Sweet and tender with a lovely roasted maple flavor, Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash is a vegetarian dish that’s hearty, delicious, and easy to make. A great choice on fall menus, you can even make this delish squash side dish ahead of time. Hungry? Read on and I’ll show you all my best tips and tricks to make this great side dish perfect every time!
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Baked acorn squash with maple syrup is just so gosh darn good. The sweet syrup just does magical things when roasted with the squash, and ends up being roasty and toasty without being overly sweet. Plus, this is the perfect kind of dish – pop it in the oven and that’s it! It’s a great addition to your Thanksgiving table, or enjoy it any time you can get fresh acorn squash.
What You Need To Make Maple Roasted Acorn Squash
- Sheet pan or baking sheet – heavy duty sheet pans are a must for any home cook
- Parchment paper – parchment paper makes cleanup a breeze!
- 1/2 an acorn squash per person
- Olive oil
- Pure maple syrup – spring for the real deal!
- Salt and pepper
How To Tell If An Acorn Squash Is Ripe
Acorn squash are also known as pepper squash or Des Moines squash, and telling if they’re ripe or not can be a bit of a challenge. Here are some tell-tale ways to know if your squash is ripe:
- Look for hard acorn squash – the skin should be hard and firm
- Should be dark green – a ripe acorn squash will be a very dark green, getting close to black. There may be a yellowish spot on the bottom of the squash where it grew on top of the ground. That’s fine – as long as the rest of your squash is dark green you’re good to go
In most cases, acorn squash are ripe when picked because they do not ripe off the vine. Kept in a dry, cool place, an acorn squash will keep for quite a few weeks.
How To Roast Acorn Squash with Maple Syrup
Cutting the acorn squash is the hardest part to this easy side dish with fall flavors, so get a big knife and some help if you need it. It’s got a thick, hard skin that’s tough to get through, but I’ve got some tips for you below.
- Cut the acorn squash in half, from the stem end to the tip. To cut it safely, insert the tip of your knife (use a big chef’s knife) into the squash about halfway, then pull the knife down toward you cutting through the squash. Then, push the knife all the way through to cut it fully in half.
2. Use a big spoon to scoop the seeds out of the squash halves and discard the seeds.
3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set the squash, cut side up, on the parchment paper.
4. Drizzle the acorn squash with the olive oil (cover all the surface of the cut acorn squash) and then the maple syrup, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Don’t worry if the syrup pools in the bottom of the squash.
5. Roast in a preheated 425-F oven for about 20 minutes, then using a spoon, baste the squash by spooning some of the maple syrup which is pooled in the squash, and drizzling it over the insides.
6. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.
Chef Jenn’s Tips
- Use a good quality real maple syrup for this vegan acorn squash recipe which is perfect for fall meals
- Count on about 1/2 an acorn squash per adult diner
- Make sure to line your sheet pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup
- Simple dishes like this are stunning, but if you need a bit more flavor, sprinkle on some chipotle powder or even red pepper flakes
- Top it with some chopped and toasted pecans for a bit of crunch, or a teaspoon ground cinnamon
What To Serve With Maple Roasted Acorn Squash
I love this squash with subtle natural sweetness, and this vegetable side dish pairs nicely with a simple grilled steak or even oven-roasted chicken. I’ll often serve just the squash, with a tasty salad or other vegetables, if we’re trying to eat lighter. If this dish is a part of a holiday meal, don’t forget to finish with a slice of tasty Egg Nog Cake!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, and when you make it like this, it is also vegan. It’s a terrific example of good, clean eating.
Yes! It doesn’t get much easier than this. Just cut it, drizzle it, roast it, baste it, and then eat it!
Once roasted, chill the acorn squash thoroughly. Remove the skin (it should peel away easily) and dice it. Add the diced squash to salads, or slice it to add to a sandwich. The leftovers will also heat up easily in the microwave or oven.
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Step by Step Process
Maple Roasted Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash seeds removed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Drizzle the cut acorn squash with the olive oil (cover all the surface of the cut acorn squash) and then the maple syrup, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Don't worry if the syrup pools in the bottom of the squash.
- Roast in a preheated 425-F oven for about 20 minutes, then using a spoon, baste the squash by spooning some of the maple syrup which is pooled in the squash, and drizzling it over the insides.
- Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Serve and enjoy!
A Note on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.