\ Instant Pot Kabocha Squash – Paltux

Instant Pot Kabocha Squash

Here’s a step-by-step guide to make the perfect kabocha squash, sometimes referred to as a Japanese pumpkin, in the instant pot. This speedy method makes a tender, delicious squash that is cooked and ready to use in all your favorite fall recipes.

big bowl of mashed kabocha squash on white background

Winter squash season is here! As soon as fall hits my kitchen counter is full of seasonal local squash varieties. I love them all, butternut squash, acorn squash, honeynut squash, spaghetti squash, and my all-time favorite is Kabocha Squash. Nuttier, rich, and sweeter than most other squash varieties. 

There’s so much to love about Kabocha squash:

  • It makes silky-smooth squash soup with vibrant color and earthy squash flavor.
  • Kabocha squash puree can easily step in for butternut squash or pumpkin in your favorite fall recipes. Think sweet bread, pancakes, soups, and chilis or you can even swirl the puree into your morning oatmeal.
  • Kabocha squash is a nutrition powerhouse loaded with fiber, powerful antioxidants like alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin, and a host of vitamins and minerals.
  • Simply served, this squash only really needs a little grass-fed butter or ghee, salt, and pepper to become a lovely side dish that can stand in for mashed potatoes creating the perfect fall dinner with simple roast chicken.

green kabocha squash up close

There’s even more to love about cooking Kabocha squash in the Instant Pot:

The instant pot has officially earned a coveted spot in my kitchen as an essential tool. Seamlessly cooking all types of winter squash is truly one of the Instant Pots (or any pressure cooker) superpowers.

  • You’ll have cooked kabocha squash in under 30 minutes
  • This cooked squash can be made into a creamy soup by blending it with vegetable broth and a handful of raw cashews.
  • A few spoonsful swirled into mac and cheese is magic.
  • Pieces of the squash make a lovely addition to salads. You could even substitute kabocha squash for the pumpkin in my favorite pumpkin vinaigrette dressing.


large green kabocha squash inside instant pot


Wash kabocha squash to remove any dirt or debris. Pour 2 cups of water into the instant pot. Place the trivet/steamer basket inside of the Instant Pot and place a whole (uncut!) Kabocha squash on top of the trivet. Lock the lid, turn to the sealed position, and cook on manual for 25 minutes. 

When the pressure is complete, perform a quick-release of the valve and remove the lid.

Test to see if the squash is done by inserting a knife deep into the squash, if the knife goes in super smooth like slicing through warm butter the squash is done. If you get resistance, then cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.

I found 25 minutes was the perfect amount of time for a large 4-5 lb. kabocha squash

pressure cooked kabocha squash on a cutting board


Carefully remove the squash from the instant pot and place on a cutting board. After the squash has cooled down for a bit cut in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. You can discard the seeds or save them and toast for a garnish or snack.

Scoop out the flesh and reserve for all of your favorite fall recipes!

The skin is edible, but I prefer to scoop the flesh out of the skin and discard it.

big bowl of mashed kabocha squash on white background


Create kabocha squash magic! Mash with a little grass-fed butter, coconut oil, or ghee. Save the puree and add to all of your favorite fall recipes, add the flesh back to the instant pot with broth and spices for a quick soup.

Kabocha Squash in the Instant Pot


  • Pick a small to medium sized kabocha squash that will fit inside your pressure cooker. 
  • Use the squash in a variety of ways; soup, add to smoothies, stir into oatmeal, add to muffins or quick breads.
  • Mash grass fed butter into the squash, season well with salt and pepper and you have the perfect side dish!


What does Kabocha squash taste like?

Kabocha squash tastes like a cross between pumpkin, acorn squash, and sweet potato. The flesh of the squash has a drier texture than pumpkin but when blended in soups it becomes velvety and smooth. It is sweet, rich, and nutty.

Can you eat the seeds of Kabocha squash?

The seeds from a kabocha squash are edible but many prefer to remove the outer layer of the seed which can be tough. They can be roasted like pumpkin seeds and used as a garnish or snack.

Can you eat the skin of the kabocha squash?

Yes, the skin is 100% edible and is very high in fiber. If you are sensitive to fiber I would limit the amount of skin that you eat.


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Kabocha Squash in the Instant Pot

Instant Pot Kabocha Squash

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Author Abra Pappa, MS, CNS, LDN


  • 1 Whole Kabocha Squash *see note below
  • 2 cups water


  • Wash kabocha squash to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Place trivet inside of the Instant Pot and pour in water. Place whole Kabocha squash on top of the trivet.
  • Lock lid and turn to sealed position. 
  • Cook on manual for 25 minutes.
  • Quick release and remove lid when finished.
  • Take out squash and cut lengthwise, then scoop out seeds.
  • You can either cut flesh into pieces or mash into a puree.
  • Serve your favorite way or in your favorite recipes.


* Note- A 3.5 lb Kabocha squash yields 3 cups of squash. Estimate about 1 cup of squash per pound.
Storage and Leftovers:
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Kabocha squash can also be frozen for later use.

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