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How To Cook Spaghetti Squash

Many online recipes for how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven will tell you to poke holes in the squash and bake it at 350 F… but I think this is a huge mistake!

The ONLY way you should be cooking spaghetti squash
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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

cook spaghetti squash recipes
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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.

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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.

baked spaghetti squash
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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.

Many "how to cook spaghetti squash" tutorials tell you to bake at 350 F for an hour… But there is a MUCH better way, & the difference in texture is absolutely incredible! Recipe: https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2016/02/15/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash-oven-microwave/ @choccoveredkt
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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:

Vegan Mac And Cheese

Red Pepper Alfredo Pasta

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce (Reader Favorite)

The Ultimate Vegan Cheese Sauce

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.

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash In The Oven
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(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.

The BETTER Way How To Cook Spaghetti Squash
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See also: How To Cook Sweet Potatoes

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How To Cook Spaghetti Squash

The secret best way how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven.
4.95/5 (201)
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 1 spaghetti squash

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • optional olive oil, salt, etc.
  • sauce or seasonings as desired

Instructions

  • *Note that larger spaghetti squashes tend to yield sweeter strands. However, small ones will also work if they are all you can find. To Make: Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. (Some readers say that cutting it width-wise gives you longer strands. I haven ‘t tried this yet, but I am intrigued!) Place the squash—flat sides up—in a baking pan. If desired, scoop the seeds out and brush the squash strands with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. You can opt to scoop the seeds out and season after baking if you prefer. Place the pan on the middle rack in a non-preheated oven, then set the oven to 460 F. Large squashes will take around 40-50 minutes to roast fully, but very small ones may take less time, so it’s a good idea to check the squash after 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and scoop out the strands. If you’d like, you can mix the strands with other ingredients and then stuff them back into the hollowed-out spaghetti squash shells. I've found that storing the strands in a glass pyrex and covering only with a paper towel is best, because it allows water to escape instead of getting trapped inside the container and weighing down the roasted squash. If you make this recipe, don't forget to leave a review!
    View Nutrition Facts
    Microwave Method:
    If you’re short on time and don’t mind more of a steamed-spaghetti-squash result, you can cook your spaghetti squash in the microwave. I do highly recommend trying the oven version at some point, though! To microwave: Poke holes in the spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds if desired. Fill a glass baking dish about 1/4 up with water, then place the squash—flat sides down—in the pan and microwave 10-15 minutes or until tender. Remove from the microwave, and scoop out the strands.
    Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash:
    Cut the squash in half, put the steamer insert into the instant pot, add 1 cup water and the squash, and cook on manual for about 8 minutes (more or less, depending on squash size). Thanks to reader Lauren for creating this version and letting us know it works in an instant pot!

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4.95/5 (201)

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Published on February 15, 2016

Meet Katie

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259 Comments

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  1. Anna says

    Ooooh I’m so excited to try this! I’ve always made spaghetti squash in the microwave and haven’t actually ever tried the oven even at a lower temperature. Guess I have been missing out?

    • Pam says

      I cut the ends off and then cut width wise into 3 sections. I cook at the high temp. I don’t add salt. The spaghetti is longer and has a nicer consistency. It’s not mushy. Try it I won’t go back to cutting lengthwise. I also pop the entire squash in micro wave for 7-10 mins for easier cutting. Enjoy and have fun with the spaghetti squash.

    • Kristy says

      I know I will be unable to cut it in half, so I haven’t bothered. How can it be made easier for someone of age to cook spaghetti squash? I would also like to spiral cut butternut squash, but run into the same problem. They are simply too difficult for me to cut. And yes, I have asked my grocer. They aren’t that accommodating.

      • Julie says

        Kristy you can pierce the squash all over with a fork and then microwave it whole for about 10 minutes before cutting it in half. It makes it a lot easier! You might want to let it cool a bit before you cut it.

        • Squash it says

          If you cut the ends off and stand it up vertically and cut straight down with a knife larger than the squash it will flow through the squash with ease.

      • Donna says

        I poke holes in it with knife put it on cookie sheet 375 degrees 80 minutes let cool then slice and scoop out seeds

      • John Blando says

        Hi..im sorry that cutting a spaghetti squash is difficult for you..My hands are full of arthritis but I found that using an electric knife has helped out alot..

      • Shaun says

        Thank you. I’m going to try and cut it width wise. I’m trying to start eating healthier and I hope this recipe gives me a new and better attitude towards spaghetti squash.

      • Squash it says

        If you cut the ends off and stand it up vertically and cut straight down with a knife larger than the squash it will flow through the squash with ease.

