How to Cut Kabocha Squash: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to cut Kabocha squash and enjoy the delicious Japanese pumpkin dishes in the season!

how to cut a kabocha squash step by step.

Have you ever tried to cut a whole kabocha squash but found it difficult? You might be wondering what the easiest way to cut it is.

The hard skin on a Kabocha squash used to turn me off! (I had avoided cutting it for years.) But there’s an easy way to cut it without using any microwaves!

In this post, I will show you how to cut a whole kabocha squash into quarters, plus five different sizes depending on the dish you make.

    This recipe is for you if:
  • You love kabocha squash.
  • You want to know how to cut kabocha squash.
  • You are looking for easy way to cut kabocha squash.
  • You want to now how to cook kabocha squash.

You will be more comfortable cooking it in your kitchen! I will share delicious and simple Japanese kabocha recipes in the end!

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

What is Kabocha Squash?

kabocha squash

Kabocha squash, or Japanese pumpkin, is a type of winter squash and is a staple in Japanese cooking. It stands out for its tasty, sweet flavor – much sweeter than butternut squash and other squash varieties.

The outer skin is dark green, and the inside is a beautiful orange color. It’s heavy, and the dark green kabocha skin is so hard.

Health Benefits

bite shot of kabocha squash muffins.

The Kabocha squash is a nutritious vegetable that offers many health benefits. It contains beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, and dietary fiber.

In Japan, we have a custom of eating kabocha squash on the winter solstice in December. This tradition is our way of preparing for the cold weather.

Because it benefits in fighting off bacteria and viruses that cause colds, the dry air in winter makes us more susceptible to catching infections, so eating it can help keep your immune system healthy.

How to Cut Kabocha Squash Into Quarter

kabocha squash illustration.

The green skin of Kabocha squash is a challenge to cut through. If you are a first time to try, maybe you’re not quite sure where you should be cutting from.

The easiest way is to take the stem first. Once you’ve removed the stem, start cutting where it was; cutting the rest is much easier.

See the step-by-step instructions in the following section!

kabocha squash on a cutting board with a knife.

This dark-green skin Kabocha squash is harvested from my mother’s veggie garden (about 1.7 kg/3.7 pounds), and I will show you how to cut this beautiful vegetable into quarters in this section.

You will need a sharp knife and a good cutting board. Please place a wet cloth underneath if your cutting board is slippery like mine.

*Please be careful not to cut your fingers.

🔪Instructions

Instructions for how to cut Kabocha Squash into quarter.
  1. Insert the tip of your sharp knife diagonally around the stem and make a notch while turning the kabocha squash.
  2. Lift the bottom of the stem with the knife and remove it.
  3. Insert the tip of the knife from where the stem was, hold it steady, and push the knife gradually.
  4. Turn it, then do the same on the other side to cut it in half.
Instructions for how to cut Kabocha Squash into quarter.
  1. Insert the tip of the knife into the orange flesh.
  2. Push the knife, lay it flat, and cut the rest.
  3. Now, it’s cut into quarters.
  4. Remove pulp and pumpkin seeds.
quarter size of kabocha squash.

There you go! You’ve done cutting it into four pieces in no time!

Use a Microwave Oven

If you find cutting kabocha squash with softer skin easier, you can use a microwave oven. Place the squash in the microwave and heat it for 5 minutes. If the squash is smaller, 3 minutes should be sufficient. This will help soften the skin and make it easier to handle.

Kabocha Skin

Do you know Kabocha skin is edible, nutritious, and an excellent source of beta-carotene?

So, I highly recommend eating the skin; all my kabocha squash recipes are cooked with the skin. But if you don’t like the texture, then peeling is the solution.

By the way, you might run into a kabocha with bumpy skin. Kabocha repairs itself to protect the inside when the skin is torn or scratched during the growth. The bumpy skin is a sign of their healing and is not harmful. However, you might not like the bumpy texture, so peeling it before cooking is better.

How to Peel The Skin

peel a kabocha squash with a knife.

Place the Kabocha cut side on a cutting board, and while holding it firmly with one hand, slice thinly with a knife and peel off the skin.

You can also use a vegetable peeler, but it may be more difficult than knives. Please use it carefully so that you don’t hurt yourself.

Please make sure you place it flat, and it won’t move while peeling.

5 Different Ways to Cut Kabocha Squash

5 different size of kabocha squash on a plate.

Once you cut a whole kabocha squash into quarters, you can cut it into shapes depending on the dish you make.

Here’s how to cut a pumpkin into five shapes, plus I suggest dishes that fit the shape. I hope it helps!

1. Large Chunk

large chunk of kabocha squash in a bowl.

This large chunk is my go-to! Just randomly cut diagonal. This shape is the easiest and quickest way to cut.

If I plan to mash it for dessert and salad or don’t have any specific dishes in mind, I cut it into large pieces.

how to cut kabocha squash into large chunks.
  1. Cut the quarter kabocha squash in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut in half crosswise to make it sit flat.
  3. Diagonal cut.
  4. Diagonal cut the rest.

Recommended dishes: Roast, salad, steam, and dessert.

Recipes: Kabocha squash salad, Kabocha squash dango, Kabocha squash muffins, Kabocha squash cookies

2. Cube

kabocha squash cubes in a bowl.

These cubes are almost the same as large chunks but are cut all pieces in a uniform size.

This shape is excellent for simmered dishes and soups as they’re cooked evenly in a pot.

how to cut kabocha squash into cubes.
  1. Cut the quarter kabocha squash in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut in half crosswise to make it sit flat.
  3. Cut in half lengthwise.
  4. Cut into cubes.

