How To Cook Acorn Squash (The Easiest Method)

updated Sep 20, 2023

Learn how to cook perfectly tender acorn squash every time.



Cook45 minutes to 1 hour

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

A little olive oil, a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, some alone time in the oven — this is all that’s between you and a cozy dish of roasted acorn squash this evening. Here is a step-by-step recipe and guide to help you cook perfect acorn squash every time.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Do I Need to Peel Acorn Squash?

Nope! Not only do you not need to peel acorn squash before roasting, you can also eat the peel as part of the dish.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

How to Cut an Acorn Squash in Half

Acorn squashes aren’t quite as tough and formidable as butternut squashes (or other winter squashes), but you need to use a chef’s knife to cut the squash in half, or at least another heavy-duty knife that has some real heft to it. A paring knife is not going to do the trick.

Here’s an easy 3-step method for cutting acorn squash:

  1. Cut straight through. Start on one side of the stem and, using your chef’s knife, cut straight through the squash (not the stem; don’t even try to cut through the stem) until the knife stops meeting resistance and you’ve cut through to the hollow middle.
  2. Cut around the side. Continue cutting around the side of the acorn, through the tip, then around the other side, ending up on the other side of the stem.
  3. Pull it apart. Grab the squash and pull it apart. As you pull apart the sides, the squash will split to one side of the stem. You can trim the stem out at this point, but I usually just leave it in.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

How to Season the Squash

  • Season with salt and pepper. Once you’ve split the squash and scooped out the seeds (roast the seeds for later), then all that’s left to do is rub the squash halves with a little olive oil or butter and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  • Play around with the spices. This makes a delicious meal all on its own, but you needn’t stop at just the standard S&P. Try sprinkling on a few teaspoons of your favorite spice or mix of spices — garam masala is a favorite of mine. You could also add a scoop of brown sugar, or nestle a few garlic cloves into the bowl of each squash half.
  • Stuff it! Want to transform this simple side dish into a full-blown meal? Make stuffed acorn squash. Leftover vegetables, shredded meat, a scoop of grains or some bread crumbs, and a little cheese — stuff all that in the bowl of the squash and roast away. Here’s more info about how to get in on that squashy action:
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

5 Things You Can Do with Roasted Acorn Squash

Sure, this makes a great side dish, but once you have that acorn squash roasted, there are a surprising number of ways you can use it.

  • Soup: Scoop all the flesh from the squash and either chop it into large chunks for a brothy soup, or purée it for a creamy soup.
  • Casseroles: Layer the scooped squash into a lasagna or toss it into your favorite casserole, along with the rest of the ingredients. Here’s how to make a simple pasta bake with whatever ingredients you have on hand.
  • Hearty salads: Toss big chunks of the leftover squash in with the rest of your salad fixings for lunch tomorrow.
  • Pasta dinner: Squash and pasta are great together. Add some brown butter and sage, and you have the perfect mid-week comfort food.
  • Put it in (or on) a crust: Squash-stuffed calzones? Squash-topped pizza? Squash-filled quesadillas? Don’t knock it until you try it.

How To Cook Acorn Squash

Learn how to cook perfectly tender acorn squash every time.

Cook time 45 minutes to 1 hour

Makes 2

Serves 2

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium acorn squash

  • Olive oil or melted butter

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Chef’s knife or other hefty knife

  • Spoon

  • Roasting pan or baking sheet


Show Images
  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

  2. Cut the squash in half from stem to tip. Place the squash on a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife, start on one side of the stem and cut straight through until the knife stops hitting resistance and you’ve cut through to the hollow middle. Continue cutting around the acorn, through the tip, ending up on the other side of the stem. Do not try to cut through the stem.

  3. Break the squash in half. Put down your knife and hold the squash in both hands. Pull the two halves away from each other, cracking the shell at the stem. The stem will stay with one half and leave the other half clean; you can trim away the stem if you want, but I usually leave it in.

  4. Scoop out the seeds. Use a sturdy spoon to scrape out all the seeds and stringy bits from inside both squash halves. You can save these for roasting in the oven, if you like!

  5. Rub the squash halves with oil or butter. Place the acorn squash halves cut-side up, like bowls, in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil or butter and use your fingertips to rub it all over the cut surface and inside of the squash.

  6. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle both halves generously with salt and pepper.

  7. Roast in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes. Roast until the halves are caramelized and roasted around the edges, 45 to 60 minutes. You should be able to easily poke a fork or knife all the way through the flesh.

  8. Serve. Eat immediately, or cool and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

Save your squash seeds and roast them! Here’s how: How To Roast Pumpkin and Squash Seeds.