Classic Baked Acorn Squash

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Baked Acorn Squash

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.

Updated from the recipe archive, first posted 2005.

Classic Baked Acorn Squash Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4, depending on how much squash you like to eat.


  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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Showing 4 of 108 Comments

  • Barbara

    I cook mine with butter and cinnamon sugar. Delicious! Cook for about an hour and 30 min.

  • Robin

    I bake with brown sugar and butter for the first hour. Then I take it out, and chopped pecans, flaked coconut and a little more brown sugar on top. Pop back in for another 15 minutes. It’s awesome!

  • Sandy

    To score inside of squash I use a pizza wheel cutter – so much easier !!!

  • Jake's mom

    This recipe sounds delicious. Years ago a friend had me try their recipe for acorn squash. After cleaning the squash, set it aside. Take a baking dish, (to match the size of placing the squash in flesh side down,) and fill with orange juice. Start off with about 3/4’s cup of orange juice. Place the squash in the orange juice, flesh side down. Bake for about 40-60 minutes. (This recipe can be done in the microwave. It takes about 20-30 minutes.) While cooking the orange juice will be absorbed by the squash. When I serve it, I provide a little butter and salt.

  • Johnny Navarro

    Baked Acorn Squash:
    – Cut squash in half.
    – Remove seeds and excess fiber from inside of squash.
    – Place squash on baking sheet, slice side up.
    – Add 1-2 tbsp of melted butter to inside of squash half.
    – Add 1 tbsp of brown sugar to inside of squash half.
    – Sprinkle cinnamon onto squash halfs (meat of squash).
    – Enjoy –
    – Add almond slivers to inside of squash half.
    – Bake in oven at 350 degrees for roughly 45-60 minutes (pierce squash with fork for doneness, if fork slides down into squash with minimum pressure it is done).
    The almonds, makes it crunchy.

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