Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe (2024)

By Martha Rose Shulman

Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe (1)

Total Time
2 hours, including baking time
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This makes a substantial vegetarian – or vegan if you leave out the cheese – Thanksgiving main dish. It is another riff on the native American tradition of the Three Sisters – corn, beans, and squash. I used acorn squash here, and it serves as a vessel for the sweet and pungent bean, corn and tomato filling. Acorn squash comes in various sizes; the larger ones, which are sometimes all I can find, take almost an hour to soften and cook through; the finished squash can be cut in half or even into thirds if too big for one serving. With everything that comes on the Thanksgiving sideboard, that will probably be the case. I always bake the squash for about 20 minutes before cutting it in half; they soften up a little bit, which makes it much easier to cut.

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Yield:8 substantial main dish servings, 12 to 16 smaller servings

  • 4large or 6 smaller acorn squash
  • 3tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for basting
  • 1medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1red pepper, diced
  • 128-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice, pulsed to a coarse purée in a food processor
  • 2tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2tablespoons mild honey, maple syrup or pomegranate molasses
  • 2tablespoons red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • ½teaspoon cayenne
  • 3cups cooked pintos, black beans or red beans, or 2 cans, drained and rinsed
  • 1cup corn kernels
  • cup breadcrumbs
  • 2ounces / ½ cup Gruyère, grated

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

513 calories; 10 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 90 grams carbohydrates; 18 grams dietary fiber; 11 grams sugars; 23 grams protein; 1088 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes, until soft enough to easily cut in half. Wait until cool enough to handle (about 15 minutes), then cut in half (stem to tip) and scoop out seeds and membranes.

  2. Step


    Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add red pepper and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes have cooked down slightly, about 5 minutes. Add honey, maple syrup or pomegranate molasses, vinegar, salt and cayenne, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 8 to 10 minutes, until thick and fragrant. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in beans and corn and simmer another 5 minutes.

  3. Step


    Oil 1 or 2 baking dishes or a sheet pan that will accommodate all the squash. Season cavities and cut sides of the squash with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil or melted butter. Fill with bean mixture. Mix together bread crumbs, Gruyère and remaining olive oil and sprinkle over the filling. Brush exposed edges of squash with oil. Place in the baking dish or on baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Bake large squash for 45 minutes, check smaller squash after 30 minutes. The flesh should be easy to penetrate with the tip of a knife. Uncover and return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until breadcrumbs and cheese are lightly browned. Serve hot or warm.


  • Advance preparation: You can make the filling a day or two ahead and refrigerate.



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Cooking Notes


Great recipe. I recommend doubling the cheese. Also, cooking the squash a little longer before filling so that the filling doesn't get dried out.


This was delicious. My family loved it. The squash picked up all the flavors and was so rich. I added Italian sausage, but I think it would also be great without it.

Ken Fisher

Recommend splitting the squash and removing the seeds before baking. I increased the baking time to 25 minutes, which produced a soft, moist squash, ready for the filling.

I used a pyrex pan with a splash of water in the bottom. This keeps the squash moist and worked well.

Dani S.

Laura is right. Definitely want the squash closer to being done roasting before you stuff. Stuffing is delicious and cheese adds a great touch.


Took a lot longer to cook once stuffed than I expected, but tasty. A bit bland -- I'd add some additional spices next time.


Delicious dish. Roasted cherry tomatoes instead of using canned tomatoes. A keeper recipe.


This is a terrific recipe - one that will go into regular rotation for us. I added some additional cheese and could have added even more. Great, easy dish for a busy day.


So delicious. I added a little bit of ground sausage with sage and left out the cheese.


Delicious! A find! I had to make some quarantine adjustments, i.e. had no corn; left out the sweet ingredient on purpose; used canned chili beans, flavored it with ancho chili powder. Since I was 1/4'ing the recipe (1 squash), I was pretty free with quantity of onion & pepper--all to say it's forgiving & shelf-friendly. I first microwaved the squash for 8 mins. Next time will sauté the bread crumbs in the oil before mixing with the cheese & use the recommended black beans & corn.