Recommended dishes: Simmered dish, soup, or steamed.

Recipes: Japanese vegetable curry, Simmered kabocha squash, Roasted vegetable, Creamy kabocha soup.

3. Thin Slices

slices of kabocha squash in a bowl.

This thin slice might be a tough one to cut. The skin would be hard to cut, especially if you pick a mature kabocha squash. It’s essential to make it flat when slicing.

how to cut kabocha squash into slices.
  1. Cut the quarter kabocha squash in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut in half crosswise to make it sit flat.
  3. Lay it flat and slice it thinly.
  4. Slice the rest.

*Step 3: If it’s too hard to cut the skin, flip it over. It would be easier to cut from the orange flesh.

Recommended dishes: Deep fry, salad

Recipes: Kabocha squash tempura, Fried kabocha squash, Kabocha and lotus root salad, Veggie quinoa salad

4. Dice

kabocha squash dices in a bowl.

Cut into thick slices and dice them. These smaller pieces save time if you want to make soup or salad quickly.

how to cut kabocha squash into dices.
  1. Cut the quarter kabocha squash in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut in half crosswise to make it sit flat.
  3. Cut into 1/2 inch length crosswise.
  4. Cut into small dice.

Recommended dishes: Soups, salad

Recipes: Kabocha miso soup, Kabocha squash salad

5. Stick

kabocha squash sticks in a bowl.

After slicing, chop them into thin sticks, perfect for a quick stir-fry recipe.

how to cut kabocha into sticks.
  1. Cut the quarter kabocha squash in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut in half crosswise to make it sit flat.
  3. Lay it flat and slice.
  4. Stack the slices and cut them into thin strips.

Recommended dishes: Stir fry, salad

How To Store Kabocha

Room temperature

kabocha squash

You can store a whole kabocha squash at room temperature for 2 to 3 months in a cool and dry place.

Refrigerator

kabocha squash wrapped in plastic.
  • Whole kabocha squash: You can store it at room temperature for 2 to 3 months in a cool and dry place.
  • Large pieces: If you buy a quarter kabocha at a grocery store, remove pulp and pumpkin seeds, cover it with plastic wrap, and store it in the fridge. It will last for 4 to 5 days.
  • Small pieces: If you cut Kabocha into small pieces, put them into an airtight container and store them in the fridge. It will last for 4 to 5 days.

Freezer

large chunks of kabocha squash in a freezer bag.

You can also freeze kabocha squash. Cut it into large chunks or cubes and put them in a freezer bag. It will last for 2 to 3 weeks in the freezer.

Cook straight from frozen for soup and simmered dishes.

Japanese Kabocha Squash Recipes

a collage of 8 kabocha squash recipes.

Kabocha squash is a flavorful, versatile veggie that can be used in countless dishes. Check out these 15 Japanese kabocha squash recipes, from savory side dishes to creamy soups – there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

FAQ

How do you soften squash before cutting?

Microwave a whole kabocha squash for 5 minutes. If it’s half-size, warm it up for 3 minutes to make the skin softer.

Do you need to peel Kabocha?

You don’t need to peel it as the skin is edible. It contains more nutrients than flesh, so I always cook with it. But if you want that perfect orange for your desserts or don’t like the texture, then it’s better to peel it.

Can you eat Kabocha squash skin?

Yes, you can. The skin is edible and rich in nutrients.

How do you know if a kabocha squash is good?

Pick the one that is dark green, hard, glossy on the skin, and heavy.

How do you know if a kabocha squash is ripe?

Check the stem first. If you find a Kabocha squash with a dry, cork-like stem, they’re ideally ripe and taste good. Another point is an orange mark on the skin, which contacted the ground and did not turn green. If they are bright orange, it’s a sign of mature Kabocha squash.

Can I freeze kabocha squash?

Yes, you can. Cut it into large chunks or cubes and put them in a freezer bag. It will last for 2 to 3 weeks in the freezer. When you use them, cook straight from frozen for soup and simmered dishes.

Thanks For Stopping By!

Kabocha creamy miso soup in a pot.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡. If you’ve tried this recipe (or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!

Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!

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More Recipes You Might Like

Cutting kabocha squash.

How to Cut a Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin)

5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Juri Austin
Learn how to cut Kabocha squash and enjoy the delicious Japanese pumpkin dishes in the season!

Ingredients

  • 1 Kabocha squash, wash the skin

Instructions

  • Insert the tip of the sharp knife diagonally around the stem and make a notch while turning the kabocha squash.
  • Lift the bottom of the stem with the knife and remove it.
  • Insert the tip of the knife from where the stem was, hold it steady, and push the knife gradually.
  • Turn it, then do the same on the other side to cut it in half.
  • Insert the tip of the knife to orange color flesh.
  • Push the knife gradually down, lay it flat, and cut the rest.
  • Remove pulp and pumpkin seeds.
  • Cut the quarter of kabocha squash into shapes depending on the dish you make.

Video

Notes

  • Equipment: a sharp knife, a cutting board
  • Storage: A whole kabocha – You can store it at room temperature for 2 to 3 months in a cool and dark place. Cut kabocha squash – Remove pulp and pumpkin seeds, wrap them with plastic, and store them in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
  • See “How to cut kabocha: 5 Ways” to find how to cut kabocha for cooking.
  • *Please be careful not to cut your fingers.

Nutrition

Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 36mg | Sugar: 20g
Course: How to
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: how to cut kabocha squash
Did You Make this recipe?Please Leave a star rating!

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