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

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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.
Serves: 2 to 4
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  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.


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  1. Cleisha

    I love pasta but I’m trying to cut out simple carbs and this was the perfect alternative. The squash turned out perfect! I made a vegetarian bolognese sauce to top my spaghetti squash with and even my meat eating husband loved it! Thank you for the recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. Allison

    Ive found that salting the squash for 15 min then wiping it off before going in the oven releases the moisture in it. Also cutting it across the middle as opposed to lengthways keeps the strands more like spaghetti. The strands grow in a circular direction.

  3. Kira

    I’m a newbie to cooking squash. It’s in the oven now (I’ll have to work on my arm strength to cut this squash!) and the olive oil is starting to get that burning smell… any tips on how to prevent that? It’s only been 15 minutes and the oven is at 400. I tried to drizzle just the tiniest bit to avoid it getting too watery, as you mentioned in your recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kira, I haven’t noticed this issue, so I’m not sure. An every day olive oil should be fine at this temp in the oven.

    • Jax

      Try avocado oil. It has a higher smoke point.

  4. Deb

    Don’t forget to roast the sheets on a sheet pan along with the squash for a yummy treat!

    • Clare A.

      I still use your recipe every time. It’s so healing. I especially love learning about the cooking time & that it can remain al dente. Thank you!


    I made this tonight for supper with the instructions you listed and it turned out wonderful. I removed both halves after about 30 minutes and left on top of stove for a few minutes while finishing up making a sauteed mushroom and fresh tomato bolognese sauce.
    It was exactly the kind of vegetarian meal that my husband and I couldn’t wait to eat. So so good!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad your squash turned out so well!

  6. Marsha Frankel

    Hi – this is an FYI for those of us unable to cut a fresh spaghetti squash. You can roast the whole squash by poking holes so it doesn’t explode, roast at pre-heated oven 375F for 40-60 minutes depending on size. For small ones I generally see how easily a knife goes in after 30 min. Once squash able to easily cut take it out of oven and open it. Take out seeds and you can either continuing roasting if you want it softer or shred into strands and continue with recipe.

    • Cathy

      They are a challenge to cut no doubt. I ask my guys in the produce department to cut it for me and they are happy to do it!

    • Sharise

      Perfect!!! Thank you! I was killing my self trying to cut into it.

  7. Donella

    Made the noodles tonight. My firs0t time eating them. Served with albedo sauce. OMG they were delicious. I think I like them better than pasta spaghetti. I am so glad I tried them.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved the squash!

  8. Margaret

    Super easy instructions and perfect spaghetti squash! Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the squash!

  9. Maggie J.

    Thanks so for sharing! Your directions are detailed but not too lengthy and I love the tips and pointers. It came out delicious and my kids loved it! I added it to some spaghetti sauce and some cheese with some meatballs because my kiddos love meatballs LOL but they actually liked it so thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Maggie, I’m so glad it was such a hit!

  10. Wendy Antal

    Simple execution and simply DELICIOUS! I tossed my spaghetti squash in a pan and tossed with some kale, garlic, avocado oil, and some AIP friendly spices.
    Perfect dinner. Thank you

  11. Carissa Robinson

    Love your simple recipe. Hubs and I had ialf of t for dinner with grilled Italian sausage and marinara sauce. The second half before shredding the pulp I spronled with brown sugar and broiled it for a few minutes. Then I shredded it and yum dessert.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it two ways!

  12. Linda

    Really simple and works out great. I agree with your roasting time. I didn’t care for the resulting texture (i.e., too soft and mushy) when I roasted the squash for an hour. When I roasted the squash for about 35 minutes and then let it cool, it was just how I wanted it. The nice thing about it being “al dente” is that one can further cook it if desired.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m glad you enjoyed the al dente squash!

  13. Nancy

    I used your basic recipe to cook the spaghetti squash which was perfect!! I sauteed chopped onions and black beans together which I used to to top the spaghetti squash along with Mexican cheese and Pace chunky salsa!! Our lunch was yummy!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  14. navadonoh

    Can you cook in the air fryer ?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I haven’t tried so i’m not sure of the timing. I think it would be fine.

  15. Johanna

    I made this and found it quite bland. This is my first time eating spaghetti squash but wanted to try something new:. I’m sure the recipe is good maybe I’m just accustomed to eating yellow squash.

    • Angie

      I think it’s meant to be used just like regular spaghetti noodles. Top it with some of your favorite things. Spaghetti noodles are bland by themselves, too. Hope you find a way you like it. 🙂

  16. Kathleen

    I just made this and it came out so good!! Cooked it 40 minutes, it was perfect & so delicious! Thank you!

  17. Jeni

    Can you freeze the roasted spaghetti squash?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jeni, yep, you can freeze it.

  18. Rona Evartt

    I like to prepare healthy, fresh food, but cooking for one, it must be simple. I’ve been craving squash and had two spaghetti squash given to me. Your recipe was simple, but more importantly, IT WAS SO GOOD! Thank you.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad your squash turned out well!

  19. Tiffa

    I followed every step of your recipe and the results were absolutely delicious. It was also my first time cooking spaghetti squash. Thank you so much!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  20. Judith Steinbeck

    Can you cook in the air fryer ?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Judith, I haven’t tried so I’m not sure.

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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.