October 18, 2021
Whether this is your first time cooking with acorn squash or you simply want to save some time cooking it, I’ve got you covered.
Today, I’m sharing how to cook acorn squash in the microwave, so it’s fork-tender and ready to topped with your favorite spices and seasonings or used in another recipe.
If you’ve never cooked with acorn squash, the microwave is a great place to start. It’s just as easy as cooking a sweet potato in a microwave and tastes just as good with cinnamon and brown sugar.
What is Acorn Squash
Acorn squash is a winter squash with a buttery flavor and orange flesh. It’s shaped like a giant acorn with ribbed edges and firm, dark green skin. The ripest squash will also have orange patches from where it sat on the ground.
When cooked, the acorn squash has a soft, creamy texture and tastes like spaghetti squash without stringiness.
Prepping Acorn Squash for Cooking in the Microwaving
First, you’ll want to rinse the acorn squash under lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. This is to remove any residue and dirt before you cut into the squash with a knife.
Next, place the squash on a flat surface, and using a sharp kitchen knife, make a small incision in the center of the squash. This creates a vent that will help steam the squash in the microwave and make it easier to cut and slice. With these simple steps, your acorn squash will be ready for microwaving.
How to Microwave Acorn Squash
I put together a quick video so you can watch how it’s done. Then, read these step by step instructions and you’ll feel like an absolute pro at microwaving acorn squash, before you even pick up your knife!
Once the squash is clean and ready, here’s how to cook it in the microwave:
1. Soften the squash
Place the whole, uncut squash in the microwave and cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Let it rest for 2 minutes.
*larger squash will need up to 4 minutes in the microwave to soften.
2. Cut in half
Remove the squash from the microwave and place it on a flat surface. The squash will be hot so use a kitchen towel to hold the end of the squash by the stem and slice vertically, working away from your hand.
Place squash halves, open-faced, into a microwave-safe baking dish or plate. Microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender.
4. Remove the seeds
Once the squash is cooked, allow it to cool for 2 minutes before removing it from the microwave. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard them.
5. Add the good stuff!
Top with salt and your choice of seasonings, ideas on how to serve microwave-steamed acorn squash are below.
How Long to Microwave Acorn Squash
In total, acorn squash will need to cook in the microwave for 10 minutes to reach that soft, fork-tender texture. This is divided into two rounds: the first one softens the squash and makes it easier to cut in half, and the second round finishes steaming the squash.
What to Put on Microwave Acorn Squash
Acorn squash has a unique flavor that pairs well with savory and sweet seasonings, especially fall flavors such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Here are a few topping ideas for steamed acorn squash:
- butter + salt + cinnamon + maple syrup
- dash of cloves + cinnamon + brown sugar
- salt + black pepper + brown sugar + dried cranberries
- butter + garlic powder + cumin + smoked paprika
- butter + garlic powder + black pepper + greated Parmesan cheese
For savory spices such as garlic powder, cumin, and smoked paprika, you’ll want to sprinkle them over the squash halves before placing them in the microwave to steam. This will give them enough time to cook into the squash.
Cinnamon, butter, salt, cheese, brown sugar, and all the rest can be added after the squash is fully cooked.
Herbs and Spices on Microwave Acorn Squash
If you want to add herbs such as rosemary, oregano, basil, sage, etc. I recommend roasting the acorn squash versus steaming it. The roasting process allows the herbs’ natural oils to cook in with the squash and amplify the flavor.
How to Cook with Microwaved Acorn Squash
I also like to partially cook acorn squash in the microwave before using it in another recipe like my acorn squash soup. It calls for 2 cups of steamed and mashed acorn squash, and the microwave is the quickest way to achieve that.
You can also stuff acorn squash, like these Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats.
For this recipe, instead of spaghetti squash, use a steamed acorn squash to load up with savory meat sauce and cheese. Bake the stuffed squash in a 400F oven for 10 minutes, just enough to melt the cheese, then serve.
How to Cook Acorn Squash in the Microwave
- 1 acorn squash
- Brown sugar
- Rinse the acorn squash under lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Place the squash on a flat surface, and use a sharp kitchen knife to make a small incision in the center of the squash.
- Place the entire squash in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Use a kitchen towel to remove the squash from the microwave and place it onto a flat surface. Hold the end of the squash by the stem, and slice vertically, working away from your hand.
- Place squash halves, open-faced, into a microwave-safe baking dish or plate. Microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender.
- Once the squash is cooked, allow it to cool for 2 minutes before removing it from the microwave. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard them.
- Top with salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar.