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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

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

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

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: @choccoveredkt

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

(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

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.
4.94/5 (198)
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 1 spaghetti squash


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


  • *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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Published on February 15, 2016

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  1. DeeAnn says

    What are some good tips for knowing when it is finished cooking? You say to check a smaller squash at 30 minutes, but what should I be looking for?

  2. Joyce says

    My best friend suggested I try spaghetti squash with butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. I am thinking maybe even adding apple slices and raisins.

  3. Julie says

    For anyone who has trouble cutting spaghetti squash (or any other squash, probably) or just doesn’t want to use the big knife (or if your kids are helping you cook), here is the SUPER-DUPER EASY way to cut spaghetti squash. You know those little kits they sell to carve pumpkins at Halloween? That little bitty knife with teeth cuts through spaghetti squash like buttah. It’s SO easy. Next Halloween grab a kit at the dollar store and keep it on hand for cutting squash.

    I just bought my first spaghetti squash in a while because while I like the idea I don’t entirely like the taste. I’ve gotten into roasting veggies since then, though, and I wondered if it also might taste better roasted. So thanks for the tips! I look forward to trying it out. If this works, who knows, I might even try roasting some brussels sprouts!

  4. Jennifer says

    You are a genius. Best spaghetti squash I’ve ever had and followed your instructions to a T. I prefer the smaller squashes but that’s just so I won’t have a ton leftover. To me, the leftovers were a little watery. Bless you for posting this!

  5. Pat says

    Oh, boy, I just made this. Used only olive oil and sea salt. I just had a bite of it and you are right, no soggy bland taste. Tonight due to time I’m only going to flavor it with butter and S&P. We’ve never liked it with tomato sauce so I’ve shied away from it. It’s a stinker to cut in half as we got it at an outdoor market.
    I have the grocery store cut the acorn squashes in half for us as I’m afraid my husband or I will get cut.

  6. Meghan Mac-Rhyann says

    Katie: You have GOT to try spaghetti squash sliced width wise and baked. After baking (same as your recipe), let cool and then remove the peel and gently pry apart the meat into “spaghetti”. This is a game-changer for eating spaghetti squash! I just added a good (homemade) pasta sauce and no cheese of any kind (but I did add nutritional yeast to the pasta sauce). It was truly the BEST spaghetti squash I’ve ever eaten. Do try baking it sliced into rings! But you will have to redo the article and call it the “best, best” way :-).

    Blessings, Meg

  7. Carolyndford says

    Yes! Great a tighter temp!,, loved the way it pulls away from skin. Fuller flavor. Had to cut short half. Great strings. Cdf

  8. Eva says

    I bought a spaghetti squash for the first time with no idea how to cook it. Got it home and found this recipe and was so pleasantly surprised at the taste. I mixed it with olive oil, sun dried tomatoes and quartered artichoke hearts, seasoned wit sweet basil and pepper. I think next time i’ll Try pesto.

  9. Kari Foster says

    Super in love with this cooking method for Spaghetti Squash! It turns out absolutely perfect! Thanks for the pointer on larger squash being sweeter, I will definitely keep in mind for the next one I buy. 🙂

  10. Sara says

    This is insanely good! Thank you for sharing! I feel like I’m late to discover the amazing qualities of spaghetti squash so this is the first time I’ve tried cooking one and your instructions helped mine turn out beautifully. Love it!

  11. Geri says

    Thanks Tina! Just tried it and it definitely works better than any other method I’ve tried. The spaghetti squash is NOT mushy, yay!

  12. Sara says

    Absolutely for real, the ONLY way I will cook spaghetti squash. This was a game changer for us- any other way is all wet and icky. This is the closest to replica pasta I’ve found.

  13. Toni M says

    I grow spaghetti squash up a trellis so the vines take up less space in my garden. They store a long time too. It’s February and I’m getting ready to roast one from last summer’s garden. Thanks for the tips on how to roast them.

  14. Shannon says

    I have tried a lot of different methods for cooking spaghetti squash (Instant Pot, in the oven with water, whole squash in the oven, etc.), but this recipe is by far my favorite. The squash is never watery so I don’t have to worry about thinning whatever sauce I am planning to use. It tastes amazing regardless of if I eat it straight out of the oven or if I meal prep and have it for quick dinners/lunches throughout the week. This will be the only way I cook spaghetti squash from now on. Also – I cut it width-wise, and the strands were so much longer. Thanks for posting this!

