Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

This Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash is a great healthy side dish to accompany your Thanksgiving meal. Learn how to make stuffed squash, how to make stuffed squash ahead of time, and many other tips for this recipe!

stuffed acorn squash on white plate

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What will you be enjoying this year at Thanksgiving? Do you have big plans for a family get-together or are you keeping it casual at home with your immediate family?

This Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash is a great recipe for your Thanksgiving meal no matter if you are getting together with a large group or a small group. The recipe can easily be scaled up or down and it has make ahead instructions.

Stuffed Acorn Squash Ingredients

For this Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Acorn Squash
  • Apple Cider
  • Olive Oil
  • Onion
  • Apples
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Cinnamon
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Pecans
  • Maple Syrup
  • Brown Sugar
  • Sausage

Be sure to scroll through to the bottom of this post for a printable copy of the full recipe and instructions for this recipe for Stuffed Acorn Squash.

photo of a whole acorn squash on dark background

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What Does Acorn Squash Taste Like?

Acorn Squash has a pretty simple taste compared to other squash varieties. It can be described as mild and buttery, similar to that of pumpkin but sweeter and less bold. Some might find it a tad bit bland tasting on its own. Because of its mild flavor, acorn squash pairs well with sweet or savory and combines well with a variety of flavors.

Can You Eat the Skin of Acorn Squash?

Technically, yes, the skin of Acorn Squash is edible because it is thin. However, I don’t like to eat the skin of acorn squash because I don’t like the texture of it. If you choose to eat the skin of acorn squash, you’ll want to make sure that the squash is cooked thoroughly so that the skin becomes soft enough to eat.

If, like me, you prefer not to eat the skin of acorn squash, the squash flesh is easy to scoop out of the skin once the squash has been cooked. Think of it like a baked potato, some like to scoop the inside flesh out, but others like to eat it whole.

stuffed acorn squash on white plate

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What Can I Substitute for Acorn Squash?

If you don’t have acorn squash on hand, or you don’t like it, a variety of other winter squashes can be used instead. I recommend delicata, butternut squash, or sweet dumpling squash as substitutes for Acorn squash.

You’ll follow the same instructions for cooking the squash with one of the substitutes, but the cook time might be slightly different depending on how large the squash you choose is. Butternut Squash would likely take longer to cook since it has a portion of the squash that is much thicker than Acorn.

How to Make Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

You’ll start by cutting each squash in half and scooping out the sides. Then, you’ll bake the squash with some apple cider until the squash is tender.

While the squash cooks, you’ll cook up some onion, apples, and sausage (if using). You’ll add all of the seasonings to this mixture and cook until the apples are tender, then stir in the pecans. If you have anyone with a nut allergy you can feel free to leave the nuts out.

When the squash is done cooking, you spoon the apple and sausage mixture into the center of the acorn squash. Drizzle with maple syrup, sprinkle with brown sugar, and bake until the edges are slightly browned. Pretty simple!

platter of stuffed acorn squash

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How Do You Know When Squash Is Ready?

Acorn Squash will be ready when it is tender and pierces easily with a fork. In this recipe, if there is still a slight resistance to piercing with the fork after the initial bake, that is ok because it will continue to cook after you add the apple stuffing mixture and place it in the oven for the second round of baking.

How Do You Cut Acorn Squash

For the most attractive cut acorn squash for stuffed squash, I like to cut straight down the middle from stem to end, but you can also cut in half width wise if you prefer.

Acorn Squash is very hard when uncooked, so it is important to have a sturdy surface and use a sharp knife (check out how to sharpen knives here if your knives are dull).

When cutting acorn squash, it is good to wash it and dry it first. That way the outside of the squash does not have any wetness that could cause you to slip with the knife and cut yourself.

To soften the acorn squash before cutting, you can pierce a few small holes in the squash and microwave the squash for 2 minutes.

Then, remove the stem. Place the acorn squash top down (where the stem used to be) on the cutting board. Place the knife at the center of the bottom, which is now facing up, and cut through straight down the middle.

white platter with stuffed acorn squash

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Can You Cook Acorn Squash in the Microwave?

Yes! This recipe calls for baking the acorn squash, however, you could microwave the squash if you are running low on oven space.

  1. Place the squash cut side down in a microwave safe baking dish that has a lid that can loosely cover the dish without sealing it.
  2. Add the apple cider as described in the recipe.
  3. Cover the dish, but do not seal it
  4. Microwave 8-12 minutes on high, checking every 4 minutes for doneness as different microwaves will cook differently due to age, wattage, and brand – as well as the size of your squash.

Can I Make a Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash?

Yes, definitely! If you would like to make this Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe into a vegetarian dish, simply omit the sausage from the recipe (or use a vegetarian “sausage” substitute.

If you’d like to add something else to make up for the missing bulk of the sausage, I recommend wild rice or quinoa that has been cooked in vegetable broth (this will give it extra flavor). Then, stir the cooked rice or quinoa into the apple mixture, stuff the squash and proceed as normal.

