How to Cook Butternut Squash in the Instant Pot

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The easy guide for how to cook a whole butternut squash in the Instant Pot for the best fuss-free squash you can make.

Image of a cooked butternut squash with a spoon scooping out some of the squash with a bowl of squash seeds and a bowl of cooked squash in the background.
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Did you know that you can cook a whole butternut squash right in your Instant Pot? It comes out tender and soft and ready to use however you’d like.

You don’t have to cut it, peel it, or remove the seeds before cooking. If you have ever taken the time to break down and cut up a whole butternut squash, you know what a feat it can be to get a knife through that thick and hard vegetable.

You can serve the squash as is or use it to make pumpkin waffles (instead of pumpkin) or add it to vegetarian chili. It also makes the perfect side for this chicken legs recipe or a whole chicken in the slow cooker. It’s so versatile!

Image of a whole butter nut squash sitting in a steam basket inside an Instant Pot with a bowl of cooked butternut squash in the background.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s a quick and easy way to prepare this vegetable without having to worry about peeling, chopping, or cutting it first.
  • Using an instant pot significantly reduces the cooking time for butternut squash compared to baking it or roasting it in the oven.
  • Once the butternut squash is cooked, you can use it in a variety of recipes, including butternut squash soup.
  • It’s delicious! Cooking a whole butternut squash in an instant pot helps to lock in its natural flavors and produce a tender, perfectly cooked vegetable.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Butternut squash: be sure to get squash that are firm and blemish-free (no nicks or bruises)
  • Water

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities 

How to Cook Butternut Squash in the Instant Pot

  • Step #1. Wash off the outside of the squash and poke it a few times with a knife or fork.
  • Step #2. Put a steamer basket or a trivet in your Instant Pot, and add the water and whole butternut squash.
  • Step #3. Cook in Instant Pot on high pressure for 25 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the rest of the pressure and open the lid.
  • Step #4. Let the squash cool then cut it in half the long way. Use a spoon to remove the seeds, scoop the squash out of the peeling, and serve or use.

Recipe FAQs

What if my butternut squash doesn’t fit in my Instant Pot?

You can cut it in half by splitting the top skinny part from the bulb end and place it as is in your Instant Pot. Reduce the cook time to 20 minutes.

Can I cook other ingredients along with the butternut squash in the Instant Pot?

For this recipe, cook the butternut squash alone because other squashes or vegetables will need different cook times.

Do I need to peel the butternut squash before cooking it in an Instant Pot?

Nope! You can throw it in the Instant Pot and cook it whole. What makes this approach so easy is that it doesn’t involve peeling or cutting a hard butternut squash.

Can I freeze the butternut squash after I cook it in my Instant Pot?

Yes, you can definitely freeze the butternut squash after cooking. Just make sure to let it cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or bag.

What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?

You can also cook a whole butternut squash in a slow cooker or crock pot.

Expert Tips

  • When selecting butternut squash, look for ones that are firm. The peeling should be hard with no soft spots.
  • Butternut squash (whole and uncooked) can be stored for a few weeks (or even months) so feel free to stock up when they are in-season (late summer to fall).
  • Serve it with some butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper or whip it up with a hand mixer with butter, warm milk and salt for mashed butternut squash.
  • You can use the cooked butternut squash in other recipes as a substitute for potatoes such as Shepherd’s pie.
An image of a white bowl filled with cooked butternut squash.

More Instant Pot Recipes to Consider

easy baked butternut squash recipe.
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How to cook butternut squash in the Instant Pot

The easy guide for how to cook a whole butternut squash in the Instant Pot for the best fuss-free squash you can make.
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 57 minutes
Servings: 5 (Makes 1 large squash)


  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 2.5 pounds
  • 1 cup water
  • steamer basket/trivet for your Instant Pot
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  • Prepare your squash by washing off the outside well and breaking of the stem (if you can). Prick the outside 4-5 times with the tip of a knife or the tines of a fork.
  • Place a steamer basket or trivet inside your Instant Pot and set the squash in or on the basket/trivet.
  • Add one cup of water to your Instant Pot.
  • Close your lid, set the valve to sealing, press manual (high pressure), and set your time for 25 minutes. Let your Instant Pot natural pressure release for 10 minutes after the cook time is up. Release the rest of the pressure and carefully open the lid.
  • Let the squash cool enough to handle and then remove it from the Instant Pot and place on a cutting board.
  • Cut the squash in half from stem top to blossom end. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and discard (or feed to your chickens or roast them up like you do pumpkin seeds).
  • Use a spoon to scoop out the soft flesh from the skin and use as you like or eat it as it is with a little salt, pepper, and butter.



  • When buying butternut squash, be sure to get squash that are firm and blemish-free (no nicks or bruises). 
  • If you can’t get the stem to break off, you can leave it on because it isn’t going to hurt anything if you can’t get it off.
  • Don’t skip poking holes in the squash because this allows the steam to release. 
  • If your squash is too big to fit in your pot, cut it in half between the top skinny part and the bulby end and place it in your Instant Pot as is. Reduce the cook time to 20 minutes.


Serving: 1 of 5 servings, Calories: 68kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.03g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 8mg, Potassium: 528mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 15945IU, Vitamin C: 32mg, Calcium: 73mg, Iron: 1mg
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  1. David says:

    Just made this….so easy and done to perfection!!

    1. Melissa says:

      Yay! I’m so glad! It’s my favorite way too.

  2. Sharon says:

    Could this recipe work with acorn squash?

    1. Melissa says:

      Yes, it’ll work great with acorn squash!

  3. Cary Krusemark says:

    I I would recommend that you add 5 minutes to this recipe at a minimum. I had a medium sized squash that fit easily into my 8 quart instant pot in the whole center of the squash with still very hard. I even poked the outer skin as described.

    1. Melissa says:

      Did you happen to weigh yours? I’d definitely add 5 minutes per 1/2 pound of squash, I’ll make a note of that in the recipe.