How to Cook Acorn Squash (two ways!) – with video

Learn how to cook acorn squash in two ways: Sweet and savory. Both are super easy and make for an fantastic side dish! 

Learn how to cook acorn squash in two ways: Sweet and savory. Both are super easy and make for an fantastic side dish! Get the details on RachelCooks.com!

One of the greatest things about fall is SQUASH. I love it all — spaghetti, acorn, butternut, delicata. Delicata squash is my favorite and I love that you can eat the skin of it. I wrote a post about roasted delicata squash ages ago if you want to see how I do it.

Updated – I now have a complete guide on how to cook spaghetti squash as well! I cover five different methods and tell you which is my favorite!

Also, as an aside, did you know you can make butternut squash in the slow cooker? It’s a total game-changer for soups and butternut squash mash.

I know cooking a squash can be somewhat intimidating but it’s really so easy! I cover one method in this post, but with two variations: Sweet and savory. I’ll let you in on a secret, the sweet variation is my favorite. Especially for eating just the way it is. If you’re looking to stuff the acorn squash, try making it the savory way to get a great base and layer of flavor before adding whatever stuffing you have in mind.

Important to note, here, is that these are not fancy techniques. We’re covering the basics. Once you get the basics down, you can spice things up a little. We’ll talk about that in a bit, though.

Learn how to cook acorn squash in two ways: Sweet and savory. Both are super easy and make for an fantastic side dish! Get the details on RachelCooks.com!

So here we go.

Short version of How to Cook Acorn Squash:

How to cook acorn squash:

  1. WASH the squash.
  2. Slice in half stem to end. (Read my long version for tips!)
  3. Scoop out the seeds.
  4. Season the squash (choose one of two ways below or go nuts!).
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 400°F or until fork tender.

Long version of How to Cook Acorn Squash:

First things first! WASH YOUR SQUASH. I know people don’t always wash the peel or skin of a fruit or vegetable when they don’t eat that part. Well, I teach my kids not to say something is gross, but that’s gross you guys.

Think about this. When you cut the squash in half, the knife goes through the (dirty) skin and into the flesh part that you’re going to eat. So now it’s dirty, like the skin.

Plus you’re handling the whole thing so your hands are getting dirty in the process and then you’re touching the part you eat. JUST WASH IT. Watermelons, oranges, squash, whatever. Wash them. Preferably with a vegetable brush (I like this one). So it’s true, I don’t typically eat the skin of an acorn squash, but I ALWAYS wash it.

Next up, slice your squash. This can be tricky because those suckers are HARD. Here’s my tip: Microwave for about 3 minutes and then let it cool enough for it to handle, and slice. This softens the skin, making it easier to cut. Yes, it adds a few minutes to your prep time, but if you’re saving your fingers, it’s probably worth it.

Learn how to cook acorn squash in two ways: Sweet and savory. Both are super easy and make for an fantastic side dish! Get the details on RachelCooks.com!

Next: Scoop out the seeds.

Tip: Make your life SO easy and scrape out the seeds with a grapefruit spoon. It will make your life so much easier!

Okay, now you have your squash ready to season. If you’re allergic to doing dishes like I am, you’ll want to line a sheet pan with parchment paper for easy clean up. I like these parchment paper sheets because they don’t curl up.

I want you to know how to cook acorn squash two different ways – these are the basic building blocks. Sweet and Savory.

Sweet:

Melted butter + brown sugar (or coconut sugar)

Savory:

Olive oil + salt + pepper

You rub the inside with the the oil or melted butter and then sprinkle on either sugar or salt and pepper. All that’s left to do after that is baking and eating!

Learn how to cook acorn squash in two ways: Sweet and savory. Both are super easy and make for an fantastic side dish! Get the details on RachelCooks.com!

Tip: Once you’ve mastered this basic skill of how to cook acorn squash, here are a few ways to spice it up — acorn squash is such a versatile ingredient, so make it your own!

  • Sweet: Add a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Sweet: Add cinnamon + nutmeg
  • Sweet: Swap out brown sugar for maple syrup
  • Savory: Add chili powder
  • Savory: Add smoked paprika
  • Savory: Give it an Italian twist — add oregano, basil, and Parmesan cheese
  • Sweet and Spicy: Follow the sweet directions but add a bit of cinnamon and cayenne
 

How to Cook Acorn Squash (two ways!)

How to Cook Acorn Squash (two ways!)

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Learn how to cook acorn squash in two ways: Sweet and savory. Both are super easy and make for an fantastic side dish!

