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 449 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.

623 comments

4.96 from 449 votes (263 ratings without comment)

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  1. Terry
    05.24.2024

    5 stars
    Hello James, you certainly can.. I use tomato base and creamy alfredo base all the time. But tonight I’m adding shrimp scampi.. this is the best recipe I’ve found and its easy.

  2. James Mobley
    05.18.2024

    Can you use this squish buddy like pasta and use a meat sauce

  3. Robin
    05.13.2024

    5 stars
    My family loves this with taco meat, tomatoes, black olives and topped with a little cheese then cooked in the oven til cheese is melted.

  4. Christi K
    04.29.2024

    5 stars
    Turned out great! Added spaghetti sauce with some sautéed veggies and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      05.02.2024

      Hi Christi, so glad you loved it!

  5. Skokie Sue
    04.25.2024

    That tip about microwaving it to make it easier to cut is GENIUS af. Thanks so much for that!

  6. Tammy
    04.11.2024

    Someone taught me to put salt on it first then let the water get pulled out dry it out and then put the olive oil on

  7. NJ
    03.26.2024

    Made this per your recipe. I like it, my brother not so much. LOL
    He suggested I make muffins…anybody have a recipe?
    I was thinking maybe use a zucchini bread recipe and substitute with the squash.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you

  8. Janet O
    03.22.2024

    Safest and easiest way to cut spaghetti squash is to trim both ends. Stand it up straight on a cutting board and slice down from top to bottom; easy!

  9. Elizabeth
    03.17.2024

    5 stars
    Came out great! I’d never made al dente spaghetti squash before and this made it much easier to pull out the spaghetti strands without breaking them. I did get a little bit of charring in a couple places where the squash rested on the pan, but it was only a little and didn’t affect flavor. So simple! So good!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.21.2024

      Hi Elizabeth, I’m so glad you loved it!

  10. JJ
    02.09.2024

    5 stars
    Followed instructions to the letter, roasted for 35 minutes, and it turned out perfectly. So easy. Thanks so much.

  11. Kaye
    02.07.2024

    Can you freeze the leftover squash?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.09.2024

      Hi Kaye, yep! I’d let it thaw in the fridge before reheating.

  12. KellyO
    01.21.2024

    Before cutting with a knife, poke holes with a fork along the cut line. Its so much easier than just cutting

  13. Pat Lane
    01.21.2024

    My biggest problem is getting the darn thing cut in two. Somebody told me to microwave it for 2 minutes whole. That helped, but still… Any suggestins? More time in tbe micro? A better knife? Thanks.

    • Tricia
      01.24.2024

      Hi! I ended up using a rubber mallet on my knife…probably a silly thing to do but it worked! Probably don’t recommend it.

      • Rebecca Restivo
        02.06.2024

        Haha I just did that before reading this. It worked but don’t recommend!

    • Jan
      02.11.2024

      5 stars
      I followed your suggestion and put it in my microwave for 2 minutes. I found it was fairly easy to cut then. If it’s still a little hard for you to cut after 2 minutes, I would then try just a little bit longer next time.

    • Jonathan Moore
      02.11.2024

      I use a cleaver. While not common in most western kitchens, they’re surprising cheap from your local Asian grocery store. Choose something heavy that’s all metal (including the handle), it’s a great tool for tougher kitchen tasks like this, along with handling bone in meats and frozen meals

    • Kathleen Tumpane
      02.25.2024

      5 stars
      I microwave it 2 min then pierce the skin on the cut line. Then use a hammer to do the rest of the cutting. Works a treat.

    • Mike
      03.03.2024

      I microwave for 3 to 5 minutes depending on the size. No way I’m going to try to cut an uncooked squash with a knife.

    • Adam
      03.12.2024

      I cut a small piece of the ends so it’s flat, stand it up on end and then slice down. Then it’s no problem to put a little weight behind it if you need to.

    • Jean
      03.19.2024

      I poked it with a knife in a few spots and microwave for 5 minutes. Cut off top and bottom , stand up and slice in half. 5 minutes is fine for a medium to large squash.

    • Elizabeth
      03.19.2024

      Hey! I usually do 5 minutes and makes its sooooo easy!

    • Big Tom
      03.28.2024

      Stab the knife straight down through the side to the cutting board. Knife is vertical. Now lever the handle down to horizontal, then reverse the knife and repeat in the opposite direction.
      Works with butternut squash and turnipstoo. Although the turnips are a lot harder.

  14. Jennifer
    01.16.2024

    5 stars
    So easy and so thankful to have it not be mushy! Yay! Delicious!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.17.2024

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  15. Michele from Sirrahecg.com
    01.15.2024

    5 stars
    I don’t normally comment on recipes because I usually have to make some adjustments. This was perfectly on point. It was the first time I have tried this spaghetti squash and it is delicious. Kudos to you I made zero changes. And it was awesome by itself. I topped it with some protein mixed with onions and peppers like I would with regular spaghetti and yup it was still delicious! Thank you for your time and effort to make it easy for us! Kudos again!!!

  16. Mike L.
    01.06.2024

    I made this on a gas grill and it was surprisingly good. I used aluminum foil instead of parchment paper and placed it directly on the lower rack with the burners on low (that’s pretty close to 400F with the lid closed).

    The “spaghetti” flaked off amazingly uniform. I tossed in some butter while it was still hot along with a dash more salt and pepper. After initially saying “yuck!” my 13 year old son ate a second helping. That’s a strong endorsement.

    Half a squash yielded three good-sized servings.

  17. Mandi
    01.06.2024

    Delicious, never made before! Baked for 45 minutes. Thanks!

  18. Howie Hall
    12.06.2023

    5 stars
    I have found that the best way to cut the squash is in horizontal rings rather than cut in half from top to bottom. The “strings” of spaghetti go around the width of the squash and this way gets you longer strands.

    • Kristie
      01.04.2024

      Great tip! Thank you for sharing.

    • Brandi
      01.08.2024

      Do you still roast the same length of time for this technique?

    • Neetz
      01.15.2024

      5 stars
      Great idea, I tried & they’re not all broken-up! 👌🏽

  19. Chipper Food
    12.03.2023

    5 stars
    As a lover of Italian cuisine, I am very wary of dishes that overturn the use of spaghetti, but at the same time I am curious to try alternatives if they respect the ingredient.

  20. MS
    11.30.2023

    5 stars
    Turns out beautifully every time. Quite delicious!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      12.01.2023

      Hi, so glad you love it!

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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.