How Cook Spaghetti Squash

Here’s everything you need to know about safely cutting and cooking Spaghetti Squash, a versatile vegetable that makes a great side dish or main dish.

A half of a yellow squash, shredded.

With its fantastic, tender-but-springy texture, spaghetti squash makes a wonderful vegetable side dish or low-carb substitute for pasta. And come autumn, this hardy winter squash is easy to find at the market, so stock up. It’s freezer-friendly, lasts practically forever, and easy to cook any day of the week.

Recipe ingredients:

  • Spaghetti squash: After cooking, the pale yellow flesh pulls apart like fine spaghetti. It’s mild, tender yet delicately crunchy, and has a pleasant taste that doesn’t interfere with other flavors. It’s much less sweet than butternut squash or acorn squash.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup. With the tip of a sharp knife or an icepick, poke some slits in a neat line around the squash, exactly where you plan on slicing it. Don’t skip this step because the squash may explode in the microwave.
    A whole yellow squash and a silver knife.
  2. Next, microwave the whole vegetable, one squash at a time, for 5 to 6 minutes. The squash will be very hot, so take it out with a dry dishtowel or let it cool before removing it. After microwaving, the squash will be softened and easier to cut in half. Cut off the stem and slice the squash in half along the slits you made with the knife. Scoop out the seeds and rub some olive oil on the cut sides.
    Two squash halves hollowed out on a wooden cutting board.
  3. Place squash halves cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Roast until the inside of each squash half is tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 40 to 60 minutes (exact baking time will depend on your specific squash).
    Two halves of a yellow squash on a baking sheet.
  4. Cool slightly and use a fork to fluff and remove the strands from the squash halves.
    Spaghetti squash on a sliver baking sheet.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Buying: Look for hard-skinned squash without any soft spots or damage. The squash should feel heavy (a sign of freshness). Store whole uncooked squash in a cool, dry place; it will usually last up to 2 months.
  • Save the seeds: Just like pumpkin seeds, they’re completely edible! Give them a rinse under water, salt, and roast for a healthy snack.
  • Finishing in the microwave: If you prefer to finish cooking your squash in the microwave, place it cut-side down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1/2-inch of water to the dish. Microwave uncovered on HIGH for 8 to 15 minutes.
  • Freezing: Cool the cooked squash completely. Place the strands in a colander set over a bowl and let drain overnight in the refrigerator. (This step removes extra moisture from the squash so it reheats without losing its texture.) Then store it in freezer safe containers or zipper-top bags. Frozen spaghetti squash lasts up to 8 months. Thaw out the squash in the refrigerator.

Spaghetti squash with homemade meat sauce on white plates.

More vegetable recipes:

A half of a yellow squash, shredded.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Here's everything you need to know about safely cutting and cooking Spaghetti Squash, a versatile vegetable that makes a great side dish or main dish.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 106kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

For the spaghetti squash:

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  • To make the spaghetti squash easier to cut, using a sharp knife, poke several slits in a line around the squash where you plan to cut it.
  • Microwave the squash for 5 to 6 minutes (microwave each squash individually). Cool slightly before handling (or use a kitchen towel to remove from the microwave). The slightly softened squash will be much easier to cut in half.
  • On a cutting board, slice off the stem on each end and then slice the squash in half along the line of slits you made. Remove the seeds. Rub each squash half with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place squash halves cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Roast until the inside of each squash half is tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 40 to 60 minutes (exact baking time will depend on your specific squash). Cool slightly and use a fork to fluff and remove the strands from the squash halves.

Notes

  1. Spaghetti squash: After cooking, the pale yellow flesh pulls apart like fine spaghetti. It’s mild, tender yet delicately crunchy, and has a pleasant taste that doesn’t interfere with other flavors. It’s much less sweet than butternut squash or acorn squash.
  2. Buying: Look for hard-skinned squash without any soft spots or damage. The squash should feel heavy (a sign of freshness). Store whole uncooked squash in a cool, dry place; it will usually last up to 2 months.
  3. Save the seeds: Just like pumpkin seeds, they're completely edible! Give them a rinse under water, salt, and roast for a healthy snack.
  4. Finishing in the microwave: If you prefer to finish cooking your squash in the microwave, place it cut-side down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1/2-inch of water to the dish. Microwave uncovered on HIGH for 8 to 15 minutes.
  5. Freezing: Cool the cooked squash completely. Place the strands in a colander set over a bowl and let drain overnight in the refrigerator. (This step removes extra moisture from the squash so it reheats without losing its texture.) Then store it in freezer safe containers or zipper-top bags. Frozen spaghetti squash lasts up to 8 months. Thaw out the squash in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 41mg | Potassium: 261mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 290IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Rebecca

    So easy to follow. Thank you! 5 stars

  2. Mary

    Do you have a trick for easily cleaning out the seeds? And do you do it before baking of after?

    1. Meggan

      Hi Mary! I DID just think of a trick, but I’m not sure if you will have the right tool, and I haven’t actually tested it. But I am thinking that the next time I make spaghetti squash I will go in my Halloween decoration storage and get out my pumpkin seed scooper that I use with my kids while carving pumpkins. You’ll want to get the seeds out before baking. If you microwave first it shouldn’t be too tough!

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