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The “No-Peel” Way To Freeze Butternut Squash & 2 More Methods

I like to try and live seasonally as much as possible. These days we can eat pretty much anything year-round. But I think we miss out on how special certain foods can be when we get to eat them anytime we want.

For instance, watermelon tastes best when it’s in season in the summer. And the same goes for corn on the cob. I never buy corn on the cob unless it’s straight from the farm and straight from the field. Eating foods seasonally means getting them when they taste the best and remaining a true treat.

My favorite seasonal food being Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe Joe’s.

What? Don’t judge me; those things are amazing. I never said anything about healthy food, just seasonal.

However, living a self-sufficient life means preserving for later too.

And one of my favorite seasonal foods that I will happily pack away like a squirrel is winter squash, specifically butternut squash.

Two butternut squash on top of a burgundy tea towel on a wooden surface.
Butternut squash soup, butternut pie, butternut ravioli, butternut macaroni and cheese.
The list of delicious butternut possibilities just goes on and on.

When butternut squash hits the farmer’s market, I stock up and freeze, freeze, freeze it. There’s nothing sadder than having a craving for butternut squash soup and finding my freezer completely empty.

It only takes an afternoon to have my freezer well stocked with plenty of that sweet, orange squash.

(And here’s a list of things to do with another orange squash that’s popular this time of year.)

There are several ways you can freeze butternut squash, and all of them are equally easy to do. The most labor-intensive part of the whole process is the prep, and even that’s pretty simple.

Grab yourself a couple of butternuts, and let’s put ‘em on ice.


  • A freezer (Yeah, I know, but it’s worth mentioning.)
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp chef’s knife
  • Spoon or cookie dough scoop
  • Sharp vegetable peeler
  • Immersion blender or food ricer
  • Food vacuum sealer (I use this one.) or plastic zip-top freezer bags

Alright, basically, you’ve got a few different options for freezing butternut squash. Let’s go over each one individually.

1. Freezing a Whole Butternut Squash

The first is the easiest – just freeze it whole. Yup, you heard me right. Just chuck that squash right in the deep freeze. Of course, it’s the easiest on the front end, but when it comes time to thaw your whole squash and cook with it, things get a bit harder, or softer, rather.

A whole frozen butternut squash in a freezer surrounded by packages of frozen food.
“It’s kind of cold in here, do you think I could maybe get a sweater?”

To thaw your squash, place it on a plate or cookie sheet. Freezing vegetables will begin to break down the cell walls, so the thawed squash will be softer and may leak a little.

While you can freeze a whole butternut squash, it’s not the best way to do it.

Preparing Butternut Squash for the Freezer

We’re going to make things a little easier on ourselves by preparing our squash before we freeze it. The result is much easier to work with when cooking, and you’ll end up with much better flavor and good color.

Butternut squash is a bit tough to cut through, so it’s a good idea to sharpen your kitchen knife beforehand. Be sure your cutting board and squash are dry, so you don’t run the risk of cutting yourself because something slipped.

2. Freeze Raw or Blanched Chunks of Butternut Squash

Slice the very bottom and top of the squash off, so it has a flat spot to rest on while we’re working.

Hands are shown slicing the end off of a butternut squash on a cutting board.
Keep your slice thin, you just want to create a flat bottom.

Use a sharp vegetable peeler to remove all of the skin from the squash. The skin is rather tough, so again, you want to make sure you’re using a quality tool that’s got a good blade on it. Hold one end of the squash firmly and always peel away from you.

Hands are showing peeling the skin from a butternut squash. There are peels on a cutting board next to the squash.
Just look at that golden color!

Once you’ve peeled the squash, slice it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh.

A butternut squash cut in half. One half has a spoon resting in the hollow that had the seeds in it. The scooped out seeds are on the cutting board. There is a burgundy tea towel in the back.
I like how easy it is to scoop out the seeds from a butternut compared to their larger, Halloween cousins.

Cube the squash however you want; just be sure your cubes are all pretty uniform in size. One-inch cubes seem ideal.

A butternut squash has been sliced into various sized strips and cubes.
Keep your butternut cubes or slices even so they freeze and cook at roughly the same time.


When it comes to butternut squash, whether or not you blanch it before freezing, it’s entirely up to you.

