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Learn how to microwave acorn squash for a quick and easy side dish for fall and Thanksgiving. This is the easiest way to cook acorn squash and turns out perfect every time.

microwave acorn squash half with melted butter and brown sugar on plate.

I have been cooking acorn squash in the microwave for years now. It’s my favorite way to cook this delicious side dish. This family favorite is easier in the microwave and takes minutes to make — faster than an air fryer!

We love candied acorn squash with butter and brown sugar. If you prefer a savory squash recipe or something with less sugar, just omit the brown sugar and maple syrup.

How Long to Cook Acorn Squash in Microwave

Microwave 1 acorn squash cut in half for 9-10 minutes at high power or until fork tender.

To soften a whole acorn squash, prick the outside several times with a fork, and microwave whole squash for 1-2 minutes. This makes it easier to cut open.

Note that the total cook time may vary with different sizes of microwave ovens. Total cooking time depends on the wattage of your microwave and the size of your squash.

acorn squash, brown sugar, butter and maple syrup.

Microwave Squash Ingredients

You can find these simple ingredients in most grocery stores or farmers market. Full amounts and full recipe are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Acorn squash — 1 acorn squash is roughly 2 adult servings
  • Butter — for flavor and to prevent the squash from drying out as it cooks
  • Brown sugar — for flavor
  • Maple syrup — just a touch for that fall flavor

You will also need a sharp knife, large spoon, fork and a microwave-safe plate or baking dish.

How to Cook Acorn Squash in Microwave

First, prep the squash. Rinse the squash under cool water, and pat dry.

If there is any dirt stuck on the squash, you can use a kitchen brush to clean it.

scrape seeds out of acorn squash with spoon.

Place the squash on a cutting board, and cut in half. Next, scrape the insides of the squash with a large spoon to remove the seeds.

You can save the seeds to plant or roast — like pumpkin seeds. Or discard seeds if you won’t be using them.

2 acorn squash halves with butter and brown sugar in center on baking dish.

Prick the insides of each squash halve with a fork. Then, place squash cut side up in a microwaveable baking dish.

Rub to top of each squash with a little butter or olive oil. This prevents the top9 sides from drying out as they cook.

Fill each cavity with a tablespoon butter, brown sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup, and microwave squash until fork tender.

How to Serve

Use kitchen tongs or a large serving spoon to gently lift microwaved acorn squash out of the dish and onto a plate. The cooked squash is fork tender, so you can scoop out the insides with your fork and enjoy.

For mashed acorn squash, allow to cool slightly. Then, scoop out the insides of the squash into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher or mixer.

microwaved acorn squash half with melted butter brown sugar center.

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Squash

Store leftover acorn squash in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can reheat the squash half in the microwave for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Helpful Tips

Choose acorn squash that is firm, without soft spots, and with dark green skin. Small orange spots are fine, but it is overripe and may be tough and stringy if it is mostly orange.

You can keep acorn squash at room temperature in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months before cooking.

It’s not necessary to add water to the pan when microwaving squash. Just add some butter or olive oil to the insides when cooking.

The total cook time will vary with different microwave ovens. The general rule is to cook for less time and add more time as needed. Microwaved food continues to cook after microwaving.

Cook more than 1 acorn squash in batches. You can place the cooked squash in a large baking dish and keep warm in the oven until all are done.

You can also soften acorn squash in the microwave before baking for that perfect roasted texture in half the time! This is also a great way to make stuffed acorn squash for a main dish.

More Microwave Side Dishes

If you love microwave recipes as much as I do, try my microwave corn on the cob — ready in minutes and so good! I also recommend my microwave ramen or my microwave baked potato recipe — perfect every time!

5 from 3 votes

How to Microwave Acorn Squash

By: Dee
Learn how to microwave acorn squash for a quick and easy side dish for fall and Thanksgiving. This is the easiest way to cook acorn squash and turns out perfect every time.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
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  • Rinse squash under cold running water, and pat dry.
  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise using a sharp knife
  • Scoop the seeds out from the center with a large spoon, and poke holes in the squash all over with a fork
  • Place squash halves cut sides up in microwave safe dish.
  • Rub top of each half with a little butter, and place 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and ½ teaspoon maple syrup in each cavity
  • Microwave for 8-9 minutes on high, or until insides of squash are fork tender.


To soften acorn squash before baking, poke holes on the outside of the squash, and microwave for 1-2 minutes or until easy to cut.
You can use the basic recipe for microwaving squash, and use your preferred seasonings if you don’t want a sweet side dish.
Total cook time varies with size and microwave wattage. Always use a shorter cook time, as food continues to cook after microwaving. You can always add more time if needed.
Cook more than 1 squash in batches. You can place the cooked squash in a large baking dish and keep warm in the oven until all are done.


Calories: 242kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 100mg, Potassium: 775mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 1141IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: side
Cuisine: American
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Recipe Rating


  1. Bonnie says:

    My mother used to make something like this when I was a kid. I loved it more now!
    My kids loved it too!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      It’s a favorite at my house too!