Roasted Acorn Squash
You only need 5 ingredients for this caramelized and flavorful Roasted Acorn Squash. This is one of the easiest acorn squash recipes you can make, and it’s a great staple side dish for fall cooking. It pairs beautifully with rich meats like Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Prime Rib, and Glazed Spiral Ham.
Squash is one of those ingredients where you don’t have to do that much to it to make it taste good.
Because it inherently has a natural sweetness to it, I find roasting to be the best method, because it intensifies and caramelizes the sweetness and flavors already in there.
There are many varieties of squash, and each one is unique in its own way. But the acorn variety is one of my favorites because of its flavor and rich flesh. I find it’s more similar to kabocha or traditional pumpkin, versus delicata or butternut.
What’s Great About This Recipe
✅ Slices maximize browning – While you can always roast a squash whole, I always think it’s worth the extra effort to cut it up because it maximizes surface area for browning and caramelization. Part of what makes my Butternut Squash Soup so good is that you use Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes, which greatly enhances flavor by adding so much caramelization. Browning is good!
✅ Spiced maple butter is so good – We’ll brush the slices with a simple spiced maple butter, enhancing the flavor and also giving a subtle sticky glazed exterior.
✅ Customize it as you like – You are certainly welcome to tweak the flavor profile here, or even to roast it simply in slices with oil and salt. What’s really key here is the cooking method to get the most from the flavor that’s already there.
✅ Preps in less than 10 minutes – I’ll show you how to trim and slice the pieces quickly and safely. The key is to cut on the flat surfaces.
How to Make It Step by Step:
All we need to do for our baked acorn squash is trim, scoop, and slice into pieces, brush with a simple maple butter, then bake.
Wash, Trim, and Scoop
Wash each squash well (especially if you plan to eat the skin), trim the top and bottom off, then slice in half through the middle. Next scoop out the inner seeds and strings:
I like using a melon baller (affiliate) to scrape out the seeds, because its edges are sharper than a regular spoon.
How to Cut It
Lay the cut halves on its flat side, then cut straight down toward the cutting board to create 1″ thick slices:
Make the Maple Butter Glaze
To make the maple butter for brushing, combine pure maple syrup, butter, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt:
Microwave this mixture for about 60 seconds until the butter is melted, then stir it together and brush onto the squash slices:
Tip: If you don’t wish to do the maple butter, you can also make this with the oil of your choice, such a coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc., and spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger.
There should be enough butter to coat both sides of each squash slice:
Roast the slices for 25 minutes on the first side, then flip them over and roast for another 15-20 minutes, until the acorn squash is soft and golden:
Move the slices to a platter, and serve. My family will pick up the pieces like a rib and eat the flesh from the skin, which is very easy for separating the two. Sometimes if the outside isn’t heavily coated in wax and it’s fairly delicate and thin, we will simply eat the slices with the skin on. The choice is yours.
Recipe FAQ and Expert Tips
Yes, just make sure you wash the outside well before baking.
I find it pretty much impossible to peel before roasting, because of the nature of the crevices. I think it’s easier to simply peel the skin off before eating, if desired. The skin is edible, so it may also be eaten.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Yes, but just know that the texture won’t be as good later. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Meat Entrees That Pair Well
- Beef Wellington
- Rack of Lamb
- Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops
- Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
- Chicken Milanese
Roasted Acorn Squash
- 2 whole acorn squashes*
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter**
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Wash each squash well, then dry with a towel.
- Trim the top and bottom off, then cut each squash in half through the center.
- Use a melon baller or spoon to remove the inner seeds and strings.
- Lay each cut half on its flat side, and cut straight down toward the cutting board to make 1-inch thick slices.
- In a small bowl, microwave together the maple syrup, butter, cinnamon, cloves, and salt for about 60 seconds, until the butter has melted. Stir well with a spoon.
- Place the cut slices on a rimmed sheet pan in a single layer, then brush the maple butter onto both sides of each piece.
- Roast for 25 minutes on the first side, then flip each slice over and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until caramelized and soft. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in October 2018 with new photos, writing, and tips. Originally published in October 2012. This post contains an affiliate link.