Always a favorite at our Thanksgiving table is baked acorn squash. They’re so easy! The hardest part is cutting the squash in half—you need a sharp knife and a strong, steady hand. But then all you have to do is scoop out the seeds, score the inside, dot with butter and brown sugar or maple syrup and bake. To eat you can cut them in wedges, or keep them in halves and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Acorn squash are winter squash. When shopping for them, choose squash that feel heavy and have a blemish and mold-free skin. They should also not have any soft spots, but should be quite firm. Like other winter squash, the whole acorn squash store very well in the cold months, just keep them cool and dry; they’ll last a month or more.
They’re a great source of iron, Vitamin A (from all that beta-carotene filled orange flesh!), Vitamin C, and riboflavin.
Classic Baked Acorn Squash Recipe
- 1 Acorn squash
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
- Dash of Salt
1 Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C).
2 Using a sharp, sturdy chef's knife, carefully cut the acorn squash in half, from stem to tip. (A rubber mallet can help if you have one.) The squash can rock back and forth, so take care as you are cutting it.
Use a sturdy metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy bits inside each squash half, until the inside is smooth.
Take a sharp paring knife and score the insides of the acorn squash halves in a cross-hatch pattern, about a half-inch deep cuts.
Place the squash halves cut side up in a roasting pan. Pour 1/4-inch of water over the bottom of the pan so that the squash doesn't burn or get dried out in the oven.
3 Rub a half teaspoon of butter into the insides of each half. Sprinkle with a little salt if you are using unsalted butter. Crumble a tablespoon of brown sugar into the center of each half and drizzle with a teaspoon of maple syrup.
4 Bake for about an hour to an hour 15 minutes, until the tops of the squash halves are nicely browned, and the squash flesh is very soft and cooked through. It's hard to overcook squash, it just gets better with more caramelization. But don't undercook it.
When done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a bit before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.