These Air Fryer Acorn Squash Slices are a quick and easy side dish that are a great alternative to oven roasted. This recipe is perfect for fall and is ready in 20 minutes or less!
It's that time of year where we see a variety of squash available in the grocery store and we sometimes aren't sure how we are supposed to prepare them or if we should just use them as decoration.
While other squash varieties like butternut (used in one of my favorite fall soups) and zucchini take a lot of the attention in recipes, I love the size and flavor of these acorn squash which have a sweet, nutty flavor.
While many recipes for squash involve roasting it in the oven, I've been committed to branching out with using my air fryer for recipes that don't involve chicken nuggets and French fries. This recipe is a great one to add to your air fryer arsenal! Check out this recipe for the perfect fall dessert made using the air fryer!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Air fryer = easy! - I love using my air fryer for recipes like this as it frees up oven space for other parts of the meal and is so simple to use. Air frying the squash gets the outside a little crispy while the inside is creamy and tender.
- Fall flavors - The flavor of squash itself just screams fall, but seasoning it with butter, brown sugar and sage creates the most comforting, warm side dish for those cooler days.
- Equal parts pretty & delicious - We eat with our eyes first and the pretty scalloped-edged crescents of the squash make a nice presentation on a plate.
Only 5 ingredients are needed to make this recipe! Here's what you'll need:
- Acorn squash - These ridged squash are a dark green, almost black color on the outside with some orange spots throughout. With their stem, they can look like a large acorn! The inside is a pale yellow/orange color. I aim for about a 2 pound squash as it will feed 4 people nicely as a side dish.
- Butter - I use salted. I prefer using this instead of oil in this air fryer recipe to give a buttery flavor that pairs well with the squash.
- Brown sugar - While this makes me think of those Thanksgiving canned yams that are swimming in butter and brown sugar, there's actually something to this concept. The brown sugar adds a caramelized sweet flavor to the squash that is just so good.
- Salt - To balance some of the sweetness and enhance the flavors.
- Fresh sage - Sage is my favorite herb to use when making squash. They just go together perfectly. The sage leaves crisp up in the air fryer and create little pops of flavor. I recommend using fresh sage, but if using dried, I'd use about a tablespoon.
Step 1: Preheat. - I always preheat my air fryer. I've read conflicting opinions on this, but I think it's beneficial to have your food cook at the correct temperature from start to finish and not be part of the gradual heating process. Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees.
Step 2: Prep the squash. - Slice acorn squash in half through the middle and scoop out the seeds. A large, sharp knife is crucial for this. You may have to get the knife started and carefully rock the squash back and forth using the knife to get through it.
Cut each half in half again. Slice these quarters into ½ inch slices, making sure the scalloped edge is showing (see pictures below). Place in a large bowl.
Step 3: Season. - In a small bowl combine melted butter, brown sugar and salt. Pour over the squash slices and give them a toss to evenly coat them. Add chopped sage and mix again.
Step 4: Air fry. - Add the squash to the air fryer and cook for about 15 minutes, stopping halfway through to flip all the slices.
The air fryer I have is a 6 quart size and find it doable to do the squash in one batch successfully. If you have a smaller sized one, I'd suggest doing the squash in batches to avoid the pieces getting soggy. You could also line the bottom of your air fryer with parchment if you prefer to, but I've haven't had any trouble with clean up by not doing this.
Cooking times can also vary slightly depending on your air fryer and the size of it, so check the tenderness about halfway though and adjust time accordingly. Err on the size of less time to see how things are progressing, adding a couple minutes if needed.
Serve these squash slices as a side dish for a variety of proteins such as roast chicken, pork chops, steak, or a mild fish like cod or halibut. Air frying the squash is generally a great substitute for a recipe that calls for oven roasting it, and can be used in a variety of ways such as soups, salads, and even at breakfast!
I love how these squash slices almost mimic a fry and can be a nice handheld dish for little hands to enjoy.
These squash slices served on a pretty platter would also make a great addition to any Thanksgiving or holiday table!
Yes, the skin on acorn squash becomes nice and tender after cooking. It's totally a personal preference whether you want to eat it or not. If you prefer not to eat it, the skin is easily peeled off the squash after it's cooked so there's no need to peel it beforehand.
Delicata squash would work nicely for this recipe. They also have the pretty scalloped edges and are a smaller size than acorn squash. They are sometimes more difficult to find, but would be a nice substitute in this recipe.
Yes! Acorn squash is rich in antioxidants and huge variety of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It's also high in fiber and low in calories making it a great food to incorporate into your diet.
If you don't have an air fryer, this recipe can be followed and instead roasted on a sheet pan in the oven. I'd recommend roasting the squash at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Storing & Reheating Tips
Leftover squash can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, place the squash back in the air fryer at 380 for 4-5 minutes until heated through.
Cooked squash can also be frozen for up to a year! The texture will be mashed, but it's a great thing to add to soups throughout the year.
Other Side Dish Recipes You'll Love
Have you made one of my recipes? I’d love your feedback on the comment box and star rating below the recipe!
Air Fryer Acorn Squash Slices
- 1 acorn squash about 2 pounds
- 3 tbsp. butter melted
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. fresh sage chopped
- Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees.
- Using a large, sharp knife slice acorn squash in half through the middle. Scoop out seeds. Cut each half in half again. Slice these quarters into ½ inch slices. Place in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl mix together melted butter, brown sugar and salt. Pour over squash slices and toss until well coated.
- Add chopped sage and mix well. Place squash in the air fryer.
- Air fry the squash slices for about 15 minutes, stopping halfway through to flip pieces for even cooking. Cooking times may vary depending on air fryer.
- When slicing the squash, I like to make sure the scalloped edges of the squash are showing. See pictures in the post above.
- If you are using an air fryer that is smaller than 6 quarts, I'd recommend doing multiple batches.