Butternut Squash in the Instant Pot

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Cooking squash in the Instant Pot is easy and quick! Below you’ll see how I do it. To make it even easier, consider getting an extra inner pot and glass lid. That way, when the squash is done, you can just remove the entire pot, set it aside covered with the glass lid, and continue cooking something else yummy in the Instant Pot. Β πŸ™‚

See my post on Instant Pot Accessories if you want more info on the extra pot, lid, silicone rings or even what I use under my Instant Pot!

Happy cooking!


Butternut Squash in the Instant Pot

The Instant Pot, or other pressure cooker is a great way to make butternut squash! It's fast, doesn't use a lot of energy and the squash turns out great!
Course Vegetable
Appliances Instant Pot
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 34 minutes
Total Time 44 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Tina


  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 cup water


  1. Put the rack in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add a cup of water.
  2. Thoroughly wash off the butternut squash. Cut the squash if necessary so it fits into the pot. Don't take the seeds out yet. That's easier to do once the squash has cooked for a short time.
  3. Sometimes you don't have to cut the squash because it fits in nicely without cutting!
  4. Secure the lid, push the "Manual" button and set the timer for 17 minutes. (I live at 7,000 feet in elevation so it takes longer for things to cook. If you live at a lower elevation, then set the cooking time for about 10 minutes.) This is not all the cooking time that will be needed....it's about half the cooking time. But you'll see later why I do it this way!
  5. When the time is up, do a quick release. Open the lid and let the squash cool for about 5 minutes. (It's hot--so it is easier to let it cool than to try to handle it right away.) Or if you can't get to it right away, don't worry about it. Even if all the pressure releases naturally the squash will be fine.
  6. If you cut the squash in half so it would fit in the pot, take out the bottom part of the squash. Cut the bottom of the squash in half and take out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the top half of the squash in half lengthwise. This will help it cook as quickly as the bottom half.
  7. If you put the squash in whole, cut it in half cross-wise where the squash starts to bulge out. Cut the bottom half in half and take the seeds out. Cut the top half in half lengthwise. Put all pieces back into the inner pot.
  8. Now, here is where you will do some assessing of your squash. Is it half way done? Then cook it for the same amount of time. If your squash is mostly done, it may need just a few minutes longer. It all depends on how long the squash cooked the first time and how done you want it. If you want it very soft (for soups or mashed squash) then it can sit in the pot longer and cook longer and not be an issue because you want it soft. If you want it cubed, then keep that in mind for the second cooking time and do a quick release so the squash won't be too cooked. Basically, assess where you are at after the first cooking time and adjust the second cooking time for the consistency of the squash that you want.
  9. Put the squash back into the Instant Pot. Set the timer according to how done the squash was after the first cooking time and how much more it needs to cook. If I've done 17 minutes and a NPR (natural pressure release) the first time, it just needs a few more minutes of cooking time. If I did 17 minutes and quick release, it will often need another 17 minutes and quick release.
  10. When finished, do a quick release. Take the lid off and take the squash out of the pot. Here you can see that I didn't cut the top part of the squash in half...that's fine too. But in general, I like to have the squash in four pieces (two top pieces and two bottom pieces)...it seems to cook more evenly that way.
  11. Now you can use the squash in your favorite recipes! You can mash it......adding your favorite liquid and seasonings......
  12. You can drizzle some maple syrup on it.....
  13. You can add cubed butternut squash to a salad....
  14. Or you can toss it with olive oil and salt and put it in the oven for a few minutes to "roast" it.
  15. Just remember to season and serve it with lots of love!

Recipe Notes

Remember to adjust your cooking time to what altitude you are at. Since I live at 7000 feet it takes me 1/4 to 1/3 longer to cook things then it will for you. Once the squash is done cooking for the first time, I look at it and decide if it will need about the same amount of time, or a minute or two more or less. Larger squashes take longer to cook. I'm not always near my IP (Instant Pot) when the squash finishes the first cooking. Today, for instance, I got to the IP 22 minutes after it beeped. When I checked the squash, it was almost totally done. I took the bottom out, cut it in half and seeded it. The top was done so I took it out too. I ended up cooking the bottom part for 3 more minutes. So, if you end up using the natural release, your second cooking time can be significantly shorter....or maybe even not needed! For information on the Instant Pot see my blog post here.

21 thoughts on “Butternut Squash in the Instant Pot

  1. After the first cooking, I let it cool for a few minutes because it is so very hot and difficult to remove from the Instant Pot! I like to cut the squash in half and remove the seeds before I continue cooking because it gives me a good idea of how much longer to cook the squash, and I keep the squash more intact if I remove the seeds while the squash is still kinda hard. This is especially true when cooking spaghetti squash! Happy cooking!!!

  2. I wasn’t thinking when I followed your altitude cooking time variation suggestion and ended up with some very under-cooked squash.

    The reason why things take longer to cook at a higher altitude is because of the lower air pressure. If you are cooking in a pressure cooker, it creates its own pressure levels based on your settings: so no matter where you are, if your pressure cooker is working properly, it will always cook your food at the same rate. Your altitude basically only matters if you are boiling in an open pot.

    So! To anyone reading this, go with that original 17 minutes no matter where you are.

