Baked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar

Side DishVegetarianAcorn Squash

Easy baked acorn squash recipe, perfect for the fall. Squash is cut in half, insides scooped out, then baked with a little butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

How To Cook Acorn Squash

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-free 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.

Video: How To Bake Acorn Squash

Baked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar 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 Prep the squash: 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 Add butter, salt, brown sugar, maple syrup: 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: Bake at 400°F (205°C) 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.

5 Remove from oven, spoon brown sugar butter sauce over squash: When done, remove the squash halves 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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136 Comments / Reviews

No ImageBaked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar

Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Ralph

    I’ve been doing this recipe – less the brown sugar – for decades and I love it. This time, I added a hit of Tabasco to the butter-maple syrup mix. It was fantastic! Think I might explore Demerara sugar… maybe a splash of rum.

  • Angela

    I love acorn squash cooked this way. To make the squash easier to cut, put the whole squash on a plate and microwave it for a few minutes, then remove and cut in half. No mallet required.

  • Krystle

    I’ve made this a few times, and am impressed each time! If you like pumpkin or sweet potato, you’ll like this. I have pretty severe IBS and accordingly, it’s very hard for me to eat fruits and vegetables and not hate my whole life soon after. This is going in our regular rotation as a “safe” veggie! Thank you.


  • Steven

    I enjoy squash a boat load!

  • David

    My mom use to love acorn squash and she would do it as your recipe but the last 30 mins she would put a ball of pork sausage inside and sprinkle a little brown sugar on top… Yuuummy!

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