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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash


Significantly lower in carbs and calories than traditional pasta, spaghetti squash serves as a healthier weeknight dinner base. You won't believe how easy it is to cook!

Six Simple Steps to Perfect Spaghetti Squash

Not only is spaghetti squash a tasty addition to your day, but it's also a delicious way to incorporate veggies into mealtime in a variety of ways. Even if you've never even thought about eating a low-carb or gluten-free diet, this stuff is the real deal—tender, filling, and naturally sweet! Turn it into a hearty lasagna dish, fritters, or just substitute it in all of your favorite pasta dishes.

If you're ready to jump on the spaghetti squash train but have no idea where to start, here's a method that yields the perfect consistency with ease.

Step 1: Halve

First, preheat an oven to 350°. Then, slice the spaghetti squash in half.

Step 2: Deseed

Next, get rid of the seeds and membrane. This is done easily with a grapefruit spoon.

Step 3: Roast

Place each half cut side down in a large casserole dish and fill with 1/2 cup of water. Cook 45-50 minutes.

Step 4: Cool

Remove the squash from oven, turn cut side up and let it cool for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Scrape

After squash has cooled, scrape down the sides of the squash with a fork into a bowl.


How to Cook Spaghetti Squash the Easy Way -- An Easier, Safer Method

Spaghetti squash is such a fun vegetable! Its lemon-yellow flesh pulls into long, spaghetti-like strands when cooked (how cool is that?) and it takes to a sauce like a duck to . . . well, like a duck to duck sauce.

It can be baked, but that method is time-consuming. Spaghetti squash done in the microwave is ready in no time flat. The only problem is that it requires a lot of space. The traditional method involves placing the halves face down in a large microwave dish, and if you have a smallish microwave oven, you're forced to cook only one half at a time if you want the dish to turn freely.

Even if you do have a big microwave oven, you may find that the traditional method of adding water to the dish and covering with plastic wrap presents a different problem: the super-hot steam can cause the plastic wrap to melt.

But even if the wrap doesn't melt, the escaping steam can be hazardous. (And let's not even talk about the possible chemical release issue.)

This method solves both problems. It lets you cook any size spaghetti squash in half the usual space and doesn't require plastic wrap at all. Here's what you do:


14 Healthy Ways to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a winter squash that, when cooked, looks just like your favorite noodles. It's a delicious, nutritious way to lighten up your favorite pasta and noodle dishes. One cup of cooked spaghetti squash contains 42 calories, 0 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 1 gram protein, and 9 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. It also gets its yellow color from beta-carotene, which is rich in antioxidant properties. There are many of way to cook spaghetti squash, but here's an easy one to get you started, and it can also work as the base for numerous recipes.

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Cut squash in half (you can prick it with a fork and microwave for about 5 minutes to soften the skin if needed) and scoop out seeds.
  • Place squash, cut-side down, in baking pan filled with about 1/2 cup water.
  • Bake until squash is soft (skin will give when you press on it), about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
  • Once cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh using a fork to rake out strands.
  • In a rush? Just wash and prick squash and then microwave on HIGH until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes instead of baking.

Now you're ready to add your spaghetti squash to any recipe. Here are some inspiring recipes from registered dietitians to get you started.


Microwaving Spaghetti Squash

Much like roasting squash, when you microwave squash you can do it as a whole squash, halves, or in smaller pieces. Since cooking time doesn’t change much (like it does with roasting), I usually stick to the whole squash since it requires the least amount of prep. To microwave a whole squash, pierce it all over with a fork or paring knife. This step is very important or the squash will explode. Then microwave it for 10-12 minutes (varies based on oven strength) until its tender to the touch. Then very carefully cut in half, remove the seeds, and scrape out squash strands. For spaghetti squash halves, set them in a container with about 1 inch of water, flesh side down. Microwave for 8-10 minutes until tender and squash can be easily scraped out. For squash pieces (quarters or eighths), place in a microwave safe container with a lid. Add about 1/4 cup water to the dish and cover. You can season the squash here as well. Microwave for 6-8 minutes or until tender.


How To Cook Spaghetti Squash Whole

If you’re looking for the easiest method, you’ll want to know how to cook spaghetti squash whole. The main advantage here is there is no prep whatsoever!

No need to struggle with trying to cut through the hard skin. Simply poke holes in it, place it on a pan and bake in the oven, flipping halfway through. It’s effortless to cut it open once it’s cooked.

The downside of baking spaghetti squash whole is that it basically steams on the inside. It works, but you don’t get the roasted flavor that cutting in half gets you. This may be good or bad depending on what you are going for.

Baked spaghetti squash whole results in a more mild, neutral flavor. This may seem bland compared to roasting cut in half, or it may be a better blank canvas for your spaghetti squash recipe.

When I’m feeling extra lazy and don’t want the fuss of cutting, I bake my spaghetti squash whole. Otherwise, I prefer to cut it in half, first.


