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 and roast it.

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

4.9 from 18 reviews
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
 
Prep time
Cook time
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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.

 

58 comments

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  1. Sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    01.21.2019

    great walk through and tips, especially when spaghetti squash gets far less attention these days than zucchini, thank you

    • Esther Dave
      03.05.2019

      Great recipe and way to cook this. Thanks

  2. Susanna
    01.22.2019

    Hi! Happy Tuesday! Do you know if this would work with any butternut squash? It’s the softest squash I can find in Spain unfortunately. during autumn and winter I always have a big batch of roasted squash ready in the fridge to add to all sort of dishes, however it has never occured to me to try to make spaghetti with it! Was just curious to know if someone has already made the test!
    I will give it a try this weekened and see what happens. worst that can happen is that I end up making puree with the squash. LOL

      • susanna
        01.23.2019

        Too bad! I will keep on searching….. Each time I have travelled to the US I have searched for some restaurant that serves spaghetti squash but I have never been able to find it. It’s one of those things that got me really curious. hehe
        I love all your butternut squah recipes, anything that includes pasta is a favourite in our home
        Have a great day!

        • Esther Dave
          03.05.2019

          You can check for each specific city on google perhaps squash is not in high demand.

        • Viki
          03.12.2019

          Try going to Pappadeaux next time you’re in the States… Georgia and Texas for sure.
          They have a spaghetti squash with pesto sauce on it to die for! You’ll love it.

        • Terri
          06.05.2019

          Lone Star restaurant has spaghetti squash as a side in summer and fall. It is wonderful.

        • Kathy P
          06.22.2019

          Longhorn Steak House has it on the menu occasionally. That’s how I was first exposed to it. They use maple syrup on theirs and it was yummy!

    • Charlene
      03.30.2019

      I topped mine with stewed chicken two days ago, and I’m having it again with chicken and broccoli, in a garlic alfredo sauce. Thanks for introducing me to a new veggie!

    • Top chef21
      07.15.2019

      It’s actually super delicious!!!! I was kind of skeptical about it as well until I made it new I can’t eat it any other way….

  3. I agree with roasting rather than steaming if you want to use your spaghetti squash like spaghetti. I don’t use oil–I just cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, place it cut-side down and give it a few stabs to make air vents. I don’t worry about salt and pepper because there’s usually enough in the sauce.
    Also it’s good if your sauce isn’t too runny.

  4. Willa
    01.22.2019

    I will add my favorite use of spagetti squash:
    It is buffalo chicken spahetti squash. There are recipes readily available. Hot sauce, pieces of cooked chicken, green or regular onion, cut small. Some recipes add cheese and/or orcream cheese.

  5. Susan
    01.22.2019

    I haven’t done much with spaghetti squash in a long time, but one of the things I found early on, was that if I cooked it too long, the flavor turned bitter. I allays roasted it whole, for 1.5 hours, turning it halfway through – for a medium squash (probably 2-3 pounds). My favorite way to serve it has always been as a side, with garlic butter and parmesan.

  6. Perfect timing! I happen to have a spaghetti squash on my counter which has been there forever because I’m never sure what to do with it. Good thing squash keeps a long time.

  7. felicia from felisrecipes.wordpress.com
    01.22.2019

    Awesome post!

    I just had spaghetti squash for lunch today, topped with grilled paneer, dill and greek yogurt 🙂
    I can’t eat chickpea, but I will give it a try with kale as well.

  8. Sarah | Well and Full
    01.22.2019

    I usually microwave my spaghetti squash but I’ve been wanting to roast it! Thank you for this helpful guide 🙂

  9. Mary Myers
    01.23.2019

    Good ideas. I would love to try all of these recipes. can the spaghetti squash be steamed in a instant pot?

  10. Elena
    01.29.2019

    I find that if I cut the squash in the opposite direction than you did (around its “equator”, rather than pole to pole haha), the strands are longer and more spaghetti-like and twirl-able. I never knew you could roast it cut-side down, which is a great tip, stability-wise!

    • Brenda Gutierrez
      05.02.2019

      I’m gonna try it this way ti see if I get longer strands 👍

    • Gillian
      05.20.2019

      Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, but I don’t think that’s how it would work. The strands grow lengthwise — that is, from stem to blossom — so cutting the squash in half the opposite way would cut all the strands in half and they’d come out shorter not longer. Nothing wrong with doing it that way, but for longer strands, I’d follow her original directions and cut lengthwise.

      • Gillian
        05.20.2019

        🤭 Ok, I take it all back. I put the squash in the oven and when I took it out to check with a fork to see if it was done— surprise, surprise! — the strands didn’t go stem to blossom! They went around the equator, just like you said. I stand SO corrected! Next time I’ll do it the other way too! 👍 😻

  11. Rita
    02.01.2019

    Such a nice article… yummy food

  12. Bo
    02.25.2019

    It is so easy to follow! My daughter loves it, I mixed it with fried rice lol, and she didn’t notice there is veggies.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.01.2019

      Hi Bo, I’m so glad your family loved the squash 🙂

  13. Mary Vancura
    02.26.2019

    Is baking spaghetti squash in the oven a lot better than cooking it in a microwave?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.01.2019

      Hi Mary, I personally think it has a better flavor and texture when cooked in the oven.

