Learn how to cook acorn squash in a pressure cooker with this Instant Pot acorn squash recipe. In just 7 minutes of cook time and 10 minutes of pressure release, you’ll have perfectly tender acorn squash. Tips for cooking squash whole or sliced in half are included.
This time of year, I’m all about winter squash cooking hacks. Squash is so delicious in recipes, but it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare. Cutting some types of squash can even be dangerous without the proper technique or tools!
That’s why I have tutorials on how to cut spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and delicata squash. In this post, I’m providing another way to make your life easier when it comes to cooking with squash. This time, the focus is acorn squash, and the kitchen tool of the day is the Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker).
If you’re new to preparing acorn squash and landed on this page when you got one in a CSA share or at the market without knowing what to do with it, let’s start with the basics. Acorn squash is a type of winter squash that resembles an acorn. It has bright orange flesh and an earthy, sweet taste similar to butternut squash. You can enjoy it roasted on its own or in soups, baked goods, and salads.
Pretty much all acorn squash recipes call for it cooked. It takes a while to roast (about 45 minutes), so making Instant Pot acorn squash is a game changer! A whole squash takes about 12 minutes of cook time, and a squash cut in half takes about 7 minutes. You still have to factor in the time it takes the Instant Pot to come to pressure and the 10 minutes of natural pressure release after cooking. But all said and done, the process is faster than roasting squash.
Ingredients and Tools
- Acorn squash: Of course, this is the main (and only) ingredient in the recipe. You’ll also need some water.
- Seasonings or recipe ingredients of choice: Figure out how you would like to use your cooked acorn squash, and gather what’s needed for that. I provided some ideas later in the post.
- Instant Pot: I use a 6-quart Instant Pot. Bigger, but not smaller, pressure cookers will also work.
- Trivet: Use the trivet that came with your Instant Pot. If you do not have one, you can buy one separately like this metal one or this silicone one. Putting the squash on a trivet prevents it from sitting in the water at the bottom of the pot and promotes more even cooking.
- Silicone-tipped tongs: This is the best tool to use to safely remove the cooked squash.
For the full details on how to cook acorn squash in a pressure cooker, scroll down to the recipe card. The following overview provides instructions on cooking an acorn squash that has been halved and deseeded.
Cut the acorn squash in half from stem to bottom. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. You can discard them or save them to roast for a snack! You don’t need to remove the stem, as it will come off during cooking.
Pour a cup of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place the halved and deseeded acorn squash on top of the trivet. Seal the lid and make sure the vent knob is turned to “sealing.”
Push the pressure cook button, and set the timer to 7 minutes of high pressure. The Instant Pot will take a few minutes to come to pressure. After the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Turn the vent knob to “venting” to release any remaining pressure.
Remove the squash from the Instant Pot with tongs. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Enjoy with your favorite seasonings or use in a recipe.
Cooking Time Adjustments
Use 7 minutes of cooking time for small and medium squash. If you have a very large squash (over 3 to 4 pounds), increase the cooking time to 9 or 10 minutes.
To cook a whole acorn squash in the Instant Pot without cutting and deseeding, you will need to increase the cooking time to 12 minutes. Still add the water to the bottom of the pot. Then, put the whole squash on top of the trivet. Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds after cooking. Just make sure it’s cool enough to handle first!
If you are not using the squash right away, scoop the flesh into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze cooked acorn squash for up to six months.
You can serve Instant Pot acorn squash with your favorite seasonings as a side dish or stuff it to make it a main course. Alternatively, you can scoop out the flesh and mash or puree it to use in other recipes. Here are some acorn squash recipe ideas:
- Serve brushed with a glaze or sauce: Brush the flesh with some melted butter and maple syrup. Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon. For a savory option, brush the flesh with olive oil or melted butter and sprinkle with fresh rosemary or sage and flaky sea salt.
- Stuff each half: Use your Instant Pot acorn squash halves as a base for a vegetarian main dish, such as my Lentil Stuffed Acorn Squash. You can also stuff them with my Vegan Mushroom and Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf.
- Mash: Cooked acorn squash is great for mashing! Make my Mashed Acorn Squash with Maple and Rosemary for an autumn meal, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.
- Puree: You can scoop cooked acorn squash flesh into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Acorn Squash Puree can be used as a baby food or in baked goods, such as my Acorn Squash Bread with Apple Cider Glaze.
More Acorn Squash Recipes
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Instant Pot Acorn Squash
- 1 acorn squash - about 2 to 3 pounds, see notes for larger squash
- Wash the acorn squash and pat dry. Slice the acorn squash in half from stem to bottom. Remove the seeds with a spoon and discard (or save for roasting). There is no need to remove the stem.
- Pour a cup of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place the trivet in the pot and put the acorn squash halves on the trivet. Seal the lid.
- Make sure the vent knob is turned to "sealing." Push the pressure cook button and set the timer for 7 minutes. The Instant Pot will now come to pressure, but it will take a few minutes to do so before the cooking timer starts.
- Once the timer beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Then, turn the vent knob to "venting" and release any remaining pressure.
- Remove the lid and take the squash out of the Instant Pot using tongs.
- Serve the squash as you wish. See the body of the post and the notes section for ideas. Enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- In order to make sure the squash will fit, use a 6-quart Instant Pot or larger.
- If you have a large squash (over 3 pounds), increase the cooking time to 9 or 10 minutes.
- To cook a whole acorn squash, increase the cooking time to 12 minutes. You can slice it and remove the seeds after cooking, but make sure it’s cool enough to handle!
- Serve the acorn squash brushed with your favorite sauce and seasonings or stuffed. You can also mash or puree it to use as baby food or in baked goods.
Enjoy your stress-free squash! – Lizzie
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