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This Instant Pot acorn squash is quick to make using a pressure cooker! This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash features a rice stuffing with toasted pecans.

Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, Instant Pot acorn squash

This post was created in partnership with the American Pecan Council. All opinions are our own. 

What better combination of fall ingredients to kick off the season than squash and pecans? Alex and I created this Instant Pot acorn squash recipe to highlight the perfect pairing. Tender acorn squash is stuffed with a savory, herb-laden pecan and rice stuffing that truly makes your kitchen smell like a fall wonderland while you make it. Really! Alex and I have had so many requests for healthy Instant Pot recipes that we’ve started experimenting with cooking basics. This recipe uses the pressure cooker to cook both the rice and the acorn squash, making it simple to whip up.

Don’t have an Instant Pot? Go to Stuffed Acorn Squash.

Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, Instant Pot acorn squash

How to make Instant Pot acorn squash

This Instant Pot acorn squash recipe is quite simple to make! You’ll use the Instant Pot (pressure cooker) to cook the acorn squash and to cook your rice for the filling. The entire process takes about 35 minutes: about 20 for the rice and 15 for the squash. Using the Instant Pot makes it simple.

Now, you you can use the Instant Pot acorn squash method below without making the stuffing. The cook time for the squash is only 6 minutes, much faster than roasting in the oven. However, might we suggest adding the stuffing? This rice and pecan stuffing truly makes your kitchen smell like fall paradise! The onion, celery, garlic, and herbs combine into something heavenly. Add to that the crunch and rich flavor of buttery pecans, and you’ll find yourself just eating the stuffing alone.

Here are the basic steps for how to make stuffed Instant Pot acorn squash (see the full recipe below):

  1. Make the rice in the Instant Pot: Add the rice, sage, salt and water to the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on High for 3 minutes, then natural release for 10 minutes.
  2. Cook the stuffing on the stovetop: Make the stuffing while you wait for the rice to cook! Saute onion, celery, and garlic, then add thyme and oregano. Add the rice, toasted pecans, and butter and cook.
  3. Make the squash in the Instant Pot: Meanwhile, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds, then cut it into wedges. Pressure cook on High for 6 minutes, then do a quick release. Spoon the stuffing over the squash edges and serve.
Instant Pot acorn squash

Pecans nutrition facts

Before we get to the Instant Pot acorn squash recipe: a few things about pecans! Pecans feature heavily in this recipe (because…fall!). They’re are one of our favorite nuts to include in our recipes because of their rich flavor and nutrients. Some facts about pecans:

  • They’re harvested in the USA…in the fall! Did you know pecans are the only major tree nut indigenous to North America? American pecans are being harvested right now in 15 southern states, making it the perfect in-season ingredient for fall and holiday meals.
  • Pecans are super versatile. Everyone loves the classic pecan pie, but there are so many other uses for pecans with their naturally sweet flavor: snacks, salads, side dishes and entrees.
  • And they’re super nutrient dense! Compared to other tree nuts, pecans are among the highest in fiber and lowest in carbs per serving. They’re also among the highest in “good” monounsaturated fats, have three grams of plant protein, and essential minerals, (copper, manganese and zinc).

For more about pecans, head to the American Pecan Council website.

Acorn squash with pecans made in pressure cooker

Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, Instant Pot acorn squash

Looking for pecan recipes?

We’re smitten with pecans! Here are a few of our favorite pecan recipes:

This Instant Pot acorn squash recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten free, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free. For vegan, plant based, and dairy free, substitute olive oil for the butter (it’s just as good!).

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Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, Instant Pot acorn squash

Instant Pot Acorn Squash

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This Instant Pot acorn squash is quick to make using a pressure cooker! This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash features a rice stuffing with toasted pecans.


  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 small acorn squash*
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or olive oil, for vegan)
  • ¾ cup raw pecan pieces
  • Feta or goat cheese crumbles, optional


  1. Cook the rice**: In an Instant Pot or digital pressure cooker, stir the rice, sage, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 cup of water. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. (Note: It takes about 5 minutes for the pot to “preheat” before it starts cooking. During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.) After the pot beeps, use the Natural Release method and wait 10 minutes to let the pot cool down naturally (set a timer so you don’t forget!). Then vent any remaining steam by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. (Never put your hands or face near the steam release valve when releasing steam.)
  2. Prep the veggies: While the rice cooks, cut the squash in half and remove seeds, then cut it in half again (into quarters). Set aside until ready for Step 5.  Dice the onion and celery. Mince the garlic.
  3. Toast the pecans: In a dry skillet over low heat, toast the pecans for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
  4. Make the stuffing: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and celery 5 to 7 minutes until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, thyme, and oregano, and saute for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant. When the rice is cooked, stir it into the skillet. Stir in ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, the fresh ground black pepper, butter, and pecans.
  5. Cook the squash*: Rinse the Instant Pot pot and place the steamer basket in the bottom with 1 cup of water. Rub the squash quarters with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of dried oregano. Place the squash quarters in the pot, stacking as necessary. Pressure cook on high for 6 minutes. (Note: It takes about 5 minutes for the pot to “preheat” before it starts cooking.) After the pot beeps, immediately do a Quick Release: vent the remaining steam by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad.
  6. Serve: Carefully remove the squash from the Instant Pot and sprinkle it with kosher salt. (Do not omit this step: it brings in the necessary flavor!) Spoon the stuffing over the squash quarters and serve immediately.


*If you don’t have an Instant Pot or want to cook more than 2 acorn squash at once, you can roast the squash in the oven. Use the method in this Roasted Acorn Squash recipe. **If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can boil the rice on the stovetop according to the package instructions.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Pecans, Squash, Instant Pot, Healthy Instant Pot Recipes, Acorn Squash, Fall, Fall Recipes, Rice, Stuffed Acorn Squash, Stuffed Squash, Pecan Stuffing, Pecan Recipes

Looking for healthy Instant Pot recipes?

Alex and I used to be Instant Pot skeptics. We didn’t want another appliance, and it seemed like a useless trend. However, we’ve had so many requests for Instant Pot recipes that we gave it a try. We’ve since gotten rid of our rice cooker and slow cooker in favor of the Instant Pot! We’ve enjoyed making vegetarian Instant Pot recipes like sweet potatoes and chickpeas: and now, Instant Pot acorn squash! Here are some of our other favorite healthy Instant Pot recipes:

Last updated September 2019

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. I made this last night and it was AMAZING. I’ve never commented on a recipe blog post before but this was so good that both my boyfriend and I agreed we needed to let you know.

    I did make a couple of changes. I added leek instead of yellow onion (because I forgot to grab onion while grocery shopping, haha). I also added about two tablespoons of vegetable broth into the rice to give it a more hearty flavour and it was perfect.

    We’ll definitely be making this again. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the note! The recipe was supposed to state that olive oil is the vegan substitute for the butter. We’ve added that — thank you!

  2. I made this for dinner…with a couple of minor changes. I added chopped kale for some green color (and because I had it) and used emmer in place of the rice. The taste was fantastic but the squash was undercooked…next time I’ll try 7 minutes!

  3. Are. You. Kidding. Me!?!?! Squash in a pressure cooker? Heck yes! I never would have thought to do that. I love squash but it sure takes a long time on a long day after work. So excited to try this you guys! :D