How To Cook Spaghetti Squash (The Ultimate Guide)

The Ultimate Guide for How to Cook Spaghetti Squash: including great spaghetti squash recipes that swap out pasta and extra carbs for baked spaghetti squash!

spaghetti squash recipes plus how to cook spaghetti squash

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

For everyone who has anxiety about the difficulty of preparing baked spaghetti squash, I have news for you. It is super EASY.  There are few things easier than cooking spaghetti squash in your oven. And it’s a skill you want because if you read on, you’ll realize there are some amazing spaghetti squash recipes you’ll want to make!

I can understand the frustration. Most people have anxiety because they don’t know how to cut spaghetti squash. The squash itself can be intimidating. YES, this vegetable can be slightly difficult to split. Okay, maybe more than “slightly.”

How to cut spaghetti squash?

Spaghetti squash is like any other hard squashes you find in the autumn, like butternut squash, acorn squash or pumpkin. Cutting through it is scary/dangerous and requires concentration. Think cutting a watermelon but 3 times harder to pierce.

  1. Peel a band around the middle of the squash. I don’t mean peel deeply, just peel off the outermost layer. The fear of cutting the squash is of the knife slipping while you’re putting a lot of pressure on the vegetable.
  2. Place your squash into a plush kitchen towel to help anchor it while cutting in half.
  3. After you wash the spaghetti squash be sure to dry it really well. Water is your enemy and will raise the risk of the squash slipping and you injuring yourself.
  4. Use a serrated knife. I use my rock ‘n chop (I know, I know its from an infomercial but I LOVE IT).

how to cut spaghetti squash and how to cook spaghetti squash

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the microwave:

Place the cut sides down in a microwave-safe dish. Cover with dripping wet paper towel. Microwave on high for 10-12 minutes or until you can poke through the skin of the squash easily with a fork. Let cool for five minutes before turning over and scraping out the squash.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash whole:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a sharp small knife, pierce the squash 10-15 times all over. Cook for 45 minutes, then flip to the other side and cook and additional 45 minutes. Remove from oven, wait five minutes before slicing open the spaghetti squash and scraping out the strands.

What do I season Spaghetti Squash with?

  • Classic: Salt, pepper, oil.
  • Greek: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, dill, oregano, olive oil.
  • Italian: Salt, pepper, basil, oregano, garlic powder, olive oil.
  • Steakhouse: Salt, coarse black pepper, thyme, butter.
  • Mexican: Salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, oregano, canola oil.
  • Middle Eastern: Salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, oregano, olive oil.

Baked spaghetti squash ready to eat

How long can you keep spaghetti squash:

  • Cooked:  Refrigerate baked spaghetti squash leftovers and use within three-five days.
  • Uncooked: At room temperature, you can keep spaghetti squash for 1-2 months until you see signs of spoilage (look below).
  • Freezing Instructions: You can freeze baked spaghetti squash strands for 4-6 months if you put it in a freezer safe container and remove as much air as possible. I add a bit of oil to the squash to give it a second barrier of protection.

How do you pick a good spaghetti squash:

  • Golden yellow in color.
  • Look for one WITH a stem, that is firm and feels heavy for its size.
  • Avoid ANY cracks in the skin and check for soft spots (this is indicative of a spoiling squash). You want spaghetti squash with a firm, dry rind free of soft spots and cracks.
  • Avoid any that seem moist or don’t have a stem as they may increase the risk of internal spoilage that you may not otherwise feel or see.
  • If the squash is shiny it is likely not ripe yet, so avoid it.

Baked spaghetti squash may seem like a bit of departure from the most popular recipes on the site. BUT I have some big news brewing that I can’t wait to share with you all about some new recipes you’re going to love me for in the new year when all your dietary resolutions are strongest. We’re up to our eyeballs in development now!

spaghetti squash recipes

A lot of spaghetti squash recipes involve swapping out pasta for baked spaghetti squash because it’s healthier for you, and tastes delicious. You feel satisfied without the heavy carbs. Below are some of my favorite “pasta” spaghetti squash recipes!

If you want to try some stuffed baked spaghetti squash recipes my friend Allyson has a few I love! Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash and Caprese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash are both hits with our whole family.

Tools Used in this How to Cook Spaghetti Squash tutorial:
Vegetable Peeler: I’ve been using this peeler for 7 years and it is still as sharp and as easy to peel as EVER. Also, it peels in the thinnest layers so you don’t waste food.
Rock ‘n Chop Knife: My favorite kitchen tool (the knife I love is the second from the top) I’ve had it over a dozen years and it is going STRONG.
Sheet Pan: A classic, inexpensive sheet pan that is high quality and can hold up to high temperatures in the oven.

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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

The Ultimate Guide for How to cut, prep, season and cook Spaghetti Squash in your oven and swap out your extra carbs in all your favorite pasta recipes.
Yield 4 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 2 spaghetti squash washed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Using a peeler, peel a band around the squash (picture a rubber band that goes over the stem) to remove the shiny outermost layer.
  • Using a heavy knife, slice the squash in half.
  • Scoop out the seeds and extra fibers in the center.
  • Season with the salt, pepper and oil and rub it all over the cut side of the squash.
  • Place cut side down onto a baking sheet and cook for 40-45 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, turn over and using an oven mitt to hold it (it will be SUPER hot), scrape out the squash with a fork into spaghetti like strands.

Nutrition

Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 373mg | Potassium: 521mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 579IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
How To Cut, Cook and Season Spaghetti Squash in the Oven and Microwave EASILY!
The easiest foolproof way to cut, prepare, season and cook Spaghetti Squash!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. Sabrina – I know all squashes are different, but do you have a guideline as to how many “pasta” servings from a typical squash – i.e., how many squash do you need to sub for a pound of pasta in a recipe? Thanks!

  2. Spaghetti squash recipe
    You listed ‘cut the squash’ two times in prep instructions… if I do this I will have cut the squash into quarters … not good for cooking squash with cut side down.
    Enjoy your creative helpful ideas & recipes
    God Bless you
    Don

    1. Thanks for catching that!! I’ve edited it to read correctly now. Looks like there was a glitch and duplicated that line.

  3. You don’t offer directions for finishing. It looks like you put it back in the oven? for how long? is there cheese added?

    1. Once you scrape it out into strands, the spaghetti squash is cooked and finished. You can top it anyway you’d like, including popping it back into the oven with cheese sprinkled on top.

  4. Just throw it into your crockpot. Cook on high or low untll you can stick a carving fork into it easily. No cutting, no piercing, no adding anything, just cook it. When it is done it cuts like butter. Doesn’t get any easier than that.

  5. I don’t cook spaghetti squash nearly as often as I should probably because it’s a bit intimidating! Thanks for the tips on how to cook it!

  6. I used to roast spaghetti squash at 400, but then I tried this method from “Chocolate Covered Katie” and I will never go back: place cut squash in a non-preheated oven, then set it to 460 degrees. Roast for 40-50 for large squash, 20-30 for smaller ones. It is delicious and I wanted to share!

      1. I do poke it beforehand, but that is because I microwave it briefly so I can halve it easily. Good point (haha) though, probably should pierce it regardless!

  7. I LOVE spaghetti squash and this is a GREAT tutorial on how to make it perfectly! I have tried the broccoli cheese and caprese versions and they are SO SO good!

  8. Thanks for showing us how to cut the spaghetti squash in half. I have to try it the next time I make it.