        • Patina says

          Simply not true. Her question was with regard to herself as an ‘older ‘ person. Also, someone with arthritis or other ailments, are not going to find it easier just because the ends are off and the squash is standing up. I have no solutions but there are some good solutions on this post. I will be cooking a spaghetti squash for the first time and I am looking forward to having it ‘without ‘ a sauce.

      • Dawn says

        I will usually cook the squash whole about half way then I let it cool a little. After that I cut and/or peel, then I finish cooking. Someone else said microwave for 7 to 10 minutes.

      • Sara Weinstein says

        If you have a microwave pop it in there for a few minutes to soften. You can do the same with the oven.

      • Pchu says

        How about try to steam the whole squash. It will be soft enough once fully cooked. It took me 25 min to steam when cut in half. Maybe when it’s whole will take 40-50 min. Just make sure your steamer has enough water to cook for an hour, or just check it after first 30 min. And add more water if needed. Good luck!

      • Casey says

        1.52 grams of fiber per Cup of “cubed” spaghetti squash (weighing 101g on average) according to the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Agricultural Research Service website. Data pulled Nov-8-2019.

  2. Heather says

    Alas! I live in a small town in Wales and have never ever seen a spaghetti squash! I have long wanted to try one and i agree anything roasted just tastes miles better. Perhaps some day i will find one and try this!

      • Kasey says

        SMALL space???? They run all over my garden! Love them though, so I suffer with it or get them at my local pumpkin farm or farmers market. My family’s favorite way to eat this is with butter and lots of granulated garlic! You could press a couple of fresh garlic cloves in as well and toss with butter and it is equally delicious. Just kind of takes away from the healthy part of it, but we are dairy farmers and love butter.

        • Harlean Greathouse says

          Mix your butter with an equal amount of olive oil or canola oil. This is healthier as it cuts the saturated fat in half and adds the good fat. Tastes just like butter in cooking or on toast, etc.

          • Maymee says

            Nothing wrong with real butter vs questionable “pure, virgin” olive oil. Humans need saturated fats such as butter. Google it!

          • Pat D says

            Canola oil is a no no for those of eating Keto. I’ll never use it again. Olive oil and butter are both great.

    • Terri says

      I grew spaghetti squash this past summer…they were great and I let them sit on the vine until I needed them…give it a try

    • Jade says

      We live in the UK and we grow our own! They are extremely easy to grow.. A bit too easy we are over run at the moment but they keep in the shed for up to six weeks.

  3. Amanda says

    I agree with cutting it width-wise. Actually if you cut it into multiple strips width-wise it makes for extremely better roasting and nice long strands.

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    • Jerry says

      I agree. After years of cutting it long ways I tried to cut it the other way. The results are longer strands as it actually grows in circles, not end to end.

    • Lynne says

      Yes! I discovered this trick recently too. Also, if you salt the circles and leave it sit for about 20 minutes it pulls the moisture out. Just wipe down the excess moisture and salt and when you cook it the strands won’t be soggy and will already be seasoned.

      • Sharon V says

        Looking through the comments, getting ready for my first time baking this squash, I do believe I’ll give this a try! Sounds like a great idea. Thanks so much!

  4. Sara says

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve never cooked spaghetti squash before and was planning on trying a recipe with it. That recipe called for the face-down, steaming method and included instructions for straining and blotting to remove moisture. Your method made the squash turn out so perfectly! I barely had to blot at all. I’m so glad I didn’t have to spend all that time dealing with mushy squash. I’m such a fan of spaghetti squash now, and I’ll make it this way every time! Thank you!

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  5. Jaime says

    I’ve seen both ways: cutting and leaving it whole. I’ve always cut, but roasted at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I definitely have to try bumping up the temp! thank you.

  6. Brie says

    Roasting makes the best flavor! I’ve never used that high of a temp, can’t wait to try next time I cook one. A trick I learned for easily removing the seeds is to use an ice cream scoop.

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  7. Alexa says

    I tried it yesterday because I am lucky to live close to a Trader Joes and just *had* to try. And IT WORKED!!!!!!! I actually still did like spaghetti squash before, but doing it this way I LOVED it. I’ve never liked spaghetti squash enough to want to eat the strands without sauce before, but this time I was actually doing just that. I almost didn’t even need to put any sauce on it at all. I don’t know how you thought up this trick, and when I first saw the temperature of 460, I admit I was skeptical it wouldn’t burn the squash, but I am so glad I trusted you. THANK YOU KATIE!!!

