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This roasted acorn squash recipe was one of my first winter squash recipes I ever learned how to make many years ago, and it’s still one of my favorites. Baked acorn squash is similar to roasting a spaghetti squash, a sweet kabocha squash, or butternut squash, but adds a natural sweetness to your savory fall and winter meals. If you’re looking for a comforting and healthy side dish for autumn, this recipe is timeless.
Why You’ll Love This Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe
- Sweet and savory with a hint of maple
- Tender and slightly caramelized
- Prep in just 5 minutes
- On the table in around 30 minutes
- Perfect healthy fall side dish
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for baking acorn squash, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Acorn Squash – Look for squash that feels heavy for its size with a firm skin. This recipe uses two acorn squashes, but you could easily divide it in half and make just one squash.
- Olive Oil – This helps the seasonings stick, but the more important part is it helps the squash caramelize. Don’t skimp! You can use avocado oil instead if you like, though.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper – For simple seasoning. See other seasoning ideas below.
- Maple Syrup – This is optional, if you want a sweet finish to your roasted acorn squash. I like to use Wholesome Yum sugar-free maple syrup. I created it because I’m passionate about giving people natural ingredient options that taste great and help them reduce sugar. But, you could use regular maple syrup if that works for you, or omit it altogether. Some people prefer to add brown sugar instead.
- Butter – Also optional, but I recommend adding butter at the end for a rich flavor and buttery texture. You can also use ghee if you like.
Variations On Roasted Acorn Squash
Acorn squash recipes don’t need any fancy seasonings, as this veggie has so much flavor on its own. But if you want to change it up, here are some other tasty ideas:
- Herbs: Sprinkle with dried herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage, or Italian seasoning before roasting. You can try fresh herbs too, but they fall off more easily, since the squash roasts cut side down.
- Fall Spiced: Add a touch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg (or use my pumpkin pie spice) for a warm, comforting fall flavor.
- Garlic Parmesan: For a savory twist, season with garlic powder at the same time as the salt and pepper. Top with grated or shredded parmesan cheese after baking, or in the last few minutes of baking.
- Chili Lime: Give your roasted acorn squash a zesty kick by seasoning it with chili powder and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
- Stuffed: Follow my stuffed acorn squash recipe for a full meal.
How To Cut Acorn Squash For Roasting
- Cut in half. Slice the acorn squash in half lengthwise, in the direction from stem to tip. The easiest way to do this is to run the knife along a central ridge, then continue towards the tip and stem. Scoring before slicing can make this easier if your squash has a particularly tough skin.
- Remove the seeds. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any stringy bits. (You can discard them, but you can also clean and roast them!)
VARIATION: Cut acorn squash slices instead!
To do this, cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place one half cut side down, then slice downward, crosswise, into 1-inch-thick half moons. (See my delicata squash recipe for a visual — you can cut acorn squash the same way.)
Roasted acorn squash cooks a bit faster if you slice it like this, but it’s more work upfront.
How To Cook Acorn Squash
This section shows how to bake acorn squash, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Season the squash. Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, or leave it bare if it has a good non-stick surface. Drizzle the inside of both halves with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place on the prepared sheet pan, cut side down.
- Roast until almost tender. Roast acorn squash in the oven, until almost tender when poked with a fork or knife. (If you don’t plan to add maple syrup, just roast until tender.)
- Add maple syrup (optional) and finish roasting. Remove the squash from the oven and flip it over. Drizzle with maple syrup, return to the oven (cut side up), and continue roasting until tender.
- Serve with butter. Remove the roasted acorn squash from the oven and place a pat of butter inside each half. It will start to melt, and you can mash it with the squash flesh when eating it. So good!
Tips For The Best Roasted Acorn Squash
This dish is very easy to make and practically foolproof, but having made this roasted acorn squash recipe at least a dozen times, I’ve discovered a few tips over the years:
- Use a bare pan for maximum browning. Using a bare pan when cooking acorn squash allows for better caramelization and browning. However, it’s the most annoying to clean up, so you can also use foil for a result that’s pretty close. It doesn’t caramelize as much with parchment paper, and tends to take longer.
- Roast cut side down. You can roast cut side up if you like, but cut side down makes the squash more caramelized and less dry. That’s why I flip it over only near the end, just to contain the maple syrup.
- Broil if needed. The squash usually browns enough at 425 degrees F when baked cut side down, but if you want it darker, you can place under the broiler for a few minutes to brown more.
- Can you eat acorn squash skin? Yes, the skin of acorn squash is edible, and it gets soft enough to chew when roasted. However, you can choose not to eat it if it’s too tough for you.
- How long to bake acorn squash? Bake acorn squash in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until tender and caramelized. The time will vary depending on the size.
- What does acorn squash taste like? Roasted acorn squash has a mildly sweet and nutty flavor, with a tender, moist, and firm texture. Its taste is somewhat similar to butternut squash or sweet potatoes.
- Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
- Reheat: Acorn squash recipes are pretty moist to begin with, so they are fine to reheat in the microwave. But, reheating in the oven at 350 degrees F tastes even better. You can also repurpose the leftovers by using them in place of butternut squash in a butternut squash soup or butternut squash salad.
- Freeze: To freeze raw squash, peel, seed, and slice it, then freeze for up to 12 months. For roasted acorn squash, cool completely and store in an airtight container or zip lock bag for up to 6-8 months.
What To Serve With Roasted Acorn Squash
Baked acorn squash makes a quick and simple side dish to just about any healthy dinner. If you aren’t sure what to make as your main course, here are some ideas:
- Chicken – For an easy weeknight meal, make Crock Pot chicken thighs or some simple pan seared chicken breasts.
- Seafood – Pair this veggie with juicy bacon wrapped shrimp (my daughter’s favorite — the glaze is irresistible!). It also goes well with quick and easy air fryer cod for a no-fuss meal.
- Beef – Try a tender rump roast recipe with the squash, or a quicker sirloin steak.
- Pork – The sweet flavors of this acorn squash recipe pair perfectly with tender air fryer pork chops or juicy pork steak.
- Holiday Dishes – Roasted acorn squash is perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and unlike your other holiday recipes, it doesn’t require much effort. Try it with a spatchcock turkey for a crowd, Cornish hens or Instant Pot turkey breast for a small gathering, or baked lamb chops for something in between.
- Other Sides – You can definitely serve this dish as your only side, but I like to have something green on my plate. 😉 Green beans almondine or a simple kale salad work well with this dish.
More Easy Winter Squash Recipes
Do you love winter squash as much as I do? Try some of these other easy winter squash recipes next:
Tools I Recommend
- Baking Sheet – I love this baking sheet for roasting acorn squash (and other veggies), because it browns them nicely and the nonstick surface lasts a long time.
Roasted Acorn Squash
Roasted Acorn Squash (Easy Recipe)
The perfect roasted acorn squash recipe – easy & caramelized! Just bake acorn squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a hint of maple syrup.
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C). Prepare a medium baking sheet by lining it with foil or parchment paper, or you can leave it bare if it’s a good non-stick surface. (If using a bare pan or lining with foil, brush lightly with oil. This is not necessary with parchment paper.) – USE BARE PAN
Slice the acorn squash in half lengthwise, from stem to tip. (The easiest way to do this is to start along a ridge in the middle, then work toward the tip and the stem from there. It can also help to score where you plan to cut before slicing.) Scoop out the seeds. Place the squash on the baking sheet, cut side up.
Drizzle the open side of both halves with olive oil. (The amount may seem like a lot, but is ideal for roasting and you won’t get as much browning if you use less.) Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Flip the squash over, cut side down. (You can roast cut side up if you like, but cut side down makes it more caramelized and less dry.)
Roast acorn squash in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the squash is almost tender when poked with a fork or knife, but there is some resistance. (If skipping the optional step below, continue roasting for 5-10 more minutes, until tender.)
Optional step: When the squash is 5-10 minutes away from being done, remove from the oven and flip it over cut side up. Drizzle with maple syrup. Return to the oven (this time cut side up) and continue roasting until tender. Alternatively, you can just add the maple syrup when you serve it.
Remove the squash from the oven. Place 1/2 tablespoon of butter inside each squash half, if desired.
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Serving size: 1 roasted acorn squash half
Nutrition info does not include optional maple syrup or butter.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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