These Microwave Acorn Squash halves are perfectly fork tender, sweet, buttery, and the easiest way to cook a fall side dish. Ready in under 14 minutes.
This microwave acorn squash recipe is one of easiest side dishes to make using the microwave instead of the oven and using just 3 ingredients. The squash cooks amazingly tender, flavorful and tasty like air fryer carrots.
Acorn squash is a winter squash with bright orange flesh and buttery flavor. It is a nutritious vegetable with numerous health benefits and low in calories. Though it is a fall favorite, it is mostly available year round in the grocery stores and delicious made into soups, salads or muffins.
Selecting a ripe acorn squash is important to ensure that it's flavorful and has the right texture for cooking. Ripe acorn squash should have a deep, dark green colored skin that is dull or matte and not shiny. Shiny skin can indicate that it's underripe.
Gently press your thumb into the skin. Ripe acorn squash should have a hard and firm skin. If it feels soft or has any blemishes or spots, it may be overripe.
Like an eggplant, it should feel heavy for its size, which indicates a higher moisture content. Have you tried this amazing eggplant stir fry recipe?
Why you'll love this?
- Cooks in a fraction of the time compared to the oven.
- Make them sweet, savory or stuffed.
- It is low in calories, packed with nutrition and a great vegetarian side dish.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Acorn Squash - Look for one that feels heavy for its size and dark green skin with orange patches from where it sat on the ground.
- Water - It creates steam when cooking in the microwave, which helps cook the vegetable soft.
- Seasonings - This microwave acorn squash recipe is made sweet with a hint of savory notes from salt and pepper.
- Butter - Like the air fryer corn, a dab of butter adds richness and makes it taste irresistible.
Microwave acorn squash has a buttery flavor that pairs well with sweet and savory seasonings. Although these are amazingly delicious served according to the recipe, here are a few other suggestions to try:
- Other sweeteners - Use maple syrup or honey instead of brown sugar.
- Spicy - Like the air fryer shrimp recipe, add a dash of cayenne and cumin powder.
- Fall spices - Dash of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.
- Garlic - Garlic powder, black pepper and grated parmesan cheese.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1.Add 3 tablespoons water into a microwave safe baking dish.
2. Cut the acorn squash in half vertically. Scoop out the seeds using a large spoon and discard or use for roasting. Place it flesh side down. Microwave for 7 to 9 minutes.
Tip: Don't toss the seeds. Check out this recipe for roasted seeds. It makes a healthy snack!
3 & 4. While the squash is cooking, mix melted butter, brown sugar, salt and black pepper together in a small bowl.
5. Check if the acorn squash is tender by inserting the tip of a knife into it.
Cooking time - Microwave cooking times will vary depending on the wattage and size of the vegetable. The advantage of this microwave acorn squash recipe is that you can easily test for doneness and adjust the timing. It is done cooking when a knife or fork can pierce the tender flesh and the vegetable feels soft to touch.
6. Using tongs, flip the squash over.
7. Drizzle mixed butter on the flesh and pour the remaining, along with the seasoning into the cavity. Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes or until golden and tender.
How to serve?
They can also be stuffed with various fillings. Here are some suggestions:
- Quinoa and vegetables - Combine instant pot quinoa with a mix of cooked or roasted vegetables and feta cheese.
- Apple and cinnamon - Like for air fryer baked apples, fill with a mixture of diced apples, cinnamon, and a touch of brown sugar. Top with a crumble made from oats, flour, and butter. Use the crumble topping recipe from peach crumble.
- Sausage and apple - Combine crumbled sausage with diced apples, sautéed onions, breadcrumbs, sage, and a touch of maple syrup.
- Mushroom and wild rice - A mixture of wild rice and sautéed mushrooms with garlic and onions.
- Cranberry and pecans - Mix dried cranberries and chopped pecans with a little honey or brown sugar.
- Sweet potato and marshmallow - Combine mashed sweet potatoes, mini marshmallows, ground cinnamon, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Lentil and spinach - Mix cooked lentils with sautéed spinach, garlic, and a tomato-based sauce.
- Pumpkin pie - Make a filling with pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
How to store leftovers?
- Fridge: Refrigerate any leftovers in a covered container for up to 3 days. Scoop flesh and use it to make pasta dishes or omelet.
- Reheat: Reheat in the microwave for a few seconds or warmed through.
- Freeze: Freeze portions in zip lock bags for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature before using.
- Cook in batches if needed -If you are cooking a larger acorn squash and it does not fit in your microwave, then cook one half at a time.
- Choose your tenderness - Cook as soft as you want, although it is delicious when cooked soft enough to be scooped with a spoon.
Yes, the skin is totally edible and microwaving makes the skin tender and easier to chew when compared to oven roasting or air frying.
Using a sharp knife, cut it vertically from the top center to the bottom. For stability, you can cut ¼ inch of the stem end and the base. This provides a solid base that won't slip and slide around your cutting board.
If you find it hard to cut a large squash, huge ones, then pork a few holes all over with a fork (like for air fryer sweet potato) and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. It should be much easier to cut.
Peeling the acorn squash before microwaving it is not necessary. Leaving the skin intact acts as a natural container, helping to maintain the structural integrity of the tenderized flesh, ultimately making it easier to handle and serve.
More vegetable recipes
Microwave Acorn Squash
- 1 Acorn squash 1 to 1 ½ pounds
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 to 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt use less if using salted butter
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Chopped toasted pecans to garnish optional
- Cut the acorn squash in half vertically. Scoop out the seeds using a large spoon and discard or use for roasting.
- Add 3 tablespoons water into a microwave safe baking dish and place squash flesh side down.
- Microwave for 7 to 9 minutes or cooked through when pierced with a knife.Cooking time - Microwave cooking times will vary depending on the wattage and size of the vegetable. The advantage of this microwave acorn squash recipe is that you can easily test for doneness and adjust the timing. It is done cooking when a knife or fork can pierce the tender flesh and the vegetable feels soft to touch.
- While the squash is cooking, mix melted butter, brown sugar, salt and black pepper together in a small bowl.
- Using tongs or a kitchen towel, flip the hot squash over, evenly drizzle mixed butter on the flesh, and pour all remaining butter, along with all the settled seasoning, into the cavity.
- Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes or until golden and tender. Sprinkle chopped toasted pecans, before serving.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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