freezer for future use..
Calories: 84kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 10mg, Potassium: 660mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 19931IU, Vitamin C: 39mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 1mg