Maple Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash

As autumn rolls in, it’s time to savor the rich flavors of the season. One dish that perfectly captures the essence of fall is Maple Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash. This simple yet elegant recipe combines the natural sweetness of acorn squash with the comforting richness of maple syrup and the crunch of toasted pecans. Whether you’re looking for a cozy side dish or a standout vegetarian entrée, this recipe is sure to impress. Let’s dive into how to create this delicious dish and explore some creative variations to suit your taste buds.


  • 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup (or substitute with brown sugar or honey)
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Halve the acorn squash and scoop out the seeds, creating a hollow space in each half.
  3. Place the squash halves on the prepared baking sheet, cut side up.
  4. Divide the butter and maple syrup evenly among the hollowed-out centers of the squash.
  5. Roast the squash in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until tender. Baste the insides with the melted butter and syrup mixture halfway through cooking.
  6. While the squash is roasting, toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and golden brown. Coarsely chop them and set aside.
  7. Once the squash is tender, remove it from the oven and sprinkle the toasted pecans over the top.
  8. Serve the Maple Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash hot, using a spoon to scoop out the tender flesh and enjoy every delightful bite.

Recipe Variations:

  • For an extra depth of flavor, add 2 teaspoons of white miso paste to the butter and maple syrup mixture before roasting.
  • Elevate the dish with a savory twist by sprinkling 2 tablespoons of crumbled blue cheese over the roasted squash after baking.
  • Indulge your taste buds by adding 2 tablespoons of cooked and crumbled bacon for a smoky, salty contrast.
  • Turn this side dish into a hearty meal by scooping out the roasted squash flesh, mashing it, and serving it as a creamy alternative to mashed potatoes.

Nutrition Information: Each serving of Maple Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash provides approximately 189 calories, with 5 grams of fat (3 grams saturated), 15 milligrams of cholesterol, and 35 grams of carbohydrates (including 3 grams of fiber and 12 grams of sugars). This dish also offers a touch of protein, making it a well-rounded addition to your autumn menu.

Serving and Storage Tips:

  1. Serve with Style: Present your Maple Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash on a festive platter or individual plates to enhance its visual appeal. Garnish with fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary for an extra pop of color and flavor.
  2. Pairing Suggestions: This dish pairs beautifully with a variety of main courses, such as roasted chicken, grilled salmon, or a hearty vegetarian stew. For a complete meal, consider serving it alongside a crisp green salad or roasted vegetables.
  3. Make-Ahead Option: You can prepare the squash halves in advance and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to roast them. Simply cover them tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out. When you’re ready to serve, just pop them in the oven and follow the remaining steps of the recipe.
  4. Leftover Love: If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply warm them in the microwave or oven until heated through. Enjoy them as a delicious side dish for another meal or incorporate them into salads, grain bowls, or sandwiches for a tasty twist.
  5. Freezing Instructions: While acorn squash can be frozen, the texture may change slightly upon thawing. If you’d like to freeze any leftovers, place them in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Label the container with the date and store it in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To thaw, transfer the squash to the refrigerator overnight and reheat as desired.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can enjoy the delightful flavors of Maple Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash whenever the craving strikes, whether you’re serving it for a special occasion or enjoying it as a cozy weeknight meal.


  1. Autumn Spice Blend: Enhance the fall flavors by incorporating a homemade spice blend into the butter and maple syrup mixture. Combine ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger for a warm and aromatic twist on the classic recipe.
  2. Herb Infusion: Infuse the butter and maple syrup with fresh herbs like sage, thyme, or rosemary before drizzling it over the squash halves. The fragrant herbs will add depth and complexity to the dish, elevating its flavor profile.
  3. Citrus Zest: Brighten up the dish with a burst of citrus flavor by adding freshly grated orange or lemon zest to the butter and maple syrup mixture. The citrusy notes will complement the sweetness of the maple syrup and balance the richness of the squash.
  4. Nutty Crunch: Experiment with different types of nuts to add a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to the dish. Try substituting toasted almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts for the pecans for a delicious variation.
  5. Cheese Lover’s Delight: For a decadent twist, sprinkle shredded Parmesan or Gruyère cheese over the roasted squash during the last few minutes of baking. The cheese will melt into gooey goodness, adding a savory element that pairs beautifully with the sweet squash and maple syrup.
  6. Spicy Kick: Add a touch of heat to the dish by incorporating a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder into the butter and maple syrup mixture. The subtle spiciness will balance out the sweetness and add a layer of complexity to the flavor profile.
  7. Apple Cider Glaze: Replace the maple syrup with apple cider reduction for a tangy and slightly tart flavor profile. Simmer apple cider in a saucepan until it thickens and reduces by half, then drizzle it over the squash before roasting for a deliciously fruity twist.
  8. Coconut Curry Infusion: For a unique and exotic variation, mix coconut milk with curry powder and a touch of honey to create a flavorful sauce. Pour the sauce over the squash halves before roasting for a fragrant and deliciously spiced dish that’s sure to impress.

These creative variations offer endless possibilities for customizing Maple Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash to suit your taste preferences and culinary adventures. Whether you prefer sweet, savory, or spicy flavors, there’s a variation here to delight your palate and elevate your autumn dining experience.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

  1. Can I use other types of squash for this recipe, or is acorn squash essential? While acorn squash is traditionally used for this recipe, you can experiment with other winter squash varieties like butternut squash or delicata squash. However, keep in mind that the cooking times may vary depending on the squash’s size and thickness.
  2. I’m allergic to nuts. Can I omit the pecans, or do you recommend any nut-free alternatives? Absolutely, you can omit the pecans if you have a nut allergy. Alternatively, you can substitute them with toasted seeds like pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for a similar crunchy texture without the nuts.
  3. I’m vegan. Can I replace the butter with a plant-based alternative? Yes, you can substitute the butter with vegan butter or a neutral-flavored oil like coconut oil or olive oil to make this recipe vegan-friendly. Just be sure to use a plant-based butter that is suitable for baking and roasting.

Maple Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash is a quintessential fall recipe that celebrates the flavors of the season in a simple yet satisfying way. Whether you’re hosting a festive gathering or simply craving a cozy meal at home, this dish is sure to delight your taste buds and warm your soul. Try out the recipe variations to customize it to your liking and make it a standout favorite in your autumn culinary repertoire.