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Cooking acorn squash in an air fryer is a great kitchen hack for anyone who loves a deliciously simple side dish that’s both easy to make and incredibly flavorful. This air fryer acorn squash recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight meal or a special occasion. Its fork-tender texture and sweet, caramelized flavor will make it a favorite at your dinner table.

Roasted acorn squash in an air fryer.

I’ve been cooking up simple yet delicious meals for over 30 years, always finding ways to make healthy eating both easy and tasty. This air fryer acorn squash recipe? It’s a perfect example. It’s healthy and easy to make, and trust me, the flavors are fantastic. Whether you’re into gluten-free, vegan, or just quick, tasty meals, this recipe is a winner. Can’t wait for you to try it!

❤️ Why You Will Love This Recipe

Let me tell you, this air fryer acorn squash recipe is a real treat. Not only is it super simple to make, but the flavors are off the charts. Here’s why you’ll be making it again and again:

  • Quick and Easy Recipe: In less than 30 minutes, you have a mouth-watering healthy side dish ready to serve.
  • Healthy Choice: Packed with Vitamin C and fiber, acorn squash is a nutritious addition to your diet.
  • Versatile: This dish is perfect for a cozy family dinner or as a fancy side for special occasions.
  • Customizable: Feel free to experiment with different spices or sweeteners to suit your taste.
  • Air Fryer Magic: Using an air fryer means less oil, and it brings out the natural sweetness of the squash. It also takes less time to cook than the regular oven. Win!
  • Everyone Loves It: Even the pickiest eaters will be asking for seconds. Trust me, it’s that good!

🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions

This air fryer acorn squash recipe calls for simple, wholesome ingredients, each bringing its unique flavor and texture to the dish. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need and some substitution ideas, just in case:

  • Acorn Squash: The star of the show. It’s naturally sweet and becomes wonderfully tender when cooked. If you can’t find acorn squash, butternut, kabocha, or another type of winter squash are great alternatives.
  • Spray Oil: Ideal for evenly coating the squash. You can use olive oil or any cooking spray you have on hand. Alternatively, you can drizzle the oil on, or use a pastry brush, cloth, or paper towel to coat the oil on the squash.
  • Cinnamon: Adds a warm, spicy note. It’s optional, but highly recommended. No cinnamon? Try nutmeg or pumpkin spice for a similar cozy feel.
  • Honey or Maple Syrup: For that lovely hint of sweetness I added a touch of honey. Honey can be substituted with maple syrup or even a light drizzle of agave syrup.
  • Sea Salt: To balance the sweetness and enhance the overall flavor. Pink Himalayan or kosher salt are great choices too.

🥣 How to Make Acorn Squash in an Air Fryer

Whipping up this air fryer squash recipe is a breeze. Here’s your step-by-step guide to creating this delectable dish:

1. Preparing the Squash

Start by preheating your air fryer to 370°F (190°C). Meanwhile, tackle the acorn squash. Cut it in half with a sharp knife and scoop out the seeds (tip: you can roast acorn squash seeds later for a crunchy snack). Lightly spray the halves with oil, ensuring they’re well-coated.

2. Air Frying

Place the squash halves in the air fryer basket, cut side up. Air fry acron squash for 20 minutes. This is where the magic happens! The air fryer’s hot air circulates around the squash, cooking it evenly and drawing out its natural sweetness.

Raw acorn squash in an air fryer.

3. Adding the Finishing Touches

After 20 minutes, open the air fryer, test your squash’s softness by piercing the bigger half with a fork, and then give it a little TLC. Add a bit more spray oil, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a dash of salt, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. These ingredients will caramelize beautifully, giving your squash a gorgeous glaze.

4. The Final Stretch

Close the air fryer and let it do its thing for another 5 minutes. This final cook time allows the flesh of the squash to become perfectly fork tender and the flavors to meld together. Once it’s golden brown and tender, it’s ready to serve! Drizzle a bit more honey or maple syrup if you like it extra sweet.

Roasted acorn squash in an air fryer.

🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips

To help you get the best out of this air fryer acorn squash recipe, here are some handy tips and notes:

  • Look for firmness: Your acorn squash should feel firm and be free of soft spots.
  • Size matters: A smaller squash tends to be more flavorful and tender. Plus, it’ll fit better in your air fryer! If your acorn squash is too large to fit the air fryer, try cutting it into quarters (halving it again).
  • Don’t overcrowd: For even cooking, arrange the squash in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  • Temperature is key: Stick to 370°F to ensure your squash cooks through without burning. Note: Sugars can burn easily which is why I add the honey towards the end.
  • Unsalted Butter: If you’re looking to make this great side dish into more of an indulgence, add a pat of butter to each squash half when you add the cinnamon and honey. The melted butter tastes amazing!
  • Get creative with spices: While cinnamon is a classic, feel free to experiment with other warm spices like allspice or clove.
  • Savory twist: If sweet isn’t your thing, try savory seasonings like garlic powder, rosemary, or thyme. See below for my 5 favorite seasoning ideas!

✨ 5 Seasoning Ideas for Air Fryer Acorn Squash

Spicing up your acorn squash can turn this easy air fryer recipe into something completely new. Here are five seasoning ideas to give your squash some extra flair:

  1. Maple and Cinnamon: A classic. Drizzle your squash with maple syrup and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon right at the end of air frying. This combo gives a sweet, warm flavor that’s hard to resist.
  2. Savory Garlic Parmesan: For a savory twist, mix grated Parmesan cheese with garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle this over your squash for a cheesy, garlicky kick.
  3. Spicy Honey Sriracha: Love a little heat? Combine honey with a dash of Sriracha sauce. Brush this spicy-sweet mixture on your squash for an exciting flavor contrast. I like this drizzled on after cooking it too!
  4. Herb and Olive Oil: Go Mediterranean. Mix olive oil with your favorite herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage. Brush it on the squash for a fragrant and earthy taste.
  5. Brown Sugar and Spice: Mix brown sugar with a pinch of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. This gives a sweet but slightly smoky and spicy flavor, perfect for those who enjoy a bit of complexity.
Roasted acorn squash in an air fryer.

🫙 Storage Instructions

Got some leftover air fryer acorn squash? No problem! Here’s how to keep it fresh and tasty for later:

  • Cool and Airtight: Allow the cooked acorn squash to cool to room temperature and then transfer the squash to an airtight container. 
  • Refrigerate or freeze: The squash will stay good in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you need to store it longer, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy it again, simply reheat in the air fryer for a few minutes to bring back that delightful crispness. If frozen, let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

🍽️ What Can I Serve With This Air Fryer Acorn Squash Recipe?

Pairing your air fryer roasted acorn squash with the right dishes can turn it into an unforgettable meal. Here are some suggestions:

Main Dishes

The sweetness of acorn squash complements the savory flavors of meats like roasted chicken, steak bites, or pork tenderloin. For a veggie option, pair this easy side dish with grilled tofu, tempeh, or a hearty bean stew for a satisfying vegetarian meal.

Salads

Serve with a fresh green salad, like a spinach or kale salad dressed with a light vinaigrette, or Pickled Beet Salad with Arugula. For something warm or heartier, quinoa salad or wild rice salads with dried fruits and nuts make a great combination with the squash’s sweetness.

Starches

A crusty loaf of bread or dinner rolls are perfect for soaking up any extra glaze from the squash. Mashed, roasted, scalloped, or in a potato salad, potatoes are a comforting addition to this perfect side dish.

Desserts

Finish off with a dessert that echoes the warm spices in the squash, like a cinnamon apple crisp or pumpkin cheesecake.

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe with other types of squash?

Yes! Butternut squash, spaghetti squash, or kabocha squash can be great substitutes. Just adjust the cooking time if they’re larger or smaller than acorn squash.

Do I need to peel the squash?

No need to peel! The skin of acorn squash becomes tender enough to eat when cooked, and it adds a nice texture.

How can I make this recipe vegan?

