Stuffed acorn squash gets a cheesy makeover with this flavorful fall dish! Roast acorn squash halves are stuffed with potatoes, leeks, and bacon — the whole family will love this one!
Cheesy Acorn Squash Bake
I’m 60, and I’ve sat down to many holiday and family dinners and thought I had pretty much tasted everything…until last night. Last night I discovered a recipe that had been sitting with all my favorite recipes for almost 20 years. I thought it looked good but for some reason, I had never tried it.
Holy smokes my friends. I have been missing out! This one is a keeper and will forever have a place on my table. The only problem with it, is that it is so good I want to eat the whole thing myself! This holiday season, I will have to double the ingredients to keep everyone happy.
Here’s the story behind this surprisingly incredible recipe…
About 20 years ago, our family moved to Michigan and into the most delightful neighborhood. I loved my short, three years there and made some wonderful friends. On the day we moved in, our neighbors brought food and sweet notes. They also organized an impromptu get-together that first night.
After three years, my husband was transferred to Texas and I had to say goodbye to my home, my job, and my friends.
One of my going-away gifts was a recipe book that my friends had put together for me, full of handwritten recipes. I’ve already shared one of these, Broccoli Salad, which is the best broccoli salad recipe out there.
One of the recipes in this book was simply called Baked Squash. I had never made it before last night.
This was a serious mistake on my part. As it turned out, it was incredible!
I want to remind readers, that I am not a professional cook. This blog started as a place to recreate treasured recipes and preserve them for our family and friends. We also wanted to take old recipes that had incomplete or abbreviated directions and make them specific and clear so anyone could make them.
Often, I make a recipe twice to get the times and amounts correct, but otherwise, I am doing the best I can to fulfill our original intent.
I’m not America’s Test Kitchen! Just a Grammy cooking in my home kitchen. Fortunately, we have the best readers who try our recipes and give us feedback in the comments to help with perfecting how to make our recipes.
Now, back to the squash recipe. When I made it and tasted it, I was blown away. The simplicity of the ingredients in no way indicates how yummy this will taste. After my first taste, some primal instinct came over me.
In my excitement, I forgot to take a picture of the mashed ingredients, though I mentally noted it would make a delectable side dish even without baking.
Then I forgot to take a picture of the just baked casserole before I put my spoon into it.
Then I ate half of the casserole and sadly looked at the remains of the casserole that I was supposed to be photographing.
Be warned my friends.
It could just be me but I’m pretty sure this casserole is just that good.
Apologies to my Michigan friend for not trying it before but I’m making up for it now. This recipe is definitely going to be on my holiday menu from now on!
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- 1 acorn squash
- 4 or 5 large potatoes
- 1 leek
- 8 slices of bacon (6 for recipe and 2 for garnish)
- 2 to 4 Tablespoons of butter (or olive oil)
- 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup cream or milk if needed
Kitchen Tools Used
To Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Squash: Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Rub the cut side with oil and place cut side down on a baking pan covered with foil or parchment paper. Bake until soft (about 30 minutes). You want it to be fork-tender and you’ll scoop out the flesh of the squash to add to the dish later.
- Potatoes: Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in large pot and add enough water to just cover the potatoes. Cover pot, bring to a simmer, and cook until done (about 40 minutes).
- Leeks: While the potatoes and squash are cooking, prepare the leeks and bacon. Cut away the root end of the leeks, as well as the tough green leaves. Cut the remaining tender white part of the leeks lengthwise and then slice into thin strips. Add leeks to a large skillet or sauté pan with 2-4 tablespoons of butter or olive oil and cook over medium heat, until tender, but not browned.
- Bacon: Cook 6 – 8 slices of bacon. I like to cook on a baking pan covered with foil or parchment paper. For this recipe, you can put the bacon in the oven once the squash is cooked through.
- Once all four ingredients are cooked, combine them in a big bowl. I just added everything to the potato pot. My mix was a little dry, so I added ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream. Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to stir and mash this mixture until it has the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes.
At this point, you have an amazing side dish that can accompany almost any protein, from ground beef to chicken! You could just serve this as a side dish like you would mashed potatoes. You could even set some of this aside for your dairy-free eaters (before you add the cheese). They will thank you!
To Make the Stuffed Squash
- Raise the temperature of your oven to 375 degrees.
- Add the mashed potato and squash mixture to a lathe casserole dish and sprinkle generously with grated cheese.
- Bake until the cheese is melted and the dish is hot throughout, or about 15 minutes.
- Serve out of the casserole dish, or scoop back into the acorn squash shells for a beautiful presentation.
- Feel free to top the dish with your favorite fresh herbs: parsley, sage, thyme, etc. You could also add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
- This dish would taste fabulous served with a side of sautéed spinach or kale!
- Try this recipe as a delicious alternative to the usual Thanksgiving stuffing!
- I don’t usually add nuts to this dish, but you can! Slivered almonds or chopped pecans could be a tasty addition.
- If bacon is not your thing, you could also substitute with cooked ground chicken, ground turkey, Italian sausage, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is This Recipe Gluten-Free?
Yes! This recipe as written is gluten free. If you omit the bacon, it can also be a vegetarian recipe.
Can You Use Butternut Squash Instead?
If you’re looking for substitutions for the acorn squash, generally you can use any type of winter squash interchangeably. Butternut squash or kobocha squash would have similar flavor and texture. Spaghetti squash is also considered a winter squash, but the texture is very different and it wouldn’t be my top choice for this particular dish.
Cheesy Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe (Printable Recipe Card)
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Cheesy Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Large pot
- 2 baking pans
- mixing bowl
- Potato masher or heavy wooden spoon
- 1 acorn squash
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 1 leek white part only
- 8 slices bacon
- 4 TB butter
- 6 ounces cheddar cheese grated
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Rub the cut side with oil and place cut side down on a baking pan covered with foil or parchment paper. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until soft.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in large pot and add enough water just to coat the potatoes. Cover pot, bring to a simmer, and cook until done (about 40 minute).
- Cut away the root end from the leeks, as well as the tough green leaves. Cut the remaining white part of the leeks lengthwise and then slice into thin strips.
- Add 2-4 tablespoons of butter to a large sauté pan and cook the leeks until tender, but not browned.
- Cook 6 – 8 slices of bacon. I like to cook on a baking pan covered with foil or parchment paper. For this recipe, you can put the bacon in the oven once the squash is cooked through.
- Once all four ingredients are cooked, combine them in a big bowl. I just added everything to the potato pot. My mix was a little dry, so I added ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream.
- Mash with a potato masher or a large wooden spon until everything is the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes.
- Raise the temperature of your oven to 375 degrees.
- Scoop the mashed ingredients into a casserole dish and cover with grated cheddar cheese.
- Bake until the cheese is melted and the dish is hot throughout (about 10-15 minutes). If you made extra bacon, you can garnish with some crumbled bacon.
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