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.
Serves: 2 to 4
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  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.


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  1. jingle

    It’s perfect but don’t even try this if you don’t have good very study knives and you have an older squash. Mine was as hard as a butternut and there was no way I could have gotten a fork in it like the picture.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      next time if your squash is very hard, you can try warming it whole in the oven for a few minutes to soften.

  2. Meena

    Making this right now! Can’t wait to see how my spaghetti squash turns out!

  3. Cat

    Tried this method today. It worked great! At 1st I was afraid it came out under done but when I added my chicken parm it was perfect. My guys give 2 👍

  4. Dani

    Just right, every time!!

  5. Janet

    Thanks for posting. Easy and simple, healthy side.

  6. Elisa Delaney

    Tried this yonight! Absolutely perfect &! So fluffy and delicious! Added a touch of garlic powder & extra freshly cracked pepper – wonderful!

  7. Mike Turner

    It would be helpful to advise that it is very difficult to cut if it isn’t softened a little first. How long do you soften it. Too dangerous to cut hard. Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Mike, you can soften it for a few minutes in the oven (or in the microwave) to make cutting it a little easier.

  8. Rose

    The squash is hard as a rock. How in the world do you cut it in half ?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Rose, I often warm it for 10 minutes or so in the oven first, which makes it softer to cut through. Hope that helps!

  9. Patty

    Am I just a weakling, or does anyone else have trouble cutting the squash to roast it? My knife is very sharp, but I feel like I need an axe to get through it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Patty, I often warm it for 10 minutes or so in the oven first, which makes it softer to cut through!

  10. chris

    just wanted to mention that for some reason my squash took over an hour to cook. i set the oven at 400 … i have a thermometer in the oven & it said 400. after one hour squash was not done. needed another 10 to 15 minutes.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Chris, squashes can vary in size which could vary the timing.

  11. Josephine Vierra

    Thank you for this great recipe for baked spaghetti squash.

  12. Kris

    This was a great way to prep spaghetti squash. If you want longer, more uniform “spaghetti”, after cooking, cut across the width of the squash making approx 4 or 5 sections. Then, with a fork, pull the spaghetti strands out. Very quick, leaves squash skin very clean, and gives you nice results.

  13. Amy Unholzer

    Trying this tonight for supper with our steaks.
    Thanks for the recipe and tips.

  14. Cynthia Robinsin

    This is a GREAT post. I just shared it on a Fbk page that is for an Organic Vegetable Home Deliery group.

    Been buying from them now for a yr & 3 months… saves me a bundle cuz organics in my area are pricey. I also get vegetables & fruits that are just not made available.

    They now have a whole new grocery section to order from and offerings cover a wide range of organic foods.

    They also practice giving back in huge way!

    Love them!

  15. Robert

    That was a very good succinct description of something that I have never tried and can’t wait to thank you for such a good description with the pics!

    • Robert

      Also I was wondering if beforehand in the oven as you bake them you might be able to use butter and brown sugar lightly and use that before you cook them otherwise?

  16. Nadia from

    This is the best technique I have found for spaghetti squash. Thank you so much, I just made one and it was absolutely perfect. I definitely have been over cooking it all these years…

  17. Carolyn Farman

    Can you freeze the spaghetti noodles from this squash?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Carolyn, it’s possible, but I think it might get watery once thawed. You might be able to press out the excess water in a strainer.

  18. Barb

    Thanks, loved the detailed walk through.

  19. Leigh

    Love this recipe! This is my go-to for cooking spaghetti squash.

  20. Lauren Beach

    As always, you make it simple. I loved this (and so did my 10 month old). Thank you for your recipes!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

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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.