How to Bake Acorn Squash

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Roasted acorn squash is a comforting yet healthy dish that can be prepared during the fall and winter months. Rather than loading up carbs found in bread or pasta, you can enjoy hearty winter squash as a low-carb, vitamin-packed nutritious option. Plus, you can roast the seeds just like pumpkin seeds for a healthful snack. Roasting acorn squash is easy and there are plenty of ways you can serve it to keep the flavors fun and interesting. Stay tuned at the end of the article for serving suggestions.

How to bake acorn squash
How to bake acorn squash (Image: Julia Mueller)
acorn squash
acorn squash (Image: Julia Mueller)

Things You'll Need

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Seasoning such as ground cinnamon, cumin, or chili powder
  • Pure maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar for serving

Step 1: Trim the Acorn Squash

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place acorn squash on a sturdy surface and turn it sideways. Use a sharp knife to cut the tip off.

Cut off the tip
Cut off the tip (Image: Julia Mueller)

Similarly, cut off the bottom of the acorn squash, then stand it upright.

Remove the tail of the acorn squash
Remove the tail of the acorn squash (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 2: Cut Acorn Squash in Half

Cut the acorn squash in half vertically, using gravity as your friend to help cut through the tough flesh.

Cut squash in half
Cut squash in half (Image: Julia Mueller)

Once open, you'll notice the squash has a webbing of seeds, just like a pumpkin!

Check out the seeds!
Check out the seeds! (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 3: Scoop Out the Innards

Using a sturdy metal spoon, scrap the innards and seeds out of each half of the squash. You can save the seeds and roast them later.

Scoop out the seeds
Scoop out the seeds (Image: Julia Mueller)

Tip

  • To roast the seeds, remove the webbing around the seeds by washing them well, then pat them dry. Coat the seeds in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, cinnamon, chili powder, or seasoning of choice, and roast at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Coat Flesh with Olive Oil

Drizzle olive oil into the bowl of each acorn squash half (about 1 tablespoon per half).

Drizzle with olive oil
Drizzle with olive oil (Image: Julia Mueller)

Use your hands to coat the full surface of the flesh with oil.

Rub olive oil over all the flesh
Rub olive oil over all the flesh (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 5: Season the Acorn Squash

Sprinkle sea salt, pepper, and choice of seasonings over the flesh of each half. You can use ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ground cumin, chili powder, all season spice, and so forth.

Season with salt and cinnamon
Season with salt and cinnamon (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 6: Bake the Squash

Place each half of acorn squash cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the acorn squash is tender when poked with a fork, and has reached desired done-ness.

Roast face-down
Roast face-down (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 7: Serve!

Remove squash from the oven and carefully turn it right-side up. If necessary, use a spatula to get between the squash and the baking sheet. It's ready to go!

Drizzle with honey
Drizzle with honey (Image: Julia Mueller)

Tip

  • Want it to taste sweet? Add butter, honey, brown sugar, or pure maple syrup to the acorn squash bowls if desired. Serve piping hot fresh out of the oven with a sprinkle of salt and/or ground cinnamon.

acorn squash stuffed with apples, pears, and walnuts
acorn squash stuffed with apples, pears, and walnuts (Image: Julia Mueller)

Serving Suggestions

  • Use any of your favorite seasonings - ground cinnamon and a pinch of cardamom go with acorn squash deliciously, although you can take a savory approach as well by using a spice blend such as chili powder, Garam Masala, Cajun Seasoning, etc.
  • Place a pad of butter (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) in the center of each squash and allow it to melt.
  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey, pure maple syrup, or brown sugar to the center of each squash.
  • Create your own homemade sauce to drizzle on top of the squash. See this Roasted Acorn Squash with Bourbon Butter and Honey for example
  • Make acorn squash an entree by stuffing the squash with brown rice or quinoa, along with dried cranberries, pecans, feta cheese, apple, and/or sausage. See this Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa Pears and Pecans for example.
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