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Baked Acorn Squash is the perfect fall treat. Its sweet flesh is delicious in a smooth soup, baked in a casserole, or roasted and drizzled with butter, maple syrup and warm spices.
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Why We Love This Recipe
This is a favorite side dish for the fall, and looks beautiful as a part of your Thanksgiving side dishes. Cutting it in half gets a little tricky, but you just need a sharp knife and some a little muscle. This Baked Acorn Squash recipe is so easy to make and totally delicious – it’s worth the little bit of effort!
In addition to baked acorn squash halves, you can use this winter squash in a variety of recipes. Acorn Squash Soup is comforting and cozy and Parmesan Herb Roasted Acorn Squash transforms the slices into a presentation-ready side dish.
Pick up some medium acorn squash from the store and then grab a few pantry staples to make this slightly sweet side dish.
- Acorn Squash – Shaped like an acorn, hence the nickname. The flesh is sweeter than other squash varieties, with a nutty flavor.
- Olive Oil
- Maple Syrup – Use the pure maple syrup, not the table syrup often served with pancakes.
- Spices – Ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, cloves. For a more savory flavor, try adding chili powder or garlic powder.
How To Bake Acorn Squash
It takes only minutes to prep the squash, then into the oven to roast! Such an easy, hands-off recipe.
- Prep the squash – Place the squash on a large cutting board, remove the stem, cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the insides. Brush the cut sides of the squash with olive and place flesh side down on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet or in a roasting pan.
- Bake the acorn squash – Bake the squash in a 350 degrees F preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients – Then remove from the oven, carefully flip the squash over so the cut sides are up. To each squash half, add some of the butter, maple syrup, and sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves.
- Bake squash again – Return the squash to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes. The squash is done when it can be easily pierced with a knife or fork. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can find acorn squash at most grocery stores – especially in the fall and winter. When picking an acorn squash, pick one that feels heavy for its size. You also want the skin to be free of mold and blemishes. The squash should be firm with no soft spots. Acorn squash will be dark green with some patches of yellow orange.
Yes, you bake acorn squash with the skin on! The inner flesh becomes tender and caramelized. When eating you can just use your spoon or fork to scoop the cooked flesh out of the skin.
Bake the squash cut side down at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Flip them over and add some butter and seasonings in the center and bake for another half hour.
Acorn squash are tough and difficult to cut. You’ll need a long, sharp knife to cut the squash in half all the way through from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds to prepare for roasting.
This simple side is the perfect addition to a fall or winter meal. I love pairing the squash with a pasta dish like this Bacon Bow Tie Pasta. They’re also a great side dish with protein like this Roast Turkey Breast or Herb Pork Tenderloin. Baked squash is a great choice for a dinner party as they have a stellar presentation while being so easy to make.
For presentation, you can just drizzle with the butter and maple syrup and dust with spices. Or, stuff with some roasted vegetables. Additionally, you can scoop out the flesh and serve it mashed, or slice and serve in wedges. The melted butter and warm spices, combined with the sweet maple syrup make this healthy side dish seem positively sinful.
Storage and Reheating
Storage – Leftover baked squash can be stored, wrapped in foil, in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Reheating – For best results, I like to reheat the squash in the oven. Keep the squash wrapped in the foil and reheat at 400 degrees F until warmed through.
- Use as bowls – You can skip the maple butter filling and roast the squash plain and then use as a bowl for other recipes such as chili, cooked rice, or cooked and crumbled sausage.
- Acorn squash store well – If you buy your acorn squash in advance just store in a cool, dry place. They stay fresh for a month.
- Cutting acorn squash – Like other winter squash, it takes a little strength to cut the acorn squash in half. It helps to hold it in a stable position (if you need, you can trim a small piece to create a flat edge) and use a very sharp chef’s knife. If you’re still struggling you can microwave the squash for just a minute to help soften the flesh.
- Add some crunch or color. Sprinkle to top with chopped pecans or cranberries to make them even more festive.
- Savory acorn squash. Sprinkle with garlic, salt, and black pepper, and fill with winter vegetables, pork sausage stuffing, or a ground turkey or chicken and rice mixture like my Turkey Taco Stuffed Peppers.
5 More Veggie Side Dishes To Try
- Cheesy Zucchini Casserole
- Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
- Sauteed Mushrooms
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Zucchini Fritters
Baked Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash cut in half, seeds removed
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup divided
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon divided
- pinch ground nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- olive oil
- Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Brush olive oil on the cut sides of the squash. Place cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Using tongs, turn the squash halves over.
- Place 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoons maple syrup, ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground nutmeg and ground cloves into each squash half.
- Return to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced with a knife or fork.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.