If you hate having to peel and chop squash before mashing, there is an easier way.
Peeling and cubing butternut squash can be challenging due to its size and shape. In addition, some people are sensitive to the raw flesh, which can make the skin on their hands feel tight and uncomfortable. But there’s good news: If you’re serving it mashed, you can cook a whole butternut squash in a slow cooker with no prep work. The trade-off is time, but it’s outweighed by the minimal effort required. This method is also helpful if your oven has already been claimed by another dish.
Here’s how you do it. Place an unpeeled 3-pound butternut squash in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook until both the neck and bulb areas are fork-tender, about 4 hours on high. Transfer the squash to a cutting board, let it cool a bit, and then slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard any stringy fibers and seeds in the bulb, and then scrape all the soft flesh off the skin and mash it with whatever you like (butter, maple syrup, herbs, etc.). If the squash happens to be too long to fit in your slow cooker, we found that this method still works if you halve it first.
THE BOTTOM LINE: You can cook whole, unpeeled butternut squash in a slow cooker to drastically reduce prep work.