  15. Annette says

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe for the RIGHT way to cook spaghetti squash.

    Previously, I’d only eaten spaghetti squash once and I absolutely hated it. I hated it for the exact reason you said most people hated spaghetti squash. When there was a spaghetti squash in this week’s Misfits Market box I immediately started thinking of who I could give it to because I certainly wasn’t going to eat it.

    Thankfully someone suggested I look for a different recipe and that’s how I found your post. I’m happy to say I LOVE roasted spaghetti squash. I can’t wait to make it again.

    P.S. I had it with a wonderful sauce that began as a puttanesca to which I added a small eggplant and 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms that needed to be used. So much yum!

  16. Maik says

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    I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss
    and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would enjoy your work.

    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  17. Kristen Brown says

    I’m a really bad, beginner cook. You stated in your article that you prefer taking the seeds out after it’s cooked, but I don’t see how to do that in the article. Seriously, I told you I’m a bad, beginner cook. Do you use convection bake or regular cake. My oven also has a Tru Conv option ? I’m sure it will take good, but right now it looks burned. So working on it. Thank you for the directions!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Just scoop the seeds out with a fork or spoon after cooking. I don’t know what all those settings you mentioned are – I just put the pan on the center oven rack and do regular “bake.” My oven I guess is not high tech ?

    • Jason Sanford says

      Hi, did you have any water touch the pan at any point? Or possibly preheat the oven instead of putting it into a cold oven? Pyrex website says to keep water away from it, but otherwise it shouldn’t explode!
      That sounds scary!

  18. Stefanie says

    This recipe was so good! I roasted rosemary and garlic on top as well. The texture and flavor of the squash is fantastic. Thank you for this.

  19. Ella says

    I love spaghetti squash! To make cutting it easier, pierce the rind all over with the tip of a sharp knife. Place on a sheet or two of paper towel in your microwave and cook on high for 5 or six minutes. Carefully remove from microwave (it will be hot!) and carefully cut off the ends and then in half long wise. It will cut much easier because you softened the rind a bit in the microwave without actually cooking the squash inside.
    Now remove seeds, brush inside with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste then place your two halves cut side down in your baking dish. roast at 400 for 30 – 50 minutes depending on the size of your squash. You will know it’s done if you can easily pierce the rind with the tip of a sharp knife.
    Now like to remove the squash strands into a bowl, add some butter and parmesan cheese (and more salt and/or pepper if desired) and enjoy!

  20. Lara Jean says

    I made this the other day and it turned out perfectly! The only difference is that I rubbed a little ghee on the inside of the squash after removing the seeds. Cooking at such a high temperature, a fat with a higher smoke point than the cooking temp is important as the molecular structure will not break down and become oxidatively reactive during cooking. Ghee smoke point is 482 F. Olive oils vary widely depending on type and quality, ranging from 350 F to 468 F. Just an FYI coming from a PhD candidate in Biomedical sciences, engineering, biotechnology and neuroscience with a degree in biochemistry, biology/pre-med. PLEASE people, do NOT use vegetable oils (i.e. canola oil), they are highly oxidatively reactive, cause inflammation and litany of other health issues. They are NOT “healthy” as we were led to believe.

  21. David says

    I am an older man, and relatively new to cooking (anything). I did this project, and it turned out perfectly. The only caveat I would add is that the initial cutting of the squash is risky business…….and great caution must be exercised to avoid a mishap.

  22. Randy Meinert says

    Not convinced that the extra 60 degrees of heat make any significant difference to the outcome. No explanation–just an opinion. In fact a convection fan will have as much or more influence for keeping the strands dry. Furthermore, I cannot find any credentials on the writer that makes her opinion especially valid. Sorry.

  23. Kathy Ansel says

    Tried this last night and it is HANDS DOWN the BEST spaghetti squash I’ve ever had. My husband loved it!!! Didn’t take any pics but this will be my go-to every time. Thank you for the outstanding recipe!

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