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Two pressure cooked acorn squash halves filled with butter and brown sugar topping on a serving plate with two spoons.

Instant Pot Acorn Squash

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  • Author: Vanessa | Maple + Mango
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 7 min (plus 10 min natural pressure release)
  • Total Time: 30 min
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Learn how easy it is to cook perfectly tender acorn squash in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker acorn squash).  Make it extra delicious by adding the butter and brown sugar topping or keep it plain to use in other dishes. 


  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup water


  1. Prep squash: Wash the acorn squash and pat dry.  Cut it in half from stem end to bottom with a very sharp knife.  Use a spoon (or melon baller) to scrape out the seeds and stringy bits.  Note: For plain cooked acorn squash, just skip the butter and brown sugar topping and move on to Step 3.
  2. Add toppings: Poke the acorn squash halves on the inside a few times with a fork.  This is not necessary but will help the butter and brown sugar flavors absorb into the flesh.  Divide brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt between both halves of acorn squash.
  3. Pressure cook: Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot and set the metal trivet inside.  Place the acorn squash halves on top of the trivet.  Secure the lid and turn the valve to the “Sealing” position.  Set to pressure cook for 7 minutes (high pressure) followed by a 10 minute natural release.  Once the 10 minutes are up, carefully release any remaining pressure by turning the valve to the “Venting” position.  Remove the lid and carefully remove the acorn squash halves.  Note: Check doneness by poking with a fork or the tip of a knife.  If it is not tender enough, pressure cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  4. Serve: You can simply serve the halves with a spoon or serve it mashed.  To make a mash, scoop the cooked squash flesh out, mash it up with a fork and add more butter and brown sugar to taste if you like.


  • Instant Pot needs to be at least 6-Quart size: In order to make sure the squash will fit, use a 6-quart Instant Pot or larger. I use the 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo. You can also use a different electric pressure cooker brand too.
  • Trivet: Your Instant Pot should have come with a metal trivet. You can also purchase the Instant Pot trivet separately as well or use a steamer basket.
  • To caramelize the tops: If you prefer caramelized tops on the acorn squash halves, pop them under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes.  You could also use the air fryer lid if you have the Instant Pot Duo Crisp or a regular air fryer to brown the tops quickly.
  • New to the Instant Pot? Confused by the terminology? Check out these Instant Pot Tips For Beginners.
  • Roasting Instructions: You can also make this recipe in the oven.  Preheat oven to 400F / 200C.  Place the acorn squash halves, cut-side up in a baking dish or onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Divide brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt between both halves of acorn squash.  Bake for about 45-60 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork or the tip of a knife.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.