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I've got a recipe that requires baked butternut squash cubes. Is it possible to bake the squash whole first, then cube it afterwards? If so, should I attempt to peel it after baking?

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    Cooking a large item fully through without overcooking the outside takes significantly more time than cooking smaller bits, as it requires cooking at a lower temperature (to avoid burning/overcooking the outside). It will also be more wet, as there’s less opportunity for moisture to escape with reduced surface area.
    – Joe
    Sep 9, 2023 at 11:55
  • And possibly related: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/40839/67
    – Joe
    Sep 9, 2023 at 13:27
  • A recipe for what? Sep 10, 2023 at 15:14
  • Also, "baked butternut squash cubes" feels ambiguous to me. Is it <baked><butternut squash cubes> or <baked butternut squash><cubes>? Could be either. My guess is the former. Usually in a recipe, if it is baked before hand, to clear this ambiguity up, it'd be written "1 cup butternut cubes, baked". A whole butternut would be "1 whole baked butternut, cubed"
    – stanri
    Sep 24, 2023 at 7:17

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If you bake first it will be difficult to get cubes, unless you under cook significantly. Cubing first also provides more surface area for browning...thus more flavor. If it says baked cubes, there is probably a reason for it. Specifying the final recipe will help. If that changes things, I'll edit my answer.

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  • You might be able to cook, let cool, and then cut it up… but if the recipe is expecting warm ingredients at that point, it might cause other problems
    – Joe
    Sep 9, 2023 at 13:13
  • Getting the flesh off the skin is going to be challenging once it's cooked, if not impossible.
    – GdD
    Sep 9, 2023 at 17:53
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    @GdD: In my experience, getting the flesh off the skin of baked butternut squash is quite easy — just not if you want to keep any shape. For recipes that want just cooked squash flesh, I’d often bake it in big skin-on pieces and then skin it with a spoon once cooked+cooled. If wanting cubes as in OP’s recipe, though: peel, then cube, then bake.
    – PLL
    Sep 10, 2023 at 4:33

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