Instant Pot Acorn Squash, with only 5 ingredients, cooks in less than 25 minutes and makes a comforting sweetened Fall side dish that is perfect for Thanksgiving.
Acorn squash is a wonderfully delicious winter squash, and when prepared with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, even the kids will like it. If you can’t get kids to eat vegetables or squash, try this recipe, they may like it since it is sweet. I was a vegetable hater when I was a child, but my father prepared sweetened acorn squash like this, except in the oven, and I loved it. It is now associated with wonderful memories of fall holidays, Fall recipes, and of my Dad making this dish.
Why Make This Instant Pot Acorn Squash Recipe?
Cooking an acorn squash in the oven can take a lot of time. However, by making this sweetened acorn squash recipe in the Instant Pot, you can cut the cooking time in half and have this wonderful Fall side dish on the table 30 minutes earlier. That is why I love Instant Pot recipes. However, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, I have provided instructions for how to roast the Acorn Squash in the oven.
In addition, if you are preparing acorn squash for a holiday dinner, such as for Thanksgiving, when demand for oven space is high, you can free up your oven to cook something else, while this Acorn Squash recipe cooks in the Instant Pot on the counter.
Lastly, as mentioned previously, this Acorn Squash recipe is sweetened, which makes it delicious and more kid-friendly. If you can get the kids to eat more vegetables then that is a win!
How To Tell If Acorn Squash Is Ripe?
If you are buying Acorn Squash for the first time, you may not know how to tell when it is ripe. However, it is very easy. First, you can tell by the color if an acorn squash is ripe. They will be a matte green with an orange spot where the squash was sitting on the ground. If the skin is shiny, then it is not ripe. Secondly, the skin will be very tough, which you will find out when you try to cut the acorn squash.
What Do I Need To Cook Acorn Squash In An Instant Pot?
- First, you will need an Instant Pot. The 6-quart Instant Pot Duo60 is the one that I use, and you can cook 1 acorn squash, cut in half in this one.
- Second, you will need a very sharp Chef’s knife to cut the acorn squash.
- Third, you will need a cutting board.
- You will need a large spoon or a large ice cream scoop to scoop out the seeds of the acorn squash.
- Lastly, you will need a large strainer, ladle to remove each half of the acorn squash out of the Instant Pot.
You will need only 5 ingredients, which are as follows.
- Acorn Squash
- Brown Sugar
How To Cut or Slice Acorn Squash?
The skin of the acorn squash is extremely tough and takes a lot of muscle to cut it.
Pro Tip: To make cutting the acorn squash easier, make small slits in the skin of the acorn squash, and then microwave the acorn squash for about 3 minutes to soften it. Then let it cool so you can comfortably handle the acorn squash. Then start to cut.
Use a very sharp, large chef’s knife to cut the acorn squash in half. I recommend starting on the side of the stem and using the tip of the knife start cutting around the side of the acorn squash.
How To Cook Acorn Squash In An Instant Pot
For a detailed, printable version of the recipe instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this blog post. A video showing How To Make Instant Pot Acorn Squash is included. Furthermore, a step by step photo collage is located directly below the step by step instructions.
- Slice the acorn squash in half. See the recommendations above about how to make cutting the acorn squash easier.
- Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, scoop out the acorn squash seeds, and set aside. Another option is to reserve the seeds to roast them later.
- Place the inner liner into the Instant Pot. Pour a cup of water into the inner liner.
- Place the acorn squash halves on the Instant Pot trivet, with the cut side facing up, and lower them into the Instant Pot. Place 1 tablespoon of butter into the center of each acorn squash half.
- Next place 1 tablespoon of brown sugar into the center of each acorn squash half.
- Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon cinnamon over the butter and brown sugar in the center of each half of the acorn squash.
- Close the lid on the pressure cooker, and move the pressure release valve on top of the Instant Pot to the SEALING position.
- On the front of the Instant Pot, press the PRESSURE COOK button or MANUAL button, and use the + or – signs to adjust the time to 7 minutes. (NOTE: The Instant Pot will take several minutes before it comes up to pressure. During this time, the display will say “On” and when the pressure cooking starts, it will start counting down the time from 7 minutes.
- Once the the Instant Pot has finished pressure cooking for 7 minutes, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes (meaning that you do nothing during this time.) After 10 minutes, move the pressure release valve to the VENTING position to release any remaining pressure.
- Using a long-handled slotted spoon, or long-handled strainer, carefully lift out each acorn squash half one by one, and place on a dinner plate or serving dish. Enjoy!
What To Serve With Instant Pot Acorn Squash
- Brussels sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole or Creole Green Beans
- Roast Turkey
- Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
- Apple Walnut Cranberry Salad
How To Bake or Roast Acorn Squash In The Oven
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and discard.
Line a sheet pan with either foil or parchment paper. Place each half of the acorn squash on the sheet pan, with the cut side up.
Then add butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the center of each half.
Place the sheet pan with the acorn squash in the preheated oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes.
Is Acorn Squash Healthy?
Yes, acorn squash is a winter squash that is a healthy starchy vegetable. According to Healthline, Acorn squash is loaded with nutrients, is a good source for antioxidants, promotes digestive health, and may protect against certain diseases if you increase your vegetable intake, which would include acorn squash. Furthermore, it states that diets rich in produce, such as acorn squash, may help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers.
Is Acorn Squash Low Carb?
While Acorn Squash is considered a healthy carb, according to Healthline, and a good alternative to many other high carb vegetables. However, it is not considered low carb, as it has about 15 carbohydrates, and should be avoided on low carb diets, according to VeryWellFit.com.
How To Store Acorn Squash?
Store uncut acorn squash in a cool dark place for up to one month.
Is The Skin of Acorn Squash Edible?
Yes. It is edible. That is why it is important before starting to cook acorn squash that you rinse the outside skin thoroughly.
More Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken And Dumplings
- Instant Pot Ham Green Beans And Potatoes
- Instant Pot Beef Tips and Gravy
- Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Chicken And Rice
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Instant Pot Acorn Squash
- 1 whole acorn squash (rinsed and dried)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Rinse and dry the outside skin of the acorn squash.
- Cut the acorn squash in half. See notes in the blog post and in the notes below for tips regarding cutting the squash.
- Scoop out the seeds in the middle using a spoon or an ice cream scoop and discard the seeds (or you can save the seeds to roast later.)
- Place the inner liner into the Instant Pot.
- Pour 1 cup water into the inner liner.
- Place the 2 acorn squash halves on the trivet that came with the Instant Pot with the cut side facing up.
- In the center of each acorn squash half, place 1 Tablespoon butter, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cinnamon over the top of the butter and brown sugar.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Move the pressure release valve to the "SEALING" position.
- Press "PRESSURE COOK" or press "MANUAL" on the front of the Instant Pot. Press + or - to adjust the time to 7 minutes. (NOTE: It will take several minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure.)
- When the Instant Pot has finished cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes (which means you do nothing for 10 minutes), then after 10 minutes, do a QUICK RELEASE by moving the pressure release valve to the VENTING position.
- After the pressure has been fully released and the pin on top has dropped, carefully remove the lid. Then carefully remove each half of the acorn squash, one by one and move to a serving plate or dinner plate. Enjoy!