How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash, the easy way! Enjoy this delicious, versatile ingredient as an alternative to pasta or use it in your favorite spaghetti squash recipes.
Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite ingredients for making easy, delicious meals, but it has been only recently that I’ve fallen in love with this winter squash. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always chosen butternut squash, acorn squash, or even delicata squash when at the farmer’s market or grocery store.
Over the past year, spaghetti squash has made its way onto my grocery list more and more, and we can’t get enough of it! It has a very slightly nutty, sweet flavor, which is enhanced by baking it in the oven. The mild flavor of this winter squash makes it a great canvas for adding your favorite toppings. We love to make a simple meal out of it by serving spaghetti squash with Marinara Sauce and Parmesan cheese, but there are so many ways you can enjoy this versatile squash. I’ve shared a few more ideas below.
After cooking, spaghetti squash magically separates into strands that are similar to spaghetti pasta, hence its name. It’s nutritious, high in fiber and, most importantly, delicious! Once you see how easy it is to cook spaghetti squash, you might find yourself like me, adding it to your meal plan week after week.
How to Cut a Spaghetti Squash
Before we can cook that spaghetti squash, we need to safely cut it in half! Cutting a spaghetti squash can seem intimidating, but with a few tips it will feel much easier.
First you need to decide if you want to cut the squash lengthwise or crosswise. Cutting it lengthwise will give you shorter strands of squash, which is perfect if you are making a Spaghetti Squash Casserole. Cutting it crosswise will give you longer strands, perfect for enjoying like spaghetti.
- To Cut Lengthwise: First, you can cut a small amount off of the base and stem ends to make it easier to cut the squash in half. Then stand the squash up on the flat base end and carefully cut it in half from the stem to the base end.
- To Cut Crosswise: Cutting spaghetti squash in half crosswise is much easier. Lay the squash on its side, and cut it in half down the center.
However you plan to cut it, make sure you use a sharp chef’s knife and a stable cutting board. Be sure to always keep your hands out of the knife’s way for safety.
If you want to cook a spaghetti squash whole, I recommend my Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash recipe.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Cooking spaghetti squash is really simple! To start, preheat your oven to 400° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up.
Cut the squash in half, either lengthwise or crosswise (see my tips above). Scoop out the seeds. You can discard the spaghetti squash seeds or save them for roasting like pumpkin seeds.
Drizzle some olive oil over the cut sides of the squash halves and use your hands to rub the oil over the flesh of the squash. Sprinkle on a little bit of salt and pepper.
Then flip the squash halves over so that they are cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Baking with the cut sides down keeps liquid from pooling inside the squash as it bakes.
How Long to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash takes only 30-40 minutes to cook in the oven at 400° F. By not overcooking the squash, the strands will be al dente, not mushy. Al dente means that the squash strands will have a little bite to them. They won’t be crunchy, but will have the perfect texture.
You’ll know the squash is done when it is just tender when pierced with a fork. Let the roasted spaghetti squash cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then use a fork to separate the strands of squash before serving or using in your favorite spaghetti squash recipes.
To serve, you can use a fork to scoop out the strands into another serving dish, or you can use a squash half as a bowl, add your toppings, and eat it right out of the skin.
- Top it with marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese. For extra protein, try serving with my meatball recipe.
- Serve it as a side dish, with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.
- Stuff it with taco fixings. Try salsa, shredded cheese, taco meat and avocado or guacamole.
- Add your favorite pizza toppings to cooked squash halves, bake for 10 minutes, and enjoy. Try marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, bell peppers and onions.
- Use it in recipes that call for cooked spaghetti squash. Find a few ideas below.
Storage & Reheating
Store cooked spaghetti squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, it is easiest to use the microwave. You can also reheat the strands in a pot on the stove, with a small amount of water or marinara sauce added for moisture.
More Spaghetti Squash Recipes
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash
- Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
- Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half, either crosswise for longer strands of squash or lengthwise for shorter strands. To make it easier to cut the squash in half lengthwise, you can cut a small amount off of the base and stem ends of the spaghetti squash, then stand the squash up on the flat base end and carefully use a sharp knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise (from the stem end to the base). Be sure to keep your hand that is not holding the knife above the knife for safety.
- Scoop out the seeds (discard or set aside for roasting).
- Drizzle olive oil over the cut side of the squash and rub over the squash to distribute. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves cut side down on the prepared baking sheet.
- Roast squash in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until just tender when pierced with a fork. Be careful to not overcook the squash, as it is better to have the strands al dente than mushy.
- Let the squash cool for a few minutes and then use a fork to separate the strands of squash. Serve with marinara sauce or as desired, or use in your favorite spaghetti squash recipes.
- Cooked spaghetti squash may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.