Baked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar

This easy baked acorn squash with butter and brown sugar is perfect for fall. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the insides, then bake with a little butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup.

A plate of roasted squash with a fork taking a piece.
Eliezer Martinez

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.

How to Shop for Acorn Squash

Acorn squash are winter squash. When shopping for them, choose squash that feel heavy and have 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.

Baked acorn squash with sauce spooned overtop.
Eliezer Martinez

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 to get 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.
Side view of roasted acorn squash on a plate.
Eliezer Martinez

Video: How to Bake Acorn Squash

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How to Make Baked Acorn Squash

Make Ahead Tips for Acorn Squash

Bake the full squash recipe up to 2 days ahead of time. Wrap each piece individually in foil and store in the refrigerator. Reheat in the foil at 400°F until just heated through. The foil will help the squash retain its moisture while reheating.

How to Serve Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash can be a side dish for chicken, turkey, pork, or beef. Or, it can be the main dish in a vegetarian meal or even a non-vegetarian meal.

Stuff the hollowed out portion of the squash with various fillings to make it a more filling main dish.

This baked acorn squash also makes a healthy dessert because of its sweetness.

Try This Method With Other Squashes

Other winter squashes would work with this method, too. Try these varieties of squash baked in the same way.

  • Butternut
  • Buttercup
  • Sweet dumpling
  • Kabocha
  • Pumpkin

Try These Other Great Squash Recipes

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Baked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 75 mins
Total Time 85 mins
Servings 2 to 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup

  • Dash kosher Salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven:

    Preheat the 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.

    Sliced acorn squash on a cutting board.
    Eliezer Martinez
    Spooning the seeds out of an acorn squash.
    Eliezer Martinez
    Seeded acorn squash with hash marks cut into the flesh.
    Eliezer Martinez
  3. Add the butter, salt, brown sugar, and 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.

    Brown sugar added to a squash to make baked acorn squash.
    Eliezer Martinez
  4. Bake:

    Bake at 400°F (205°C) for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 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. Don't undercook it.

    Two halves of roasted acorn squash on a counter.
    Eliezer Martinez
  5. Remove from the oven:

    When done, remove the squash halves from the oven. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas. Let cool for a bit before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
94 Calories
3g Fat
17g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 94
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 66mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 11mg 54%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 319mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.