How To Cook Acorn Squash

How to clean, cut, prepare and cook acorn squash in the oven with a delicious sweet and buttery recipe as well! This is our favorite way to cook squash.

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Acorn squash is roasted in the oven then topped with butter and brown sugar for the perfect squash side dish! This acorn squash recipe is so fast, easy, and healthy. Acorn squash is cheap and abundant in the autumn, so here’s an easy recipe to show you how to cook acorn squash.

You can also try simple honey and cinnamon roasted butternut squash or a maple roasted butternut squash if you are looking for more squash recipes! This recipe was one of the very first recipes on my website around 11 years ago, so we’ve redone it with all new photos!

 half slices Acorn Squash in white plate

How to Cook Acorn Squash, Step by Step

It may seem redundant to a lot of people reading this blog, but we all had to learn somehow.  Everyone has to learn sometime, and every time I go to post a how-to post I have to remind myself: someone, somewhere, truly doesn’t know how to do it. So every time I go over a basic recipe or kitchen task, I am going to try and post it more. I know there are a lot of university kids reading my blog and I’m always trying to remember that there are so many people learning still, so many younger AND older adults yearning for more knowledge in the kitchen. And hey, I can’t count the times I google things myself, but that’s just old age and a lack of memory kicking in.

So the other night I made a simple, easy acorn squash recipe to take advantage of the bounty of the season.

It doesn’t get easier than this, cheaper, or a better way to sneak in a large serving of vegetables. The total cost at Superstore was about $1.45 a squash, each one serving two people.  Two! If my math serves me correctly, that makes each serving about 73 cents. A very hearty serving, I might add. You hear that, university kids? Seventy-three cents. Split with a roomie.

ingredients for acorn squash in wooden plate and board

Ingredients Needed:

  • acorn squash
  • salted butter
  • brown sugar
  • salt
  • pepper

How to Clean Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is so easy to clean compared to other squash such as pumpkins! They are a snap!

  1. Cut each squash down the center lengthwise, you don’t want to cut them in half width-wise, leaving a top and a bottom otherwise they are odd to cook that way.
  2. Take a spoon and scoop out the seeds and strings until the center is completely cleaned out.
clean out acorn squash on the wooden board

How to Cook Acorn Squash

  • Using a nice sharp knife, cut the squash in half. Clean out the seeds and stringy bits, so that it’s clean. You want to scoop them out well as shown in the photos above.
  • Place cut side down on a baking sheet with water on it.
  • Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until they are soft.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place them on top of the stove. Turn on the broiler in your oven.
  • Take your butter and place in the center of each. If you are going for sweet, add the brown sugar. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Return to the oven and broil for about 5 minutes, melting the butter/sugar, browning the edges slightly and
Acorn Squash with butter and brown sugar on center placed in a baking sheet

Flavor Variations

You can choose to make this sweet or savory squash whichever you prefer! Try some of these on the squash:

  • honey instead of the brown sugar
  • cinnamon or nutmeg – or a combination of the two for a sweet version
  • maple syrup instead of the sugar
  • red pepper flakes – very good with sweet squash and also a savory version
  • curry – also really good with honey
  • paprika, garlic, oregano – any herb or spice that you like you can skip the sugar and make this savory
baked cuts of Acorn Squash in a white plate

Tips and Tricks

  • Placing the squash cut side down on the baking sheet ensures that you aren’t drying out the squash. When you roast squash open-faced for 45 minutes, it can dry out and the inside can form “strings” in the squash. I’ve tried baking it open-faced and there really is a texture difference, you are keeping that moisture inside and not drying it out.
  • Steam the squash by adding enough water so that it slightly covers the sides of the squash. I find this way you end up with amazingly soft squash that hasn’t dried out in places or burnt in others. It cooks them uniformly. Steam is a wonderful thing and it actually helps cook these faster than plain roasting.
  • Broil it at the end to get those lovely browned bits on the edges. You don’t have to bake it and dry out your squash for 40 minutes to achieve this, just give it a quick broil.
using a fork to have a part of baked cuts of Acorn Squash

With this recipe, you end up with a lovely, soft bowl of squash with a pool of sugary butter that is so soft you can eat it with a spoon, but still has some crispy roasted edges. It really is the best of all worlds!