This was a great recipe! I did add garlic, turmeric, and some southwest spice blends to the stuffing mixture which was quite good. Doing it again, I'd try adding pepitas or sunflower seeds for some crunch and chipotle in adobo to taste. I would brush in the inside of the squash with the adobo sauce, which would add a nice smoky flavor.


Left out the tomatoes and subbed the Gruyere for Cheddar. Excellent Dish!

Janet G

This was very tasty and versatile. I used chickpeas and Parmesan and a bit of rice. I had leftover filling which made a nice enchilada casserole a few nights later.

Jill H

I made this with a carnival squash and an acorn squash that I got from the CSA. The acorn squash needed 10 minutes longer in the oven, but tbh I thought the carnival squash tasted better. I don't think the corn added anything to the stuffing and next time I'll probably add more cheese. Overall, I liked the idea and plan on making more stuffed squashes.


I've cooked a variation on this using ground beef. I added mushrooms, forgo the bread crumbs and substituted cheddar instead of Gruyere. Spices included Oregano, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper.


Excellent!Baked squash 30 minutes in first step.Used Trader Joe’s hot honey.Did not use bread crumbs.

Jonathan "Joao" (from New Bedford)

Am I the only one that had too much filling left over?

Christine Cote-Wissmann

The advice suggesting pre-cooking the squash before adding the filling is spot on. We’d recommend getting the squash about 2/3 cooked prior to filling for a larger squash which will result in a more fully cooked squash and evenly cooked filling. The trick is the size of the squash! Smaller squash will need less precooking. Larger squash will need more. It’s important to check and use good judgment.


This was not wildly exciting for the amount of effort it was to make it. The breadcrumb and gruyere cheese topping was the best bit...the squash and the filling merged into a non-descript mushy texture, and the flavors were not distinct or defined. Overall, it's was a disappointment.


Before filling, cut the bottom of the squash halves for more stable contact with the pan or baking dish.


Also used a mix of black and pinto beans

Rick L

Very riff able recipe.I did split the squash and seeded them and put them face down in quarter inch of water in a sheet pan and cooked for 22.Using a towel and tongs, i was able to fill them 5 minutes later. Cooked for 30 and then another 5 uncoveredReally good. Do use the vinegar and something sweet to round out the flavors.


My comments are about an adaptation, not a critique of the original. I tried this filling with hollowed out, seasoned, pre-baked summer squash and added about 2 ounces of feta to the bean mixture; I added garlic, lemon, and fresh thyme to the crumb topping. It was fine, but the whole effect other than the topping lacked oomph. If you use a summer squash, you may need to play with the seasonings.


I assume most people arrive at this page searching for acorn square recipes, as I did, and it's certainly a great way to use acorn squash. But, I keep coming back for just the filling. It's great served over rice, uses common pantry ingredients, and definitely doesn't take as long without the squash element. I love the sweet and sour flavor. A great weekday dinner.


Bake at 375 conv bake, don’t reduce to 350. Takes a long time to bake

Gail cooks.

What can I top this with when cheese is not an option?


Borrow 'poor man's parmesan' from the Italians. Breadcrumbs that are toasted in olive oil (that has sometimes been infused with garlic, citrus zest, anchovies, or chili oil) and sprinkled with salt take on most of the same notes as Parmesan. They're savory, unapologetically rich, and nutty from toasting. They also have the added benefit of texture.


The bean mixture was tasty but did not complement the squash. Beans and acorn squash? Not for me. Put together, both lose something. I would make the filling again but would serve it on rice, cauliflower rice maybe, spaghetti squash? Throw some parmesan or vegan cheese on top - done. There are a lot of good stuffed acorn squash recipes out there that work better than this one in my opinion.

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Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe (2024)


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