Special Diet - Created Date : 23.8.2019
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash
Many online recipes for how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven will tell you to poke holes in the squash and bake it at 350 F… but I think this is a huge mistake!
With spaghetti squash, most people seem to fall into one of two categories:
There are those who LOVE spaghetti squash as a lower-calorie replacement for spaghetti. And there are those who shun it, believing that if you’re going to eat pasta, you should enjoy the real thing.
But I feel that looking at spaghetti squash as a pasta “substitute” in the first place does the vegetable an unfair disservice. The unique taste and texture of spaghetti squash ought to be appreciated in their own right, not compared to carb-filled noodles.
No matter how many websites you find that claim their spaghetti squash recipe “tastes just like the real thing,” spaghetti squash will never be pasta.
Another thing to keep in mind if you think you hate spaghetti squash is that it might just be the way you’ve been cooking it.
So many tutorials for how to cook spaghetti squash will tell you to poke holes in the vegetable, add water to the bottom of the pan, and either cook the whole thing or two halves at 350 F or 375 F.
I think this is a mistake because the extra water and lower temperature mean you end up with watery, steamed spaghetti squash instead of sweet, roasted spaghetti squash, especially if you don’t cut the squash in half to give the moisture inside the squash a place to escape.
And watery strands will, in turn, also water down whatever sauce you choose to put on your spaghetti squash after cooking. If you’ve made spaghetti squash this way and do prefer steamed strands, that’s fine…
But I much prefer it roasted, so if you’ve had spaghetti squash in the past and think you aren’t a fan, it might be worth giving the vegetable one more chance.
The following recipe is my favorite method for how to cook a spaghetti squash that yields non-watery results every time.
It calls for roasting the spaghetti squash at 460 F, which is higher than any other recipe I’ve ever seen and works beautifully to caramelize the natural sugars in the squash and zap away extra moisture, leaving you with perfectly cooked spaghetti squash that is ready to be dressed up however you wish or even eaten by itself.
How To Bake Spaghetti Squash:
Start by carefully cutting the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.
EDIT: Many readers say that cutting it width-wise is even better because you get much longer strands. I haven’t tried that yet, but I am intrigued! (Have any of you tried it?)
Place the squash—flat sides up—in a baking pan. If desired, scoop out the seeds and brush the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. I usually opt to scoop out the seeds after baking.
Place the pan on the middle rack in a non-preheated oven, and turn the oven to 460 F.
Most spaghetti squashes will take around 40-50 minutes to fully roast, depending on the size of the squash; but if you have a small squash, it’s a good idea to check it after 20-30 minutes or so.
Scoop out the strands, and add tomato sauce, cheesy sauce, alfredo sauce, salad dressing, pesto, or any other sauce you’d add to pasta.
You could also top the spaghetti squash with a coconut curry or stew, like you’d do with rice. It is the perfect blank canvas for thousands of recipes.
Spaghetti Squash Recipes:
There are also recipes on my blog for spaghetti squash lo mein, spaghetti squash parmigiana, and numerous others.
Or you can keep things simple by seasoning the baked spaghetti squash with salt and olive oil or buttery spread – it makes the perfect accompaniment to sautéed kale and a toasted English muffin, as seen in the photo below.
I’ve written up the recipe for how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven and am also including instructions for how to cook spaghetti squash in the microwave for those of you who would rather not cook it in the oven.
My preference is for the oven-roasted spaghetti squash, but the microwave version will work if you are short on time and want something quick and easy.
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash
1 large spaghetti squash
optional olive oil, salt, etc.
sauce or seasonings as desired
*Note that larger spaghetti squashes tend to yield sweeter strands. However, small ones will also work if they are all you can find. To Make: Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. (Some readers say that cutting it width-wise gives you longer strands. I haven ‘t tried this yet, but I am intrigued!) Place the squash—flat sides up—in a baking pan. If desired, scoop the seeds out and brush the squash strands with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. You can opt to scoop the seeds out and season after baking if you prefer. Place the pan on the middle rack in a non-preheated oven, then set the oven to 460 F. Large squashes will take around 40-50 minutes to roast fully, but very small ones may take less time, so it’s a good idea to check the squash after 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and scoop out the strands. If you’d like, you can mix the strands with other ingredients and then stuff them back into the hollowed-out spaghetti squash shells. I’ve found that storing the strands in a glass pyrex and covering only with a paper towel is best, because it allows water to escape instead of getting trapped inside the container and weighing down the roasted squash. If you make this recipe, don’t forget to leave a review!
