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.

481 comments

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  1. Sylvia
    11.05.2022

    You don’t need to cut them before putting them in the oven. Just put them in whole. Then cut them in half afterwards

  2. Sandie
    11.01.2022

    Can you keep the leftovers? Can the spaghetti squash be frozen?

    • Phoebe Moore
      11.04.2022

      Hi Sandie, Leftover roasted squash will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. We haven’t tried freezing it, but I think it should be fine. Hope this helps!

  3. David
    10.30.2022

    I rippled the Blade on a brand new Shun chefs knife cutting one of these! You definitely need a heavy chefs knife or a meat clever to cut these. That said this recipe sounds good and I’m using it now. My wife is enamored with these things so maybe the butcher would run it through the bone saw in the meat dept. if we cook one again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.01.2022

      Hi David, you could try softening it in the microwave or in the oven for a little bit before cutting it.

      • Erin
        11.02.2022

        I have a harder squash I’m trying to cut right now & couldn’t remember if they could go in the microwave—thank you!

        • Phoebe Moore
          11.04.2022

          If you prick the squash all over with a fork, you can microwave it for 30-second bursts to help it soften. Roasting it whole for a few minutes works too!

    • V Johnston
      11.08.2022

      Microwave for a few moments before cuttingb

  4. kevin from Love%20and%20Lemons
    10.26.2022

    I almost went out to the
    garage and got the chainsaw to cap the squash before cutting it in half. But once done it turned out fine- need to think about smaller squashes maybe this one was too big

    • Phoebe Moore
      10.28.2022

      I’m glad the recipe came out well! If I have a particularly hard squash, I will prick holes in it with a fork, then roast it whole for a few minutes to help it soften before cutting it open.

    • Tuvya
      10.28.2022

      You just need a really sharp chef’s knife and a firm hand cut cut it. The sides don’t have to be perfectly equal so just cut slightly to one side of the stem to avoid the toughest part of the cut.

      I once cooked while too stoned to handle a big knife safely and I punched holes but cooked it whole. I gave it an extra 5 minutes and it turned out fine except it was more work separating the seedy mess from the good strands.

  5. Jilspan
    10.26.2022

    I cut mine in half the side ways instead of length wise. Do I bake for less temp for a little longer?

    • Phoebe Moore
      10.28.2022

      I would do the same temp and bake until the squash has the texture you like. (I’d still start checking at 30 minutes.) Hope this helps!

    • Judy
      11.05.2022

      I cut mine around the middle, then cut it again so that it is actually in quarters because that was how the first recipe I ever read (a long time ago) said to do it. I like the roasted/slightly browned edge bits anyway. It comes out just the same otherwise. Delicious!

  6. Saralyn T.
    10.25.2022

    I just tried this this evening for spaghetti. It is the BEST spaghetti I’ve ever had! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Phoebe Moore
      10.28.2022

      I’m so glad it came out well for you!

  7. Susan Odiseos
    10.24.2022

    Did I miss finding how to roast the chick peas? I clicked on the highlighted/underlined words, but got only to the recipe. Thanks.

  8. Kimmie
    10.24.2022

    Does it make a difference if I use a glass pan? I have never tried it on “cookie sheet”. But I’m making this for company and really don’t want to mess up again 😵. Also I have always used tinfoil but if I don’t need to than I’m good! Thanks for the recipe too!!

    • Phoebe Moore
      10.28.2022

      A glass baking dish will work fine here. Hope you enjoy the squash!

    • Diane Murphy
      11.02.2022

      I was taught to lower the oven temp by 25 degrees when using glass pans. If you decide not to do so just watch closely to avoid burning.

  9. Karen
    10.24.2022

    Have you ever tried to bake the squash in an air fryer? If so, how long does it take and at what temperature?

    • Phoebe Moore
      10.28.2022

      We haven’t tried this in the air fryer, so we’re not sure about the time/temp. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  10. Sara
    10.20.2022

    This was perfect .I’m 71 and never made this before . Bravo.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.21.2022

      Hi Sara, I’m glad your squash was perfect!

  11. Kathleen Rodriguez
    10.15.2022

    Finally! My spaghetti squash “noodles” are not mushy!!! Thank you for this recipe. Will be my go to from now on.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.16.2022

      I’m so glad they were perfect!

  12. Nan
    10.11.2022

    Great directions. I love the crunchier texture of the al dente. Delicious with the olive oil or a bit of salsa. Thanks!

  13. tim
    10.10.2022

    Salt them before cooking and wait 15 minutes and it will draw the eater out. Wipe off salt and then it will have more pasta like texture

  14. Kimmie K
    10.07.2022

    hi,
    I been making spaghetti squash for years this is literally the best recipes I love how you flip it down so the oil doesn’t make it too mushy and yes what a big difference to cook it only for 30 min.
    Thank you

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.08.2022

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the method!

      • Bonnie G
        10.10.2022

        Mine is cooking now…cant wait thank you very much for the recipe

        • Mac
          10.14.2022

          Lol mine is cooking now too 🙂

  15. Volker
    10.06.2022

    excellent recipe! Made it and tasted great!!! Thanks for posting.

  16. KayDubb
    10.05.2022

    Great recipe for roasting. Thank you.

    For gardeners: a fresh average size squash needs less time (20-25 min) for tender crisp results. Straight from the garden squash produces more liquid so best best to avoid liquid sauces (like garden tomatoes). My bad!

    Easy squash cutting tip is to perforate skin with knife tip along cut lines first. Makes cutting easier.

    • Stephanie
      10.19.2022

      What is an average sized squash? I am new at enjoying spaghetti squash (I had it at a restaurant and….wow!!). I bought one tonight and it was 5.81 pounds. I am a little nervous about cooking it.

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        10.21.2022

        Hi Stehanie, that sounds like a big one but it should cook the same way.

  17. Aneta
    10.04.2022

    Great recipe. First time (but def not the last time) trying spaghetti squash and used this recipe to pop my spaghetti squash cherry. Glad I did. This is now going to be a staple going forward. So versatile and yummy!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.08.2022

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  18. Lyn
    10.03.2022

    Seeds. Never seen a seed in my squash. I microwave whole is a puncture to let steam escape. No seeds when cut in half

  19. Tracy Radack
    10.02.2022

    SO GOOD! With my husband out visiting cousins, I decided to make a spaghetti squash dinner to use up the squash. His complaint is that “it’s nothing like REAL spaghetti “ and doesn’t look forward to eating it.

    This recipe hits the nail on the head! Al Dante squash (NOT mushy), easy to make and VERY flavorful!! I’m actually very excited to make it for him to show him how great spaghetti squash can be… and to be able to enjoy it again!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.08.2022

      I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it!

  20. Carol Doolan
    09.28.2022

    Help!! I cut the squash in half; but are you supposed to remove the stringy stuff too or pick the seeds that are mixed with it?

    • Sarah
      09.28.2022

      You’ll want to scoop all the stringy center that has the seeds. Like doing a pumpkin. 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.02.2022

      Hi Carol, yes, scoop out the stringy parts and the seeds and then cut the squash and roast it.

    • Kathi G
      10.26.2022

      I’ve also heard to leave the seeds in until after it’s done baking, keeps the nutrients in the squash..learned this from an older woman, not sure if it’s true but I’m all for keeping in all the natural nutrients I can get!

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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.