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!)

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

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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

Directions:

  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.

 

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

All images and text ©Rachel Cooks.

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

 

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!
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32 comments

  1. 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.

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

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

    Rating: 5
  4. Do you cover it to bake it.

  5. Which side faces up when baking?

  6. 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!

    Rating: 5
  7. 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.

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

  9. 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!

    Rating: 5
  10. 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.

  11. 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!!  

    Rating: 5
  12. I made the sweet version tonight – delicious!

    Rating: 5
  13. 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!

  14. 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

    Rating: 5
  15. I think you should try to create less landfill waste when cooking.

    Rating: 5
  16. 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.

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