If you want a really unique acorn squash recipe try my Acorn Squash Pie!  It is really fantastic and a great change from pumpkin! Happy cooking you guys! I hope this recipe helps you all out, learning how to cook acorn squash is really easy AND delicious!


How to Cook Acorn Squash

How to clean, cut, prepare and cook acorn squash in the oven with a delicious sweet and buttery recipe as well! This is our favorite way to cook squash.
5 from 63 votes
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Total Time
45 minutes
Main Course
Karlynn Johnston


  • 2 acorn squash
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar divided
  • salt
  • pepper
  • water for baking sheet


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Using a nice sharp knife, cut the squash in half. Using a spoon, clean out the seeds and stringy bits, so that it's clean inside.
  • Place cut side down on a baking sheet then add enough water so that it slightly covers the sides of the squash.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until they are soft. 
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on top of the stove. 
  • Turn on the broiler in your oven. Turn the squash over on the pan.
  • Take one tablespoon of butter and place in the center of each squash. If you are going for sweet, add 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar to the center of each squash as well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Return to the oven and broil for about 5 minutes, melting the butter/sugar, browning the edges slightly.
  • Remove and serve.

Recipe Notes

You can skip the sugar and only use butter if you like with this recipe!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 209kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 108mg, Potassium: 748mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1141IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 79mg, Iron: 2mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Acorn squash is roasted in the oven then topped with butter and brown sugar for the perfect squash side dish! This acorn squash recipe is so fast, easy, and healthy. Acorn squash is cheap and abundant in the autumn, so here's an easy recipe to show you how to cook acorn squash. 

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Site Index Acorn squash How-To Vegetable side dish

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Dennie says

    Thank you K- I made my acorn squash tonight using your recipe.

    I’m 52 and been doing it wrong all these years ? ?.

    Thank you! My squash which I have been craving for weeks – surpassed my expectations!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️5 stars

  2. donald jezequel says

    thanks for your very helpful instructions5 stars

  3. Tara says

    This is EXACTLY what I needed. Thank you for being so detailed, it’s appreciated.5 stars

  4. KathyVentura says

    Thank you, very good. I really like the way you write it

    5 stars

  5. RonBooth says

    One helpful step I find missing in many acorn squash recipes is to take a slice off each side of the squash so that when its turned over round side down it wont roll around.  But at the end of the day this is one great way to get those hard to feed kids (even older kids) to eat their veggies.

    5 stars

  6. kolttee371 says

    I love this method using it for a carnival squash. Minus the sugar as I love squash just the way it tastes with butter salt and pepper. A Red Hubbard squash is so so sweet you wont need sugar. Very hard to cut. Try one. Thanks Blessings 

    5 stars

  7. GillianSullivan says

    Hey, I just wanted to say that I am one of those uni students who can kinda cook but really doesn’t know the half of it. I just got married to a great guy who can cook and loves to, but there are foods he doesn’t like and nights he isn’t around for dinner.

    I have loved squash forever. I can remember my mum making it once or twice a month (a bit of a treat) and I adored it. So, naturally, when I saw it in the grocery store after not having any for a long while, the craving kicked in. I eagerly selected the one I liked the look of best and payed for it without giving it a second thought… Only to get home and realize I actually don’t know how to cook one and Mr Man doesn’t like squash. Boo. I do know you have to roast it… somehow… but have no clue as to the actual process and steps required to successfully roast, well anything, but specifically squash. 

    The long and short of all this is Thank you!

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      GillianSullivan Awesome! You are so very welcome!

