There’s no better meal to highlight the flavors of Fall than Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash! The Italian sausage, Granny Smith apples, and sage combine in the easiest stuffing that’s nestled into acorn squash shells. These stuffed squash are pure comfort!
Editor’s Note: Originally published on November 11, 2018. Updated with expanded information and all new pictures.
When Fall rolls in we find ourselves drawn to certain flavors and ingredients, squash being one of them.
Acorn squash is one of my favorite Fall ingredients to work with because they’re incredibly versatile and I love their sweet, almost nutty flavor.
But this recipe for apple and sausage stuffed acorn squash may be one of my all-time favorites because they’re easy to make, loaded with flavor from the sausage and sage, and incredibly delicious.
These are filling enough to be an all-in-one meal so keep it simple and serve alongside a green salad with shallot vinaigrette, or my spinach and mushroom salad with warm bacon dressing.
Table of Contents
All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.
- Acorn Squash. Look for 2 medium-sized acorn squash which will yield a total of 4 halves for serving. You can eat the skin on the acorn squash so be sure to wash them if doing so.
- Italian sausage. Look for mild bulk Italian sausage. If you can’t find bulk sausage, buy links and simply remove the sausage from its casing. We love sausage for stuffing and use it in our stuffed zucchini boats and stuffed cubanelle peppers. If you can’t find sausage, or prefer to use ground beef or turkey, you can do that as well.
- Apples. I used 2 Granny Smith apples because I love their tart flavor, but use any apple you’d like.
- Sage. Opt for fresh sage. It lends great flavor and perfectly complements the other ingredients.
- Chicken stock. If you have homemade chicken stock, I recommend using it as it will elevate the dish. You can also use boxed stock or chicken base.
- Breadcrumbs. You can use storebought Italian breadcrumbs as a shortcut, or you can make your own if you prefer.
- Pecorino Romano (not pictured). This salty cheese adds great flavor to the breadcrumb and stuffing mixture. You can also use Parmigiano Reggiano in its place.
See the recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Preheat the oven to 400f and set the rack to the middle level. Remove a small slice from the top and bottom of each squash to create a flat surface. This will ensure that they don’t roll around. Slice the acorn squash into halves, then scoop out the seeds (Photo #1).
- Place the acorn squash on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper (Photo #2). Then, flip them over so the cut side is down and bake for 40 minutes.
- While the squash is baking, dice 1 medium onion, chop 3 Granny Smith apples, chop 1 tablespoon of fresh sage, and grate 1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese. Heat a large pan to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with 1 pound of bulk Italian sausage. Cook the sausage for about 5-7 minutes, or until brown, using a spoon or meat masher to break it up into small pieces (Photo #3).
- Add the onions along with 2 tablespoons of butter and cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened (Photo #4).
- Add the apples and sage and cook for another 3 minutes mixing well (Photo #5).
- Add 2 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wood spoon to dislodge any brown bits. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat (Photo #6).
- Add 3/4 cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and the grated Pecorino Romano and mix well to combine. Taste test and adjust salt and pepper as needed (Photo #7).
- Remove the acorn squash from the oven and use a spatula to flip them over so the flesh side is up (Photo #8).
- Spoon the apple and sausage stuffing into the acorn squash cups, mounding it higher than the edge. Place 1 tablespoon of butter onto each squash and return to the oven for another 30 minutes (Photo #9).
- Remove the sausage apple stuffed acorn squash from the oven and test to make sure the squash are fork-tender. If not, return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes (Photo #10). Allow to cool slightly, then serve. Enjoy!
- Acorn squash. Similar to butternut squash, acorn squash can be challenging to cut. Be sure to use a sharp knife to cut them in half. If cutting them is too difficult, heat the squash in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften them up a bit.
- Roasting. Be sure to roast the acorn squash flesh side (cut side) down. This allows the flesh to steam and cook far faster than cup side up.
- Homemade stock. I’m often asked how to best elevate flavor in a dish and my answer is always “use homemade stock”. Using your own, whether beef stock or chicken stock, allows you to control sodium levels but also tastes so much better than anything store-bought.
More Fall-flavored recipes
If you can’t get enough of fall flavors, give some of these favorite recipes a try!
- Roasted butternut squash soup – with apples, carrots, and maple syrup.
- Baked butternut squash pasta – with mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, and sage.
- Sweet potato gnocchi – with maple brown butter.
- Cinnamon roasted butternut squash – with maple syrup and pumpkin seeds.
- The Best Pumpkin Bread – with chocolate chips.
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Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
For the roasted acorn squash
- 2 medium acorn squash halved, seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the stuffing
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 Granny Smith apples chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage chopped
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano grated
- salt and pepper to taste
Roast the acorn squash
- Preheat oven to 400f and set the rack to the middle level. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto the flesh side of the halved acorn squash pieces and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash pieces cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking and bake for 40 minutes.
For the stuffing
- Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the olive oil along with the sausage. Brown the sausage while breaking it into smaller pieces (about 5-7 minutes).
- Add the onions along with 2 tablespoons of butter and cook until softened (about 5-7 minutes). Add the apples and sage to the pan and cook for another 3 minutes mixing well to coat.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any brown bits. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove the pan from the heat.
- Add the breadcrumbs and Pecorino Romano and mix well to combine. Taste test and add salt to pepper to taste.
- Remove the acorn squash from the oven and turn them cup side up for stuffing. Stuff the squash, mounding it higher than the edge. Place 1 tablespoon of butter onto each squash. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove and test that the acorn squash are fork-tender. If not, return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Enjoy!
- Acorn squash skin is fully edible and delicious after a long roasting.
- Use a sharp knife to cut open the squash. Also, cut off the pointed end so that the squash half will sit upright when stuffed. If cutting the squash proves difficult, simply microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften up the exterior skin.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge and can be reheated in either the oven or microwave.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
This recipe was originally published on November 11, 2018. It was completely updated on October 20, 2023.