90+ Spaghetti Squash Recipes to Pack Your Pasta Night with Veggies

Whether you're trying to cut back on carbs, manage a gluten intolerance, add more vegetables to dinner, or simply enjoy one of the many types of squash available, there&rsquos a satisfying pasta alternative that will fulfill all your quick, easy dinner needs, and that tastes surprisingly delicious: spaghetti squash. A cousin to other squashes like zucchini, pumpkin, and patty pan squash, this winter squash is available year-round, but is freshest in the early fall.

When cooler weather sets in, spaghetti squash recipes reign supreme. Though there are plenty of other squash out there&mdashbutternut squash, acorn squash, or winter squash, just to name a few&mdashwe often prefer spaghetti squash for its ability to effortlessly swap in pasta recipes. Part of this is the stringy texture and part is the mild taste, which really does resemble the infinitely adaptable pasta it gets its name from.

Whether you&rsquore in the mood for a chicken dinner, an easy recipe for ground beef like bolognese, or some creative vegetarian recipes, we've gathered include everything from simple spaghetti and meatballs to packed burrito bowls.

The other major benefit of spaghetti squash? Cooking it is pretty simple. Most recipes just call for cutting it half, scooping out the seeds, and microwaving it, or roasting it in the oven for about an hour. One pro-tip: Though it doesn't look as good presentation-wise, if you want longer "noodles" cut the squash in rings, and roast them that way: It will keep the strands more intact.

Either way, the next time you're in need of a simple easy fall recipes that the whole family will love, opt for one of these easy spaghetti squash recipes.


Our Best Spaghetti Squash Recipes

Looking for an easy way to load up on more good-for-you veggies? Try spaghetti squash. It’s easy to cook and delicious as a stand-alone side — or as a replacement for pasta or pizza crust!

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Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan Cheese

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Chicken and Broccoli Twice-Baked Spaghetti Squash

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Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with Marinara

This might be the easiest way to cook spaghetti squash &mdash pierce a whole squash all over with a fork, then cook it in a pressure cooker until perfectly tender. It cooks in a fraction of the time it would take in the oven, and there's no need to struggle with cutting the sturdy squash beforehand.

Spaghetti Squash Scampi Boats

Toss butter, lemon, garlic and shrimp with your spaghetti squash for even more flavor. Serve in the hollowed-out squash shell for a pretty presentation.

Pork Scallopini with Spaghetti Squash

As much as we love a pasta sub, spaghetti squash doesn't always have to be the main affair. Keep things simple and add it to your plate as a side for pork scallopini.

Healthy Curried Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Pancetta and Peas

Cut down on carbs by switching pasta out for spaghetti squash in this flavorful, pancetta-laced Alfredo dish.

Spicy Roasted Tomato Marinara with Spaghetti Squash

Sausage and White Bean-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Pack the flavors of a sausage and white bean soup into a tender roasted spaghetti squash for a hearty all-in-one meal.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

No waiting for water to boil here: Spaghetti squash proves (once again) that it can sub out pasta. It's perfect in this pancetta and egg-enriched cream sauce.

Spaghetti Squash Cincinnati Chili

Here's a twist on Cincinnati "five-way" chili: spaghetti squash and chili, plus cheddar cheese, onion and kidney beans.

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust

Pizza night just got a whole lot healthier. Before adding the spaghetti squash into the rest of your ingredients, Katie recommends squeezing as much excess water out as you can &mdash so the pizza crust gets nice and crispy.

Spaghetti Squash with Kale Pesto

Mix kale-subbed pesto and squash-subbed pasta for a fun and tasty way to eat your veggies.

Spaghetti Squash with Feta

Spaghetti Squash and Potato Gratin

This recipe takes classic creamy potato gratin to a new level. Spaghetti squash adds amazing texture and great flavor &mdash giving you yet another reason to buy the versatile veggie!

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Spaghetti Squash with Peanut Sauce

Spaghetti squash subs don't have to be limited to pasta &mdash it works just as well in noodle dishes! In this recipe, spaghetti squash is flavored with a sweet and tangy peanut sauce for an easy meal or side that's ready in 25 minutes.

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomatoes and Ricotta

There's no need to preheat the oven, or even use pots and pans for this recipe! A fresh, no-cook sauce and microwave squash prep help bring this flavorful and healthy side to the table in under 30 minutes.

Greek-Style Spaghetti Squash with Shrimp

Add Mediterranean flair to buttery squash with sweet shrimp, salty feta and briny olives. It's a dish that's great hot, but also delicious at room temperature.

Chicken Spaghetti Squash

In this twist on a classic Southern dish, the noodle-like strands of crisp-tender squash find their way into a creamy chicken and vegetable casserole.

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Truffle Oil

A little bit of truffle oil and a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano go a long way in flavoring Guy's 5-ingredient spaghetti squash.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Curry-Shallot Butter

As fancy as it might sound, DIY compound butter is a cinch! In her recipe, Katie adds curry, lemon zest, shallots and cilantro to room-temperature butter to add major flavor to roasted spaghetti squash. Tip: Make an extra batch of butter and keep on hand for flavoring fish, rice and everything nice.

