The Best Way To Cook Spaghetti Squash

Here’s how to cook spaghetti squash if you want long pasta-like strands and spaghetti squash that isn’t watery! Just cut the squash widthwise, into rings and roast it.

As I plan content for the year ahead, I really want Eating Bird Food to be a resource for you! Wondering how to prepare a certain ingredient? Have questions about why certain foods are considered healthy and others aren’t? Want to learn more about meal prepping? I want to be your go-to girl for all things healthy eating.

So in light of that, let’s talk all about spaghetti squash! You’ve probably seen it at the grocery store or pinned recipes with spaghetti squash on Pinterest, but have you ever made it? If not, get excited because I’m diving into all the nitty gritty details for you!

WATCH HOW TO COOK SPAGHETTI SQUASH:

What is Spaghetti Squash?

Let’s back wayyy up… what the heck is spaghetti squash? It’s a yellow, oval shaped squash that is in season in the fall and winter months. When cooked, you can shred the insides into long, noodle-like strands. Hence the name: spaghetti squash. The texture is a tiny bit more fibrous than pasta, but makes a great substitute for regular spaghetti noodles.

What Does Spaghetti Squash Taste Like?

Don’t hate me for this answer, but it doesn’t really have a ton of flavor. Although, I do think it has a little bit of sweetness to it. It is amazing as a sub for pasta because it lets whatever sauce you’re using shine. You can get crazy with your sauce flavorings and know that the spaghetti squash will truly be a base and not impart too much flavor.

Fork twirling a forkful of roasted spaghetti squash.

How Do You Cut Spaghetti Squash?

First thing first, before you even get to the cooking part, you have to cut it. I’ll be honest and say I don’t love cutting spaghetti squash, but it’s so much easier if you have a large, sharp knife. We have a Shun chef’s knife that I love. Another option is to poke a couple small holes in the squash using a fork and then microwave the entire squash for about 5 minutes to soften the squash a bit and make the process a little easier. Go slow and be extra careful!

When it comes to which way to cut spaghetti squash there are two main ways — widthwise and lengthwise. I used to cut my squash lengthwise all the time until I realized that the squash’s strands run horizontally in circles around the inside of the squash and if you cut it widthwise into rings you get longer spaghetti strands. And the rings help reduce moisture as well so the spaghetti squash isn’t watery after it’s done roasting.

Of course, there are certain spaghetti squash recipes (like these lasagna bowls and these tuna noodle casserole bowls) that require cutting spaghetti squash lengthwise, but I prefer cutting it widthwise if I’m not making spaghetti squash bowls!

After cutting, spaghetti squash is really simple to cook! There are a few different methods you can use.

Rings of sliced spaghetti squash on a roasting pan, topped with olive oil, salt and pepper.

How to cook spaghetti squash

1. Bake/Roast

  • Whole: Preheat your oven to 375°F degrees. Use a knife to prick a few holes in the squash. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes (flipping half way through). You’ll know the squash is done when it feels tender when pierced with a knife. Let squash cool before cutting it open, scooping out seeds and separating the strands.
  • Cut widthwise: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Slice ends off the squash, then cut widthwise into halves or rings. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. (I love using a grapefruit spoon for this.) Place squash on rimmed baking sheet. Use hands to coat each piece with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then peel the skin away and separate the strands into long “spaghetti noodles”.
  • Cut lengthwise: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Slice your spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Flip your halves over so the cut side is on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes. You know your squash is done when you can press in the skin fairly easily. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes and then use a fork to scrape out/shred the inner part, making “spaghetti noodles”.

2. Microwave

Slice your spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise or widthwise. Scoop out the seeds and place the cut side down in a microwave-safe dish. Fill the dish with about 1 inch of water. Microwave on high for 10-12 minutes or until you can press into the skin fairly easily. Remove and let cool for about 15 minutes and then use a fork to scrape out/shred the inner part, making “spaghetti noodles”.

3. Instant Pot

Slice your spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise or widthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Place the steamer basket in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Place the squash halves on top of the basket and secure the lid. Make sure the vent is turned to “sealed” and set the pressure cooker to 7 minutes on high pressure. Use the quick release when finished. Remove and let cool for about 15 minutes and then use a fork to scrape out/shred the inner part, making “spaghetti noodles”.

