How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is such a fun, underrated vegetable! Here is my favorite way to cook it, along with a few tips and recipes.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

I get so many questions about how to cook spaghetti squash, so I thought I’d share my go-to method for roasting it, a few tips, and a couple of my favorite spaghetti squash recipes.

First things first: cut it in half lengthwise. Then, scoop out the seeds.

Hands scooping seeds from halved Spaghetti Squash

Next, drizzle the insides lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I find that adding too much oil and too much salt at this stage makes the squash a bit watery, so a light drizzle and a light sprinkle will do.

Spaghetti Squash on baking sheet with olive oil

Then, poke a few holes in the skin of the squash with a fork and place it cut side down on a baking sheet. Pop it in a pre-heated 400°F oven.

Hands poking holes in Spaghetti Squash with a fork

A mistake I used to make was roasting my squash too long. I used to roast it for an hour or longer, but now I roast it for 30 to 40 minutes. I initially thought the squash needed to be super soft and fork tender in order for the strands to “spaghetti,” but over the years I’ve learned that I prefer my strands to be more al dente (and less mushy), and that the 1 hour mark was too long. Of course, the timing will entirely depend on the size of your squash and the heat of your particular oven. It can also vary from squash to squash, so adjust your cooking time accordingly.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash halves on baking sheet

Once it’s roasted and cool enough to touch, use a fork to scrape the strands. I like to start from the outside and work my way in, fluffing them up as I go.

Hands fluffing Spaghetti Squash strands with fork

That’s it! Season it with more salt and pepper and serve it as a simple veggie side. Or incorporate it into your favorite spaghetti squash recipes. Here are two of mine (pictured below): Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas and Kale and Lemon Pesto Spaghetti Squash.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

5.0 from 170 reviews

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

 
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This is my go-to method for creating perfect al dente spaghetti squash strands to use in vegetable sides and main dishes. The exact timing will vary depending on the heat of your oven and the size of your squash.
Author:
Serves: 2 to 4
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and ribbing. Drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the spaghetti squash cut side down on the baking sheet and use a fork to poke holes. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on the outside, fork tender, but still a litte bit firm. The time will vary depending on the size of your squash. I also find that the timing can vary from squash to squash.
  4. Remove from the oven and flip the squash so that it’s cut side up. When cool to the touch, use a fork to scrape and fluff the strands from the sides of the squash.

276 comments

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  1. Amy
    06.15.2021

    Thank you very much for this helpful guide. I want to eat more squash but find it daunting to cook (I tend to buy frozen cubed kind) but the flavor was not as good as fresh as is in most cases.

    Love your emails and thanks again!

  2. Stephanie
    05.31.2021

    I was raised up on spaghetti squash. Never have I went thru the trouble of cutting a raw squash and scooping! I poke holes and bake like a potato. Cut and scrape the seeds. Then use olive oil and throw on a hot pan to seer for a few minutes for that yummy browning. It’s awesome!

  3. Barbara
    05.27.2021

    Yum! Thank you. This was perfect! I served it in the ‘shells,’ with salt, pepper and truffle oil. Again, Yum! The al dente approach is fabulous. Thanks again!!!

  4. Jill
    05.18.2021

    Love this recipe! Delicious and easy to prepare. I made a veggie lasagna with it, layering zucchini, cheese, ricotta sautéed mushrooms and peppers and onions. Have also added ground turkey at times!

  5. Ash
    05.10.2021

    Forgot rate this 5 stars

  6. Ash
    05.10.2021

    I just randomly came across this receipt craving spaghetti really bad on this keto diet but didn’t want to have another cheat day.

    I truthfully didn’t think it was gonna work cause a lot of time it’s just marketing but OMG I went to the store today and bought these squash and immediately came home and tried and where has this been all my life?!!!

    I didn’t miss the noodles at all and it was SUPER easy! Thank you so much!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.11.2021

      I’m glad you enjoyed the spaghetti squash!

  7. Rebecca S Jackson
    04.10.2021

    Thanks, for the tip on how to cook the squash.
    I never had it and wanted to try it.

  8. Candy
    04.08.2021

    Spaghetti squash is new to me. Both times I made it, I followed your recipe except for poking holes in it. It turned out wonderful both times. I had it as a main dish with organic pasta sauce the first time. The second time I had it as a side without anything extra … just the olive oil, salt and pepper. It was yummy just that way. But, if I want to change the flavor and eat it as a side again, what would you suggest I put on top? Thank you for posting this how-to.

  9. Alychia Moore
    03.31.2021

    Great tips!

  10. Elaine
    03.23.2021

    Delicious! Thanks for a great recipe. Sorry, I forgot to take a photo. It was a nice quick dinner, especially since I used jarred sauce (oh the shame). Not really, I always keep some on hand if we run out of homemade. Used a Publix Vodka sauce & added a 1/2lb of ground beef, cooked with 1 Clove of garlic & a small shallot roughly chopped.

  11. Tori
    03.16.2021

    Great how-to for a first time squash eater! Even my picky boyfriend liked it 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.17.2021

      I’m so glad you both loved it!

  12. Jayda Otero
    03.16.2021

    When I saw this recipe I cold not resist. although for me I think it is better if you do not put the holes in it with the fork. It is still delious anyway.

  13. Jeff Willis
    03.15.2021

    Great addition to our Whole 30 diet! Used my Wife’s tomato basil black olive red sauce with sausage and bacon. I had forgotten to poke the outside until toward the end. However, we’re off wheat for 22 more days— so all of our favorite Italian dishes (next scallops with capers) are making this “diet” an enjoyable part of our lives! Thank you.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.