Instant Pot Butternut Squash

instant pot butternut squash in a serving bowl

The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  • Total: 18 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 3 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings

Butternut squash is incredibly fast and easy to prepare when you use an Instant Pot. Whether you make it to serve as a side dish, for a mash, or in a soup, risotto, or casserole, you'll find that it's a breeze with an electric pressure cooker. This recipe uses cubes from a whole peeled squash, but feel free to buy convenient peeled and cubed butternut squash.

Butternut squash has exceptional flavor and texture and it is always available in markets. Winter squashes like Hubbard, kabocha, and buttercup squash are suitable substitutes for butternut. Acorn squash, with its deep ridges, can be difficult to peel, but it can be pressure cooked unpeeled and used mashed or in a soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • Garnish: 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Garnish: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Instant Pot butternut squash
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray
  2. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Slice off the ends.

    butternut squash peeled with y-peeler
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray
  3. Cut the squash in half crosswise and then cut each half in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and loose fibers.

    butternut squash cut and seeds removed
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray
  4. Cut the squash into 1- to 2-inch cubes.

    cube the peeled squash
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray
  5. Add 1 cup of water and half of the salt to the inner pot of the Instant Pot and add a steaming basket. Put the cubed squash in the basket and sprinkle with the remaining salt. Secure the lid and make sure the pressure release vent is in the sealing position. Select the pressure cook button (high pressure) and set the time to 3 minutes.

    cubed butternut squash in the instant pot
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray
  6. When the time is up, carefully turn the pressure release vent to the venting position for a quick release. See your manual for detailed instructions. Transfer the squash to a serving bowl.

    plain cooked butternut squash cubes in a bowl
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray
  7. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and almonds. Sprinkle over the squash. Serve immediately.

    instant pot butternut squash with almond topping
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

Tips

  • For extra flavor, toast the sliced or slivered almonds. Spread them out in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring and turning constantly, until the nuts are lightly browned and aromatic.
  • If you want an even faster preparation and don't want to fuss with peeling, cut the unpeeled squash in half and place it in the pot on a trivet. Add 1 cup of water and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. All you have to do is slip the peel off and scoop out the seeds. This method is an excellent option if you plan to mash the squash or make soup with it.

Recipe Variations

  • Swap the almonds for toasted squash seeds. To toast the seeds, clean them thoroughly and let them dry. Toss them with some melted butter and salt and spread them out on a baking sheet. Roast the seeds at 275 F until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Replace the almonds with toasted pecans or toasted coconut.
  • Drizzle a few teaspoons of maple syrup over the squash cubes before topping with the almonds.
  • For a savory dish, toss with sage and brown butter sauce.