Roasted Acorn Squash – How to Cook Acorn Squash

Roasted acorn squash halves are the perfect winter side dish. Acorn squash has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that accommodates other flavors well.

Roasted acorn squash halves on a white platter.

Why You’ll Love This

Roasted acorn squash deserves a place at your table this season! Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any night of the week.

It’s a simple side dish yet so easy to make, almost nutty in flavor, and is a hearty side dish.

This acorn squash recipe uses only four ingredients.

We also love to serve these fast mashed potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, and roasted green beans and mushrooms side dishes.

What is Acorn Squash?

Acorn squash is also called pepper squash or Des Moines squash.

It is a winter squash with typically dark green skin on its exterior and sweet, yellow-orange flesh inside.

It’s considered a winter squash, but acorn squash belongs to the same species as all summer squashes.

It’s packed with nutrients, high in antioxidants, and high in vitamin C, all of which are great for boosting immunity.

How to Cut Acorn Squash

Use a very sharp knife and a nonslip cutting board to carefully cut the squash in half, from stem to tip. Be very careful with this step, as it can rock and make you slip with the knife.

I’ve been known to use a rubber mallet with this part.

Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp with a spoon inside each half until clean.

How to Make Roasted Acorn Squash

Raw acorn squash halves smeared with butter in a roasting pan.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

You can score the flesh in a cross-hatch pattern if you like, but it’s unnecessary.

Rub one tablespoon of butter on the inside flesh of each half. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place the squash cut side up (flesh side) in a large roasting pan. Fill the bottom of the pan with about 1/4-inch of water.

Roasted acorn squash on a white platter.

Bake for about 1 hour to an hour and 15 minutes, until the flesh is nicely browned and fork tender/soft.

Closeup of roasted acorn squash on a white plate.

Remove and let cool just a bit before serving.  You can scoop it out or serve it in its naturally beautiful shell.

Roasted Acorn Squash Serving Suggestions

  • Serve them as a side with pork, chicken, turkey, or beef.
  • You can also serve it with a hearty grain like farro, quinoa, or steamed rice. Toss in some roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts or broccoli, and you have a meatless meal.

Tips

  • Use a roasting pan with high sides. I don’t recommend a sheet pan because the water keeps the squash from drying out and scorching on the bottom.

Variations

  • Want to make it sweet? Sprinkle some brown sugar over each half instead of salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle a little maple syrup over them.
  • Just a little sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg helps bring out the natural sweetness of the acorn squash.
  • Use olive oil instead of butter.
  • You can also add this baked acorn squash to casseroles, chili, salads, cooked beans, or cooked rice.
  • Sprinkle some freshly shredded parmesan cheese over them for an even nuttier flavor!

FAQ

How to Make Ahead

Bake the squash up to 2 days ahead of time. Wrap each piece in foil and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat in the foil at 400 degrees F until just heated through.

How to pick an acorn squash

Choose one with an equal color balance of green and orange. If it’s too green, it is probably not ripe enough. If it’s too orange, it probably has too many stringy fibers.
The skin should be smooth without any soft spots or wrinkling.
Pick the squash that’s the heaviest squash for its size.

Can you eat the skin of acorn squash?

Yes, when squash is roasted in this way, the skin becomes soft and tender. But if the skin is not your thing, skip it!

Storing

Let cool to room temperature, place them in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
To reheat, wrap or cover in aluminum foil and reheat at 400 degrees F until heated through. You can also reheat it in the microwave for a minute or two without the foil, of course,

Freezing

You can freeze uncooked acorn squash, but you will need to remove the skin and cut it into smaller chunks. I would suggest flash-freezing the pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet until hard. Then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. That said, raw squash does not freeze as well as cooked squash.

To freeze the roasted acorn squash, you can remove it from the skin in chunks or mash it up. Place in a freezer-safe air-tight container or bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

More Side Dish Recipes

Roasted acorn squash halves on a white platter.

Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe

Roasted Acorn Squash Halves – Perfect fall/winter side dish! Buttery sweet and nutty acorn squash recipe that’s simple and easy to prepare.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: acorn, squash
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 186kcal
Author: Leigh Harris

Ingredients
 

  • 2 Acorn Squash
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper fresh ground

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  • Use a large very sharp knife carefully cut the acorn squash in half, from stem to tip. Be very careful with this step it can rock and make you slip with the knife. I’ve been known to use a rubber mallet with this part.
    2 Acorn Squash
  • Scrape out the seeds and stringy pulp from the inside of each half until clean. If you like, you can score the flesh in a cross-hatch pattern, but it’s not necessary.
  • Rub 1 tablespoon of softened butter on the inside flesh of each half. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter,, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Place the acorn squash cut side up in a large roasting pan. Fill the bottom of the pan with about 1/4-inch of water. This keeps the squash from drying out and scorching on the bottom.
  • Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Notes

To Make Ahead – Bake the squash up to 2 days ahead of time. Wrap each piece in foil and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat in the foil at 400 degrees F until just heated through.
Storing – Let cool to room temperature, place them in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Freezing  – You can freeze uncooked acorn squash but you will need to remove the skin and cut it into smaller chunks. I would suggest flash-freezing the pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet until hard. Then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. With that said raw squash does not freeze as well as cooked squash.
To freeze the roasted acorn squash you can remove it from the skin in chunks or mash it up. Place in a freezer-safe air-tight container or bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 747mg | Fiber: 3g | Vitamin A: 1140IU | Vitamin C: 23.7mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 1.5mg

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