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Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

Turkey stuffed acorn squash, winter squash stuffed with seasoned ground turkey and topped with cheese. Easy, delicious and a healthy weeknight dinner for fall.

Baked stuffed acorn squash with melted cheese.

When the weather turns cooler, especially after a long hot summer, I welcome and crave all the fall produce.  Especially winter squash.  I love it every which way ~ in soup, baked with butter and brown sugar, and stuffed with this hearty but lightened up meat mixture for the dinner main.

Close up of turkey stuffed squash.

Turkey stuffed acorn squash is so easy to make.  Several squash varieties will work here, and the turkey filling cooks up quickly while the squash bakes.  Top with some homemade red chile sauce (totally optional but oh so good!) and shredded cheddar cheese and dinner is done, in under an hour.


Winter acorn squash varieties.

I highly recommend acorn squash for stuffing.  But I also love delicata, carnival and sweet dumpling.  They all have roughly the same shape and I choose smaller round ones for this recipe, so I get the perfect serving size per person.

Carnival squash variety cut side down in baking dish.

I have made it several times with carnival squash which is a cross between acorn and sweet dumpling and has a striped and speckled skin.  I love the sweet and firm flesh when cooked.  Use what looks good and is available at the market.


Browning turkey, three photo process collage.

  1. While the squash is baking, make the turkey mixture.
  2. Start by browning the turkey, let it brown well, undisturbed, on both sides.
  3. Then start breaking it up with a wooden spoon.  Browning this way is good for flavor and color.

Making the turkey mixture on stove, three photo process collage.

  1. Add some onion and garlic and cook to soften.
  2. Add tomatoes with chilis and some seasonings.
  3. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Two photo process collage of stuffing and topping squash for oven.

  1. Stuff baked squash halves with chili turkey mixture.
  2. Top with a heaping tablespoon or two of grated cheddar cheese. Pop back in the oven for 5 minutes to melt cheese.

Squash in baking dish.


  • Use a small winter squash variety like acorn, sweet dumpling, carnival or delicata.  Butternut squash is too big.
  • I used a jar of homemade tomato and chiles that I canned this summer, similar to Ro-Tel.  Use about 12 ounces of canned diced tomatoes and chiles, any spice level or type you like.  If interested, here's how I made and canned Ro-Tel style tomatoes and chiles.
  • I love adding a little homemade red enchilada sauce to the top before the cheese, but this is totally optional.  I would forego the canned stuff here.  But if you have homemade red chile sauce or want to try it, I highly recommend it.
  • You can definitely use ground beef instead of turkey, I just like lightening things up sometimes with ground turkey, or even ground chicken.  Properly browned and seasoned, it's just as good.
  • Use a mix of light and dark ground turkey, I always do.  All white meat tends to really dry out and taste a little bland.

I hope you are enjoying the fall weather that took forever to get here this year.  Go apple picking, visit the pumpkin patch and pick up some local winter squash and make this cozy and comforting turkey stuffed squash for dinner.  Kelly🍴🐦

Close up of baked stuffed squash.

Need more ideas for all the winter squash available this time of year?

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Baked stuffed acorn squash with melted cheese.

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

Winter acorn squash stuffed with seasoned ground turkey and topped with cheese.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 325kcal


  • 2 small acorn squash, cut in half, cavity scooped out
  • 1 pound ground turkey use mix of light and dark
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • cups (12-oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies like Ro-Tel
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • OPTIONAL: homemade red enchilada sauce, about 4 tablespoons


  • Preheat oven to 400º. Place squash cut side down in baking dish and add a little water to dish. (Alternately, can use a lightly sprayed baking sheet and skip the water.) Bake in oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • While squash bakes, make turkey mixture. Pat turkey dry, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in skillet and when hot, add turkey in one piece. Do not move or break up, let brown for several minutes. Flip and brown other side for a few minutes, then start breaking up with wooden spoon until crumbled and cooked through.
  • Add onion, garlic and a little salt and pepper. Cook and stir until onions start to soften, 3-5 minutes.
  • Stir in tomatoes and chilies, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste for salt.
  • Turn over baked squash and generously fill cavity with turkey mixture. If using, top with a spoonful of homemade red enchilada sauce. Top each with a heaping tablespoon or two of shredded cheese. Return to oven and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Use any variety of acorn squash, including carnival, sweet dumpling and delicata.
  • Here's how to make homemade red chile sauce if you'd like to add a little before the cheese.
  • Brown the turkey really well and undisturbed for the best flavor and color.
  • Any leftover turkey mixture is good with eggs for breakfast or extra filling for the squash on the side.


Calories: 325kcal Carbohydrates: 28g Protein: 33g Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 4g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 76mg Sodium: 171mg Potassium: 1293mg Fiber: 4g Sugar: 3g Vitamin A: 1207IU Vitamin C: 33mg Calcium: 211mg Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!


5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating


Friday 25th of October 2019

It’s easy to fall for this delicious squash.