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You’ll love how easy it is to roast acorn squash in your instant pot!
Stuffed with a sweet and savory mixture of wild rice, Italian sausage, steamed chestnuts, dried cherries, and walnuts, my Instant Pot Acorn Squash is a cozy autumn meal everyone loves!
Every bite of this dish is a literal flavor explosion with hints of spicy, earthy, tart, and sweet tastes combined in one absolutely delicious acorn squash. And, all with very little effort!
Serve this festive stuffed acorn squash at the holidays as the main entree with a side salad and rolls, or alongside your Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham.
Looking for more squash recipes? I have a very popular recipe for Creamy Spinach Spaghetti Squash Casserole as well as this Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Pasta Bake — my hubby’s favorite — that you may enjoy.
Key ingredients & substitutions for Instant Pot Acorn Squash
- Acorn squash — Prime season for green winter acorn-shaped squash starts in early fall, so you may not find it as readily available throughout the year as other squash varieties. A ripe acorn squash will have a lighter orange or yellow spot on one side.
- Wild rice — Any kind of wild rice, or even brown rice, will work in this recipe. Just follow the cooking instructions on the package substituting vegetable or chicken broth for the cooking liquid to give it more depth of flavor.
- Italian Sausage — Select either mild or spicy bulk ground sausage to suit your own tastes. For a vegetarian option, just leave it out.
- Aromatics — Shallots and garlic are so very important in building a good flavor base for this recipe.
- Steamed chestnuts — Full disclosure, this is the first time I’ve ever used steamed chestnuts (I had been gifted a sample a few weeks ago), but I love the added texture and flavor they give to the filling. If you’re not a fan, it’s totally fine to omit.
- Dried cherries — Just a handful adds a chewy sweet bite! Dried cranberries or figs would also be delicious.
- Nuts — For a little added crunch, add walnuts or pecans to the wild rice filling.
How to make instant pot acorn squash?
STEP 1 | Cook the rice
Unless you’re using an instant wild rice mix, get the rice started first. I used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice which takes 45 minutes on the stove.
Rinse the rice under cool running water, then cook using vegetable broth or chicken broth for the liquid according to the package directions.
STEP 2 | Sauté the sausage, shallots, and garlic
Set the instant pot to the SAUTÉ function. Once the pot is hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the Italian sausage, shallots, and garlic.
Cook and stir until the sausage is no longer pink and the shallots are translucent. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mixture to a paper towel lined plate.
- Make the filling ahead of time, then just warm it up when you’re ready to cook and stuff the squash.
STEP 3 | Pressure cook the squash
Place the trivet into the bottom of the pot and pour in a cup of water. Add the acorn halves to the pot cut side down.
Lock the lid and set the valve to sealing. Cook on HIGH pressure for 6 minutes. Allow the instant pot to naturally release for 5 minutes, then rapid release any remaining pressure. When the pin has dropped, remove the lid and place the squash on a serving tray.
STEP 4 | Stuff the squash
When the rice is finished cooking, transfer to a large bowl. Add the cooked sausage, chopped steamed chestnuts, walnuts, and dried cherries. Season with sage and salt.
Spoon the rice sausage mixture into each squash.
- Garnish stuffed acorn squash with a few pomegranate arils or fresh sage leaves.
- Serve along side oven-roasted pork tenderloin and cooked apples.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. Be sure to cool the cooked squash completely, then store frozen in a resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as you would leftovers.
To reheat stuffed acorn squash, place on a baking tray and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Heat for 30 to 40 minutes in a 350-degree oven, until warmed through.
Instant Pot Acorn Squash with Sausage Stuffing
- 1 cup wild rice rinsed
- 1 3/4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage
- 1 shallot diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup water
- 2 acorn squash halved and seeded
- 1 8-oz. pkg. steamed chestnuts chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a large saucepan over medium high heat, stir together the rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for the amount of time on the package directions (about 45 minutes).
- Heat the instant pot on the SAUTÉ function. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat bottom of the pan. Add the Italian sausage, shallots, and garlic and cook 5 minutes, until the sausage is no longer pink.
- Cancel the SAUTÉ function. Remove the sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Discard any remaining grease in the pot.
- Add 1 cup of water to the instant pot and place the trivet in the bottom. Place the acorn squash halves on top of the trivet cut side up. Lock the lid and set the pressure valve to sealing.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 6 minutes (it will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure). Allow the pressure to natural release for 7 minutes, then rapid release any remaining pressure. When the pin has dropped, remove the lid and place the squash on a serving tray.
- Combine the cooke rice and sausage mixture. Stir in the chestnuts, dried cherries, walnuts, sage, and salt. Spoon the mixture into the squash cavities and serve immediately.
- Garnish stuffed acorn squash with pomegranate arils or fresh sage leaves, if desired.
- To reheat stuffed acorn squash, place on a baking tray and cover with aluminum foil. Heat for 30 – 40 minutes in a 350-degree oven, until warmed through.
- To freeze cooked squash, cool completely then seal tightly in a resealable freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as you would leftovers.
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.