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!
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!
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.
So here we go.
Short version of How to Cook Acorn Squash:
How to cook acorn squash:
- WASH the squash.
- Slice in half stem to end. (Read my long version for tips!)
- Scoop out the seeds.
- Season the squash (choose one of two ways below or go nuts!).
- 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.
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.
Melted butter + brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
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!
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
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
- Pepper to taste
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or coconut sugar) - more to taste
- Place oven rack right below the middle position in your oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- 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.
- Scrape out seeds and stringy bits - I use a grapefruit spoon for this!
- 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.
- Place in preheated oven and roast for 50-60 minutes or until very tender to the poke of a fork.
- 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.
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?