Friday, October 7, 2011

Microwave Steamed Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash by the Sea
Cooking Squash Away from Home

Recipe compiled at

Normally I would have never agreed to microwave a winter squash. But while on Cape Cod recently, the only locally grown veggie I could find was butternut squash. And how to cook that in a motel efficiency unit with only one large knife of dubious sharpness was a challenge, until Bruce suggested microwaving it.

He did some web research, and it seemed simple enough, as long as we watched the squash carefully. According to rworange at, “NEVER leave the kitchen. If the squash starts whistling, squeaking or making other noise, there's too much steam building up inside. Pause the microwave for a little and then restart. Otherwise said squash might explode.”

Butternut Squash with Ends Cut Off
Cut a Little Off Ends of Squash
And squeak it did. The squash took a little under 10 minutes to cook. I found that microwaving for short intervals and letting the squash rest and release steam in between made the juices caramelize a bit, adding to the sweetness. I love the way the squash steams in its own juices, and the quick preparation time. I’ve tried this at home too, and it seems that it works best with smaller squash.

To cook the squash evenly, rotate it periodically so a different part of the squash is in contact with the plate. Contact with the plate heats that side up faster. Note that the seeded part will cook faster than solid part, so you will cut this part off during the cooking process.

Butternut Squash Plated with a Little Butter and Sprinkle of Raw Sugar
Serve up with Butter and Raw Sugar
Microwave Steamed Butternut Squash
serves 2-3

~12 oz butternut squash
raw sugar

Cut off top and bottom of squash, and pierce skin in many places with knife so steam will escape. Squash can take up to 10 minutes to microwave. It’s best to cook it slowly at intervals and let it rest between so the steam cooks the squash, maintaining its moistness, instead of boiling out of the squash.

Do not leave the kitchen, and be alert for strange squash noises. Pause microwave if you hear them.

Microwave for 5 minutes, check to see if it’s tender yet. You can pierce again with knife if it sizzled and made noise, it will be easier than when squash was completely hard.

Microwave at 30 second intervals for about 1½ minutes. Seeded part of squash is likely done. When it’s tender, cut off that part and return unseeded part to microwave.

Continue to microwave uncooked portion at 30-second intervals, for about 1½ minutes, till soft. Meanwhile, scoop seeds from cooked portion.

Serve squash with a little butter and raw sugar, and cinnamon or other spice if you have it on hand.


  1. "...with only one large knife of dubious sharpness..."

    Why is it that all rentals come equipped with the above?

  2. Ha ha, Jodi, my theory is that they're trying to discourage cooking in the room. Seems to work well, too.