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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. Karen says

    I tried the cooking spaghetti squash using your recipe. I set the bowl of down for 15 min and noticed that quite a bit of juice pooled – so I drained the squash for 1/2 hr and drained off 3/4 cup. It was slightly better then my usual microwaved method. I and my spouse agreed that microwaving the squash would be our choice, as it takes only 5-7 minutes, My favorite way to cook spaghetti squash is to use 1 -2 tsp of olive to saute 1 small onion, (chopped) with 1/2 sweet red bell pepper (chopped). Add squash to pan and toss until hot. Add seasoned salt to taste. Sprinkle freshly grated romano chesse on top. This is a variation on a weight watchers demonstration many years ago. I still love it!

  2. Kelly Powell says

    I had never made nor even eaten spagetti squash so I looked online for how to cook it. It turned out great. Even my super picky husband liked it. I will be making them again soon and putting pasta sauce on them. We just tasted them plain this time.

  3. Shallary says

    I felt like my squash was small-ish. I cooked it for about 35 min. It was definitely less watery, which I liked, but I should have cooked it a bit longer I think. It had a very slight bitter taste to it. It was lightly crunchy still, which didn’t bother me, but I wonder if the bitter and the crunch are related. I get a ‘C’ for only sort of following the recipe. Hehe!

  4. Deborah says

    Thank you, Katie! This was delish! Spaghetti Squash has always been one of those veggies that I wanted to like but just couldn’t figure out how to make it correctly. Can you help me with Kale? : )

    • Sharon says

      I make kale chips!! so easy and yummy! cut up into bite size pieces, dry well, rub olive oil into all the nooks and crannys, season with sea salt, or anything you like really 😀 bake at 225-250 the lower the temp the better, you don’t want them to burn, for about 20 mins or so..rotating the pans mid time

  5. Betty says

    Hi Katie, thanks for sharing your cooking method for spaghetti squash. I did this in the oven today & this will be my preferred way to cook it from now on. I am anxious to try the black bean brownies next.

  6. Lara says

    This is so yummy!!! Have tried spaghetti squash in the past with not much success. Always tasteless and too soft. This was so much better, oven is definitely the way to go. I added a little garlic powder, salt pepper and olive oil, perfect.

  7. Sandra says

    I have to cook them whole because I cannot cut through the shell, not enough strength and don’t have a good sharp knife. Also afraid the knife will slip and I’ll cut myself. Any suggestions for a brand of a really good sharp knife for cutting these?

  8. Candice Bolte says

    Hi hi, so tonight I tried your recipe. But sadly my pyrex exploded in the oven. 🙁 any idea what I did wrong?
    Thanks!

  9. jo ann says

    I never heat up my oven or my kitchen in the summer. Cut one in half, toss it in the microwave for 20-25 minutes…scrap and enjoy. Most people pour loads of stuff over the top anyway to drown out the toasty bits from a hot oven. A little butter and nutmeg and salt and pepper is enough on its own. I grow my own every year…some are huge!

  10. Trish Gename says

    I live in Arizona, so I was wondering if anyone has tried freezing portions after roasting? I hate heating up my kitchen with the oven very often, so if I could roast several at one time, and freeze portions for later….. : )

  11. Sheila B says

    I find the fastest way to cook spaghetti squash is to quarter it, scoop out the seeds, place upside down in a 9″ x 9″ glass baking dish, with 1 inch of water. Cover with waxed paper, and microwave for 15-20 minutes. If you need to use a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish, then turn off the turntable of your microwave. Test for softness after 15 minutes with a pot holder on your hand.

  12. Little says

    The squash came out delicious. The only problem I had was that the smoke alarm kept going off due to the high heat. There was no smoke, only high heat. Had to open both of my doors and then it was fine since it was cool outside.

  13. Julie Schonfeld says

    Thank you! Loved the baked spaghetti squash roasted at the higher temperature! That really made a great difference in the taste, appearance and texture. I’ll cook it this way from now on!!

  14. Jeanne says

    Why are all portions measured in grams instead of ounces? Would it be possible to include both? I am a big fan of your recipes. You are a very smart and inventive girl

  15. Dan Timmes says

    Thank you for spaghetti roasting technique as that ‘ll carmilize the squash ‘s sugars just right.I knew there was a way that could turn the squash so much more delectable, as it’s kinda a different hard winter type.Some of the seeds in one of the two sprouted in side& a suprise is they are good.So if you happen to.. food for thought. I like sharing food eating knowledge so had to give a little something back in happy gratitude.Big smiles. Dan

  16. Kasey Sifuentes says

    So I’m making my first spaghetti squash today, not so much as an entree but more like a side. Any recommendations? I’m kinda nervous.

  17. Cathy says

    Thank you for the tip! I am making spaghetti squash for the first time and want to know how it reheats. If I want to roast it earlier in the day for dinner that night or the next night, does it reheat well? Thanks!

  18. Mary Phillips says

    I never liked the thought of stringy squash but I got several free so gave it a try. I scored the skin lengthwise up both sides and popped it in a pan in the 450 degree oven for an hour with the top covered with tinfoil to keep the skin from burning. I turned off the oven and left it there for another 1/2 hour to cool a bit. took it out, sliced it open along the score lines, scooped out the seeds, scraped up some flesh and put on some garlic spread I had. I’m telling you…pasta will never see me again. This is soooo good I could eat it all day long. I never enjoyed regular winter squash this much. I need to keep an everlasting supply of these. better than potatoes, better than bread, better than most vegetables. I gotta go….my squash is waiting!

  19. Marnie Boyd says

    I’ll never fully cook spaghetti squash in the microwave again! Loved the flavor of the lengthwise cut roasted. Will next time try a brief microwave to soften the shell for cutting, and experiment with the horizontal cut in the roast. I have a garden full of them this fall!!!

  20. Kyle says

    I’m not sure I can trust someone who calls a fruit a vegetable. While it is true that squash have vegetable like qualities, it is a fruit.

    • Kyle says

      Also, i tried cooking it whole. The first time was fine but then i got a squash with seeds that had begun to sprout inside the fruit. When you cook those sprouts into the whole squash it ruins it and an hour of your time was wasted because you can’t find out until you cut it open to eat it. Cutting it in half and adding water made no texture or taste difference in my opinion. Length of time cooking was the only factor in taste. Too long, it’s mushy. Too little and it’s crunchy. The difference seems to be about 5 to 10 minutes on either side of perfect.

  21. Vivian says

    Just baked a squash like you advised, it was delicious fix a spaghetti sauce to go with it. Even my husband loved it. Had never had spaghetti squash before. I give it a 10!!!!!!!

  22. Gretchen says

    I loved the result when cooking spaghetti squash this way! Any tips for cooking acorn squash? Should I try the higher temp and no water as well?

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