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How to cook a winter squash

Fall is a great time of year to enjoy the bounties of the harvest.

Supermarkets and farmers’ markets abound with a wide variety of colorful winter squashes.

How do you prepare a winter squash?


Baked whole squash

  • Wash squash and pierce several times with a knife.
  • Place in a baking dish and bake, uncovered. If using a conventional oven, the baking temperatures can vary between 325 ºF. and 400 ºF. Since the temperature is variable, you can save time and energy by baking two foods at the same time. Baking time depends on the oven temperature and squash size. At a higher cooking temperature, a small squash may be done in 45 minutes. A large squash at a low temperature may take 1½ hours.
  • Cook on full power 6 to 7 minutes if using a microwave. Turn squash over and rotate. Cook for another 6 to 7 minutes.
  • Test for doneness by pushing on the rind with a potholder. Squash is done when it "gives" slightly.
  • Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
  • Cut open and remove strings and seeds.

Squash is ready for mashing or serving as pieces with butter or seasoning. It will freeze well for future use. Serves 4 per pound.

If baking spaghetti squash, remove seeds and gently lift out strands. Top with your favorite pasta sauce.

Squash IMG_6020

Baked squash, halved or cut

  • Wash and cut squash lengthwise or into pieces.
  • Remove seeds and strings.
  • Lightly brush cut surfaces with oil or melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar or Parmesan cheese if you like these options.
  • Place in baking dish with a few tablespoons of water and bake until tender. If using a conventional oven, bake uncovered at 350 ºF. about 30 minutes. Oven temperature and time can vary.
  • Cover and bake on full power 6 to 7 minutes if using a microwave. Rotate. Bake another 6 to 7 minutes.

For details, see “Using and Storing Winter Squash” on the Clemson Extension Web site.


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Sounds delicious! I recently read a recipe for a squash soup that sounded really yummy, I guess this is the season to try it.


Hi Lisa,

Squash soup sounds wonderful in the cold weather we're having here. My friend Marie has a recipe for squash or pumpkin soup served in a baked pumpkin.

Here's a link for Roasted Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup. Sounds delicious.


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