How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

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Learn how to cook spaghetti squash using the oven and microwave. The cutting technique is crucial to yielding long strands to mimic noodles. I’ll show you how in this simple tutorial. This type of squash is a great grain-free substitute for low carb and healthy meals.

how to cook spaghetti squash tutorial

What’s really special about the Cucurbita pepo winter squash is when it cooks. The inside yellow flesh reveals long, fibrous strings that look like spaghetti noodles, making it an excellent stand-in for wheat-based pasta. This large oval gourd has a neutral taste, twirlable texture and the slightest crunch which makes it useful in a variety of ways. Although for this tutorial I’m keeping it real simple by roasting with olive oil and salt & pepper.

Not only does it taste pretty darn good, but it’s also a nutritional powerhouse! According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, for a one-cup serving, spaghetti squash delivers just 42 calories, 0.4 grams of fat, 10 grams total carbohydrates, 2.2 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of protein. It also supplies a boost of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

The difference between cuts (halves vs. rings)

two photos showing different ways to cut spaghetti squash

Since the squash is long and oval in shape, it’s a common misconception that in order to yield long strands, cut it lengthwise. Wrong! In fact, it’s best to cut into rings to yield elongated pieces. Cutting the squash from stem to end slashes the stringy flesh in half which yields shorter strands, but it does create a “boat” or bowl to eat straight out of. The type of cut may or may not matter, but if you’re a fan of spaghetti and meatballs, go for the rings.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Halves

fork lifting spaghetti squash strands

two photos showing process of roasting spaghetti squash

  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise for large boats. Alternatively, cut the ends off of the side to make a flat bottom, then cut through the center to create round bowls.
  • Use a large spoon to remove the seeds.
  • Brush the flesh with olive oil or other high smoking point cooking oil, season with salt, or any other desired seasonings.
  • Place the halves on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet cut side down.
  • Roast at 400°F (204°C) until the skin pierces easily with a knife, about 40 minutes to an hour. The skin and edges of the flesh will have a nice browned color.
  • Fluff strands with a form and eat straight from the bowl, or scoop out with a spoon and transfer to another serving dish.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Rings

fork lifting roasted spaghetti squash from the sliced rings on a sheet pan

basting brush applying olive oil to the rings of a cut spaghetti squash

  • Cutting the squash into sliced rings gives the longest strands.
  • Cut the squash into 1-inch wide rings, and then use a spoon to remove the seeds.
  • Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Roast until the flesh is lightly golden brown on the surface and the flesh is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Use a fork to gently pull out the flesh from the rings.

Microwaved Spaghetti Squash Halves

fork lifting strands from a microwaved spaghetti squash

water being poured on top of spaghetti squash in a baking dish

  • Cooking the squash halves in a microwave-safe dish boils and steams the flesh, creating flakey and tender strands.
  • Place one-half face down in the dish and then cover with 1-inch of water up the sides.
  • Microwave in increments, until the skin can be easily pierced with a knife, about 15-17 minutes per half.
  • Use a fork to fluff the flesh and serve with desired seasonings and sauces.

Eat the seeds!

Just like with roasted pumpkin seeds, the ones in the spaghetti squash are also edible. Don’t toss them out, instead, clean, dry, and toss in some oil and seasoning for a crunchy snack.

Recipes to substitute in spaghetti squash

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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (3 Ways)

Learn how to cook spaghetti squash using the oven and microwave. The ring cutting method is key to yielding long strands to mimic noodles.
Pin Print Review
4.63 from 16 votes
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • olive oil, as needed for brushing
  • kosher salt, as needed for seasoning

Instructions 

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Halves

  • Place the oven rack in the center position, preheat to 400°F (204°C).
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  • Cut squash lengthwise from end to stem, this will give short spaghetti squash strands.
  • Alternatively, cut squash down the middle to create deep bowls for longer spaghetti squash strands.
  • Use a spoon to remove the seeds.
  • Brush olive oil on the flesh and sprinkle with salt.
  • Place cut side down on the baking sheet, bake until tender and the skin can be easily pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on size.
  • Cool until easy to handle and then use a fork to create strands or spoon to scoop out the flesh.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Rings

  • Place the oven rack in the center position, preheat to 400°F (204°C).
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  • Cut spaghetti squash into 1-inch wide rings and remove the seeds. 
  • Brush with olive oil and sprinkle salt on both sides.
  • Roast until tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Cool slightly and then use a fork to remove and separate the strands.

Microwaved Spaghetti Squash Halves

  • Cut squash lengthwise from end to stem, this will give short spaghetti squash strands. Use a spoon to remove the seeds.
  • Cooking one at a time, place one of the halfves cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish.
  • Add enough water to reach 1-inch up the sides of the squash.
  • Microwave for 5 minutes.
  • Continue to cook in 2-minute increments, until the skin can be easily pierced with a knife and squash is tender, about 10 to 12 minutes depending on size.
  • Flip squash over and transfer to a plate.
  • Once cooled, use a fork to separate and remove the spaghetti squash strands.

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Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (3 Ways)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 74 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Sodium 41mg2%
Potassium 260mg7%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 290IU6%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 56mg6%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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7 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Andrew Olson says

    “Bachelor Style” – use a serrated knife to cut 1/2″ off each end — just saw it. Much easier now to cut it lengthwise.

    DON’T scoop out the seeds … yet. That is a big pain when the squash is raw.

    Put both halves cut-side down in a baking pan with about 1/2″ to 3/4″ water.

    Roast for 40-45 minutes.

    Let cool enough to handle. NOW you can scrape out the seeds easily!

    Then fork out the spaghetti strands and you’re ready to go!

  2. Iselchyresse says

    OK- I don’t want to embarrass you and hope that you don’t take my compliment that way, but I LOVE the authentic look of your baking sheets, how they look kinda old, and well used… rustic, maybe. SO cool. SO REAL!

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