Ingredients

Savory version:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • Pepper to taste

Sweet version:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or coconut sugar) - more to taste

Instructions

  1. Place oven rack right below the middle position in your oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Wash peel of squash and cut squash in half from the stem to the bottom (see note). Don’t try to cut through the stem, when you get to the stem, just crack the squash in half and it will separate.
  3. Scrape out seeds and stringy bits - I use a grapefruit spoon for this!
  4. Prepare squash -- for savory, rub inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. For sweet, rub inside with melted butter and sprinkle with brown or coconut sugar. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Place in preheated oven and roast for 50-60 minutes or until very tender to the poke of a fork.
  6. Enjoy immediately or store covered in fridge for 3-4 days.

Notes

Note: Microwaving the whole squash for 3-5 minutes and then letting cool can make slicing it in half easier.

Note: Nutrition Information is for the savory version.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1/2 acorn squash
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 152mg Carbohydrates: 22g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 0g Protein: 2g

I’d love to know – is this how you prepare acorn squash or do you use a different technique?

 

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90 comments

  1. Thank you for the recipe. I just popped two acorn squash in the oven; one sweet, one savory. My husband and I look forward to trying them out.

  2. I used the sweet version and added some red pepper flakes to add a heat layer to the sweet. Delicious

  3. I I take squash cut in half deseed then put in pot on stove with salted water, then serve it with butter or fill it with feta or sweetcorn an grated cheese an put in oven

  4. I left the skin on and half way through cooking cut it like a cantaloupe and dipped it in the butter brown suger mixture and added salt. Delicious.

  5. QwI use my microwave daily for heating food and easy cooking , I even cook scramble eyes with butter  cheese, green onions  and bell pepper almost daily, but none of my family got cancer.  In fact my Mom died at age of 101,  she did not get cancer even I cook in the microwave most of the time.  She died of old age and suffered  of pain in her chest for (2) two hours only before she left us, So, my dear Rachel microwave is not really bad to use.  I think you’ll get cancer
    with the kind of food you eat,  the environment where you live and also the way you take care of your health.  Thanks a lot for all the great recipes you share us.  More power to you and keep up the delicious recipes you are
    sharing us.  I love you.  By the way I am 73 years old and very healthy.  

  6. Microwave tip was a great idea and haven’t even thought of that after all these years!  Worked like a charm and with just 2 minutes in there. Thanks!

  7. Hey Rachel, I haven’t made acorn squash in awhile and was checking my memory. Excellent results!  Thx for sweet and savory!!
    Well I have to say the microwave witch is just that. Why would someone bother to write something so negative. Wonder what she’d  do if they put themselves out there and got that type of comment!?!?
    Keep giving us your recipes and tips. They’ve found a good home with me and my friends

  8. I spread butter inside  halved acorn squash with a spoon, then sprinkle dried minced onion, freshly grated black pepper. I put water in my casserole dish….about half way up sides of acorn and microwave on high for 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Check if soft at 45 minutes. Yum!

  9. I like em stuffed , rice ,sausage,
    garlic , onion , celry, mozz. Great tip to microwave . But really chicken little,1hr.@ 400 is gonna kill most bacteria unless of course it comes from ET.

    • Yes, I like them stuffed too – this is one of my favorite stuffed squash recipes. I still like to wash the dirt and grit off of the outside of the squash before slicing it, but you’re free to do whatever you please!

  10. I’m cooking savory right now, really looking forward to dinner! I used olive oil salt pepper and smokey paprika.

  11. I saw an ad with these cut in slices they looked great and easier to eat. Have you ever prepared  them sliced? 

  12. 400 degrees for butter? Hope you like smoke.

  13. Made the sweet version today with a tiny bit of butter, plus a little coconut sugar and cinnamon for a Thanksgiving side and it is delicious!

  14. Tried the sweet tonight. My husband wasn’t sure about eating squash but we both loved it. Next time…savoury.

  15. I got a couple nice acorn squash from my brother and sister in law’s Garden, we had some while visiting with them a couple of weeks ago tonight it will be a Sweetland alongside our dinner love the tips on how to soften the skin before cutting thanks for your great recipes

  16. These look seriously delicious! I’ve pinned this for later–it’s definitely something I’m going to try!!!

  17. Hubby likes sweet and I prefer savory so one squash baked sunny side up for 50 min and we’re both happy!

  18. I use a pressure cooker to cook mine; 5 minutes.
    Then I place them on a cooking sheet face up with the ingredients added, like the butter and brown sugar, and put them under a broiler until the tops are all nice and brown.
    Love the idea of microwaving first. I hate to cut them; they are so hard. What I do is to use the smallest sharpest knife, about 2″ then once pierced I pull it around the outside with the handle as close to the skin as possible. This way i get a good grip and cut where i want it; typically the large knife tends to change direction.