Simply use maple syrup instead of honey for a vegan-friendly version.

Is it possible to make this recipe without an air fryer?

Absolutely. You can roast the acorn squash in the oven at 375°F for about 25-30 minutes.

How do I know when the squash is cooked?

The squash is done when it’s fork-tender and the edges are slightly caramelized.

Can I add nuts or seeds for a crunch?

Definitely! Pecans, walnuts, or roasted seeds can be sprinkled on after cooking for added texture and flavor.

Is this dish suitable for a gluten-free diet?

Yes, this air fryer acorn squash is naturally gluten-free.

Can I prepare this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can cook it in advance and reheat it in the air fryer for a few minutes before serving.

Roasted acorn squash in an air fryer.

😋 More Air Fryer Recipes You Will Love

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📖 Recipe

Roasted acorn squash in an air fryer.

Air Fryer Acorn Squash Recipe

Bethany Galloway
Cooking acorn squash in an air fryer is a great kitchen hack for anyone who loves a deliciously simple side dish that's both easy to make and incredibly flavorful. This air fryer acorn squash recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight meal or a special occasion. Its fork-tender texture and sweet, caramelized flavor will make it a favorite at your dinner table.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Sides
Cuisine American
Servings 2 Servings
Calories 109 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Air Fryer

Ingredients
  

  • 1 acorn squash
  • spray oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1-2 pinches salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • extra honey or maple syrup to drizzle (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Begin by preheating the air fryer to 370°F/190°C.
  • Cut the acorn squash in half and scrape out the seeds with a spoon (see note 1 for roasting the seeds).
    Seeds scooped out of a halved acorn squash and placed in a small white bowl.
  • Spray the acorn squash halves with oil.
    Oil sprayed on two halves of an acorn squash.
  • Place them in the air fryer basket, cut side up, and air fry for 20 minutes.
    Raw acorn squash in an air fryer.
  • After 20 minutes, open the air fryer basket. Spray a little more oil on the acorn squash halves, sprinkle the cinnamon and salt over them, and drizzle with honey or maple syrup.
    Drizzling honey over an acorn squash in the air fryer.
  • Air fry for 5 more minutes, or until the flesh is golden brown and tender. Drizzle with extra honey/maple syrup if desired and enjoy!
    Roasted acorn squash in an air fryer.

Notes

    1. Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds: Check out our recipe on How to Roast Acorn Squash Seeds! They’re delicious, healthy, ready in 15 minutes, and a great way to use up the whole squash.
    2. Look for firmness: Your acorn squash should feel firm and be free of soft spots.
    3. Size matters: A smaller squash tends to be more flavorful and tender. Plus, it’ll fit better in your air fryer! If your acorn squash is too large to fit the air fryer, try cutting it into quarters (halving it again).
    4. Don’t overcrowd: For even cooking, arrange the squash in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
    5. Temperature is key: Stick to 370°F to ensure your squash cooks through without burning. Note: Sugars can burn easily which is why I add the honey towards the end.
    6. Unsalted Butter: If you’re looking to make this great side dish into more of an indulgence, add a pat of butter to each squash half when you add the cinnamon and honey. The melted butter tastes amazing!
    7. Get creative with spices: While cinnamon is a classic, feel free to experiment with other warm spices like allspice or clove.
    8. Savory twist: If sweet isn’t your thing, try savory seasonings like garlic powder, rosemary, or thyme. See the full post for my 5 favorite seasoning ideas!
  1.  

Storage and Reheating Instructions

  • Cool and Airtight: Allow the cooked acorn squash to cool to room temperature and then transfer the squash to an airtight container. 
  • Refrigerate or freeze: The squash will stay good in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you need to store it longer, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy it again, simply reheat in the air fryer for a few minutes to bring back that delightful crispness. If frozen, let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Nutrition

Calories: 109kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 2gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 201mgPotassium: 754mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 792IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 77mgIron: 2mg
Keyword air fryer, air fryer acorn squash, easy, quick, vegan, vegetarian
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