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.
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.

378 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Sandy G
    04.13.2022

    I added an extra step: after removing the seeds I sprinkled the two halves with salt and let them sit for a least half an hour. You’d be surprised how much water is drawn out! After draining the water I patted the halves with a paper towel and did NOT re-salt. Then I cooked as instructed. Thank you for the info on cooking time. The spaghettini shop came out perfect!

  2. Dana
    04.11.2022

    Hello just cooked & shredded my spaghetti squash but it’s just me & it’s a lot. Have you ever frozen it afterwards to use another time?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.13.2022

      Hi Dana, it’ll get mushy when frozen, but it’ll keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

    • Tina
      04.17.2022

      I have frozen it many times and find it turns out almost as good as freshly cooked when reheated in the micro. Just don’t reheat for to long.

  3. Justine Green
    04.02.2022

    I have used this recipe several times and the squash is perfectly cooked each time!! Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.05.2022

      I’m so happy to hear!

  4. DEBORAH HAWK
    03.29.2022

    This is my new “taco shell!”

  5. Andrea
    03.26.2022

    I’ve made this twice now, and my family and I love it. I make meatballs in marina sauce to go with it. My six year old doesn’t even realize he is eating a “vegetable”. I baked it for 40 mins and the texture was perfect. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.27.2022

      Ha ha, I’m so glad it’s been a hit.

  6. Faith
    03.23.2022

    Yummy goodness!! 😋

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.24.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  7. eve
    03.19.2022

    This is the best way to cook Spaghetti squash. thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.21.2022

      I’m so glad it worked out well!

  8. Rima
    03.15.2022

    Jeanine, this recipe changed my whole view of spaghetti squash! I’ve always made it as an alternative to spaghetti and sort of hated the watery mushiness of it, but it is so life changing to do it “al dente”! Thanks for the tip!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.16.2022

      Hi Rima, I’m so happy to hear! I have the same feelings about mushy squash 🙂

  9. Gigi
    03.14.2022

    I made mine tonight per your instructions and it was perfection. Love the lil’ brown crusty bits so much. Thanks.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.16.2022

      I’m so glad it was perfect!

  10. D
    03.08.2022

    Simple easy perfect. I used coconut oil instead of EVOO because that’s what I had.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.11.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      • Demetra Nakos
        03.11.2022

        I added a premade no added sugars pesto sauce mixed with a little tomato sauce and diced tomatoes (both no sugar added also). It was UNBELIEVABLE. Better than any pasta dish I’ve ever had. I am allergic to wheat, processed foods, and carbs that aren’t considered Whole Foods so I’m learning to replace them with healthier versions and I’m so grateful for spaghetti squash!!!!

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          03.13.2022

          I’m so glad you loved it!

  11. Stephanie Hauser
    02.25.2022

    This looks amazing! But in your veggie noodles recipe you spiralize Then sauté the squash noodles. With the pre-roasting method, can you spiralize after? Or is it too softened at that point?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.25.2022

      Hi Stephanie, spaghetti squash won’t spiralize – it’s totally different. Once roasted, the spaghetti squash pulls into little spaghetti-like strands. In the veggie noodles, I spiralize yellow summer squash. Hope that helps!

  12. Rev. D. Tinsley
    02.22.2022

    If I may make a suggestion: I cut the squash into ‘rings’ about 1 1/2 inches in width and cook them on parchment paper on a pan sheet in the oven. This cooks evenly, and the strands are easy to get out. Cutting in half, removing the seeds, poking holes… all avoided by the method suggested to me. You might try it and see which method gives best results.

  13. Pam
    02.18.2022

    My first time ever having spaghetti squash and WOW it was delicious! I followed this recipe precisely, and this is now my go to recipe for spaghetti squash. I garnished it with fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese. This is a filling meal all by itself!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.18.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  14. Helena
    02.15.2022

    I made this according to this recipe. It was my first time ever baking or eating spaghetti squash. I kept seeing it at the store and wanted to try it.
    I cut off one end which made it a bit easier to cut length-wise. I brushed a little olive oil on the insides then added a little salt and pepper. Since mine was from the refrigerator, I left both halves on the counter for awhile (covered with saran wrap) to get to room temp. When I checked there was some water in them which i drained in the sink. I put them face down and baked them for 40 minutes. The came out soft but not too soft. After they cooled a bit and i got the strands collected, I put some melted butter, cinnamon, and stevia powder (instead of sugar) and it was delicious. It killed my sweet tooth in a very healthy way! I’m saving the other half for tomorrow. Thanks for this easy recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.17.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the squash!

  15. Thomas
    02.07.2022

    Can spaghetti squash be cooked ahead of time? “How many days will the spaghetti” savein a refrigerator?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.08.2022

      Hi Thomas, it keeps about 5 days in the fridge.

  16. John
    01.25.2022

    What does poking with the fork do?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.26.2022

      It allows some steam to vent as it roasts.

  17. Deb
    01.23.2022

    **** Thank You for sharing your recipe!!! So amazing!

  18. Donna Artino
    01.13.2022

    Excellent. Thank you for the tip to NOT cook for an hour and light on the oil and salt. Made a world of difference.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.14.2022

      I’m so glad your squash was perfect!

      • Mary
        01.18.2022

        Thank you so much. Making mine now.

        • Sandra
          03.13.2022

          Made it! Turned out great! How was yours!?

  19. Michelle from Leve%20and%20Lemons
    01.07.2022

    It’s in my nature to find interesting recipes on the internet then tailor them to my tastes or to what I have in the refrigerator. I followed this recipe with 2 differences and it was still amazing I added roasted pistachios instead of pine nuts and used Mediterranean seasoning in lieu of Rosemary. My husband does not get excited about food – at all. Hearing him say, “that was a really good meal”, totally warranted a “thank you”!

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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.