How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Sep 23, 2023
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Lean how to cook spaghetti squash – it’s easy! Just slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast it in the oven for the most delicious caramelized edges and soft shreds of flesh. Then, make your favorite spaghetti squash recipes (ideas listed below!).
When the weather cools and winter vegetables are in abundance, grab that big yellow spaghetti squash! Spaghetti squash, along with butternut squash, acorn squash and other winter squash make look a bit intimidating on the outside, but they’re actually really easy to prep!
And after roasting spaghetti squash in the oven, the inside magically transforms into the most scrumptious thin strands, without having to spiralize or do anything unique. In other words, it’s mother nature’s version of gluten-free pasta. And it’s mildly sweet flavor makes it endlessly versatile.
How to Cut Spaghetti Squash in Half
I’ll admit, this is the hardest part of making spaghetti squash. It’s a pretty large vegetable with beefy walls that are difficult to cut through. But with a sharp chef’s knife and a careful hand, you’ll be a pro in no time. So which way should you cut it?
- Across the middle: Some say to slice it across the middle because it’s easier and you’ll get longer noodles as they form around the narrower width. The only downside is that it requires a bit more work to scrape out the noodles from each end.
- Lengthwise: I personally prefer to slice it lengthwise. The noodle length is about the same and it’s much easier to scrape out the flesh once it’s cooked. To do so, rest your squash horizontally on the cutting board and hold it firmly with one hand. Then slice it right down the middle.
Tips For Easier Slicing
- Soften it first. Even if you plan to roast it in the oven, you can soften the exterior of the spaghetti squash by microwaving it for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Slice the top and bottom off. The stem is the hardest thing to cut through, so if you remove the ends first, it’s easier to slice.
- Keep it steady. If your cutting board has a tendency to move, lay a slightly damp kitchen towel underneath it.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Once you’ve cut your spaghetti squash open, the rest is super easy.
- Scoop: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and scoop out the seeds using a large spoon. You can toss these in the trash or roast them, similar to roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Season: Next, drizzle it lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Be wary of drizzling too much oil as it can make the squash watery.
- Roast: Flip it over on a baking sheet and cook cut-side down for 40 to 50 minutes (for a squash that’s about four pounds). If yours is smaller or larger, adjust the cook time accordingly.
- Scrape: When you remove it from the oven, flip it back over and use a fork to scrape the flesh into long spaghetti squash noodles.
Yes, you can (after puncturing it a few times with a knife). But I don’t love this method as you miss out on that delicious roasted flavor and caramelized edges. It’s more similar to steaming veggies.
While some people recommend slicing spaghetti squash into rings for longer strands, I feel it’s a bunch of unnecessary work, as you have to slice the vegetable so many more times. And that’s the hardest part.
Spaghetti Squash Recipe ideas
Spaghetti squash is wonderfully delicious straight out of the oven. But if you’re feeling a bit creative just mix in some of your favorite chopped veggies or top it with a variety of sauces. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
- Side Dish: Just toss it with butter, garlic, salt and pepper for a simple and savory side dish. You can also add in more vegetables, as I did with my shaved spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts and crispy shallots recipe.
- Pasta: Use this any way you’d use pasta or zucchini noodles. I personally love spaghetti squash with broccolini and truffle oil. But any of my zucchini noodle recipes can be modified, like my zucchini noodle caprese or zucchini pasta with lemon garlic shrimp.
- Stuffed: Similar to my stuffed butternut squash, the same idea can be applied to spaghetti squash. After scooping out the seeds, stuff it with ground meat, chopped veggies, leafy greens, or a sprinkle of cheese. Then roast it!
- Breakfast: To add more veggies into your breakfast routine, simple saute some onions and leafy greens like spinach or Swiss chard, add the spaghetti squash, and top it off with a poached egg.
A whole, uncooked spaghetti squash will last about 1 to 2 months in a cool pantry. After you’ve cooked it, here’s a few ways you can store it:
- To store: You can place it in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last for 4 to 5 days.
- To freeze: Let the squash cool completely before storing in freezer-safe bags, and make sure to squeeze as much air out as possible to prevent freezer burn.
- For reheating: Simply pop leftovers in the microwave for about a minute or saute them in a pan with a little butter or oil (and any extra seasonings you’d like).
More Simple Vegetable Recipes
- Baked Sweet Potato or Roasted Sweet Potatoes (perfectly seasoned!)
- Honey Glazed Carrots
- Best Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Butternut Squash
Once you learn how to cook spaghetti squash, there’s so much you can make with it! If you roast one, I’d love to hear what you think in a comment below. You review will help the community!
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (Most Flavor)
- Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Make sure you have a baking sheet that won't warp or bend in the oven!
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Carefully slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Note: if it's really difficult to slice, you can microwave it for 2 to 3 minutes to soften the outside skin.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds.
- Coat the inside of the spaghetti squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Turn the spaghetti squash upside down on a baking tray and cook for 40 to 50 minutes, depending on the size. You'll know it's done when the top of the spaghetti squash can be easily pierced with a knife and the underside edges have become golden.
- Let the spaghetti squash cool to the touch, then use a fork to scrape the inside to create long strands of spaghetti squash noodles.
- Make sure your knife is newly sharpened and take extra care when cutting. See my note in the directions about microwaving as well.
- Spaghetti squash is best cooked slightly al dente, rather than overcooked and mushy. Especially if you plan to store it or add it to other ingredients where it may continue to cook.
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This spaghetti squash recipe was originally published September 2016, but updated October 2020 and again today, to include new photos and information.