Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash: What’s the Difference?

Written by August Croft
Updated: November 7, 2022
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Both equally popular for a number of reasons, do you know all of the differences between an acorn squash vs butternut squash? What brings these two squash varieties together, and what makes them two distinct varieties? Whether you are interested in growing either of these two squash varieties or you want to use them in the kitchen, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we will compare and contrast acorn squash with butternut squash so that you can fully understand the differences between them. We will address their physical differences as well as what they are typically used for, as well as their nutritional information. Let’s get started and compare these two squashes now!

Comparing Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash

Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash
Butternut squash belong to the winter squash species, while acorn squash belong to the summer squash species.
Acorn SquashButternut Squash
ClassificationCucurbita pepo var. turbinataCucurbita moschata
DescriptionAcorn shaped squash with distinct vertical ridges on the outside. Deep green in color, but also comes in white or yellow. The insides are orange, and the flavor is nutty and sweet.Smooth, tan skin covers beautiful orange squash inside. Shaped with a narrow top and large bottom half, full of seeds and pulp. Tastes nutty and delicate, with a sweetness that is similar to pumpkin.
UsesBest when roasted, but can also be sauteed and steamed. Also easy to stuff, and its delicate flavor lends well to sweet and savory thingsPopularly roasted, steamed, sauteed, or mashed. A great substitute for pumpkin or mashed potatoes, and it also works well in breads, muffins, and pies
Nutrition InformationA great source of fiber and potassium, as well as magnesiumA great source of Vitamin A and C, as well as sweetness with fewer calories
Special Features and Fun FactsTechnically a summer squash and not a winter one, with edible flowers!Originated in the year 1940, but is now the most popularly consumed winter squash variety!

Key Differences Between Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash

Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash

The outside of a butternut squash is completely smooth, while acorn squash have unique vertical ridges surrounding the outside of them. 

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There are a number of key differences between acorn squash and butternut squash. For example, butternut squash belong to the winter squash species, while acorn squash belong to the summer squash species. In addition, acorn squash typically has a green exterior, while butternut squash has a tan exterior. Finally, the shape of the acorn squash is very different from the shape of the butternut squash.

Let’s go over all of these differences in more detail now.

Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash: Classification

Many people consider acorn squash a member of the winter squash family, similarly to butternut. However, butternut squash are technically winter squashes, while acorn squash are summer squashes. Looking at their species classifications, acorn squash belong to the pepo variety, while butternut squash belongs to the moschata variety.

Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash: Description

Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a tan-brown shade on the outside, while acorn squash is primarily green.

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It’s easy to tell acorn squash apart from butternut squash based on their physical appearance alone. For example, acorn squash are shaped like acorns, while butternut squash have a unique oblong shape where their base is thicker than their top near the stem. The outside of a butternut squash is completely smooth, while acorn squash have unique vertical ridges surrounding the outside of them. 

In addition, butternut squash is a tan-brown shade on the outside, while acorn squash is primarily green. However, there are also yellow and white varieties of acorn squash, while butternut squash remains tan. The interior color of butternut squash and acorn squash is strikingly similar to one another, both coming in a golden yellow color. However, the flavor of butternut squash is slightly sweeter and more potent compared to the mild flavor of acorn squash. 

Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash: Uses

Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is more popular than acorn squash overall.

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You can use acorn squash and butternut squash in a variety of similar ways to one another, as both make fantastic substitutes for pumpkin or sweet potato. You can roast or mash either of these squash varieties, though butternut squash is more popular than acorn squash overall. In addition, stuffed acorn squash are very popular compared to stuffed butternut squash, given their unique shape that lends well to filling. 

It’s important to note that both acorn squash and butternut squash need to be cured after harvesting, if you plan on growing either of these varieties in your own backyard. This ensures that the acorn squash and butternut squash is ready for a long shelf-life, though butternut squash has a longer shelf life compared to acorn squash. 

Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash: Nutrition Information

You may want to incorporate acorn squash and butternut squash into your regular meal routine, given the amount of vitamins and minerals found in either option. When it comes to fiber and potassium, acorn squash ranks fairly High, wild butternut squash is high in vitamin A and C. Given the fact that both of these squashes are healthier and lower in calories overall compared to potato options and other sweets foods, you may want to consider them over other alternatives! 

Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash: Special Features

Acorn Squash vs Butternut Squash

Butternut squash has only been around since the 1940s, while acorn squash was a staple in the diet of indigenous people in North America and Mexico.

©iStock.com/chengyuzheng

Butternut squash is arguably the most popular squash variety after pumpkin, and it is leaps and bounds more popular compared to acorn squash. However, butternut squash has only been around since the 1940s, while acorn squash was a staple in the diet of indigenous people in North America and Mexico. In addition, acorn squash are technically considered summer squashes with edible flowers, while butternut squash is a tried-and-true winter squash!

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/MSPhotographic


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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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