How to freeze spaghetti squash:

Let the cooked squash cool completely before transferring the noodles to freezer-safe bags. To prevent the squash from freezer burn, you’ll want to squeeze as much air as possible out of the bags. The squash should keep for up to 7-8 months in the freezer. When you’re ready to use your squash you can transfer from the freezer to the fridge to thaw until you’re ready to reheat, but if you don’t have time to thaw the squash, that’s okay — frozen spaghetti squash can be reheated quickly in the microwave, a steamer basket or even sautéed on the stovetop.

Is spaghetti squash healthy?

Spaghetti squash is low in calories, containing only 42 calories in one cup cooked. It also contains a small amount of carbohydrates, 10 grams, and a good amount of fiber, 2.2 grams or 9 percent of your daily needs. When substituting spaghetti squash for pasta you can save about 170 calories and 30 grams of carbs in a one cup serving!

I love using spaghetti squash in so many recipes. It’s a great spaghetti substitute when you’re looking for a grain-free option, but I also love batch cooking spaghetti squash to have on hand for weekly salads and bowls.

Sliced and roasted spaghetti squash.

Are you ready to tackle spaghetti squash? Do you have any other spaghetti squash questions I can answer? If not, let’s get cooking! See below for my go-to recipe.

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Fork twirling a forkful of roasted spaghetti squash.

The BEST Way To Cook Spaghetti Squash


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 cups

Description

A simple recipe for cooking spaghetti squash if you want long pasta-like strands and spaghetti squash that isn’t watery! Just cut the squash widthwise, into rings and roast it.


Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 12 teaspoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Slice ends off the squash, then cut widthwise into halves or rings. If you cut the squash into rings, try to make the rings about the same size, around 1-1/2 inches.
  2. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. (I love using a grapefruit spoon for this.)
  3. Place squash on rimmed baking sheet. Use hands to coat each ring with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping rings once about 15 minutes in.
  5. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then peel the skin away and separate the strands into long spaghetti noodles using a fork.
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 114
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 56mg
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: roasted spaghetti squash, spaghetti squash, how to cook spaghetti squash

Check out some of my favorite spaghetti squash recipes and get cooking!

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Recipe rating

    111 comments
    1. Lauren R.
      February 17, 2021 AT 7:37 pm

      First time spaghetti squash maker here and your recipe was so easy to follow and delicious to boot! Thank you, thank you for such a great recipe for a newbie! Enjoying my spaghetti squash topped with creamy basil shrimp as I type this! – Lauren in RVA

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 18, 2021 AT 2:07 pm

        Woo!! So glad you tried this method of cooking spaghetti squash!! Thanks for coming back to leave a review, Lauren. I so appreciate it!

    2. Kelly D
      February 15, 2021 AT 10:35 pm

      I make spaghetti squash very often, but this was my first time cutting it in slices/rings rather than just slicing in half and roasting. LOVED it!! Everything came out perfectly and was so easy to string the squash with a fork after it was done cooking. Will be keeping this recipe on repeat.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 16, 2021 AT 9:27 pm

        Isn’t it a game changer?! So glad you loved this method. Thanks for giving it a try and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

    3. Pamela
      February 13, 2021 AT 11:46 pm

      We love spaghetti squash…can’t wait to try some of these recipes….thank you

    4. Fluffysquirrel
      February 13, 2021 AT 11:23 pm

      I now track my calories on an app-could you tell me if a slice/ring is a serving, according to the nutritional information? I have a medium/large spaghetti squash and want to keep to my calories.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 14, 2021 AT 7:21 pm

        The serving I have listed is for 2 cups, which should be about 1/2 or 1/3 of the total squash depending on the size of your spaghetti squash.

    5. Linda MartinHatfield
      February 13, 2021 AT 1:05 pm

      I love your recipes as I have been going through some health issues & your recipes are very helpful. My doctors are grateful also. Keep going. We all can use these at this time.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 13, 2021 AT 10:04 pm

        Ahh that makes me so happy to hear, Linda. So glad you’re loving the recipes. 🙂

    6. Rick Woith
      February 13, 2021 AT 12:37 pm

      This is new , to me

    7. Bruce tom Englerth
      February 13, 2021 AT 9:17 am

      Just found this site. I can not wait to try this.

