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.

281 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Michelle Carr
    02.27.2021

    I have used your recipe to cook spagetti squash before..looked it back up since it has been awhile..works great.

  2. Mady Shany
    02.27.2021

    Thank you, I love your recipes.

  3. Haydee
    02.23.2021

    My favorite way is Spaghettie squash cake, delicios

  4. Kevin
    02.20.2021

    “The time will vary depending on the size of your squash.”

    Can you tell us how it will vary? Do I use a smaller pan? I’ve got a small squash, 4-1/2 inches in diameter. I’m using an 8 x 8 inch pan. Do I reduce the cooking time from 40 mins to 20 minutes? Thanks.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.21.2021

      Hi Kevin, you can use a baking sheet for any sized squash, that won’t matter. Smaller squashes will cook in less time, larger squashes might take more time. It’s done when a fork easily pierces through.

  5. Jesse Strittman
    02.20.2021

    I enjoyed looking and reading your recipe on Spaghetti Squash. I have never had the pleasure of eating this dish but after reading your instructions, it seems pretty simply.
    My question is; do you eat the the squash Spaghetti from within the squash Ott do you plate it? Thank you for your answer!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.21.2021

      Hi Jesse – you can eat it either way! The halves can be used as bowls (I don’t typically eat the skin), or you can scoop it out and put it in a separate plate or bowl.

  6. Lauren R.
    02.16.2021

    Perfect every time!

  7. Michelle Capra
    02.15.2021

    Spaghetti squash can easily be cooked in the microwave. Simply pierce the skin with a sharp knife several times so it can vent. Cook time takes 12_15 minutes.
    Cut length wise and Scoop the seeds out

  8. Kate
    02.08.2021

    Wow. I have been making spaghetti squash for years and have wanted it to be less soggy!!! This is great!!

  9. Brenda Thomas
    02.05.2021

    This tutorial recipe was a GAME CHANGER!!! I prepared my spaghetti squash on Tuesday according to the recipe and it DID NOT disappoint. Even my daughter, who has witnessed my epic tries and fails with spaghetti squash was so proud of me ! Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.05.2021

      Hi Brenda, I’m so glad you had spaghetti squash success!

  10. Kara
    02.04.2021

    Simple and easy and yummy!

  11. Marti
    01.31.2021

    Thanks for the walk through and tips. I’m cooking it for the first time tonight and will top with a garlic-y clam sauce. Can’t wait!

  12. Jackie
    01.31.2021

    Terrific instructions…..I, too, prefer al dente. Came out perfect.

  13. Régine
    01.31.2021

    I never liked spaghetti squash (the spaghetti word), but now I do: the crunchiness, the mild taste that gets magically transformed with a bit of salt and good pepper (I used a fragrant variety from Madagascar). some simple greens tossed into it, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil. I used someone’s comments, and fluffed the halves horizontally. Wow! Thank you for the inspiration.

  14. Jessica
    01.22.2021

    Thanks for sharing, I appreciate how your blog just goes right to the recipe itself and doesn’t have a long drawn out story to scroll through, it makes me way more likely to remember your site!

  15. Marilyn
    01.02.2021

    I’m making spaghetti squash right now. After baking and shredding, I put on pizza toppings and broil to melt and brown cheese.

  16. Tara
    12.14.2020

    You’ll get longer strands, more like spaghetti, if you cut it crosswise.

  17. Dimitrios Koul
    12.12.2020

    Just wanted to say a big thank you for this recipe. I had the exact same problem with it coming out mushy, and your advice was perfect.

  18. Alison Hale
    12.02.2020

    Very nicely said your mind is as beautiful as your photography Keep up the beautiful work! I love it, Thankyou for sharing.

  19. Brenda Osgood
    11.26.2020

    Thank you for just being here..

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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.