This acorn squash recipe is baked until tender and topped with a delicious coating of butter (or olive oil), brown sugar, and maple syrup. A wonderful, warm aroma fills the kitchen when baking this recipe with acorn squash.
It’s a must try in the fall when winter squash is at its peak. This dish is one that’s hard to overbake. In actuality, the longer it bakes the better it tastes and the flavors become caramelized.
What Is Acorn Squash?
Acorn squash is one of many varieties of winter squash. It has a hard rind with thick ridges and a defined point at the bottom, with a firm flesh interior. The flavor profile of acorn squash is slightly nutty and not very sweet as compared to butternut squash. Hence, why adding a little sweetness goes a long way.
How to Pick Acorn Squash
When shopping for acorn squash, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. Look for one that is green with a yellow or orange spot from where it was lying on the ground, feels fairly heavy, and is free from soft spots, blemishes, and mold. The outside should feel firm.
You can store acorn squash in a dark, dry, cool place for up to one month (longer if you grow your own). Once cooked, acorn squash will last for 4 days in the refrigerator or up to three months in the freezer.
How To Safely Cut Acorn Squash
Like most winter squash, the hard rind on acorn squash makes it challenging to cut through. A simple technique you can use is to microwave the acorn squash for 3 minutes. Once microwaved, you’ll find cutting through the rind is much easier. Just be careful to remove it from the microwave as the outside will be hot.
What You’ll Need For This Baked Acorn Squash Recipe
A few simple ingredients will take acorn squash from dull to tasty.
- Acorn Squash– The star of the show.
- Grass-fed Unsalted Butter– I like to use Kerrygold’s Irish Butter. You can also use olive oil as a substitute.
- Brown Sugar– Adds just enough sweetness.
- Pure Maple Syrup– Avoid imitation maple syrup which is made of high fructose corn syrup.
- Fine Sea Salt- Season each slice with a pinch of sea salt.
Now that you have all the ingredients, it’s time to bake!
How To Make This Baked Acorn Squash Recipe
Acorn squash is rich in vitamin C and fiber and contains magnesium and other nutrients. Once cooked, acorn squash becomes a delightful dish. The longer it bakes the more tender and caramelized it becomes, you definitely don’t want to underbake this one.
Follow these simple steps from prep to baking to create the most tender and delicious side dish!
STEP ONE: CUT SQUASH
To make it easier to cut the hard rind, throw the acorn squash in the microwave on high for 3 minutes. Be careful when you take it out as the outside will be hot. Place the squash, stem side down, on a cutting board. If the stem is too long, place the squash on its side. Using a sturdy chef’s knife, slice the acorn squash in half from tip to stem.
Next, using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and stringy parts inside each half until nice and smooth.
Finally, using a pairing knife make a cross-hatch pattern about 1/2 inch deep inside each squash half.
STEP TWO: PREP SQUASH
Place each squash half, cut side up, into a baking pan with 1/4 inch of water. This will keep the squash from drying out and/or burning.
Rub 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter on the inside of each squash half. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt on each half. Add one tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of pure maple syrup into the center of each half.
STEP THREE: BAKE ACORN SQUASH
Place the squash into a preheated 400℉ oven. Bake for 60-75 minutes until the tops of the squash halves are golden brown and the skin is soft.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Other Easy Side Dish Recipes
Check out these additional side dish recipes that are easy and delicious.
- Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries Recipe (or Yellow Squash)
- How to Make Curry-Flavored Roasted Cauliflower
- 10-Minute Sautéed Kale
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts & Pomegranates (Easy!)
Baked Acorn Squash Recipe
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon grass-fed unsalted butter, divided (can substitute with olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- Preheat oven to 400℉.
- To make cutting easier, microwave the acorn squash for 3 minutes. Be careful when removing it as the outside will be hot. Place the squash on a cutting board, stem side down, if the stem is too long place it on its side. Using a spoon scoop out the seeds and stringy parts until the inside is smooth. Finally, using a pairing knife make a cross-hatch pattern about 1/2 inch deep inside each squash half.
- Rub 1/2 tablespoon of butter on the inside of each squash half. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt on each halve and add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup to the center of each half.
- Place acorn squash halves, cut side up, in a roasting pan with 1/4 inch of water. Put the roasting pan in the oven and bake the acorn squash for 60-75 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the skin is soft.