Butternut Squash Puree is so simple to make and it's even easier & quicker when you use a pressure cooker. Just pick up a whole butternut squash from the grocery store and in about 30 minutes, you will have perfectly cooked squash that is ready to be pureed. What I love about using my Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker (or Instant Pot) is how easy the peels come off. They literally fall off after pressure cooking.
If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can also do this in your oven and I will give those instructions in this written post.
You can use a stand mixer, hand mixer, blender, immersion blender, food processor, potato masher, potato ricer or a simply fork to make the puree. After pressure cooking, the flesh is so tender you don't have to do much more than mix it up and turn it into a smooth puree. My favorite way to make it is using a potato ricer because the simple puree is smooth as silk after going through the ricer.
You may wonder what you would do with butternut squash puree and I think you may be surprised at just how many different things you can make with it.
Many people puree their own butternut squash for homemade baby food, but that is just the beginning. You can also use it in place of pumpkin puree in most recipes, including pumpkin pie.
One of my favorite things to make with it is a butternut squash gnocchi that is pan fried in a sage and brown butter sauce. The butternut puree is also a great substitution for sweet potatoes like in this recipe for sweet potato casserole or just add a little butter and salt and serve it up as a side dish.
PIcking out a Butternut Squash
Fresh Butternut Squash that are found in the grocery stores are almost always ripe, but if you want to make sure, then press your fingernail into the outside of the squash and it should not penetrate the skin. A ripe butternut squash has a thick, hard skin.
They come in various sizes and although the basic shape is the same, some are thinner than others. The size of your squash really doesn't matter, but if you get a small one, the whole thing may fit on the rack in your pressure cooker.
More important than size is the weight. You want to pick out a butternut squash that feels heavy for its size. Since most of the flesh used for the puree is in the neck, try to find one with a fat neck and a small bell at the bottom.
The bell holds the seeds and strands that aren't used in the puree, but save those seeds because they are delicious roasted, better than pumpkin seeds!
Butternut squash is usually available any time of the year, but it is more abundant in the fall months in the US.
Cooking the Butternut Squash
Pressure Cooking Butternut Squash is an easy method to cook the squash whether you want to par-cook it for cubing and roasting or cook it fully for a puree to use as mashed butternut squash, baby food, delicious gnocchi, or to use in dog treats!
Mise En Place (or Prep)
The prep work for pressure cooking a butternut squash is so easy. The only thing you have to do is see if it will fit whole in your pressure cooker pot or not.
Once you determine that, you will know if you have to cut it or not. Mine was 4 pounds and I did have to cut it into 3 chunks so it would fit on the rack and allow the lid to close. I trimmed off the top where the stem is, but you don't even have to do that. Just cut it into 2-4 large chunks so it fits on the rack and make sure the pressure lid closes easily.
The outer skin of a butternut squash is tough, so make sure to have a very sharp knife that is long enough to cut right through it. You do not need to peel the squash and the skin will just fall off once it's cooked in your electric pressure cooker.
Place 1 cup of water into the inner pot of your pressure cooker. Put a rack, trivet, or basket into the pot. You want the butternut squash to be elevated above the water. If you set the squash directly on the bottom of the pot, the skin may start to stick to the bottom as the pot heats up and it could trigger the burn notice or water notice.
Put the pressure lid on and turn the pressure release valve to seal. Select high pressure and pressure cook for 25 minutes with a quick release of the pressure for very soft flesh that is perfect for pureed butternut squash.
Pressure Cooking for Slicing or Cubing to Roast or Dehydrate
If you want to use the squash to cube and roast or slice and bake, reduce the cooking time to 5 minutes with an immediate release. This short pressure cooking time will partially cook the butternut squash, loosen the skin so it simply slips off, but the flesh of the butternut squash will not be cooked all the way through, so you can cube it, slice it, and even slice very thin and dehydrate it.
Cooling & Processing Butternut Squash
Once the pressure cook time is up and the pressure release is complete, open the lid and using tongs, remove the butternut squash and place it on a cutting board.
Don't be alarmed if you see white dots on the flesh of the squash, those are just a sugar deposit and nothing to be concerned about.
When the squash is still warm, but not so hot that you can't touch it, take a butter knife and slip it under the skin and go along the outside of the flesh, removing the skin. You can also use tongs if the skin is ready to fall off.
Remove the seeds and strands from the bell part of the squash and set aside to use for roasting or discard.
The flesh in the bell is fine to use after removing the strands and seeds.
There are many different ways you can process the flesh into a puree, but my favorite is using a potato ricer.
You can put the flesh into a blender or food processor, use a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer. You'll find that the squash is so soft, you can mash it with just a fork.
My 4 pound squash yielded 4 cups of smooth puree.
If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can certainly bake the butternut squash until it's very soft.
For Roasted butternut squash, I would cut the squash in half lengthwise and drizzle with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Roast the squash flesh side up in a 400F degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until it reaches or desired texture. Then scoop the flesh out of the skin.
If you want to bake the squash, but have it turn out more like the pressure cooked version, cut the squash in half lengthwise and place some foil (large enough to wrap around the squash) on a baking sheet. Place the squash halves squash cut side down so the skin is facing upward.
Add about ¼-½ cup of water in the bottom of the foil and wrap the squash in the foil. Bake in a 400℉ oven for 40-50 minutes or until the squash is very soft.
Quick & Easy Recipe Ideas using Butternut Squash Puree
You can also make a delicious butternut squash soup from the puree, some spices, broth, and a little heavy cream at the end. You can make the soup with a savory flavor or a sweet flavor by switching around the spices and ingredients.
Use ingredients like brown sugar, coconut milk, pumpkin pie spices for a sweet soup and ground sausage, fresh thyme, chicken broth, and cream for a savory flavored soup.
A curry soup is always delicious and easy to make with butternut squash puree by adding coconut milk, curry powder, black pepper, kosher salt, and vegetable broth.
You also may want to try adding in some granny smith apples to your butternut squash soup, they add a nice flavor.
Butternut squash is great for dogs, so you can certainly make dog treats or add some in with their food for a boost of fiber.
Storing Butternut Squash Puree
Storing Homemade Butternut Squash Puree can be done in different ways depending on how you want to use it later.
It will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Freezing it will keep it fresh for a year or more, especially when vacuumed sealed.
When deciding on how much to put into one package, think about how you will be using it. If you are making soup with it, you may want to put 2-3 cups into one bag, but if you are making gnocchi or dog treats, 1-cup portions into freezer bags might be a better option.
Or, you can use ice cube trays for smaller portions.
Butternut Squash Puree RecipePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- Pressure Cooker
- 3-4 pounds whole butternut squash
- 1 cup water
- Add 1 cup of water to the inner pot of your pressure cooker. Place a rack or trivet into the pot.
- Cut the whole butternut squash into 3-4 pieces so that it fits on the rack. No need to peel the squash first.
- Place the butternut squash pieces on the rack. Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 25 minutes. When the time is up, do an immediate release of the pressure.
- Remove the squash pieces and place them on a cutting board or cooling rack. Peel away the skin, it will just fall off. Allow the butternut squash to cool slightly. Remove the seeds and strands from the bell part of the squash and discard or save to make roasted butternut squash seeds.
- Using a blender, food processor, immersion blender, or a manual potato ricer, process chunks of the butternut squash until smooth. You should get about 1 cup of smooth puree per pound of butternut squash.
- Use in your favorite recipes or freeze the puree for later use.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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