Ginger-Scallion Spaghetti Squash

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BBQ Spaghetti Squash Sliders

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HOW TO COOK SPAGHETTI SQUASH (OVEN METHOD)

Spaghetti squash is a wonderful squash that resembles ‘noodles’ and is so easy to make. Keep it simple with salt & pepper, or top with various ingredients.

  • Author:Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 1 x
  • Category: Side, How To
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme, oregano, basil, etc.
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a spoon.

Cook your squash in one of two ways:

  1. Cook cut side down: Place squash cut side up on rimmed baking dish. Brush each spaghetti squash half with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and herbs of choice. Bake on the middle rack for 35 – 40 minutes.
  2. Cook cut side up: Place cut squash cut side up on rimmed baking dish. Bake on the middle rack for 35 -40 minutes.

Let cool a few minutes. Using a fork, rack or scrape the flesh in a top to bottom motion across the width of the squash.

Serve as is or with an assortment of toppings. Unused portions store great covered in the fridge.

1 spaghetti squash serves 2

Keywords: how to cook spaghetti squash

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Updated: How To Cook Spaghetti Squash tutorial was originally published in October 2015. It has been updated with new photos and helpful tips in January 2020.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds), halved and seeded
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle squash flesh with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until squash is tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

When cool enough to handle, gently scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands and transfer to a medium bowl. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, lemon juice, and parsley. Season with salt and red-pepper flakes and serve sprinkled with cheese, if desired.


How To Cook Spaghetti Squash

With spaghetti squash, most people seem to fall into one of two categories:

There are those who LOVE spaghetti squash as a lower-calorie replacement for spaghetti. And there are those who shun it, believing that if you’re going to eat pasta, you should enjoy the real thing.

But I feel that looking at spaghetti squash as a pasta “substitute” in the first place does the vegetable an unfair disservice.

The unique taste and texture of spaghetti squash ought to be appreciated in their own right, not compared to carb-filled noodles.

No matter how many websites you find that claim their spaghetti squash recipe “tastes just like the real thing,” spaghetti squash will never be pasta.

And that’s completely okay!

You May Also Like: Cauliflower Mac And Cheese – Healthy Comfort Food

Another thing to keep in mind if you think you hate spaghetti squash is that it might just be the way you’ve been cooking it.

So many tutorials for how to cook spaghetti squash will tell you to poke holes in the vegetable, add water to the bottom of the pan, and either cook the whole thing or two halves at 350 F or 375 F.

I think this is a mistake because the extra water and lower temperature mean you end up with watery, steamed spaghetti squash instead of sweet, roasted spaghetti squash, especially if you don’t cut the squash in half to give the moisture inside the squash a place to escape.

And watery strands will, in turn, also water down whatever sauce you choose to put on your spaghetti squash after cooking. If you’ve made spaghetti squash this way and do prefer steamed strands, that’s fine…

But I much prefer it roasted, so if you’ve had spaghetti squash in the past and think you aren’t a fan, it might be worth giving the vegetable one more chance.

The following recipe is my favorite method for how to cook a spaghetti squash that yields non-watery results every time.

It calls for roasting the spaghetti squash at 460 F, which is higher than any other recipe I’ve ever seen and works beautifully to caramelize the natural sugars in the squash and zap away extra moisture, leaving you with perfectly cooked spaghetti squash that is ready to be dressed up however you wish or even eaten by itself.

How To Bake Spaghetti Squash

Start by carefully cutting the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.

EDIT: Many readers say that cutting it width-wise is even better because you get much longer strands. I haven’t tried that yet, but I am intrigued! (Have any of you tried it?)

Place the squash—flat sides up—in a baking pan. If desired, scoop out the seeds and brush the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. I usually opt to scoop out the seeds after baking.

Place the pan on the middle rack in a non-preheated oven, and turn the oven to 460 F.

Most spaghetti squashes will take around 40-50 minutes to fully roast, depending on the size of the squash but if you have a small squash, it’s a good idea to check it after 20-30 minutes or so.

Scoop out the strands, and add tomato sauce, cheesy sauce, alfredo sauce, Mushroom Stroganoff, salad dressing, pesto, or any other sauce you’d add to pasta.

You could also top the spaghetti squash with a Coconut Curry, vegetable stew, or Vegetarian Chili like you’d do with rice. It is the perfect blank canvas for thousands of recipes.

Below are a few of my favorite sauces to use with spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti Squash Recipes:

Try any of the above sauces over spaghetti squash. Or there are also recipes on my blog for spaghetti squash lo mein, spaghetti squash parmigiana, avocado alfredo, and numerous others.

Or you can keep things simple by seasoning the baked spaghetti squash with salt and olive oil or buttery spread – it makes the perfect accompaniment to sautéed kale and a toasted English muffin, as seen in the photo below.

(Above, roasted spaghetti squash with sauteed kale and a homemade English muffin, using my favorite English muffin recipe from my cookbook.)

I’ve written up the recipe for how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven and am also including instructions for how to cook spaghetti squash in the microwave for those of you who would rather not cook it in the oven.

My preference is for the oven-roasted spaghetti squash, but the microwave version will work if you are short on time and want something quick and easy.