  19. I’ve been making acorn squash for years one of my favorite ways is to add sweet and savory together little butter, honey, salt, pepper and dash of Cayenne. However love the idea to heat it up in the microwave for 3 minutes to soften the skin. Going to try this tonight!

  20. After baking cut side down, turn over, add butter and cooked pork sausage. Dinner!

  21. I did both ways..sweet.  And savory..will let you know

  22. Delicious. I added some balsamic vinegar in the last 15 minutes of cooking which reduced to a lovely tangy glaze. I keep my knives quite sharp, and without microwaving I had no trouble slicing through the squash.

  23. Hi, Rachel. I usually cook spaghetti squash but wanted to try the acorn squash. You made the cooking process so easy. Thanks much. It turned out great.

  24. P.s. I make a mean pot roast in a crock pot

  25. I just cooked a large acorn..I live in a independent living place without a stove, but I have a microwave, so I washed it, cut it in half, a little olive oil, a spoon of brown sugar , put in a glass bowl with about a inch of water @ backed it till it was just right to eat. Yummy half gone & other half given to girl friend. .  We are both in our mid 80’s. I am 87. Still love to cook

  26. I like to cut in half rub with salt , pepper and butter. Wrap in foil and slow cook for 2 hours. We always cook one when we do a roast . Never have we had one not turn out tasty.

  27. I think you should try to create less landfill waste when cooking.

  28. Enjoyed  basil, oregano, and parmesan with salt and pepper.  Thanks for the suggestion.  Followed your recommendations for cleaning.  I must be healthier for them!  At 80, still cooking and looking for better ways.  Thanks again.
    John

  29. I make twice baked acorn squash. Scoop out the insides. Add to sauteed onions, garlic, Italian style bread crumbs, some oregano and basil. Temper in 2 eggs. Pit back in the shells. Top with more bread crumbs and dots of butter. Bake until heated through. Yum!

  30. I made the sweet version tonight – delicious!

  31. I was told to cut in half, Take seeds out then put in 400 degree oven with cut side down in about 1” of water for hour.  

    I like your method better and I’m cooking it right now savory.  Thank you for all the great advice!!  

  32. I don’t have an oven or microwave. Can i use my electric skillet (I can boil, bake or fry in it) to make the squash? I’d love to add cinnamon and maple syrup with hot butter. Would it be possible to cook it this way? Thanks for your help.

  33. The perfect way to bake them! It depends on whether my meal needs a savory or sweet, but we use an ice cream scooper to scoop out the inside. Super easy!

  34. oh, dump the water out of them after baking

  35. I always do the sweet version. put a little water in them while you bake. after you take it out of the oven when it cools a bit scrape the flesh off the skins and discard. smash the flesh with a fork then add butter and brown sugar and mix.

  36. I only microwaved the acorn for 3 minutes then I cut the squash. Then added 2 tablespoons of butter and brown sugar. Added freshly grated nutmeg and sprinkled cinnamon. Absolutely delicious!

  37. Which side faces up when baking?

  38. Do you cover it to bake it.

  39. Very good!.. quick & easy. Turned out perfect..I will use again.

  40. Made this tonight – so easy and delicious. Thank you!

  41. I cut it in half, put into a large ramekin, add butter and sugar, cover with Saran, and nuke it for 10 minutes. Lunch is ready.

    • I’d rather keep the nutrients and have better tasting squash without the radiation. Damn. Y’all wonder why you and your kids get cancers. 

      • The microwave step is just to soften the skin to make it easier to cut so people don’t cut themselves while trying to cut the squash. You’re free to skip it if you’re concerned about using the microwave.

        • Rachel, you are not paying attention to what Paying Attention is saying

          • I don’t cook mine in the microwave, I just occasionally soften the peeling in the microwave so I don’t cut my fingers off. ;)

          • DAMN!
            Cyber police everywhere! Geez!
            -Grammar police
            -Spelling police
            Now recipe police! 
            Cant anyone offer any suggestions without you negative people around. 
            Maybe there should be an etiquette police.
            Let people do their thing for cripe sake!
            Ok rant over. Carry on. 

      • DAMN!
        Cyber police everywhere! Geez!
        -Grammar police
        -Spelling police
        Now recipe police! 
        Cant anyone offer any suggestions without you negative people around. 
        Maybe there should be an etiquette police.
        Let people do their thing for cripe sake!
        Ok rant over. Carry on. 

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