Make Ahead Options for this Apple Stuffed Squash Recipe

  • You can prep the individual parts and then assemble and bake the recipe on the day you plan to serve.
  • You can partially prepare the recipe (up to the second bake) and refrigerate until the day you plan to serve. Then, finish the recipe.
  • You can make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it.

Can I Make Stuffed Acorn Squash Ahead of time?

If you need to make this Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash ahead of time, that’s fine. Stuffed Squash can be prepared up to 3 days prior to serving and then reheated.

Prepare this recipe as written, stopping after the step that instructs you to “Uncover squash and turn halves upright. Brush edges and inside with the remaining apple cider in the bottom of the pan; fill equally with apple mixture.”

Then, place the apple stuffed acorn squash in a baking dish, cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate until the day you’re ready to serve. The day you plan to serve the recipe, uncover the dish you’ve had in the refrigerator, resume the steps on this recipe where you left off, and then bake.

close up photo of stuffed acorn squash

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Can I Freeze Stuffed Acorn Squash?

I personally have not frozen stuffed acorn squash before, but I think this recipe would work fine frozen. You would prepare the apple stuffed acorn squash according to directions stopping at the step prior to the final bake.

Then, cool the squash completely, place in a gallon zip top bag or use a vacuum sealer, and seal the squash. Make sure to remove as much air as possible.

To serve previously frozen Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash, thaw the frozen squash completely, and resume with the remaining steps of this recipe.

What Can I Stuff Acorn Squash With?

If you’re looking for another way to stuff acorn squash, I recommend stuffing as an easy alternative to preparing the apple mixture for this recipe. This Leek and Bacon Stuffing would be good served inside this acorn squash.

Others like to stuff acorn squash with cooked wild rice or quinoa, both of which could be added to the apple mixture in this recipe if you like.

Reader Reviews for this Stuffed Squash Recipe

“My daughter and I made this tonight, but as a side dish to some white bean chicken chili, so we didn’t add the sausage. It was delicious. Hubby, 18yo, and I all loved it. The 21yo would have loved it, too, if she’d been home.”

More Squash Recipes

This Apple Cider Roasted Squash is a great, easy acorn squash side dish to prepare all winter long, but it’s especially great for Thanksgiving! This recipe uses Acorn Squash.

Rainbow Winter Quinoa Bowls with Maple Dijon Balsamic Dressing features roasted squash, hearty Organic Tricolor Quinoa, and plenty of other winter produce for a filling, satisfying meal.

In this Massaged Kale Salad recipe, kale is lightly massaged with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then, it’s tossed with roasted delicata squash, roasted red onions, herbed goat cheese, and pepitas.

This Bacon and Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese features penne covered in a creamy, rich sauce of pureed butternut squash, parmesan, and sharp white cheddar with bacon and fresh sage.

This Roasted Squash, Pomegranate and Roquefort Salad is so full of color and beautiful on the table. The sweet and salty bites of squash went so well with the juicy pomegranate arils and the bold Roquefort cheese.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Quinoa Stuffing is a fantastic vegetarian and gluten-free stuffing recipe loaded with tons of veggies and flavors. You could also use this quinoa stuffing to stuff acorn squash.

Have you ever made Stuffed Acorn Squash?

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Apple Pecan Stuffed Squash

Apple Pecan Stuffed Squash

Yield: 8 servings

This Apple Pecan Stuffed Squash is a great healthy side dish to accompany your Thanksgiving meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash (about 1 1/2 lb. each), rinsed
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Gala or Honeycrisp Apple (1/2 lb. total), cored and chopped
  • 1 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith (1/2 lb. total), cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • optional add-in: 8 ounces cooked and crumbled turkey sausage

Instructions

  1. Cut each squash in half; scoop out seeds. Place each half, cavity side down, in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan.
  2. Pour apple cider in the bottom of the pan, cover the pan with foil and bake in a 350° F oven until tender when pierced, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add onion, apples, golden raisins, cranberries, cinnamon, sage and thyme; stir often until apples are tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. If desired, add 8 ounces cooked and crumbled turkey sausage. Season to taste with salt. Stir in pecans.
  5. Uncover squash and turn halves upright. Brush edges and inside with the remaining apple cider in the bottom of the pan; fill equally with apple mixture.
  6. Drizzle equally with maple syrup.
  7. Sprinkle edges with brown sugar and bake, uncovered, until filling is slightly browned on top, about 15 minutes longer.

Notes

*I like to use different apple types and leave the skin on for extra color, but you do not have to do that. If desired, peel the apples.

MAKE AHEAD OPTIONS FOR THIS APPLE STUFFED SQUASH RECIPE

  • You can prep the individual parts and then assemble and bake the recipe on the day you plan to serve.
  • You can partially prepare the recipe (up to the second bake) and refrigerate until the day you plan to serve. Then, finish the recipe.
  • You can make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 235 Total Fat 7g Saturated Fat 1g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 5g Cholesterol 26mg Sodium 268mg Carbohydrates 38g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 5g Sugar 24g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 8g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.