m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Instant Pot Winter Squash

The instant pot is great for cooking hard and unwieldy squashes like butternut squash, but it can handle any squash. If you have the time, however, it’s worth roasting squash halves for the caramelization; the instant pot is better for other applications like soup, pie filling, or baby food.

Pressure cook on high, on the trivet, with 1 cup of water unless indicated otherwise. For cubed squash, use a pot-in-pot on the trivet. For halves or cubes, optionally oil and/or spice as when baking squash. For whole squash, poke at least 5 times before pressure cooking, then cut and clean afterwards.

Allow some cooling time for whole squash or halves you intend to scoop out and clean. Increase cooking times for mushier results.

The internet recommends against instant potting some of the squashes listed below, so caveat emptor.

Acorn Squash

Pressure cook halves for 4–7 minutes, depending on original size, or whole squash for 13 minutes. Release pressure after 10 minutes.

Butternut Squash

If the whole squash doesn’t fit, cut across the neck (instead of in the usual direction) and follow the halved squash directions.

Pressure cook whole for 15 minutes, halved for 10 minutes, or cubed for 3 minutes. Allow at least 10 minutes of natural release for whole or halved squash.

See Amy + Jacky’s method for more precise cooking times.

Delicata Squash

Pressure cook halves for 8 minutes. Quick release.

The skin of delicata squash is edible.

Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin), Hubbard, or Turban Squash

Pressure cook 10 minutes whole, or 8 minutes for a smaller or halved squash. Quick release.

The skin of kabocha squash is edible.


Pressure cook whole for 15 minutes. Release pressure naturally.

Spaghetti Squash

Cook halves for 6–8 minutes, depending on desired texture, or whole squash for 15 minutes. Quick release.