    1. I’m now reading that somehow altitude still affects pressure cookers, so perhaps disregard my comment. But I will say that 2×10 minutes was definitely inadequate for 700ft above sea level.

  3. I highly recommend you just figure out the cook time once as Tina suggests but alter your method moving forward. Cut the squash before 1st cook, remove seeds, and letting it run its course. Pulling the seeds out of a very hot squash is quite difficult! Also, QPR (Quick Pressure Release) on this will allow you to get your measurements exact once you’ve figured the timings out I would imagine, but I am not sure how much a NPR would effect a squash. Definitely need to use the “undercook” process with the NPR (Natural Pressure Release)

    1. Hi William~ Glad you are enjoying cooking squashes! Thanks for your insights! Yes, taking the squash seeds out of a hot squash isn’t all that pleasant. I let my squash cool some first. I’m usually not in a hurry when I cook squash so I can afford to take that time.

      I prefer not to cut the squash prior to cooking because they can be tough to cut through!!

      One thing is for sure, whether you cut your squash first or after it has cooked for a bit, the Instant Pot is a great way to cook winter squash!!! πŸ™‚

  4. Great tips! Do you think it would work to cook it longer the 1st time, to avoid having to cook it multiple times?

    1. Hi Amy! Yes, you certainly could cook it longer the first time. The only slight problem might be overcooking it….which is fine if it will be used for soups or a puree of some kind, but not as great if you want to cube it for a salad.

      I also find that taking the seeds out of a fully cooked squash can result in losing some of the edible squash. This isn’t as big a deal in a butternut or acorn squash but (for me) is a major problem with spaghetti squash!! I lose way too much of the spaghetti squash if I try to take the seeds out of it when it is fully cooked! And I do lose some of the edible parts of the butternut and acorn squash if it is fully cooked when I take the seeds out.

      I don’t mind the two cooking times…because the IP comes up to pressure pretty quickly the second time…..

      Happy Instant Pot Cooking…however you cook your squashes!!! πŸ™‚

  5. Sounds great, will try this tomorrow. At the top of the article you recommended buying unnecessary accessories? Just dump the contents in one of the multiple sealable containers that are filling your cupboards. Love my Instant Pot, just have limited storage.

    1. Hi Mike~ I hope you have a successful butternut squash cooking adventure!

      I really do like having the extra inner pot and glass lid. The food coming out of the instant pot is hot and I don’t like putting hot foods into plastic containers. So, I was either letting it cool in the original cooking pot and becoming frustrated that I couldn’t continue other cooking adventures in my Instant Pot, or I was putting the food into another stainless steel pot….making something else dirty. (Here I am speaking mostly about cooked beans or soup….squash I will just put on a plate to cool.)

      When I finally bought a second inner pot and lid, it solved the problem of wanting to cook another dish, and not dirtying an extra pot. Plus the glass lid works well in the slow cooker mode and warming mode.

      Happy, happy cooking!!!!!!!!!!!!! However it works for you is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚


    1. Hi Helen~ I freeze my leftover squash all the time. Usually I put it into small (snack size) resealable plastic bags, then place those bags inside a larger quart size freezer bag. I hope you have fun cooking squash in the Instant Pot! πŸ™‚

  7. I keep going back to the tips but I’m still stumped. You don’t add any water to the pot? It seems like it would need the “one cup of water” that every other pressure cooker needs. Am I missing why it doesn’t?

    1. Hi Kiy!
      In step 1 it says to put the rack in the Instant Pot and add a cup of water. πŸ™‚ I was worried I had left the water out! Happy cooking and thanks for visiting my blog! πŸ™‚

        1. Kiy~ Your comment made me smile. That happens to me all the time! I added “1 cup water” to the ingredients list to make it more clear. Thanks for writing and I hope you enjoy your Instant Pot! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Kay~ I assume you are talking about the Gem Instant Pot Multicooker or something similar. I don’t have this appliance, so I don’t know how to best advise you…. I looked at the recipe booklet for that appliance online and didn’t see a recipe for something like that. My best guess would be to use the Bake function and bake it like you would in an oven. (I’m looking at the recipe online for the Ham and Cheese breakfast bake. It’s not in any way related to a butternut squash but both items can be baked in an oven!) If I cook a butternut squash in the oven (which I really don’t do anymore), but when I used to, I would bake it at 350 or 375 degrees and check it after 45 minutes. Bake longer if needed. Good luck. I hope it works out for you!!! Your appliance looks wonderful! Happy cooking!

    1. Hi John~ Thanks for writing. Cooking times are affected at high altitude…here is one article which explains it. My cooking times were going much longer than what that article (and other articles) suggested. It wasn’t until I got a 3 qt mini Instant Pot that cooked food much faster than my 6 qt that I began to wonder. Then some kind person like yourself wrote in to say that she lives at 7000 feet and her beans didn’t require the cooking time that I was suggesting. So, I did more comparisons between my 3 qt and 6 qt Instant Pots and I think my 6 qt never worked correctly. I just didn’t have anything to compare it to until I got the 3 qt! So, I am contacting customer support…and I’m pretty certain I will need to get a different 6 qt. So….yeah….the cooking times are slightly different at elevation….but not so gigantically different as I was experiencing! :-0 Thanks for writing and happy cooking! πŸ™‚

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