  8. Casey says

    I absolutely love your website. I usually put the whole squash in the oven with holes poked, so I will have to try this! The only problem is the strands turn out much better if you do not cut the squash the long way, but rather the short way. The strands are much longer and spaghetti like. I don’t think roasting it that way would work. Any ideas? or Anyone tried?

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      • Leslie says

        Cutting it width-wise does make for longer, prettier strands, but I find them harder to eat, so if I’m just cooking it for myself I cut it length-wise. I prefer to microwave as I hate wet spaghetti squash, but look forward to bumping the temp up as you suggest to see if that helps. Roast veggies are the best!

  9. Audrey C says

    This was really informative and helpful! I love all your recipes. It would be awesome if you could make an energy balls recipe.

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  10. Cassie says

    So I know cutting it width-wise indeed yields longer straps! Aw dang it, I just microwaved mine for 16 minutes 🙁 well, I’m going to have to get another one to try this awesome technique! This looks wonderful!

    5/5

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  11. Andrea Fox says

    Hi Katie! Great post! To answer your question, yes, if you cut it across the middle and NOT lengthwise, you get much better/longer strands. You should definitely give it a try – when I read to do that a few months ago, it was a game changer for me! Love your blog and your cookbook (which I have, of course). My friend Jessica also loves you!

  12. Jennifer says

    I’ve always cut my spaghetti squash in half along the equator, so to speak, and I like the long strands that result. I’ve never tried roasting it as I’m usually throwing it in the microwave as I toss the noodles for everyone else in the pot. Next time I will try roasting it, just putting it in the oven when I start the sauce instead. Thanks! I’ve got half a squash in the fridge right now and I cannot wait to try it roasted!

  13. sassygirl711 says

    spaghetti squash is awesome!
    yes to cutting it horizontally (short
    width) vs. long. I do it all the time now and the spaghetti-like strands ARE longer…and more spaghetti-ish.
    🙂
    I spray the cut two bottoms of the squash with TJ XVOO spray and roast @400 degrees, and wait ’til after it’s done to season, depending on the sauce I choose to make.
    great recipe katie…do try the alternative cut!

    • Angela C. says

      Question, when cutting the squash width wise for roasting. Do you put the cut sides down? Or do you the halves on their side?

    • Laura says

      Is the way it is cut that important. Don’t get me wrong. I know that cutting it horizontally is the best way but would cutting it any other way affect the meal?

    • Gail Holcomb says

      I also cut it the spaghetti squash cross-wise rather than length-wse. Definitely longer strands of squash when done. I cut the raw squash in half and take out the seeds. I place in a shallow microwave safe casserole dish and add about 1/2 inch of water. I microwave on high for about 15 minutes depending upon the size of the squash. Starting at the cut rim of the squash, place a fork and twirl the strands as if you were twirling regular spaghetti. The strands will be super long!

      • Kiki says

        I appreciate your added info. I was confused about it. Just got my first squash yesterday and I am trying to find out what to do with it. lol Thanks.

    • Janny Ann says

      Gown do I know when the spaghetti squash is “done”? I left the seeds in as you suggested, and I went to check at 30 minutes and had no idea what to check for? Yikes.

  14. Natalie R says

    Huge fan of cooking with spaghetti squash, but I prep it a little differently. I cut it into 1 to 2 inch rings, cook for about 30 – 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven, then let cool for a few minutes. Once I can touch them, simply cut one of the rings and drag a spoon or fork between the skin and fleshy part of the squash – perfectly long strands with minimal effort!

  15. Sara says

    I used to cut my squash lengthwise but stopped because cutting along its width yeilded long strands that I love about real spaghetti!

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  16. jen harkins says

    The idea of roasting the spagetti squash and the mention of roasting bringing out the natursl sugars makes me consider a simple butter cinnamon sugar topping.

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  17. Karen says

    I roasted this and followed directions exactly it was wonderful!! Topped it off with the avocado pasta recipe… amazing!!! I feel like I had a full fat and calorie fest!! I am not a vegan or a vegetarian I am simply learning to eat cleaner. This website is a huge help and inspiration. I am known as a baker and the past few baked goodies have been made with bean bases…and no one knows!!!

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  18. MarySue Moffet says

    Katie,
    This worked wonderfully; it made it taste so good. However the next day all of the moisture takes over again. I tried blotting, squeezing, heating, and blotting again. It is still really wet. Any suggestions?

  19. Bethany Jones says

    You are SO right! I’m enjoying a big bowl of roasted (dry-yay!) spaghetti squash with Kale Pesto (from Pinch of Yum) that’s not watered down! I thought I just had to suffer through the soggy version…never occurred to me to cook it another way! Thank you!!

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