Stuffed Acorn Squash With Apples, Nuts and Cranberries

When the cooler weather starts to set in, I delve into my recipes to create some warm, comforting meals. You will often find me keeping busy in the kitchen on those blustery fall days.

Close up of three stuffed acorn squash in a rimmed baking pan. Selective focus with the front squash in clear view with two in the background out of focus.

Pumpkins and squash make quite a few appearances between the start of school and the winter holidays.

Oblique view of a white platter with two halves of acorn squash stuffed with walnuts, dried cranberries, apple chunks and sprinkled with cinnamon.

When my children were babies, I would roast butternut and acorn squashes and process them into a fine puree.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cranberries, walnuts, and apples in a white ceramic bowl surrounded by decorative gourds.

I had lots of fun coming up with different fruit and vegetable combinations. Squash and apple always paired well together. I even enjoyed a few spoonfuls myself.

A stuffed acorn squash half in a white bowl in the foreground. Two other squash halves in an oval bowl along with mini pumpkins in the diffused background.

Stuffed acorn squash makes a delicious meal or side dish paired with turkey or chicken. You can use a combination of any of your favorite ingredients from savory to sweet to compliment your meal.

Top down of three halves of baked and stuffed acorn squash in a rimmed baking pan. Sitting on a rustic, white surface.

Remembering how much we loved the combination of squash and apples, I decided to experiment with a stuffing of apples, nuts, and cranberries.

Oblique, close up view of a half of an acorn squash stuffed with apple pieces, walnuts, dried cranberries and then baked. Sitting in a white porcelain bowl. Bowl is sitting on place mats shaped and colored like autumn leaves. Two others are in a diffused background.

The results were as good as I thought that they’d be. This is THE taste of Autumn distilled down into one bite!

A human hand raises a spoon full of baked acorn squash with apple chunks, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

Make this for your family for a weekend treat or prepare it for a Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration – either way, it’s going to be a hit.

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Acorn Squash Stuffed With Apples, Nuts and Cranberries


  • Author: Jennifer Swartvagher
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Looking for a tasty fall treat? Try these acorn squash stuffed with autumn goodness. Apples and nuts just shout “harvest time.”


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 apples (peeled and chopped)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon ((or to taste))
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter or vegan butter (softened)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut squash in half longways.
  3. Remove seeds and pulp.
  4. Pour ¼ cup water into a baking dish and add squash cut side down.
  5. Place baking dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter.
  7. Remove squash from oven and let cool.
  8. Turn over the halves and stuff the center of each squash with the apple/cranberry mixture.
  9. Return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until tender.
  • Category: Autumn Foods
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: autumn, acorn squash, thanksgiving, fall, Christmas

Cooking By The Numbers…

Step One – Prepare Squash

First, preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Then split your squash down the middle lengthwise.

I like to use cheap knives (read Chicago Cutlery) for attacking thick skinned fruits. No way am I letting my good chef’s knife be abused in such a manner.

Step 1 - Split and Remove Seeds
Pull out all of the seeds and connective tissue and discard or clean and and roast like pumpkin seeds.

Step Two – Prebake

Pour about a quarter inch of water in a baking pan and place the fruit in it flesh side down. Place in your preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes (you can get away with a bit less if you’re using convection).

Step 2 - Prebaking

I used a convection toaster oven for this but depending on the size of your squash, you may be able to fit only three halves at a time.

Step 2b - Acorn squash inside of a Breville Smart Convenction Toaster Oven

Step Three – Prepare the Stuffing

Peel the apples with a fruit/vegetable peeler and then dice into small chunks.

Dicing Apples on a wooden cutting board with a chef's knife

Place the brown sugar, walnuts, diced apples, cranberries, cinnamon and butter in a large mixing bowl and thoroughly mix.

Step Four – Add the Goodness

Add the mixture to the hollow cavities and place back in the oven and bake for another 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Step 3 - Add the goodness

Remove from oven and drizzle with honey if you like.  Serve while still warm.

You want a perfect recipe for Fall? This is it! Cranberries, walnuts, apples, acorn squash, and a good dose of cinnamon all in one package.

Top down view of white serving dishes full of a baked and stuffed acorn squash halves. The dishes are surrounded by decorative gourds and small pumpkins.

Do you have other ways to prepare acorn squash? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

Like this recipe? Get more ideas for winter squash now or tell us your favorite recipe below.


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different views of baked and stuffed acorn squash.

Photos, video, and additional writing by Mike Quinn, Video editing by Elis Foto © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally posted October 15, 2015. Last revised and updated September 26th, 2019.

*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Jennifer Swartvagher

Jennifer is an experienced journalist and author. Her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, The New York Times Blog, BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and scores of other parenting and cooking publications.

