How to Roast Acorn Squash

Gluten FreeVegetarianPaleo

This roasted acorn squash recipe is creamy, tender, and versatile — perfect as an easy weeknight side dish. This post will show you how to roast acorn squash perfectly. Make it with brown sugar and maple syrup for a sweet option, or with olive oil and salt for a savory option. You can even make it paleo by using coconut sugar!

roast acorn squash on a plate

Squash is one of my favorite fall ingredients. It’s tasty, simple to prepare, and so versatile! This post is all about one of my favorites — acorn squash! Be sure to check out my tutorials on butternut squash and spaghetti squash, too. If you’re short on time, you can also cook acorn squash in an instant pot!

I still remember the first time I tasted acorn squash. I was about 10 years old and couldn’t believe something so good could be part of a healthy dinner. I mean, it had syrup on it!

But a little syrup goes a long way, giving the squash tons of flavor without adding many calories.

Of course, acorn squash is also delicious in more savory preparations, too. I love stuffing it with sausage, stirring it into acorn squash risotto, or spicing it up with chipotle glaze.

ingredients for how to make a roast acorn squash recipe

How To Pick An Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is technically a winter squash, but it belongs to the summer squash family. Basically, it needs a bit more time in the sun but is perfect to eat in the fall. 

How can you tell when an acorn squash is ripe? 

The easiest ways to tell if the squash is ripe is by: 

  1. Looking for squash with smooth, dull skin and no soft spots — shiny skin is a sign it was picked too soon. 
  2. Choosing a squash that is equally orange and green in color — too much orange means it’s overripe; too much green means it’s not ripe enough. 
acord squash cut in half with seeds removed

How To Cut An Acorn Squash

Acorn squash can be made as a sweet dish or a savory one. Which is another reason this is one of my favorite seasonal sides. It’s so simple to make, but as with most squash, cutting it is the hardest part.

Start by grabbing your sturdiest, sharpest chef’s knife. Using a little bit of elbow grease, cut the acorn squash in half. The easiest way to do this is to find a valley in between the ridges of the squash. Now, cut from the stem down to the point — instead of across the diameter. 

I recommend holding the stem of the acorn squash with a towel, that way, it’s less likely to slip out of your hand. 

Next, using a large spoon, clean out the seeds. 

This is where you have a choice to make: Are you feeling savory or sweet? 

How To Cook Acorn Squash

As I’ve mentioned, roast acorn squash is one of the simplest, yet most delightful fall side dishes. You can choose to make the dish sweet or savory. 

Start by preheating your oven to 400 °F. Place your squash flesh side up on a lined baking sheet. Keeping the flesh side up lets the steam escape as it cooked, so the squash gets tender without becoming mushy. 

For savory roasted acorn squash: sprinkle the squash with salt, and coat the flesh of the squash with olive oil and add some pepper to taste. 

For sweet roasted acorn squash: sprinkle with salt, then, 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar or coconut sugar to the center of each squash half. Drizzle the maple syrup on top of each half for extra flavor! 

Bake the acorn squash for 50-60 minutes, until the squash is tender. This roasted acorn squash recipe is best served immediately.

It can be served as a side, over a salad with leafy greens and pumpkin dressing, or blended into soup — the options are endless.

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How to Roast Acorn Squash 1
Roast Acorn Squash

Roast Acorn Squash

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This roasted acorn squash recipe is creamy, tender, and versatile — perfect as an easy weeknight side dish -- or for wowing your family at Thanksgiving. For a paleo option, use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar.


  • 2 whole acorn squash
  • 4 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons brown suagar or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the squash in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  3. Plash the squash halves flesh-side up on a baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt, then add 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of sugar to the veneter of each squash half. Drizzle with maple syrup.
  5. Roast for 50-60 minutes, or until tender. Serve immediately.


If you prefer your squash more savory than sweet, use olive oil instead of butter, and omit the sugar and maple syrup. Add pepper to taste.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1 squash half
Amount Per Serving Calories 104Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 10mgSodium 150mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 5gSugar 3gProtein 1g

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By on October 7th, 2020

About Lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren! I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook.

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