Some vegetables you have to blanch them, or they won’t hold up well in the freezer; butternut does just fine either way. Blanching stops or slows the enzymes that break down food, and in the case of butternut squash, blanching is more about flavor and color than food safety.

I’ve done both raw and blanched, and to be honest; I can never taste the difference in the end. I suppose, if I let them sit in the freezer longer, then blanching would be the best way to go. However, my squash always disappears within six months of being frozen, so I don’t worry too much about it.

To blanch your squash, plunge it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, remove it from the boiling water and immerse it in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Allow the blanched squash to drain thoroughly before freezing.

Freezing Cubed Squash

After you’ve blanched (or not) your squash, place the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 3-4 hours or until the cubes are frozen solid.

A baking sheet full of cubed frozen butternut squash.
All frozen and ready to be bagged up.

Working quickly, transfer the frozen squash cubes into bags, remove any air, seal and label them, and toss the bags in the freezer.

3. The “No-Peel” Method To Freeze Butternut Squash Puree

This is my favorite way to freeze butternut squash. It’s the easiest way to go, and the end result takes up less space in my freezer. (I like things that stack in my freezer.) Most of what I cook using butternut squash calls for it in puree form rather than cubed anyway, so I figure I’m ahead of the game.

Preheat your oven to 350-degrees F. Slice the butternut squash in half and lay them cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake the squash in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until you can easily pierce the skin with a fork.

A baking sheet with two butternut squashes cut in half and roasted. One half is turned cut-side up, there is a cookie dough scoop resting by it.
The Lazy Cook Approved method, the bake and scoop is the easiest way to freeze butternut squash.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the squash to cool completely.

Once the squash has cooled, use a spoon or cookie dough scoop to scrape out the seeds and stringy flesh. Then scoop the cooked squash into a bowl.

A bowl filled with scooped butternut squash sits on a burgundy tea towel.
Sometimes I’ll just make a large batch of soup with the freshly roasted squash and freeze it. You know, if I don’t eat it all first.

Puree the cooked squash with a stick blender or a ricer.

Ladle the pureed squash into bags and remove as much air as possible, seal, label and toss them in the freezer.

See? Easy as pie. Butternut squash pie.  

Bags of frozen butternut squash, pureed and cubed next to a whole butternut squash on a burgundy tea towel.

Your frozen butternut squash will keep in the freezer for six months. But if you’re anything like me, it will be gone long before that, and you’ll be ready to start the whole process all over again come next fall.

If you’re looking for other ways to store winter squash, check out Cheryl’s article on how to cure and store winter squash so they last all winter; no freezer or electricity is needed.

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Tracey Besemer

Hey there, my name is Tracey. I’m the editor-in-chief here at Rural Sprout.

Many of our readers already know me from our popular Sunday newsletters. (You are signed up for our newsletters, right?) Each Sunday, I send a friendly missive from my neck of the woods in Pennsylvania. It’s a bit like sitting on the front porch with a friend, discussing our gardens over a cup of tea.

Originally from upstate NY, I’m now an honorary Pennsylvanian, having lived here for the past 18 years.

I grew up spending weekends on my dad’s off-the-grid homestead, where I spent much of my childhood roaming the woods and getting my hands dirty.

I learned how to do things most little kids haven’t done in over a century.

Whether it was pressing apples in the fall for homemade cider, trudging through the early spring snows of upstate NY to tap trees for maple syrup, or canning everything that grew in the garden in the summer - there were always new adventures with each season.

As an adult, I continue to draw on the skills I learned as a kid. I love my Wi-Fi and knowing pizza is only a phone call away. And I’m okay with never revisiting the adventure that is using an outhouse in the middle of January.

These days, I tend to be almost a homesteader.

I take an eclectic approach to homesteading, utilizing modern convenience where I want and choosing the rustic ways of my childhood as they suit me.

I’m a firm believer in self-sufficiency, no matter where you live, and the power and pride that comes from doing something for yourself.

I’ve always had a garden, even when the only space available was the roof of my apartment building. I’ve been knitting since age seven, and I spin and dye my own wool as well. If you can ferment it, it’s probably in my pantry or on my kitchen counter. And I can’t go more than a few days without a trip into the woods looking for mushrooms, edible plants, or the sound of the wind in the trees.

You can follow my personal (crazy) homesteading adventures on Almost a Homesteader and Instagram as @aahomesteader.

Peace, love, and dirt under your nails,