If you’re short on time and don’t mind more of a steamed-spaghetti-squash result, you can cook your spaghetti squash in the microwave. I do highly recommend trying the oven version at some point, though! To microwave: Poke holes in the spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds if desired. Fill a glass baking dish about 1/4 up with water, then place the squash—flat sides down—in the pan and microwave 10-15 minutes or until tender. Remove from the microwave, and scoop out the strands.
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash:
Cut the squash in half, put the steamer insert into the instant pot, add 1 cup water and the squash, and cook on manual for about 8 minutes (more or less, depending on squash size). Thanks to reader Lauren for creating this version and letting us know it works in an instant pot!
I cut the ends off and then cut width wise into 3 sections. I cook at the high temp. I don’t add salt. The spaghetti is longer and has a nicer consistency. It’s not mushy. Try it I won’t go back to cutting lengthwise. I also pop the entire squash in micro wave for 7-10 mins for easier cutting. Enjoy and have fun with the spaghetti squash.
I know I will be unable to cut it in half, so I haven’t bothered. How can it be made easier for someone of age to cook spaghetti squash? I would also like to spiral cut butternut squash, but run into the same problem. They are simply too difficult for me to cut. And yes, I have asked my grocer. They aren’t that accommodating.
Kristy you can pierce the squash all over with a fork and then microwave it whole for about 10 minutes before cutting it in half. It makes it a lot easier! You might want to let it cool a bit before you cut it.
Simply not true. Her question was with regard to herself as an ‘older ‘ person. Also, someone with arthritis or other ailments, are not going to find it easier just because the ends are off and the squash is standing up. I have no solutions but there are some good solutions on this post. I will be cooking a spaghetti squash for the first time and I am looking forward to having it ‘without ‘ a sauce.
How about try to steam the whole squash. It will be soft enough once fully cooked. It took me 25 min to steam when cut in half. Maybe when it’s whole will take 40-50 min. Just make sure your steamer has enough water to cook for an hour, or just check it after first 30 min. And add more water if needed. Good luck!
Alas! I live in a small town in Wales and have never ever seen a spaghetti squash! I have long wanted to try one and i agree anything roasted just tastes miles better. Perhaps some day i will find one and try this!
SMALL space???? They run all over my garden! Love them though, so I suffer with it or get them at my local pumpkin farm or farmers market. My family’s favorite way to eat this is with butter and lots of granulated garlic! You could press a couple of fresh garlic cloves in as well and toss with butter and it is equally delicious. Just kind of takes away from the healthy part of it, but we are dairy farmers and love butter.
Yes! I discovered this trick recently too. Also, if you salt the circles and leave it sit for about 20 minutes it pulls the moisture out. Just wipe down the excess moisture and salt and when you cook it the strands won’t be soggy and will already be seasoned.
This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve never cooked spaghetti squash before and was planning on trying a recipe with it. That recipe called for the face-down, steaming method and included instructions for straining and blotting to remove moisture. Your method made the squash turn out so perfectly! I barely had to blot at all. I’m so glad I didn’t have to spend all that time dealing with mushy squash. I’m such a fan of spaghetti squash now, and I’ll make it this way every time! Thank you!
I tried it yesterday because I am lucky to live close to a Trader Joes and just *had* to try. And IT WORKED!!!!!!! I actually still did like spaghetti squash before, but doing it this way I LOVED it. I’ve never liked spaghetti squash enough to want to eat the strands without sauce before, but this time I was actually doing just that. I almost didn’t even need to put any sauce on it at all. I don’t know how you thought up this trick, and when I first saw the temperature of 460, I admit I was skeptical it wouldn’t burn the squash, but I am so glad I trusted you. THANK YOU KATIE!!!
I absolutely love your website. I usually put the whole squash in the oven with holes poked, so I will have to try this! The only problem is the strands turn out much better if you do not cut the squash the long way, but rather the short way. The strands are much longer and spaghetti like. I don’t think roasting it that way would work. Any ideas? or Anyone tried?
Cutting it width-wise does make for longer, prettier strands, but I find them harder to eat, so if I’m just cooking it for myself I cut it length-wise. I prefer to microwave as I hate wet spaghetti squash, but look forward to bumping the temp up as you suggest to see if that helps. Roast veggies are the best!
