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 447 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.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.

617 comments

4.96 from 447 votes (263 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Kyle
    07.29.2023

    5 stars
    All I can say is Wow! Amazing! My Wife and I Love this as and alternative to noodles. Thank you so much for the recipe!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.01.2023

      I’m glad you loved them!

  2. Natalie
    07.11.2023

    2 stars
    This completely burnt my squash. I’m not sure if i used the wrong pan??

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.13.2023

      Hi Natalie, I wonder if your oven temperature is accurate? You could check by setting a separate oven thermometer inside.

  3. Tee
    07.11.2023

    DEE-licious! Thank you for this great recipe

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.13.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  4. Jessalyn
    07.07.2023

    How do you reheat the leftover spaghetti squash?

    • Tee
      07.11.2023

      5 stars
      DEE-licious! Thank you for this great recipe. 5 Stars!

  5. Kimberly Johnson
    06.24.2023

    5 stars
    I used garlic flavored olive oil and smoked sea salt. So simple to make, with a rich, complex flavor that is to die for. It was not at all watery, and roasting the squash til brown around the edges, but not too soft, was perfect. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.26.2023

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  6. H. S.
    06.24.2023

    5 stars
    This is my go-to for a quick, healthy meal! I sprinkle some garlic powder on it as well before I roast it. I treat it just like spaghetti and too it with our favorite marinara and some shredded mozzarella cheese! So yummy!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.26.2023

      Sounds delicious!

  7. Mary sanders
    06.22.2023

    All I can say is thank you, thank you thank you so simple quick and good

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.22.2023

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  8. Heather
    06.05.2023

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! Thank you for all the extra tips and tricks – that was exactly what I was looking for. Super great!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.06.2023

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Carole Hendley
    05.22.2023

    I have been roasting spaghetti squash for years and have to thank you for the tip about cutting down the time for roasting. No more mushy squash and I can actually twirl it like spaghetti. I enjoy it even more.

  10. M.M. from LoveandLemons.com
    05.21.2023

    4 stars
    I love your recipes. The husband and I made this. It turned out good. We just had traditional sauce. This was our first attempt. We had no idea, lol, but it worked out very well. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.22.2023

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  11. kathy
    05.11.2023

    Looks easy enough. My issue has always been cutting it in half! My knives are sharp and I’m skilled but I always pay special attention.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      05.12.2023

      Hi Kathy, if you want to soften the squash a little before cutting it, you can pierce the skin several times with a fork and microwave in 1-minute bursts or bake it whole for several minutes until it’s soft enough to cut.

    • BC
      05.22.2023

      Cut at an angle so that your knife passes to the side of the stem, not through it. 8-10 in chef knife, if sharp, will do it. My wife uses a meat mallet on the knife to force it and that makes me cringe.

  12. Tabitha
    05.09.2023

    I am so grateful for loveandlemons.com. No joke! It has saved my series of unfortunate meals many times. Thank you!

  13. Anonymous
    05.02.2023

    I just made spaghetti squash for the first time, and it is amazing! I tried it with cooked tomatoes and feta cheese. It makes for awesome leftovers. Thanks for teaching me how to cook the squash!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      05.05.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  14. Jan from pintrest
    04.30.2023

    Many thanks for the recipe. I poke hole in the squash first and soften in the microwave for 5 min so it is easier to cut in half! This method is foolproof yet delicious ! I served it w/ spaghetti sauce and marinated and grilled portobella mushrooms. YUM !

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      05.01.2023

      Hi Jan, so glad you loved it!

  15. Joyce davis
    03.26.2023

    Thanks for the recipe.. cooked mine for forty minutes came out so good. I just added some butter and parmesan cheese

  16. TexasGEEK
    03.25.2023

    4 stars
    I always found it easier to cook if it’s sliced in rings, lightly oiled and salt/pepper. If you do 1 1/4 – 2 inch rings it’s a nice portion size also. Easier to get nice sets of strings in the rings than a longer half section. Halfway through the cooking you might want to filp the rings for even cooking.. Cook or cover with parchment paper to control browning if needed.

    • Sheryl Clark
      05.18.2023

      I recall reading before to cut the squash the opposite way for better “spaghetti “. Thanks for the reminder 😀

  17. Mary
    02.28.2023

    If you’re not opposed to the microwave try placing the whole clean squash in for 60 seconds then cut and scrape the seeds. Much easier! Likewise placing cut halves upside down a dish with 1-2 TBL water,cover with plastic wrap and cook for 5-6”. Quick & ready to use!

    • Loves2Bake
      08.20.2023

      5 stars
      Not as tasty as roasting the squash. Can use convection setting on oven to bake a bit faster. Trick is to not over salt or use too much oil. It came out so much better than the soggy watery version from microwave. (Use micro to soften before cutting in half. Google instructions)

  18. Katrina Steppat
    02.27.2023

    5 stars
    Amazing and delicious. Simple. Cooked it for myself and my 1 year old for the first time. He loved it! Thanks!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.03.2023

      Awww so glad you both loved it!

  19. Natalie
    02.13.2023

    5 stars
    I’ve never been happy with spaghetti squash when I cooked it in the past, but I decided to give it one more try. Some great tips were provided and I think that’s what made it turn out perfect this time (I’m guessing I always overlooked it). Super easy, great results!

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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.