Instant Pot Butternut Squash with Thyme

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Whip up a quick, flavorful, and stunning side dish with Instant Pot Butternut Squash with Thyme. Ready in just 10 minutes, it perfectly complements a variety of meals.

Adored for its versatility and speed, the Instant Pot can cook meals up to 70% faster than traditional methods. With its array of functions—including pressure cooking, slow cooking, sautéing, and steaming—it’s a kitchen essential, effortlessly preparing side dishes and saving both time and space.

Platter of Butternut Squash and Thyme

The peel of butternut squash is technically edible, but it is often tough and fibrous, especially when the squash is fully mature. While some people choose to leave the peel on for added texture and nutrients, most prefer to remove it before cooking for a smoother and more enjoyable eating experience. If you decide to leave the peel on, it’s essential to scrub the squash thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris and to cook it until tender to make it easier to chew and digest. Alternatively, you can peel the squash before cooking to ensure a softer and more palatable texture in your dishes.

How to Prperly Peel a Butternut Squash

If you are simply looking to peel and dice a butternut squash then you’ll want to check out this easy to follow video from our friend Chatelaine! 

Always use a really sharp knife, or vegetable peeler!

Butternut Squash on a white platter garnished with fresh thyme.

Fascinating Facts and History of Butternut Squash

  1. Origin and History: Butternut squash, scientifically known as Cucurbita moschata, is believed to have originated in the Americas, specifically in what is now known as Mexico and Central America. Indigenous peoples in these regions cultivated and consumed butternut squash for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.

  2. Appearance and Flavor: Butternut squash is characterized by its elongated pear shape, with a bulbous base and a narrower neck. It typically has a smooth, tan-colored skin and orange flesh. The flesh is sweet, nutty, and slightly buttery, making it a versatile ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes.

  3. Nutritional Benefits: Butternut squash is a nutrient-dense food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. These nutrients support overall health and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.

  4. Culinary Uses: Butternut squash is prized for its versatility in the kitchen. It can be roasted, steamed, boiled, mashed, pureed, or used in soups, stews, curries, salads, pasta dishes, and even desserts. Its sweet and nutty flavor adds depth to recipes and pairs well with a variety of other ingredients and spices.

  5. Harvest and Storage: Butternut squash is typically harvested in the late summer to early fall when the fruits are fully mature and the skin has hardened. When selecting butternut squash, choose ones that feel heavy for their size and have a firm, unblemished skin. Store whole butternut squash in a cool, dry place for several months, or refrigerate cut squash in an airtight container for up to a week.

  6. Cultural Significance: Butternut squash holds cultural significance in many indigenous cultures in the Americas, where it has been cultivated and consumed for centuries. It continues to be an important part of traditional cuisines and culinary practices in these regions.

Overall, butternut squash is a beloved vegetable prized for its delicious flavor, nutritional benefits, and culinary versatility. Whether enjoyed as a savory side dish or as the star ingredient in a comforting soup or stew, butternut squash adds warmth and richness to any meal.

Unveiling the Nutritional Bounty of Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients that promote overall health and well-being. Here’s a closer look at the nutritional profile of this versatile winter squash:

  • Vitamins and Minerals: Butternut squash is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, which are powerful antioxidants that support immune function and promote healthy skin. It also contains significant amounts of potassium, magnesium, and manganese, essential minerals that contribute to heart health, muscle function, and bone strength.

  • Fiber: With its high fiber content, butternut squash supports digestive health by promoting regularity and preventing constipation. Fiber also helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and may aid in weight management by promoting feelings of fullness.

  • Low in Calories: Despite its sweet and creamy taste, butternut squash is relatively low in calories, making it a great option for those watching their calorie intake. One cup of cooked butternut squash contains approximately 80 calories, making it a satisfying and nutritious addition to any meal.

  • Carotenoids: Butternut squash is a rich source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, which gives it its vibrant orange color. Carotenoids have been linked to numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

  • Versatility: Butternut squash is incredibly versatile and can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes, from soups and stews to salads, pasta dishes, and even desserts. Its sweet and nutty flavor adds depth to recipes while providing a nutritional boost.

Incorporating butternut squash into your diet can help you meet your daily nutrient needs while adding delicious flavor and texture to your meals. Whether roasted, steamed, mashed, or pureed, this nutritious winter squash is a valuable addition to

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Butternut squash and thyme close up.

How to Make Instant Pot Butternut Squash with Thyme

Butternut squash and thyme close up.

Instant Pot Butternut Squash with Thyme

Instant Pot Butternut Squash with Thyme is a quick, flavorsome, and beautiful side dish, that compliments just about any meal. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Mean Green Chef


  • 1 2.5 lb Butternut Squash halved and seeded
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher sea salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves fresh (1 teaspoon dried)
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste


  • Scrub the outside of the squash, cut in half with a sharp knife and scoop out the seeds. 
  • Pour water into the Instant Pot, and place the Butternut Squash cut sides up into the IP. Drizzle with EVOO, and then sprinkle with Kosher sea salt, fresh Thyme leaves and a good dose of freshly cracked black pepper. 
  • Set the Instant Pot pressure to HIGH and set time for 3 minutes, this will cook the squash perfectly but allow it to hold its shape. 
  • When time is up, quick release and carefully remove the lid. Lift the squash to a cutting board and allow to cool for a couple of minutes or until you can easily handle it. Squash can be sliced and served as shown or scooped and mashed. Both ways are equally delicious! 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Creative Recipe Inspiration

Check out our other Side Dish Recipe Inspiration! Starting with our Steakhouse Potato Stacks, sliced thin and cooked in a garlic cream sauce. 

If you want to step out of the everyday side dish routine then you’ll want to make note of our Minted Peas w Lemon, they go fabulously with so many mains!

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Hey there, fellow food enthusiast! Welcome to Mean Green Chef, where every dish tells a story and every recipe is a labor of love. I’m thrilled to share a bit about myself and the journey that led me here, stirring pots and sprinkling spices for over three decades!

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    1. MY HUBS LOVE LOVE LOVES AND ADORES HIS INSTANT POT! I LOVE LOVE butternut squash! Sounds like a winning combo to me! I am not much of a thyme girl and wonder if Rosemary would sub for this in a pinch?

      1. For sure Susan, you can use any of your favorite herbs I love Rosemary too and would be a great sub! Just getting done editing post for our Red Wine Pot Roast made in the IP, it is one of my favorite tools in the kitchen! 🙂

    2. I love how simple this is and it makes the perfect side dish. I have some frozen butternut squash in my freezer. Do you think I can still make this after I defrost it? I need to figure out what to make with it.

      1. Hi, Erika, I would honestly be hesitant to say that frozen squash would work just as well as fresh here. Only because I don’t know 100% you could certainly give it a try and see what the consistency is, I would love to hear the results 🙂

    3. Thyme has to be my favorite herb! I can’t wait to try this one!

      1. Great, Kim! Hope you love it as much as we do!! 🙂

    4. ballingham says:

      Love the food nerdery! I knew some of those bits but not all. And I’d be concerned that the squash would get watery in the Instant Pot – besides the fact that I have a 4-quart and am not sure one would fit. But you must not get any watery texture, I assume? Thanks.

      1. Not watery at all, Beth! Just be sure to use your rack, you could always slice it up a bit more to fit, do rest assured the texture is perfect since you don’t need to add much water. 🙂

    5. I haven’t tried making butternut squash in the Instant Pot yet, but it looks so delicious and super easy! I will have to try this one out for sure. I also love your food nerdery section! ☺

      1. Thank you, Morgan! IP really was a genius invention, especially for those of us who don’t care for the old school versions 🙂

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