      5 stars

  8. Cate Robinson says

    I’m 43 and I don’t really know how to cook.  I want to learn, but a lot of times it just seems so overwhelming.  So please never feel like you’re being redundant by posting basic techniques, there are those of us out there who appreciate it!  By the way, I’d never even attempted to cook acorn squash until about 6 months ago so you never know! :) 

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Cate Robinson <3 Aw thanks! I am so glad that you found my site!

      5 stars

  9. Sasha Purton says

    Sadly to say I am 51 & learning from you how to cook squash. My mom cooked differently… structured so I am not aware of this lovely new food I have found. I thank you for explaining evrything so simply. Young or old we can all learn from each other….thanks  :D

    5 stars

  10. wc says

    Thank you for the amazing step by step and the pictures. It was amazing and will place this new found treat in my everyday life.

    Thanks again

    5 stars

  11. MrsWBL says

    We finish ours with a cinnamon & sugar mix. Since I follow low carb, substitueing sweetener keeps it healthy at 10 carbs per half.

    5 stars

  12. ANE says

    Thanks for the info, I’m  married 58 yes and never cooked an acorn squash .Someone dropped one off so here I go .  Never too old or late to try something new. Will check on you again.

    5 stars

  13. Amadea says

    Thanks for this recipe. Here’s another one …. I like to cut them sideways, instead of stem to stern. That way you get a beautiful flower-like presentation. My Dad’s Pennsylvania Dutch recipe calls for cooking them upright, having filled the middle with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, a small dab of butter, and then topping up with real cream. Bake for 45 minutes. When you serve, put it on a small plate that can fit beside the dinner plate, and you can dip forkfuls of squash in the cream mixture for added YUMMY.

    5 stars

  14. MrsTaylor says

    I’m using this recipe right now! Acorn squash is in the oven with 4 minutes left and I can’t wait to try it! I’m a newly wed 24 year-old so anything easy, cheap, and simple is my kind of recipe! (which is why I chose this recipe over the other ones online) Thank you!

    5 stars

  15. SteveMancini says

    Im liking the

    “Kick the tires and light the fires“ quote, hilarious!

    Recipes good too.   Cheers 

    5 stars

  16. MelanieJohanna says

    You can also use maple syrup instead of brown sugar!

    5 stars

  17. Sofia says

    Thank you for the helpful post. I consider myself an average baker but there are so many basic things I still need to learn!

    5 stars

  18. Melissa says

    I am new to cooking, and have always walked by acorn squash at the store and been curious. I finally decided to look up how to cook them and came across your site! Thank you for posting “the easy” recipes that many others don’t bother with. Newbs thank you! I will try cooking one tonight 🙂

    5 stars

  19. Karlynn Johnston says

    So good to hear! I love comments like these, they make my day Kelly!

  20. Kelly says

    I had never cooked nor eaten acorn squash before but bought them at the market b/c they were cheap! I googled and found this recipe and made it for my family exactly as you’ve described and it was outstanding!! I am so excited to make it again! Thank you for your ‘back to basics’ instructions! There ARE people out there who have never done these things! Thank you!

    5 stars

  21. Julie says

    Thank you so much! My first success with acorn squash after 2 previous fails! I needed acorn squash purée today, so I followed your baking instructions exactly except for the broiling step. I scooped out the inside easily after cooking. When I knew I had enough, I scooped out the rest and ate it straight up! I didn’t think there was any chance of it being tasty without seasoning. I will be saving this and making the full recipe for friends.

    5 stars

  22. Eli says

    Very delicious! We made this recipe tonight. Great idea to add the water to the baking sheet. For an extra dose of delicious, add a little real maple syrup into the mix. You won’t regret it.

    5 stars

  23. Karlynn says

    Maybe when you don’t cut the squash in half already one might pierce holes in it, but piercing it just lets MORE moisture out, we’re trying to keep it in, with the pan of water. This cooks up perfectly.

    • sugarnflowers says

      @bakeyb, that I believe is done if the squash is whole to let steam escape. If they are ‘cleaved’ it is not necessary….and would lead to your fabulous squash bowl leaking.

      5 stars

5 from 63 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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