  14. Jenelle
    02.28.2019

    Loved it !! Also added garlic salt to mines yum!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.01.2019

      Hi Jenelle, I’m so glad you loved the squash!

  15. Nannette
    03.12.2019

    Thank you for the recipe. It was fast, easy, and delicious!

  16. Andy Sebula
    03.13.2019

    Thanks use in place of pasta 😁

  17. Tammy
    03.17.2019

    Thank you it has been a long time since I’ve cooked a spaghetti squash and I couldn’t remember if I placed it cut side down or up not to mention the amount of time to cook it. I’m making pork chops with apples & onions and I thought it would be great with it . Thank you for the reminder of how to cook it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.22.2019

      Hi Tammy, I’m so happy this post was helpful!

  18. Michelle Oliver
    03.27.2019

    Thank you for the recipe an I cook the squash ahead of time?

  19. Stephen Studebaker
    03.29.2019

    Great recipe! This was my first time ever cooking a spaghetti squash and the directions were excellent and the photos even better. Hi served it with organic pasta sauce and mild Italian sausage browned and cut into meatball sized chunks. This is a five star recipe

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.31.2019

      Hi Stephen, I’m so glad you loved the spaghetti squash!

  20. Eric
    04.20.2019

    Came across this recipe by googling “cook spaghetti squash.” I roasted exactly as this recipe states, for 40 min. While it was cooling I chopped up all my leftover veggies (broccoli, asparagus, 2 leeks, and a handful of cherry tomatoes), mixed with olive oil. and put them under the broiler for 10 minutes. I mixed everything together after that and added salt and pepper. An amazing, healthy, vegan lunch for 2 with lots of leftovers! The al dente chew of the squash worked great in this dish. Thanks so much!

  21. John
    04.27.2019

    Finally a way to get it cooked just right. Thanks for the forking ides.

  22. Sarah
    04.30.2019

    I love spaghetti squash and this always is perfect when I make it…and the word squash is used so much I love it and laughed.

  23. Nadine
    05.12.2019

    I just make reg. spaghetti with mine, with prego speg. sause onion, peppers, mushrooms, cooked hamburger, then I mix it all together put it in a glass dish and cook for 20 min. Then take it out of the oven add cheese motz put back in oven 20 min. again. Very good cook at 350 also make sure you roast speg. squash first and shred.

  24. Tom
    05.18.2019

    Thank you do much for this. I had gastric surgery so I cannot eat regular noodles and I have been craving spaghetti. This recipe has saved me.

    • Brenda
      06.06.2019

      I am getting ready to make spaghetti squash lasagna that someone posted from my gastric sleeve site. But they didn’t say how to make the spaghetti squash. Glad I found your recipe it was easy to follow and very good!

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        06.07.2019

        Hi Brenda, I’m so glad the recipe was easy to follow!

  25. chris
    06.09.2019

    I will get back to you when it is served and eaten by myself and others. Thanks, I hope.

  26. Shara
    06.11.2019

    I really enjoyed this recipe, though 15 minutes later I found out I’m allergic. It was still delicious.

  27. Stella from swa,uonbi.ac.ke
    06.19.2019

    I am not a fun of squash but I have to try this looks delicious and also easy to prep..ill definitely come back and give my reviews

  28. Mrs. Williamz
    06.30.2019

    Super easy and Delicious! I made mine nicely for the first time. Im so thankful you shared this and you’re right! It’s super underrated!! But won’t be in my household any more. Xoxo

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2019

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the spaghetti squash!

  29. Anita
    07.01.2019

    Yes 40 min is enough. It is 95 degrees today so I roasted it on he grill outside. Came out perfect.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2019

      Ooh, I love the idea of grilling it – I’m glad you enjoyed!

  30. Monica Windham
    07.01.2019

    I just made this. First time ever. Was a huge success and so delicious! Thank you!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2019

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  31. Sheila D.
    07.05.2019

    Thanks for your step by step instructions. I followed them, after I put my squash in the microwave for a few minutes ,so I could slice it. I flavored it like you instructed. I left it in for 35 minutes, @ 400 degrees. Then, butter and Mrs. Dash. That’s the way I like it. Just right for me. Thanks, again!

  32. Mike
    07.16.2019

    Makes me want to get one for dinner tonight.

  33. Tammy
    07.18.2019

    Best roasted spaghetti squash recipe I’ve found!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.19.2019

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  34. Shirley
    07.26.2019

    My husband and I love spaghetti squash. He especially enjoys it as taco boats. After I roast and shred the squash, I spoon cooked seasoned taco beef over the top, diced green onions, and shredded cheese. Five more minutes in the oven and it’s done – Yum!

  35. Joshua Howard
    08.03.2019

    Thank you for sharing the recipe! I’ve never tried to cook it before. I have two questions. How many calories are there? Can it be made oil-free?

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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.