So I know cutting it width-wise indeed yields longer straps! Aw dang it, I just microwaved mine for 16 minutes ?? well, I’m going to have to get another one to try this awesome technique! This looks wonderful!
Hi Katie! Great post! To answer your question, yes, if you cut it across the middle and NOT lengthwise, you get much better/longer strands. You should definitely give it a try – when I read to do that a few months ago, it was a game changer for me! Love your blog and your cookbook (which I have, of course). My friend Jessica also loves you!
I’ve always cut my spaghetti squash in half along the equator, so to speak, and I like the long strands that result. I’ve never tried roasting it as I’m usually throwing it in the microwave as I toss the noodles for everyone else in the pot. Next time I will try roasting it, just putting it in the oven when I start the sauce instead. Thanks! I’ve got half a squash in the fridge right now and I cannot wait to try it roasted!
spaghetti squash is awesome!
yes to cutting it horizontally (short
width) vs. long. I do it all the time now and the spaghetti-like strands ARE longer…and more spaghetti-ish.
I spray the cut two bottoms of the squash with TJ XVOO spray and roast @400 degrees, and wait ’til after it’s done to season, depending on the sauce I choose to make.
great recipe katie…do try the alternative cut!
I also cut it the spaghetti squash cross-wise rather than length-wse. Definitely longer strands of squash when done. I cut the raw squash in half and take out the seeds. I place in a shallow microwave safe casserole dish and add about 1/2 inch of water. I microwave on high for about 15 minutes depending upon the size of the squash. Starting at the cut rim of the squash, place a fork and twirl the strands as if you were twirling regular spaghetti. The strands will be super long!
I have no idea if you still need this information but I just all the comments looking for the answer because I had no idea. I read that it’s done when a fork can penetrate the flesh without any resistance.
Huge fan of cooking with spaghetti squash, but I prep it a little differently. I cut it into 1 to 2 inch rings, cook for about 30 – 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven, then let cool for a few minutes. Once I can touch them, simply cut one of the rings and drag a spoon or fork between the skin and fleshy part of the squash – perfectly long strands with minimal effort!
I roasted this and followed directions exactly it was wonderful!! Topped it off with the avocado pasta recipe… amazing!!! I feel like I had a full fat and calorie fest!! I am not a vegan or a vegetarian I am simply learning to eat cleaner. This website is a huge help and inspiration. I am known as a baker and the past few baked goodies have been made with bean bases…and no one knows!!!
This worked wonderfully; it made it taste so good. However the next day all of the moisture takes over again. I tried blotting, squeezing, heating, and blotting again. It is still really wet. Any suggestions?
You are SO right! I’m enjoying a big bowl of roasted (dry-yay!) spaghetti squash with Kale Pesto (from Pinch of Yum) that’s not watered down! I thought I just had to suffer through the soggy version…never occurred to me to cook it another way! Thank you!!
Thank you for saying, “it doesn’t taste like pasta!” Oh man this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I LOVE spaghetti squash, because I think it has a really unique flavor and texture that works in a thousand different ways. It does not, however, taste like pasta! I will definitely try your higher heat method. I do like my spaghetti squash softer though, I don’t like when it has a ton of texture which is why I think the steam method works well for me.
I have tried and love slicing the spaghetti squash horizontally before roasting! It definitely works to give you longer strands of the squash. However, more than once, I have gotten my knife stuck trying to cut all the way through. I would absolutely recommend trying it this way… just be careful with the knife!
Katie, I punch holes in the spaghetti squash and microwave it for about 12 minutes. It doesn’t seem watery at all when cut open, and I save a lot of electricity. Since I always sauce it, flavor isn’t a problem.
WOW!!! I never made spaghetti squash before. I just followed your instructions to bake it at 460 degrees, with a light coating of olive oil, and it came out beautifully. I would recommend this method to anyone who wants something delicious.
I discovered an even easier way to cook spaghetti squash! I have tried many methods, but this one is by far the easiest! Wash and dry a 2.5-3 lb. squash. With a chef’s knife, pierce the big yellow oval in about 8 places, with 1-inch cuts. Place on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for 10 minutes in microwave. Remove from oven and let it sit for 15-20 minutes – just leave it alone while you do other kitchen duties! Put the squash on a large cutting board and slice it lengthwise. Put two paper towels on the board and put squashes cut-side down to drain for 5-10 minutes. This is so easy now that it is cooked and cooled a little. With a paring knife, cut away any seeds and membranes in the middle; discard. With a fork, separate the “strands” of your wonderful spaghetti. Season however you like, or this is the time to serve it with your favorite sauce. If you want to use the shells as serving pieces, you’ll need to remove some squash for another meal. One-quarter of a squash is a serving size. I made a fresh tomato marinara sauce and topped with shaved Parmesan last night – it was a big hit!
