Grilled Acorn Squash with maple syrup, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and paprika make the perfect side dish to a fall spread of food or holiday gathering.
I love the combo of sweet and spicy, and this recipe does that flavor combo justice. With sweetness from the maple syrup and spice from the cayenne pepper, each bite is full of carmelized sweetness and a warm kick.
The other key spice players are cinnamon and paprika for smoky, fall notes. This recipe comes together so quickly – cooking for less than 10 minutes on the grill so you don’t have to wait long.
Just slice the acorn squash along its natural ridges, coat in the sweet and spicy glaze and grill on medium-high heat.
Cutting the Acorn Squash
Cutting an acorn squash can be tricky. Start by cutting the squash in half lengthwise. Then follow the squash’s natural ridges as you cut the slices. Some slices will be thicker than others, so try to keep them around half an inch thick.
I love grilling the slices this way so they cook quickly, and they’re easy for serving. You can also chop the acorn squash crosswise along the width to get wavey rings. Either way works as long as the slices are similar in thickness.
Maple Syrup & Spice Glaze
Mix together the olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add the acorn slices and mix to coat well.
You don’t need to transfer the acorn slices to a pan, just leave them in the bowl and use tongs to transfer them from the bowl to the grill.
How to Grill Acorn Squash
Heat the grill to medium-high heat (around 450 degrees when starting). Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side.
The acorn squash cooks quickly since they’re thinly sliced, so definitely check on them to make sure they don’t burn.
When you get near the bottom of the bowl with the acorn slices, the slices will be soaked in the oil. Before placing those slices on the grill, knock those slices against the bowl before placing on the grill to remove any excess oil.
Otherwise, you might get some smoke from oil dripping down or a bit of a flame pop up!
Alternatives to an Outdoor Grill
The closest you can get to grilling indoors with a stove is using the broil function. The oven will heat up to over 500 degrees, so you can cook food quickly and get similar grill marks if you have a pan with slotted sections.
Another alternative is slow roasting it in the oven at 350 degrees if you’re going for more of a softened texture rather than the crispiness a grill gives. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
Personally, I prefer broiling or grilling over baking since the texture is too soft and mushy from baking in my opinion!
This recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving, but it can also be enjoyed at any time of year.
When serving for presentation, I highly recommend laying them on a platter and topping with roasted seeds. You could also add other toppings like pomegranate seeds or red pepper flakes for extra spice!
Try making it into a salad by serving the slices on a bed of greens. Sprinkle with cheese and other toppings for a delicious fall salad.
Or just enjoy as finger food!
Recipe Tips & FAQs
No! Try roasting them to have as a snack later! Coat them in olive oil, salt and any other favorite seasonings and roast for 15 minutes at 300 degrees Fareinheight. You could even use them as a garnish to this recipe!
Nope! Just mix well in the bowl and throw on the grill!
I would suggest eating them within three days. While they can last longer, the more they sit, the more likely the flesh will become soft and mushy and the peel will become tough.
Sweet & Spicy Grilled Acorn Squash
- 1 acorn squash sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pre-heat the grill to medium high heat – around 450 degrees.
- Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and slice into 1/2 inch slices following the squash's ridges.
- Mix the olive oil, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt in a bowl and add the acorn slices and mix well.
- Using tongs, place the acorn slices on the grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side.
- Top with roasted acorn seeds, pomegranate seeds or any other favorite toppings and enjoy while warm!
- When grilling and getting near the bottom of the bowl of acorn slices, knock off the excess oil before placing on the grill to prevent any large flames or smoke from oil dropping off the squash.
- The squash will last well after grilling but are best eaten right after grilling. The peel will become tough once chilled and reheated.
- If roasting, heat the oven to 425 degrees Fareinheight and follow the recipe as is until cooking. Instead of grilling, roast in the oven for 35 minutes.
- If broiling in the oven, cook the squash slices on high for 10 minutes and follow the recipe as is.
- Don’t discard the seeds! Try roasting them in a little oil, salt and pepper for a snack to have on hand.
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