Roasted Acorn Squash

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Roasted Acorn Squash is wholesome, savory, and beyond delicious. Made with squash, butter, brown sugar, and a few simple spices, this mouth-watering dish is insanely easy to make and oh-so-satisfying!

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Growing up, I absolutely fawned over the roasted acorn squash my mom would make. She would roast it for what felt like forever and then mash it into the perfect creamy squash. It was loaded with flavor and I happily ignored everything else on the table whenever that squash dish was around.

One day when I was craving that incredible taste, I came up with a recipe of my own. My version of Roasted Acorn Squash honors the deliciousness of my mother’s recipe, but in much less time. Also, I skip the mashing step and serve this baby just as it is.

This drool-worthy dish is not only incredibly flavorful, but it also serves as its very own bowl. What does this mean? It means that you can fill it up with your favorite dishes and eat it all in the same delicious mouthful. This is my favorite part of the leftovers. 

It's also a beautiful side dish on any holiday table since the presentation is gorgeous. 

Roasted Acorn Squash is the perfect fall and winter side dish for busy weeknight dinners and holiday meals. No matter how you serve it, it’s going to be a hit. Looking for more ways to cook squash? Try this roasted delicata squash, 

Key Ingredients

To make this roasted acorn squash, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Acorn squash: This winter squash is naturally sweet and buttery, making it the perfect base for our delicious dish. If you’ve never had acorn squash before, some people say it tastes a bit like a cross between butternut squash and pumpkin.
  • Brown sugar: A small amount of brown sugar goes a long way in adding tremendous flavor to this dish. You could also use maple syrup or honey.
  • Butter: There is no better topping for Roasted Acorn Squash than melted butter. Trust me on this. It makes it perfectly rich, savory, and flavorful.
  • Spices: I like to use a combination of garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Feel free to swap out the chili powder for smoked paprika or use any combination of spices you prefer.

Recipe Tips

Here are my top tips and tricks for bringing this delicious acorn squash to life:

  • Switch up your spices: Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to your spices. Rosemary, thyme, and Italian seasoning are delicious ways of making this roasted squash recipe your own.
  • Use a chef’s knife: Acorn squashes can be tough to cut through, so make sure you are using the right materials! A chef’s knife is my preferred method of cutting this squash, but any heavy-duty kitchen knife should do the trick.
  • Add cheese: A sprinkle of grated parmesan or manchego will take your Roasted Acorn Squash to the next level, guaranteed.
  • Save your seeds: Acorn squash seeds are great to save and roast later for an easy and healthy snack or salad topping.
  • Up the heat: For a beautiful caramelization of your squash, make sure to broil it for the last few minutes.
  • Line your pan: For easy cleanup, always line your baking pan with parchment paper.

How to Buy Acorn Squash

Never bought acorn squash before? Not sure what ripe squash looks like? No worries! Here’s what to look for when picking out your squash:

  • A ripe acorn squash should feel heavy, and its skin should be blemish-free and spotless.
  • Your squash should be firm and not have any noticeable soft spots.
  • Ripe acorn squash is dark green and might have a patch of yellow or orange (from touching the ground prior to picking). However, be careful! Too much orange means it is over-ripe and the flesh may be stringy.
  • Try to avoid picking a squash with shiny skin, as this means it was probably picked too early.

How to Store Roasted Acorn Squash

I personally find that this dish is the most delicious fresh out of the oven, but you can easily make it in advance if needed. To store your Roasted Acorn Squash for later, make sure to let it cool down first. Then, transfer the leftovers to an airtight storage bag or container. Once properly contained, you can store the squash in one of two ways:

  • In the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
  • In the freezer for up to 3 months.

Pro Tip: If you are planning on freezing your acorn squash, I don’t recommend freezing the entire thing as is. It will freeze better if you scoop out the flesh prior to freezing it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about this healthy fall side dish recipe:

Yes! Acorn squash is full of antioxidants and essential nutrients. Also, because we are making this delicious acorn squash at home, you are in control of exactly what goes into it, meaning there are no artificial preservatives or anything unwanted. When paired with well-balanced foods like lean protein and whole grains or leafy greens, this is a perfectly healthy dish.

There’s no need to peel your acorn squash for this recipe, but if you prefer it skinless, go right ahead. I personally love the taste of the skin, and it becomes incredibly soft and tender after roasting.

This recipe does require your squash to be cut in half and seeded. To cut your squash, start on one side of the stem and cut straight through. Then, cut around the acorn, through the tip, and around the other side. Then, just pull the two sides apart.

While acorn squash is the star of the show, don’t worry too much if you can’t find one! This recipe can easily be made with any kind of winter squash, and the results are just as dreamy. I recommend trying it with butternut squash or delicata squash.

The Recipe
Roasted acorn squash with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon on a baking sheet.

Roasted Acorn Squash

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  • 1 acorn squash, seeded and cut in half
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste or leave out)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp butter

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


Optional shortcut: To speed up the cooking process, place the acorn squash in a microwave-safe container flesh side down, with half a cup of water. Cook on high for 5-7 minutes or until you can pierce the squash with a fork easily.


Mix together the brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt in a small bowl.


Place the squash halves in a baking dish. Place 1/2 tbsp of butter in each squash half and sprinkle with the spice mixture.


If microwaved, roast for 15 minutes or until the squash is beginning to caramelize and brown. If you did not microwave, roast for 40-45 minutes until tender and beginning to caramelize. During the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, brush the butter and spices up onto the entire acorn squash. You can also add in some chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts during this step. At the end, if you want to caramelize the top more, broil for an additional 2-3 minutes. You can also add a


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 squash (120g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 97
Calories from Fat 28
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 8mg
Sodium 310mg
Total Carbohydrate 19g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 7g
Protein 1g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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