How To Cook Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is a delicious and nutritious winter squash variety that is native to North and Central America. It is named for its unique acorn-like shape and is often used as a side dish or as a base for a variety of recipes.

Whether you are new to cooking with acorn squash or are simply looking for a fresh new recipe to try, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you prepare and cook acorn squash like a pro. From selecting the perfect squash to seasoning and cooking it to perfection, we’ve got you covered.

Selecting the perfect squash

When it comes to selecting an acorn squash, look for one that is firm, heavy for its size, and has a hard, dark green rind without any bruises or soft spots. The stem should be intact and the skin should be smooth and dull, rather than shiny. While smaller squash are generally sweeter and more tender, larger ones will have more flesh for stuffing or slicing.

Preparing the squash for cooking

Before cooking an acorn squash, it is important to prepare it properly. Begin by washing the squash well and then slicing off the stem and bottom ends so that it will sit flat in the pan. Next, use a sharp knife to cut the squash crosswise in half, separating the two halves into a top and a bottom. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fibers from the center of each half and discard them.

If you plan to cook the squash whole, use a fork to pierce several holes in the skin to allow steam to escape during cooking. This will help prevent the squash from bursting and causing a mess in your oven.

Seasoning and cooking the squash

Now that your acorn squash is prepared and ready to cook, it’s time to choose your seasoning and cooking method. Here are a few popular ways to cook acorn squash:

Roasting: This is one of the easiest and tastiest methods for cooking acorn squash. Simply brush the flesh with oil or butter, season with salt and pepper, and place it face-down on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-45 minutes, or until the flesh is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Once cooked, you can scoop out the flesh and serve it as is or use it in a recipe.

Boiling: Boiling is a quick and easy way to cook acorn squash, though it can result in a slightly watery texture. To boil acorn squash, place the halves or whole squash in a pot of boiling water and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the flesh is tender. Drain the water and either serve the squash as is or use it in a recipe.

Microwaving: This method is perfect for when you’re short on time or just need a quick and easy side dish. Place the halves or whole squash in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 12-15 minutes, or until the flesh is tender. Once cooked, you can either serve the squash as is or use it in a recipe.

Stuffing: Acorn squash is a popular choice for stuffing, and the possibilities are endless. After scooping out the seeds and fibers, fill the center of each half with your favorite stuffing mixture, such as rice, quinoa, vegetables, or ground meat. Bake the filled squash at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, or until the stuffing is cooked and the squash is tender.


Q: Can you eat the skin of acorn squash?
A: While the skin of acorn squash is technically edible, it can be tough and difficult to digest. It is best to scoop out the flesh and season it to your liking before serving.

Q: Can you freeze cooked acorn squash?
A: Yes, cooked acorn squash can be frozen for up to six months. Simply scoop out the flesh and place it in an airtight container or freezer bag before freezing.

Q: Do you need to peel acorn squash before cooking?
A: No, it is not necessary to peel acorn squash before cooking. Simply slice off the stem and bottom ends, cut the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds and fibers before cooking.

Q: How do you know when acorn squash is done cooking?
A: Acorn squash is done cooking when the flesh is easily pierced with a fork and is tender throughout. The skin will also have turned a golden brown color.

Q: What are some seasonings that go well with acorn squash?
A: Acorn squash pairs well with a variety of seasonings, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, thyme, rosemary, sage, garlic, and ginger. Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite.

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