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These Baked Acorn Squash Halves are baked with a little butter, salt and brown sugar for a slightly indulgent side dish! This baked acorn squash recipe is incredibly easy to prepare and reheats nicely for leftovers.
Minimize the prep and make my baked acorn squash halves for dinner tonight! Simply slice in half, scoop out the seeds, season and bake in a preheated oven for a delicious side dish the whole family will love!
I make this recipe whenever I don’t want to slice the squash for my healthy roasted acorn squash slices or I want just a little bit of indulgence. These baked acorn squash halves pair beautifully with wild rice and roasted chicken or they can be a fun alternative to sweet potato casserole in this Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Menu!
Don’t feel like roasting a whole chicken? Make my Foolproof Rosemary Chicken in under 10 minutes instead!
How long does it take to cook an acorn squash in the oven?
Acorn squash halves cook in the oven between 15-30 minutes. The bake time will vary particularly depending on the size of the acorn squash and the baking dish you chose. Mine baked in under 20 minutes in the cast iron pan! For faster cooking, try slicing the squash and roasting the squash slices!
Do you leave skin on squash when roasting?
I prefer to leave the skin on when roasting acorn squash owing to it being difficult to peel when raw, and roasting in the skin locks in the moisture. The skin is also edible and roasting makes it soft and tender.
What to serve with Baked Acorn Squash halves?
These buttery, brown sugar baked acorn squash halves go perfectly with roasted chicken, this lemon chicken recipe, or baked mushroom pork chops. What’s more, complete the meal with healthy quinoa pilaf or wild rice! I also love them with lemon roasted cauliflower, roasted turkey and cranberry chutney. It’s not just for Thanksgiving, people! I also love serving it underneath a heaping helping of butternut squash chili for a filling, vegetarian meal!
- Acorn Squash: Choose an acorn squash that is firm and heavy for its size. I think the smaller ones are sweeter and have better flavor. If roasting multiple squash, try to choose ones that are similar in size so they roast in the same amount of time.
- Kosher Salt: Not only does the kosher salt heighten the flavor but, equally important, it helps keep the squash tender. Don’t omit completely. Back it down to a generous, three finger pinch at the least.
- Butter: Unsalted butter allows you to control how much salt is going into the squash, so you can salt it just how you like it.
- Dark Brown Sugar: Using dark brown sugar adds sweetness along with a little moisture.
- Cinnamon: I use Saigon cinnamon but basically any cinnamon will do in this baked acorn squash recipe.
- Butter: You can indeed omit the butter or you can use a vegan butter to easily make this baked acorn squash recipe vegan.
- Dark Brown Sugar: Substitute light brown sugar or even granulated sugar! Use whichever you have on hand!
- Cinnamon: I use a pinch of cinnamon here to lean into the Sweet Potato Casserole vibe, but you could use pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg or even just a tiny pinch of ginger.
- Pecans: Just a sprinkle of toasted pecans add a little crunch and a little nuttiness. It is a welcome addition to the smooth, sweet squash.
- Kosher Salt: Don’t forget the salt! A pinch of kosher salt will heighten all those flavors and round out the baked acorn squash. You could also use salted butter and omit the salt.
- Squash: You could use this same recipe to cook butternut squash or even kabocha squash. Just remember the larger the squash, the longer to bake and the more seasonings you’ll want. I would also pierce the skin on both of those varieties with a fork to allow the steam to escape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store baked acorn squash halves in a sealed, air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Baked acorn squash halves will last one week when refrigerated or one month frozen. The faster these acorn squash halves were cooled and stored properly, the longer they will stay fresh.
You can bake acorn squash halves ahead of time but I prefer to bake them right before serving and then use the leftovers in salads and lunch the next day.
Baked Acorn Squash Halves
- Preheat the oven to 350°F regular or convection.
Prepare the Acorn Squash:
- On a sturdy cutting board, slice off the top and bottom of the squash.
- Place cut side down on the cutting board and slice in half lengthwise exposing the seeds.
- Scoop out the seeds and set aside for roasting or discard.
- Place cut halves skin side down in a cast iron pan or in a baking dish. You can cut a little off the back of each so it sits flat if you desire. This is definitely not necessary but if the squash is large, it can make all the difference between the butter staying in the squash or it ending up in the bottom of your baking dish!
- Place butter, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in the center of each squash half. There is no need to mix it or anything. Just let the butter melt and the flavors meld while the squash cook.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes then remove the foil and continue cooking until the squash is tender and pierces easily with a fork, paring knife or cake tester. Usually an additional 5-10 minutes. The bake time will vary depending on the size of the acorn squash and the baking dish you chose. Mine baked in under 20 minutes in the cast iron!
- Using a fork, mix the butter mixture into the squash. Taste and season with additional salt as desired.
- Serve with or without the skin. The acorn squash skin becomes soft and tender when baked and I find it has no discernable flavor. After baking the flesh is easily scooped out if you don’t want the skin.