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.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

First thing’s first: use a sharp knife to cut it in half lengthwise.

Recipe Tip

If your squash is too hard to cut, soften it slightly in the oven or microwave before slicing it in half.

  • Option 1: Roast the squash whole. Prick it all over with a fork and bake at 400°F for 10 minutes, or until it’s soft enough to slice in two.
  • Option 2: Microwave the squash. Prick it all over with a fork and microwave in 1-minute bursts until it’s soft enough to cut.

Then, cut the squash in half and proceed with the recipe!

Hands scooping seeds from halved Spaghetti Squash

After you slice the squash in half, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

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 dish.

More Spaghetti Squash Recipes

You can also use the cooked squash in your favorite spaghetti squash recipes. Here are two of mine (pictured below):

  1. Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas and Kale
  2. Lemon Pesto Spaghetti Squash

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

rate this recipe:
4.96 from 450 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 2 to 4
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.



  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • 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.
  • 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 little 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.
  • 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.


4.96 from 450 votes (263 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Christina from

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve always been intimidated by spaghetti squash, but not anymore!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Yay! So glad the recipe was helpful.

  2. Sharde Armour-Kumah

    5 stars
    Soo soo so good and easy to make. My 11 year old “picky” son ate 2 [small] halves!! We topped with tomato/basil pasta sauce and shredded Parmesan cheese! Delicious!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      So glad it was a hit!

  3. Byron

    It all sounds so good until you added kale. I know people actually eat it…. But it’s a weed !

  4. Mary Alex

    5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe! Gonna try soon.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hope you enjoy!

  5. Sabrina Sommers

    Going to try the basic recipe but I wish your other two spaghetti squash recipes didn’t include major allergens! (Chickpeas and pesto/tree nut)

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Sabrina, I hope you enjoy the squash! In the other recipes, you could skip the chickpeas or replace them with another protein of your choosing. The pesto works great with hemp seeds or pepitas instead of nuts.

  6. Cotton

    If you are going to use the baked spaghetti squash to make a lasagna dish subbing the lasagna noodles with the spaghetti squash do you recommend lowering the baking temperature? Thanks

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      I’d still roast the squash according to the instructions in the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

  7. Terry Mcclay

    I’m making this tonight the spaghetti squash with kale and chick peas yum 🖤😋

  8. Clorissa

    This recipe is the best! Thank you for taking the take to make this post. I’ve been using your recipe for a couple years now.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it!

  9. Fylicia’Marie

    5 stars
    So is actually roasting okay, or should this be baked? I have roasting functionality on my oven, but I see comments that seem to reference baking (though the instructions indicate “roast”). I’ve baked it before following your recipe and LOVED it. Also broiled for about 6 minutes at the end to squeeze out any excess mush and that worked awesome.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Fylicia, either function on your oven should work fine for this (many ovens don’t have separate functions like that).

  10. Nancy U

    5 stars
    Loved how easy it was to make and how nice it is al dente.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  11. GingerB

    5 stars
    Oooo, Thank you. I never even tried spaghetti squash before. You made it very easy to cook and it tasted great. 35 mins was the perfect time to cook it. Why was I so nervous to try it?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      So glad you loved it!

  12. Andrea

    5 stars
    My Mom used to cut the squash cross way. It’s easier to cut and that way each serving is a delicious round thing, put sauce in the middle. Of course clean out the seeds and guts first. Bake the same.

  13. Sem

    5 stars
    My spaghetti squash was perfect with your instructions. It tasted so good, and was given compliments from my family! Thank you!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  14. Wendy

    Hi, I’m so glad I read this recipe and some comments.. I tried very hard to cut this squash in half, so I gave up. I placed it whole in a baking dish with a little water. This was last night. I didn’t use it for dinner but today for my husband’s lunch. I cooked kale, added a few slices of onions, drop of apple cider vinegar, parmesan cheese. My husband loved it. We will have the rest for tomorrow. I am almost 72 and have never had or cooked spaghetti squash. Thank you.

    • Lee

      The squash is VERY hard to cut! To make it easier, I poke the outside several times with a fork, then put it in the microwave for about 5 – 6 minutes. This softens it a bit and makes it much easier to cut in half. It also helps to have a very sharp knife!

  15. Jessica

    5 stars
    My spaghetti squash always turns out wonderful using this recipe. I put my squash whole in the oven while it’s preheating making it a bit easier to cut in half before roasting the halves. I add some butter, keto spaghetti sauce, and shredded Parmesan. Or I’ve made keto spaghetti squash casserole with it. Also, don’t throw away the seeds! You can roast them just like pumpkin seeds and they’re delicious! Toss them in butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of cayenne. They crisp up in about 15 min.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m glad you’ve loved the squash!

  16. Nancy Sampson-Bach

    I have found in the past that the squash was very watery – what am I doing wrong?

    • Diane

      Nancy, I learned that cooking the squash cut side up keeps it from being watery. Hope that helps. 😉

  17. keith

    1 star
    I made this about 20 years ago, it was a nice change, and wanted to do it again for the family. I cooked it for 40 minutes like stated and it was cooked, but kind of crunchy. No one would finish their serving. It went over so badly, they wont try it again. It needs to be cooked longer.

    • Onewhocooks

      Like stated it will be al dente. It will be a little crunchy. We got the same results and it was amazing but we wanted it to be that way for the use as a noodle in or chicken dish. Sorry your fam didn’t like it.

    • Laura

      5 stars
      I know right. I’m cooking mine right now. Add a little homemade sauce and it’s the best!! Kids luv it as well!!

  18. Patricia

    5 stars
    At the ripe old age of 71, I just bought, cooked and ate my first ever spaghetti squash, using this recipe 😋 OMG 😲 How did I not know about this before!! I can’t wait to eat the other half for breakfast tomorrow! I will be eating a whole lot of this from now on!! Thank you for the delicious recipe.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      I’m so glad you loved it!!

  19. M. Brown

    I love spaghetti squash! I saute carrots, celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic then mix with with half of my spaghetti squash and put in dish. Top with ricotta and a little parmesan then the rest of the spaghetti squash. Add marinara and top everything with more parmesan or mozzarella. Bake until hot.

    • Bonita G.

      Sounds delicious….I’m going to make it. Thank you for the recipe!

  20. Bee

    I thought I would share an easier way to cut a spaghetti squash. Use a pairing knife. Bigger is not always better for a knife and a spaghetti squash LOL. A paring knife will cut the squash easier than a big knife, pierce it with the skinny part and then it just kind of cuts easy. Sounds counterintuitive I know but try it. Depending on the squash it just cuts easily with the paring knife, or sometimes you have to almost pierce it repeatedly kind of like scoring it but either way it’s much easier than with a large knife. Thank you for the recipe, I’ve been using my instant pot and it just makes them too mushy and it has been literally years since I’ve roasted it in the oven and I couldn’t remember how.

    • Louine

      That sounds like good advice, Bee…I just sliced my hand with my big knife trying to cut the squash in half! I’ll remember your tip. Does it work for all kinds of squash?

      • Bee

        Louine, I’m sorry! I’ve done that too. I would imagine it would work for the harder squashes, I just don’t cook them because I am not a fan. When I do butternuts though, I peel them first and then they are very easy to chop you just have to have a good vegetable peeler. I hope you heal quickly!

        • Sue

          5 stars
          I found out that butternut squash peels well if you microwave it whole for 2-3 minutes after piercing a few times! Wonks great. Sorry about your hand, Bee. I have nearly sliced mine many times before the microwave trick

    • Karen

      5 stars
      Thanks for the tip! A smaller knife was easier than the chef knife.

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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.