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. Mackenzie

    Do you think I could do exactly this and freeze any excess? Or do you think the defrost/thaw process would ruin it?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Mackenzie, I think it would get watery as it thaws, but it keeps very well in the fridge for up to 5 days or so.

  2. Grace

    I tried they the exact same way you do here. Like the taste! I am going to buy this more often then

  3. Terri

    What do you do with seeds?

    • Doris

      You can throw the entire squash insides without cleaning seeds off to chickens. You can air dry some and plant them to grow yourself more.You can roast them after a pretty hideous cleaning and eat them or you let them air dry and use for crafts…like gluing them on paper cones to make decorative x-mas trees, thread them for natural garland, etc.

  4. Judith

    I roast and prepare ours the same as you do here. While still warm I fill with with Trader Joes Turkey Bolognese (warmed) and top that with TJ’S shredded Parmesan cheese and put them into the broiler untill cheese has crusted. UMAMI flavor! Has been a hit with everyone I have shared it with.

  5. Ernest

    cutting across the waist yields longer strands

  6. First time making spaghetti squash. Used this recipe. Mostly loved it, but I think I’d like mine a little softer. I found a recipe that made it fabulous! And so easy. Added a little onion and chive flavored soft cream cheese, then sprinkled with Parmasan cheese. I’m going to be buying this much more often! Thanks.

  7. Judy

    Why would my squash taste bitter.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Judy, it could just be the squash, they can vary. I find the flavor pretty neutral. I’d pair it with a flavorful sauce and it might not seem as bitter.

  8. Suzanne

    YASSS I totally needed this! I love spaghetti squash but dread cooking it. This is perfect <3

  9. Walter Rose

    I live in remote Alaska. About a year and a half ago I saw a Spagetti Squash at the market. Didn’t know what it was, so I bought it. I found and followed this recipe and it turned out great. We’ve probably baked ten of them since then, always using this simple recipe. I stopped back by this website for the temperature and cooking time. Thought I’d leave a good review.
    The don’t cook it too long tip is a good one. I’ve gone as short as 30 min with good results.. Too bad you can’t poke it with a fork and tell if it’s done! Thanks

  10. Albina Sellers

    Wow, this recipe just looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it out for my family. Thank you so much, greatly appreciated!

  11. Tash Goswami

    if you cut it lengthwise then you will get shorter strands but if you cut through the middle you will get longer strands. Also if you littly sprinkle with salt after cutting and then place cut side down onto a mesh or slatted board or a cake drying rack and leave for 1 hour before cooking, then the excess water drains away before baking/cooking and the squash will be a less watery.

    • Laurie

      Thank you for that tip!!👏🏼👏🏼

  12. Deanna

    Thank you!!! I had just about given up on spaghetti squash as every time i made it it turned out so mushy. Now thanks to your recipe and suggestions my faith in spaghetti squash has been restored. I cut in half, remove seeds and prick several times with a fork. I do not even bother seasoning. Cook at 400 for 30 minutes and the perfect squash to use as a pasta replacement.


    Big thank you. I recently managed to get 2 spaghetti squash and, look forward to cooking them (one at a time!!!) following your instructions. I never knew the strands ”arrived” after cooking by forking. I thought you cutit and there was the spaghetti 😉

  14. Gregg

    I’ve been cooking spaghetti squash for years and doing it in the microwave. I find doing in the oven much more flavorful. I use spray avocado oil to coat the squash before adding the salt & pepper. 40 minutes is prefect for a squash sized for two. After I scrape out the flesh I toss with butter, some shaved parm and and salt & pepper. I have found that you need to add more Salt than you normally would to make the flavor come out.

  15. Kaki

    I made this exactly as written and it was the best version I’ve had. You are right on with the timing it was perfectly cooked and held up much better to my meaty homemade sauce

  16. Kora

    Hi, does the spaghetti squash keep decent once it’s cooked? I’m cooking for just me and the size of my squash will give me a solid 3-4 servings.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kora, it keeps well, just transfer the strands to an airtight container and store in the fridge.

  17. Justin

    I made spaghetti squash before and hated it. I used this guide this time and it was fantastic. I didn’t miss the pasta at all. I will definitely make this again.

  18. Kate

    I’ve used the cooking guidelines for spaghetti squash and found it easy. Turns out perfect every time.

  19. Louise

    So I made this last night with Turkey kielbasa pasta sauce. Wasn’t sure how my husband would feel about his pasta being replaced, but he loved it!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  20. Carole

    Any tips/hacks for cutting through the squash? It’s much tougher than cutting through a butternut squash.

    • Caitlin Turner

      Put it in the microwave for like 1-2 mins and it is super easy to cut

      • Carole

        Thanks! I’ll try that

        • Kathy

          Poke some slits in before the microwave to let steam out. Use a nice big sharp knife and please watch those fingers! Enjoy.

      • Nancy

        Wish I read this before cutting mine… it was hard to cut and thank god I didn’t cut off a limb – lol. I’m just cooking my other half today as it’s just me eating it and it lasted me all last week 😊. Thanks for the tips.

    • Myra

      Microwave for 4 to 5 minutes to soften

    • Linda

      I use a knife to put several vents in mine and microwave for 5 minutes. Once done and cooled it is much easier to cut in half.

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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.