The Best Way To Cook Spaghetti Squash
Published Dec 31, 2018, Updated Sep 16, 2021
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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.
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.
How to cook spaghetti squash
- 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”.
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”. See the full method for spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot here.
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.
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.
Spaghetti Squash Recipes
- Spaghetti Squash Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bowls
- Tempeh Spaghetti Squash
- Pesto Spaghetti Squash
- Spaghetti Squash Taco Bake
- Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
- Pesto Spaghetti Squash Salad
The BEST Way To Cook Spaghetti Squash
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- sea salt and pepper
- 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.
- 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 ring with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping rings once about 15 minutes in.
- Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then peel the skin away and separate the strands into long spaghetti noodles using a fork.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.