The acorn squash vs butternut squash question can be a tough one to hash out. The first time I tried both kinds of squash was when my mom and I went on a "try new foods" marathon a few years ago (ever tried a Hubbard squash?). I noticed that a roasted butternut squash was a lot smoother and creamier, while acorn squash held up better when chopped up in salads. 

They taste kinda similar, so they can just be used in place of each other, right? Well, it turns out they're actually pretty different. Here's what you need to know when the squash display at the store has you all confused.


vegetable, pasture, pumpkin
Lucy Drinkwater

Acorn squash are small and, well, shaped like acorns. They have thick green skin with prominent ridges, making it a bit more difficult to chop up for cooking. Butternut squash are beige and have a long "neck" with a bulbous end. The skin is a lot smoother than the skin of an acorn squash and is generally easier to cut and peel.

#SpoonTip: To get a good butternut squash, pick one that has a larger "neck" and a smaller "bulb" to get more squash and less seeds.


acorn squash, pie, cake, pastry, sweet
Helena Lin

Taste is something heavily argued in the acorn squash vs butternut squash debate. Can you interchange them in a recipe? While they're similar in flavor, it's best to just use the one the recipe is asking for, unless it says you can use either one.

Butternut squash has a smoother, sweeter, almost nutty flavor. They can even be used in place of pumpkin in some recipes (not that I have anything against pumpkin). Acorn squash is sweet, too, but more fibrous and sometimes stringy, which is why butternut squash is usually used in soups instead of acorn.


gourd, pumpkin, squash, vegetable, pasture
Becky Hughes

The skin of both squash can be eaten, but acorn squash skin is a bit tougher, so it's totally based on your preference. Acorn squash are a lot harder to peel than butternut, so to make things easier, you can always bake an acorn squash with the skin on and only eat the flesh.

Whether or not you're planning on eating the skin, make sure you wash your squash before eating it. Your squash recipe most likely doesn't call for dirt...


produce, Market, Farmers market, farmer's market, farm, squash, pasture, vegetable, pumpkin
Denise Uy

Since both kinds of squash are in the "winter squash" group, the way they're grown is actually the same. Peak season for winter squash is from early fall to winter (hence the name, winter squash). Even though you can find them in the grocery stores year-round, their taste (and price!) are usually a lot more favorable when they're in season.


Marissa Duncan

Calorie-wise, one cup of cubed, baked butternut squash is about 82 calories, while the same amount of acorn squash is about 115 calories. As far as nutrients and vitamins go, though, they're about the same. They both have high levels of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and fiber.


sweet, pepper, squash, meat, vegetable
Grace Becker

Because acorn squash have a thicker, sturdier skin and are more fibrous, they're best for roasting and stuffing. Butternut squash are a lot smoother, which makes them great for soups, but they can be roasted and stuffed, too. They can even be used in vegan mac 'n' cheese. The ultimate squash? I'd say so. 


squash, gourd, vegetable, pumpkin, pasture
Jaye Lind

When buying an acorn squash from the store, be careful not to pick one that's completely green or too orange. You'll want one that's a lighter green with a small spot of orange on it. Butternut squash don't really have a specific "ripe look" to them, but you'll want one without any bruises or puncture holes in it.

If you're looking for a squash that can safely sit on your counter for months because you keep forgetting to cook it, butternut squash and acorn squash are for you. Both kinds of squash can sit out in room temperature for months, so feel free to go nuts and stock up when they're on sale.

acorn squash, squash, vegetable, pumpkin, rice, sweet
Kendra Valkema

There may be more differences between acorn squash vs butternut squash than you originally knew of, but if you always thought they were the same thing, don't worry. They also have a few things in common: you can roast and eat their seeds, both of their skins are edible, and, as mentioned earlier, they are even grown the same way.

Plus, they both taste REALLY amazing, which pretty much tops any differences they have. Next time I'm at the farmer's market, I'll be picking up both, and I think you should too.