This recipe provides simple step-by-step instructions and photos for how to roast acorn squash. You only need 4 ingredients (acorn squash, olive oil, toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds), and fresh thyme) and salt and pepper to make the most flavorful roasted acorn squash! It's a perfect recipe for colder Fall and Winter months and it also makes a beautiful side dish for the holidays!
Autumn comfort food
This recipe will show you how to roast acorn squash to a perfect tender texture until beautifully caramelized along the edges. Simply roasting the squash (seasoned with olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper) in the oven accentuates the sweet and savory flavors of this delicious winter vegetable. Elevate this dish by adding toasted nuts (such as pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, or even candied nuts) or toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs (such as thyme) before serving. It's a perfect and beautiful side dish worthy to take a center stage on your holiday table. You can also make it on a regular weeknight while the acorn squash is in season. Add butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon, when serving, if you like.
Other acorn squash ideas
If want to elevate squash even further, check out these recipe ideas:
- Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage, Spinach, Cranberries, and Pecans
- Acorn Squash Stuffed with Caramelized Apples
- Acorn Squash Stuffed with Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Mixture
Why make it
- Gorgeous holiday side dish. Learn how to create a beautiful presentation for your holiday table by cutting the squash the right way and accentuating it by adding roasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs. It's colorful, vibrant, and very easy to make. It's a great choice as a holiday side dish or main course for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Eve.
- Vegetarian and gluten-free recipe. This meatless recipe is the ultimate Fall and Winter comfort food and a great way to add veggies to your dinner! You will never miss meat with this delicious meal!
- Only 4 ingredients. Not counting the basics, such as salt and pepper. All you need is acorn squash, olive oil, pine nuts (or pumpkin seeds), and fresh thyme.
- Try something new. It seems that butternut squash and pumpkin usually take the center stage during the Autumn and Winter season and holidays. You'll be surprised what a delicious and hearty addition acorn squash will be to your table.
How to roast acorn squash
Below are detailed step-by-step photos and instructions on everything you need to know about roasting acorn squash:
1) You will need 2 medium-sized squashes. Be careful as the squash has a hard exterior that can be slippery. Pay attention to safety and keep your fingers away from the knife to avoid injury. Use a non-slip cutting board.
2) Cut off the top and the bottom of each acorn squash to create a flat base. And, make sure not to cut too deep into the base of the squash. Then, slice each squash in half. See these photos for guidance:
3) Scoop out the seeds and fleshy strands tangled with the seeds using a spoon.
4) Rub the cut squash halves and the insides of the squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
5) Place acorn squash halves cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
6) Roast the squash cut sides down in the preheated oven at 400 F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the squash cut sides up.
7) Toast the pine nuts (or pumpkin seeds) in the preheated oven at 350 F for about 5 minutes. Watch them carefully and check frequently as they can burn quickly.
8) Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts and fresh snipped thyme over roasted acorn squash.
- Add cinnamon and brown sugar. For more flavor, sprinkle the cut sides of acorn squash with a small amount of cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Drizzle with maple syrup for a more Fall-inspired flavor.
- Nuts. Pine nuts add a savory flavor to the squash. You can also use toasted pecans or walnuts. For a sweeter flavor, use candied nuts. Or, use pumpkin seeds.
- Add butter to each acorn squash half.
- Add dried fruit, such as dried cranberries, dried figs, raisins, or dried cherries.
- Add more seasoning if you like, such as Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, or a small amount of red pepper flakes. Add these seasonings before you roast the squash in the oven.
Storage and reheating tips
- Refrigerate. Store roasted acorn squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this dish.
- Reheat. Reheat the squash in the preheated oven at 350 F for about 20 minutes. Or reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute.
What to serve with it
- Fall-inspired salad. Why not make Autumn salad to serve alongside this delicious winter vegetable? Try these two simple salads: Arugula Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Pecans or a beautiful Cranberry Spinach Salad with Cashews and Goat Cheese and Lemon-Honey Poppy Seed Dressing.
- Roasted vegetables. To keep this dinner meatless, serve roasted acorn squash with Green Beans with Pine Nuts or Roasted Veggie Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Beets, Cranberries, and Pecans.
Other holiday side dishes
If you want to discover other festive and vibrant holiday side dishes, check out these recipes:
- Cheesy Baked Asparagus with Gruyere Cheese and Bacon
- Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze and Pine Nuts
- Creamy and Crunchy Salad with Peas, Bacon, and Pecans
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries
- Winter Fruit Salad with Maple Lime Dressing
- Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Pecans, Cranberries, Pomegranate
Holiday main courses that go well with roasted acorn squash
Below I provide 4 popular holiday main course recipes on this site - the first two are meatless and the last two are duck recipes! All four are perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and other holidays:
- Butternut Squash and Spinach lasagna
- Black Bean and Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole
- Roast Duck with Honey-Balsamic Glaze
- Duck Breast with Cranberry Sauce
Roasted Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash medium
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt or more
- black pepper freshly ground
- ½ cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
- fresh thyme snipped
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Prepare the acorn squash. Cut off the top and the bottom of each acorn squash to create a flat base. Keep fingers away from the knife to avoid injury. And, make sure not to cut too deep into the base of the squash. Slice each squash in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fleshy strands tangled with the seeds.
- Place acorn squash cut sides up on a baking sheet. Drizzle the cut sides of acorn squashes with olive oil and rub the oil into the squash. Season generously with salt and pepper. Turn the squash over, and place it cut sides down on a baking sheet.
- Roast in the preheated oven at 400 F for 30 minutes.
- Toast pine nuts or pumpkin seeds for 5 minutes on the baking sheet in the preheated oven at 350 F until light golden brown color. Watch them carefully and check often as these nuts burn quickly.
- Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts (or pumpkin seeds) and fresh snipped thyme among the 4 halves of roasted acorn squash.
- Other toppings you might like: brown sugar, cinnamon, a slice of butter, maple syrup, pumpkin seeds, or dried fruit (cranberries, figs, cherries).
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.