Wow, you were so right! I’d sworn off spaghetti squash the last time I made it because it was so bland and limp. I’d used the adding water way and that was no good. This time, I tried the 450 degree baking method for the spaghetti squash you suggest, and it brought out such a deep sweet flavour and texturer. Just great!
After it was baked, I took out the squash threads and mixed them with some Mexican Veggie Ground Round (Yves), some mozzarella cheese, then put that back in the oven and sprinkled Parmesan over top. I just broiled for about 5 minutes, and yum! Thanks so much!
Just roasted a spagetti squash for dinner. I am sold! Tried this squash the old way and it was mushy and wet. Didn’t care for it. But roasted is a whole new thing. My son (a bodybuilder) loved it. We will be making this often. Cut off the stem so the squash is flat on the bottom and can “sit” upright. Cutting it in half through the middle definitely makes longer strands. Topped with marinara sauce, spinach and mushrooms. Roasting also brings out the flavor of the squash. So glad I found your site. Thank you.
I am 61 yrs old and never grew up eating spaghetti squash. I actually only heard about it a few years ago while talking to my doctor about weight. I was afraid to cook this because I thought I might mess it up. So today I purchased a spaghetti squash and got on line to find a recipe. I baked mine per your directions and tried it w/o sauce and over the pasta sauce. It was delightful BOTH ways! I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE IT! One question thought….Would this work baking it with butter instead of the olive oil? Just curious. Thank you so very much!
I always cut mine width wise into rings and season both sides of the rings before roasting. This way gets all of the sweet delicious roasted flavor out of the squash and leaves you with beautiful spaghetti like strands. Once it cools I just peel the skin away and pull apart with my fingers!!
Amazing! I tried a different spaghetti squash recipe that steamed it and was a bit disappointed with the mushy result. I tried to figure out what I did wrong the other recipes I found all called for streaming as well. One even suggested adding some water to the pan to keep it moist – the opposite of my problem! Then I finally found this recipe, and it’s fantastic! I did have to microwave mine for a bit so that I could cut it (I’m either too weak or my knives aren’t up to scratch), but otherwise had no problems. Thank you for sharing this! ??
My wife has prepared spaghetti squash in the past, but it’s been awhile. So I looked up recipes for her for preparing it. She already had her great sauce in the crock pot. We used your simple recipe and it was delicious. We need to get another squash to finish the sauce. One thing though, the squash didn’t carmelize as described in the recipe and this was a squash that was large enough to have to leave in the oven at least 50 mins. But again, it was still delicious. Thanks again. We’ll be back looking for more recipes!
I’m new to spaghetti squash, and really enjoy it. I have minimal use of one arm, however, so found the cutting was near impossible. However, I found a suggestion that has made an enormous difference! If you lightly score through the ‘skin’, then microwave on high for 5-10 minutes, it is MUCH easier to cut through. Hope this helps others as much as it did me! ??
My favorite way to have spaghetti squash is to add: diced onion, lightly sautéed, a bit of fresh grated parmesan cheese and seasoned salt to taste.
I have always microwaved the squash, but I can’t wait to roast it! Thank you
I poke holes in the whole spaghetti and put it in the microwave about 4 minutes, turn it and cook another 3 minutes. It’s fast , doesn’t heat up the house, and the strands are nice and firm. After I take it out of the microwave, I cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and bitter part. Then use a fork & scrape to get the strands out. Easy!
I love this! I have heard about spaghetti squash for years and have never dared veer away from my yummy pasta. I am a type one diabetic and absolutely crave pasta and rice. I tried this recipe with the spaghetti squash tonight and Love It! my new goal is to stop eating pasta rice by replacing it with spaghetti squash. Thank you !
I had never cooked spaghetti squash before and tried your recipe for my first try. It was AWESOME! A huge hit with everyone. I loved it. I did cut “around the equator” and the strands were nice and long. Delicious! This will now be a go-to for me! Thanks!
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