    8. Bren
      February 13, 2021 AT 2:21 am

      Thanks for recipes

    9. A. Carolyn Calhoun
      February 13, 2021 AT 1:31 am

      I love spaghetti Squash….period

    10. Clarence D Marshall Jr
      February 13, 2021 AT 12:05 am

      LOL! Not much discussion about the extreme difficulty of safely cutting an uncooked squash, for those who have never encountered a spaghetti squash. But I appreciate the perspective of different ways to prepare it!
      My wife and I have been cooking and eating spaghetti squash for more years than we can remember… But we have always cut them lengthwise.
      I absolutely LOVE spaghetti squash with nothing more than salt and a little fresh cracked black pepper seasoning, and even with no seasoning or toppings at all. And, we’ve eaten it numerous other ways also, with toppings you’d never think would go.
      My wife catches me all the time eating it straight out of the toaster oven steaming hot and too hot to hold!
      We’ve even gotten to where we cook it (and cool it) to feed to our Pekin ducks and various chickens! They love it too, unseasoned, of course, and eat it right down to the skin. At least, they get what I haven’t already scraped out as soon as it pops out of the oven! Lol.

    11. Deborah M Towers
      February 12, 2021 AT 9:29 pm

      Is there a way to know when it’s ripe for cooking?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 13, 2021 AT 10:20 pm

        Hey Deborah – Your squash should be a golden yellow or a dark yellowish color and the skin of the squash will be very thick and hard.

    12. Phyllis Lovely
      February 12, 2021 AT 7:31 pm

      Sounds good

    13. Becky Gourlay
      February 12, 2021 AT 4:40 pm

      Can’t wait to try it! Great tips and sounds delicious!

    14. Leona Crawley
      February 12, 2021 AT 12:58 pm

      Can’t wait to try!

    15. Rena Bozzelli
      February 5, 2021 AT 10:09 am

      the very best! so good and not mushy! my go to.

    16. Amy
      February 5, 2021 AT 7:46 am

      Hi! Best method I have found so far!

      I do have a question though: how do you reheat the spaghetti squash with still maintaining the al dente texture and no mushiness?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 5, 2021 AT 2:13 pm

        So glad you love this method, Amy. I’ll usually just heat it up in the microwave or on a skillet with a little oil!

    17. Laura
      February 1, 2021 AT 9:51 am

      I use didn’t spaghetti squash for so many dishes. Stir fry, I make my sure get and add th spaghetti squash

    18. Laura H
      January 23, 2021 AT 12:02 pm

      Perfection! If you love the brown of roasted veggies this is THE spaghetti squash method. The ‘bird nest’ rings are easy to use and store. I’m sharing with everyone I know. Thanks!!

    19. Michelle
      December 16, 2020 AT 7:07 pm

      Genius!! This turned out so deliciously! Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

    20. Candace
      December 9, 2020 AT 6:27 pm

      I made this last night. Soooo easy and sooooo good. We have gone gluten free and I have never been a fan of spaghetti squash. But I now have a love for this new recipe. Soo good

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 10, 2020 AT 12:15 am

        Ahh that makes me so happy to hear, Candace. I’m so glad you tried this method!!

    21. Suzie
      November 30, 2020 AT 1:59 pm

      THANK YOU VERY MUCH for this recipe!!! My mom just shared it with me and I can’t wait to try it! I am always looking for an easier way to cut and cook spaghetti squash😃

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 30, 2020 AT 11:41 pm

        Yay!! Definitely come back and let me know how this method works for you once you try it. 🙂

    22. Richard Fisher
      November 19, 2020 AT 4:30 pm

      Spaghetti squash recipe was genius. I call it the Pineapple ring method. My wife thoroughly enjoyed my cooking experience. I’m so impressed I’m going to check out your other recipes.

    23. Hannah
      November 18, 2020 AT 8:06 pm

      I love this recipe. So easy and the “noodles” come out perfectly. I love zucchini noodles, but now that I’ve learned this method for preparing spaghetti squash, I think I may like these even better.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 20, 2020 AT 3:22 pm

        Ahh yay! So glad this method turned out for you!!

    24. Simone
      November 1, 2020 AT 7:58 pm

      Great recipe! Spaghetti came out perfect. Was tough to cut the squash so I did put in microwave for a couple of minutes after putting fork holes. That did help to cut a bit better. Watching the video was also very helpful. Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 2, 2020 AT 12:01 am

        I’m glad you found the video helpful, Simone! And so glad this recipe turned out for you!

    25. Kim Tornberg
      November 1, 2020 AT 6:23 pm

      Roasted in rings. This recipe is a game changer! Absolute perfection!

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