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!
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.
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:
- Looking for squash with smooth, dull skin and no soft spots — shiny skin is a sign it was picked too soon.
- 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.
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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Roast Acorn Squash
- 2 whole acorn squash
- 4 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- Salt to taste
- Heat your oven to 400°F.
- Cut the squash in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
- Place the squash halves flesh-side up on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle with sea salt, then add 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of sugar to the center of each squash half. Drizzle with maple syrup.
- Roast for 50-60 minutes, or until tender. Serve immediately.