How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Lean how to cook spaghetti squash – it’s easy! Just slice, scoop, and roast in the oven for the most delicious caramelized edges and soft, pasta-like interior, in veggie form. Watch my video below for a quick step-by-step tutorial.
When the weather cools and fall vegetables are in abundance, grab that big yellow spaghetti squash! I’m such a fan of squash in all its forms, from zucchini (and of course zucchini noodles) in the spring/summer, to butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and acorn squash in the fall/winter.
Spaghetti squash may look intimidating on the outside, but after a stop in the oven, the inside magically transforms into the most scrumptious thin strands – without having to spiralize. In other words, it’s mother nature’s version of gluten-free pasta and endlessly versatile.
What’s the Best Way to Cook It?
If you search the internet for how to cook spaghetti squash you’ll find several different methods, including…
- Roasting it whole (after stabbing it a few times)
- Microwaving it (either whole or in half)
- Slicing it into rings and then roasting (this is a lot of unnecessary work)
- Cutting it in half, flipping upside down and roasting.
Want to know my favorite method? It’s the last one!
Sure, microwaving is a bit faster, but the flavor from roasting with a little olive oil, salt and pepper is far superior. The edges get beautifully caramelized and after you use a fork to create strands, you can serve it straight up!
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? Some say to slice 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.
I personally prefer to slice lengthwise. The noodle length is about the same and its 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.
A Few Tips For Easier Slicing
- 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.
- Soften it. Even if you plan to roast it in the oven, you can soften the exterior of the spaghetti squash by microwaving it for a couple of minutes.
- 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. First preheat your oven to 400F and scoop out the seeds using a large spoon.
Next, drizzle it lightly with avocado oil (or olive oil) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Be wary of drizzling too much oil as it can make the squash watery.
Then flip it over on a baking sheet and cook cut-side down for 40-50 minutes (for a squash that’s about four pounds). If yours is smaller or larger, adjust the cook time accordingly.
When you remove it from the oven, flip it back over and use a fork to scrape the flesh into long spaghetti squash noodles.
Ways to Use Spaghetti Squash
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 veggies or top it with a variety of sauces. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
- Side Dish: You can simply toss it with butter, garlic, salt and pepper for a simple and savory side dish. Or you can add in veggies such as shaved Brussels sprouts and shallots, kale, onions, carrots, or even legumes such as lentils or chickpeas.
- 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 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 as is.
- 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 2 weeks at room temperature. Here’s a few ways to store it once it’s been roasted.
To store: You can place it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
To freeze: Let the squash completely cool 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 this in the microwave for about a minute or saute in a pan with a little butter or oil (and any extra seasonings you’d like).
More Fall and Winter Vegetable Recipes You’ll Love
- Baked Sweet Potato or Roasted Sweet Potatoes (perfectly seasoned!)
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Honey Glazed Carrots
- Best Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Watch How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
While it’s easy to cook spaghetti squash, it always helps to watch a quick video. Give it a watch below!
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (Easily)
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400F/200C. 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 a couple of minutes to soften the outside flesh.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds.
- Coat the inside of the spaghetti squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Turn the spaghetti squash upside down on a baking tray and cook for 40-50 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.
- Spaghetti squash are notoriously difficult to slice. Make sure your knife is sharpened and take extra care when cutting. See my note in the directions about microwaving as well.
- If you need new baking trays, I highly recommend these heavy duty baking trays that won't warp in the oven.
- Spaghetti squash is best 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.
This spaghetti squash recipe was originally published September 2016, but updated to include new photos and information.