24 thoughts on “Stuffed Acorn Squash With Apples, Nuts and Cranberries”

  1. Oh my!! That looks delicious! I’m allergic to walnuts, but I think I’d risk death to sample that tasty looking treat. Just kidding, I would just leave them out, though it wouldn’t be the same.

  2. This looks amazing. I’m thinking it would be a pretty impressive addition to the Thanksgiving table, but I’m not sure I’ll wait that long to try it. My cranberry sauce recipe includes apples, and the two flavors are awesome together. Thanks!

    • It is sweet and delicious. I add apples and oranges to my raw cranberry sauce. Now, I can’t wait until Thanksgiving.

  3. Oh, yum! This recipe looks and sounds heavenly. What a pretty side dish this would be on the Thanksgiving table.

    I enjoy squash, and I’m always looking for new ways to cook it. I also enjoy cranberries, so trying these two together is very creative. This is a nice idea.

    They seem easy enough to prepare, but look like they took a lot of time and effort. I love foods that look impressive but are actually fairly simple.

  4. I’ve never had any kind of squash with other fruits. This looks absolutely delectable, though. The stuffing is one of my favorite combos so I’m sure I would enjoy it. If the weather EVER cools down over here, I need to try this.

    • It was 90 degrees F here yesterday, so I hear ya. My stove and oven didn’t get much of a workout. I hate heating up the whole kitchen when it’s hot, especially if it’s humid. It’s cooler today, and it should start being more mild here, so I’ll be able to do more cooking and baking again.

      This one really does sound delish. I for sure want to give it a try. I think I might do it for the holidays. I’ll probably have to make a “test sample” first though (because I don’t think I can wait that long, haha).

    • With the cooler temperatures here in my neck of the woods, I have been baking up a storm. I hope you enjoy this recipe once the fall weather arrives.

  5. I know a lot of people on here have been saying this would be a delicious side dish on Turkey Day, however, I’m wondering if you could take it a step further. What I mean is, why not add slow-cooked white-meat into the acorn itself? The apples, cranberries, nuts, etc would create a creamy-chutney type effect. Ah well, I don’t feel too original saying that; this is a scrumptious looking recipe.

  6. I do love this site! Whenever I’m stumped for ideas this is the place I find really good ones. We have vegan friends coming to stay over easter and this dish is definitley going on the menu. It looks beautiful, so colourful and juicy looking and reading the ingredients I know the balance is going to be just right!

  7. This is one of the visually stimulating dishes I have ever seen. My mouth is watering just looking at it. A lot of times on the weekend, my girlfriend will make some cinnamon walnut baked apples as a post breakfast treat. This seems like it would be a good way to switch it up. As you said, this is definitely a fall dish. I’m excited to try it when the leaves start to change!

  8. This just didn’t quite work for me. I have fixed acorn squash with cinnamon, brown sugar, and dried fruit before, but somehow I must not have done something quite right with this. For starters, it took a full two hours, and filling my baking dish with water twice before the squash got tender enough to eat. And unfortunately, when it took that long, some of the dried cranberries became charcoal burnt! The basic concept was good – but whether it was cook error, or something else, I will have to give another recipe a try.

    • Sorry this recipe didn’t work for you, Kate! Cook times can vary when you’re working with fresh produce, since winter squash can vary significantly in size. There are also a few other factors to consider:

      What size baking pan did you use, and what was it made of? Using the smallest pan possible would have its advantages for this particular recipe, and we used a light-colored metal baking pan. Cook times could be affected if a darker color pan was used, or a glass or ceramic baking dish. I also noticed that you said you filled the pan with water- though a little bit of water can be added to the bottom of the pan to make this dish, it should not be filled up with water by any means, and your additions of water probably served to cool down the pan and draw heat away from the squash, making it cook much more slowly than it would have otherwise.

      Secondly, do you have a thermometer in your oven to see if it is true to temp? Next time you try this dish at home, I’d suggest increasing the oven temperature by 25 or 50°F for the first 30 minutes or so of baking, and baking the squash until you can pierce them with a sharp knife, not quite fork tender but getting there. Rather than continuing to bake after they are are filled (which unfortunately resulted in the annihilation of your cranberries!) the squash need to be cooked most of the way before stuffing them and putting them back in the oven.

      We’re always working to improve our recipes with detailed updates to help other cooks troubleshoot less than stellar outcomes. Your feedback will help us to do this- I look forward to hearing from you again!

  9. This is delicious! I used homemade applesauce with peels instead of apple bits. Not as much prep time but lots of yummy. (Also added some white raisins I had on hand). Great recipe! Thanks.

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