This healthy mashed acorn squash is made with roasted squash, spiked with maple syrup, and seasoned with roasted garlic, rosemary, cinnamon, and ginger. It’s truly one of the BEST acorn squash Thanksgiving side dishes that’s also fit for weeknight dinners, dinner parties, and everything in between. This whipped squash recipe is vegetarian and can easily be made vegan.
Say hello to your new favorite Thanksgiving vegetable recipe. I know it’s only October, but I already went there. I just couldn’t resist posting this acorn squash recipe sooner rather than later. That’s because it’s a perfect side dish for any fall dinner, not just the holidays!
Although I love mashed potatoes, especially my Mashed Purple Potatoes and Instant Pot Mashed Red Potatoes, I like to mix it up sometimes and swap in a different vegetable. Mashed winter squash recipes are very popular in the fall, and I realized I hadn’t shared one with all of you!
So, that’s how this mashed acorn squash came to be. It’s got a similar texture to mashed potatoes but has a vibrant yellow-orange color. Instead of just savory seasonings (although there are some of those, too – hello, rosemary and roasted garlic), I added some things to complement the natural sweetness of squash.
In every bite of whipped squash, you’ll taste hints of maple syrup, cinnamon, and ginger. Plus, half and half and melted butter dial up the creaminess and round out the whole thing. It’s heavenly. Truly.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Acorn squash: The star of the show! If you don’t have any and need an acorn squash substitute, try butternut or carnival squash.
- Garlic: You’ll roast about six cloves with their skin at the same time as the squash. You can even add more — like an entire head of roasted garlic — if you’re feeling it. (See my cookbook for how to roast whole garlic heads). Not a garlic fan? Just omit it if you want.
- Rosemary: The piney flavor of this herb pairs really well with creamy mashed acorn squash. You can also substitute sage or thyme.
- Maple syrup: Use pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup. Brown sugar would be a good substitute if you don’t have syrup.
- Ground cinnamon and ginger: YUM. You can use a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice in place of these seasonings if desired.
- Butter and half and half: If you want to make a vegan squash mash, use full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk in place of these ingredients.
You can use a few different tools to make mashed vegetables. Each one will yield a slightly different texture, however. I prefer to use a hand mixer, but a handheld potato masher or a food processor also get the job done.
The full recipe card, which includes ingredient quantities and step-by-step instructions, is at the bottom of the post. Here’s a preview of how to make mashed acorn squash with process shots to guide you.
Slice the acorn squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds.
Brush the flesh with olive oil and place cut side down on a lined baking sheet. Place six cloves of garlic (with their skin) in the center of the sheet. Roast until the squash is fork-tender, about 45 minutes.
When the squash and garlic are finished roasting, spoon the squash flesh into a mixing bowl and squeeze the garlic out of its skin. Add the rest of the ingredients.
Use a hand mixer, potato masher, or food processor to blend the mash until smooth or your desired consistency.
Storage and Reheating
Mashed acorn squash is best when served right away, but it also keeps well. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Reheat individual portions of mashed squash in the microwave for one to two minutes until heated through. If you are reheating more than one serving, transfer the squash to a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Warm over medium-low heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. You can add a splash of cream for some moisture, too.
Serve mashed acorn squash as a side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It pairs well with turkey, chicken, pot roast, pork chops, pork tenderloin, and Spinach Feta Salmon Burgers. You can also serve it with Crispy Panko Tofu or lentils for a vegetarian option.
If your acorn squash is difficult to cut, you can soften it in the microwave before cutting. Use a paring knife to make a few slits in the skin. This allows steam to escape. Place the squash on a microwave-safe plate, and cook on high for two to three minutes.
Squash has a higher water content than potatoes, so mashed squash can be slightly more watery than mashed potatoes. If your mashed acorn squash is too watery, spoon it into a fine mesh sieve and push it down with a spoon to drain off excess liquid. If you heat it in an open saucepan or pot, that will also get rid of some moisture. Finally, go easy on the added liquid. Start with ¼ cup half and half and add more as needed.
You usually do not need to peel acorn squash, but you shouldn’t use the skin in mashed squash. Instead, scoop the cooked flesh out of the skin and just use that. For other recipes, you may or may not need to remove the skin depending on what the recipe recommends and what you prefer. Acorn squash skin is edible and becomes very soft when cooked.
I’d love to hear how you like this recipe! Rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and follow the Veg World on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
Mashed Acorn Squash with Maple and Rosemary
- 2 acorn squash - sliced in half lengthwise and deseeded
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic - in their skins
- ¼ cup half and half - use up to ½ cup as needed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Brush the flesh of the acorn squash halves with olive oil. Place them cut side down on the baking sheet. In the center of the sheet, add the garlic cloves in their skin (keeping the skin on prevents burning). Roast until the squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 40 to 45 minutes.
- Just before the squash and garlic are finished roasting, warm the half and half and butter over low heat in a saucepan until the butter is melted. Be careful not to let it come to a boil to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and set aside. Gather the other ingredients.
- Scoop the cooked squash flesh into a large mixing bowl (hold it with oven mitts or a dish towel to prevent burning your hands!). Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from their skins into the bowl. Pour in the warmed half and half and butter, then add the maple syrup, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
- Using an electric hand mixer or potato masher, blend or mash the squash until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings and/or add more half and half if needed to achieve your desired consistency.
- 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)!
- To make vegan, substitute coconut milk for the half and half and omit the butter.
- You can also use butternut or carnival squash in this recipe.
- Other seasoning ideas: sage, thyme, pumpkin pie spice in addition to or in place of what’s already used.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Reheat larger portions in a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently and adding more half and half as needed to prevent scorching.
Enjoy this creamy, dreamy acorn squash! – Lizzie