Baked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar

ThanksgivingAcorn 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 sturdy 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

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. They should be dark green and may have a patch of yellow or orange where they were on the ground before picking.

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.

cutting acorn squash

How to cut acorn squash

Like most winter squashes, acorn squashes are dense and can be challenging to cut. Here are some tips to help:

  • Stabilize the squash: Knife skills 101, right? Make sure what you are cutting is stable on the table. If the stem is short, the most stable position for the squash is likely to prop it up with the stem end down. If the stem is too long, and you can’t easily remove it, lay the squash on its side and roll it until you find the most stable position for it.
  • Use a sharp, heavy chef’s knife: A sharp knife will really help getting through the squash, a dull one is at risk of slipping while you cut. A heavy chef’s knife has the heft and length you need to cut through the squash.
  • Rubber mallet: Have a rubber mallet? Using one to tap on the knife can help it go through if it gets stuck.
  • Microwave: If you have a microwave, zap the squash for a minute (each) before cutting into it. That will soften the peel and flesh just enough to make it easier to cut through.

Try these other great squash recipes

Video: How To Bake Acorn Squash

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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: If you have a microwave, microwave the squash for a minute each, to make it easier to cut. Stabilize the squash on a cutting board as best you can, stem end down if the stem is short enough, otherwise on the side. Using a sharp, sturdy chef's knife, carefully cut the acorn squash in half, from tip to stem. If on its side, 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 tablespoon 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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Baked Acorn Squash

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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194 Comments / Reviews

No ImageBaked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Kirsten

    I love adding a dash of cinnamon to this! So good!!

  2. Diane

    This was not a hit in our house. It was really sweet and it seemed more like a dessert, but not a great one.


    Show Replies (1)
  3. Jeff Oligney

    I put apple smoked bacon on top and cover with foil.


  4. Bob

    Great recipe! Easy and right on time at 1:15. Used some great Canadian maple syrup I had. Ended up using a touch more butter, because you can never go wrong with more butter! Just added a sliver on top of each brown sugar pile at the end. Thanks again!


    Show Replies (1)
  5. Rebecca

    Delicious!!! I made only one substitution – used raw honey instead of maple syrup. It wasn’t quite as sweet but I like that. My husband did too.


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Baked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown SugarBaked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar