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

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Sweet or savory, we have you covered!

How long it takes: Just over an hour
Equipment you’ll need: sharp knife, cutting board, baking sheet
Servings: 2

Two acorn squash halves on a white plate. Both have been roasted and seasoned with salt and pepper.
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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 outlining how to make delicata squash if you want to learn more.

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.

More Squash

More Squash: If you love squash like we do, make sure to also check out my complete tutorials on butternut squash, kabocha squash, and delicata squash!

We also love stuffing squash! Try pizza stuffed spaghetti squash or chicken fajita stuffed spaghetti squash.

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. Try our stuffed acorn squash – it’s full of great flavor!

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.

Two halves of roasted acorn squash with brown sugar and butter, on a baking sheet.

So here we go.

Overview of How to Prepare 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.

Detailed Instructions & Tips

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.

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. They grow in the dirt and dirt is gritty. The last thing you want is grit in your food.

Next up, slice your squash. This can be tricky because those suckers are HARD.

Cooking Tip

Here’s my tip for slicing squash: 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. You can also carefully cut off the stem end, and then set it on that end so you have a flat, steady surface when you cut the squash in half.
Overhead view of acorn squash half, roasted with pepper.

Next: Scoop out the seeds.

Tip!

Make your life SO easy and try scraping out the seeds with a grapefruit spoon. It works great!

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 Acorn Squash

Melted butter + brown sugar (or coconut sugar or maple syrup)

Savory Acorn Squash

Olive oil + salt + pepper

For both methods, you’ll 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!

FAQs

Can you eat the skin of an acorn squash?

You can! I personally prefer not to, as I find it slightly tough (compared to a delicata squash, for example). However, when roasted, it does soften some and is completely edible. The cooked flesh also peels away from the skin easy with a fork, so if you choose not to eat the skin, it’s easy not to.

What is the difference between an acorn squash and a butternut squash?

Acorn squash are generally smaller and more round (shaped like an acorn), with a dark green skin. Butternut squash are longer, with a thinner portion and a rounder portion at the end. They have a light beige peel. Both are delicious!

How can you tell if an acorn squash is bad?

Squash lasts for quite awhile (months, even!) at room temperature. If it has soft mushy spots or is slimy and mushy when you cut it open, those are good indicators that it has gone bad.

Roasted squash halves on grey baking sheet, filled with melted brown sugar and butter.

How to Season Squash

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 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to each half
  • Sweet: Add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg to each half
  • Sweet: Swap out brown sugar for maple syrup (even amounts)
  • Savory: Add 1/4 teaspoon chili powder to each half
  • Savory: Add 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika to each half
  • Savory: Give it an Italian twist — add 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon basil, and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • Sweet and Spicy: Follow the sweet directions but add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne to each half

Storage Suggestions

Keep roasted squash in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Reheating Tips

Reheat leftovers for 45-90 seconds in the microwave until warm. You can also use the oven (400°F for about 10 minutes or until warm), or the air fryer (380°F for about 5 minutes, or until heated through).

Recipe

Acorn Squash Recipe

4.42 from 198 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
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)

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • Microwaving the whole squash for 3-5 minutes and then letting cool can make slicing it in half easier.
  • Nutrition Information is for the savory version.
  • Keep roasted squash in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat leftovers for 45-90 seconds in the microwave until warm. You can also use the oven (400°F for about 10 minutes or until warm), or the air fryer (380°F for about 5 minutes, or until heated through).

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5squash, Calories: 146kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 152mg, Fiber: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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223 Comments

  1. Maria Sloan says:

    So excited to try this recipe. And my daughter 1st time trying acorn squash ever! We have them in the oven now. Tried it both ways, sweet and savory. Can’t wait to eat!! Thanks for the recipe:)

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I hope you love it! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  2. Callie says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I’ll pick up 1 or two for on my next shopping trip.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I hope you love them!

  3. john muriithi says:

    can i cook acron squash without Scraping out seeds and stringy

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I usually just scrape them out with a grapefruit spoon. Only takes a minute! I’m sure you could scrape them out after too, but I find that to be more difficult as the squash is then soft and hot.

      1. Mark says:

        I use an ice cream scoop. Works great

        1. Rachel Gurk says:

          Perfect!

  4. Anne Noyes says:

    I made apples stuffed with sausage stuffing. The apples were not the right kind for baking and they didn’t soften the way they should have….well, I reused the stuffing in the acorn squash and it was VERY good. Lucky me.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Smart move! Sounds delicious!

  5. Susan Dubose says:

    I have my acorn squash all ready to make right now. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe, as always.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I hope your squash turned out delicious, Susan!

  6. Ruth says:

    You are the first person I’ve seen to recommend using a grapefruit spin to scoop out the innards! I’ve been doing this for EONS! It makes it SO EASY.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      It’s one of my favorite tips! It does make it so easy. I learned it from my mom. :)

  7. Diane Richards says:

    After scraping out the seeds, I separate them from strings, soak in salted water, spread them on a baking sheet, and bake on the shelf above the squash for 10-15 minutes, stirring and watching to see they don’t burn. Edible, skin and all, unlike pumpkin seeds. Good TV snack.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Great tip! Thanks for sharing, Diane!

  8. D J Robinson says:

    seems like a very simple receipt…… appreciate your help very much
    1st time making squash….. sure hope it’s good !!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I hope you loved it!

  9. Lauren Masters says:

    Great tips on seasoning! Just wanted to say though, about the washing: it’s highly unnecessary when you’re about to pop it in the oven. Any bad stuff will be killed at 400°! Save yourself the trouble.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Hi Lauren, I’m glad you like the seasoning suggestions, thanks! In regards to the washing, squash grows on the ground so they also have a lot of dirt/mud/sand on them sometimes in addition to any possible bacteria. With that being said, my recipes and instructions are just a jumping off point and you can do as you please. I just prefer my squash not to be gritty. :)

  10. Patrick says:

    Made this tonight, turned out great!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad to hear it! Thanks for taking the time to come back and leave a comment!