I’m a sucker for a good magic trick. Turning a hard, yellow gourd into tasty, fluffy noodles might be my favorite display of culinary sorcery yet. You too can make delicious Roasted Spaghetti Squash with just a wave of your kitchen knife (no spiralizers needed!).
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In our house, we rely on roasted fresh vegetables about as much as our WIFI. They’re such an easy way to add nutrition to complete a well-rounded meal with only a few minutes of chopping.
Roasted spaghetti squash in particular is such an underutilized vegetable that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
From excellent side dishes to pasta substitutes to squash boats and casseroles (all of which you can find ideas about below!), spaghetti squash’s light, stringy texture works well with so many recipes.
Today, I’ll show you the absolute best way to cook spaghetti squash in the oven. It’s simple and fuss-free.
You can use this roasted spaghetti squash recipe any time the recipe you’re making calls for “baked” spaghetti squash.
Whether you are seeking perfect al dente squash noodles, a fast side dish, or need it cooked for one of your favorite baked spaghetti squash recipes, after testing multiple methods, I can confidently report that this is the best way to roast spaghetti squash.
Fortunately, of all the methods I tested, my favorite—the one that yielded tender, caramelized, and NOT soggy spaghetti squash—turned out to be the easiest method too. (Now THAT is magic!)
Need cooked spaghetti squash but don’t want to turn on your oven? This set-it-and-forget-it Crockpot Spaghetti Squash recipe is destined for you.
Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash
Along with a versatile range of ways to enjoy it, spaghetti squash comes with tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- As a nutrient-dense food, it’s packed with vitamins C and B6, potassium, and manganese.
- It’s high in fiber, which helps with digestive health.
- Spaghetti squash also is loaded with antioxidants like beta carotene, which can help with heart disease prevention. You can learn more about the health benefits here.
Beyond general health benefits, spaghetti squash has many great features that make it an important part of certain specific diets. Being super low in calories, it’s helpful for those whose diet is designed towards maintaining a healthy weight.
Spaghetti squash is also a popular low-carb alternative to pasta noodles, and it’s keto friendly.
Since spaghetti squash is ultra mild, it’s also easy to serve to kids. In fact, when I was younger, spaghetti squash (with brown sugar please) was one of the very few vegetables I ate willingly.
Even if you’re not specifically following a gluten free diet, with less dense carbohydrates like spaghetti squash, the other flavors in your recipes can shine.
The benefits are almost endless!
How to Cut Spaghetti Squash
The only hard part about roasting spaghetti squash is cutting it in half, and fortunately with these tips, it’s not hard at all!
- Grab a non-stick cutting board and your best chef’s knife.
- Place the squash horizontally on the cutting board. Slice off the stem and base, creating two flat ends.
- Using one of the flat ends, stand the squash upright and slice it in half from top to bottom. If your halves are not perfectly even, don’t stress. Your squash will still turn out.
- Using a plain old kitchen spoon, remove the seeds and stringy parts.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven
Once your squash is cut in half, the hard part is over. All you need from here is salt, pepper, olive oil, and about 40 minutes in the oven.
- Coat the insides of the squash halves with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Lay the halves cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees F, until fork-tender on the inside and the outsides give when pressed.
- Flip the halves over.
- With a fork, fluff the squash flesh to create the strands. Enjoy as desired!
- Easy On the Oil and Salt. Make sure you add salt and oil to your spaghetti squash before roasting, but don’t overdo it. Too much salt may draw out more moisture than you want, and excess olive oil can make it soggy.
- Don’t Overcook It! As soon as the strands are fork-tender, the squash is done. (See more below.)
- Don’t Add Water. While some recipes may call for a little water in the pan with the squash, I found that it roasts perfectly without it.
- Skip the Holes. You don’t need to poke holes in the outsides of your spaghetti squash before roasting.
- For other important and helpful cooking tips, The Well Plated Cookbook has heaps of great ideas for roasting vegetables and how to use them. Grab your copy here today!
Don’t Overcook Your Squash!
The most important tip I have for roasting spaghetti squash in the oven is to not roast it for too long. Yes, you can overcook spaghetti squash even if it doesn’t seem like so!
- For a 2-pound spaghetti squash (which is average size), I used to think I needed 50 to 60 minutes for the squash to be tender. I wanted my fork to fall through it with no effort.
- BUT that just resulted in the squash noodles being too soggy and mushy, which did not make for an appealing texture, especially when using the squash as a stand-in for noodles.
Now, I’ve drastically cut down my roasting time; that same 2-pound spaghetti squash I now cook for 35 to 40 minutes only.
- You want the squash strands to be al dente enough to hold their texture but still tender enough to be tasty.
- As soon as the flesh of the squash is fork-tender inside, the outsides are turning golden, and when you press on the outside of the squash, it gives a little, your squash is done.
- If your squash is larger than 2 pounds, you’ll need to add some cooking time. Use the visual cues mentioned here to know when it is done.
The Best Ways to Eat Spaghetti Squash
Once properly roasted, there’s truly no wrong way to serve a spaghetti squash. Here are some of my personal favorite ways to enjoy it:
- Drizzled with some melted butter and a handful of fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, or parsley would be fantastic, but you could use any herbs you have in your refrigerator).
- Sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon, which made spaghetti squash my favorite vegetable as a kid.
- A classic dusting with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
- With shredded Parmesan tossed on top for a stellar side dish, similar to Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Parmesan.
- In place of pasta, with marinara sauce, garlic, and served with Baked Turkey Meatballs.
- Served underneath Baked Chicken Parmesan.
- With other vegetables, like this complete meal of Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Mushrooms.
- As filling for one of my favorite ways (and names!) to eat it: spaghetti squash boats (see below).
- As a filling for a casserole (also see below for ideas).
- To Store. Refrigerate roasted spaghetti squash in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm spaghetti squash in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat with a little olive oil or your sauce of choice.
- To Freeze. While you can freeze spaghetti squash, it may become very soggy once thawed. If you want to freeze leftovers, freeze them in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. (Honestly though, I’d avoid freezing if you can.)
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Sheet. Perfect for roasting any and all veggies.
- Chef’s Knife. A high-quality, sturdy knife is necessary when cutting spaghetti squash.
- Non-Slip Cutting Board. Easy to clean and great for kitchen safety.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash
- 1 medium spaghetti squash about 2 pounds
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Bake the squash: Place a rack in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Grab a large, sturdy chef's knife and a cutting board that doesn't slip.
- Lay the squash down horizontally on the cutting board. Using a very sharp, sturdy chef's knife, trim off the stem and base end of the spaghetti squash so that you have a flat side on each end.
- Stand the spaghetti squash upright on the larger of the two ends, and carefully cut it in half lengthwise from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds and stringy insides. You can discard the seeds or save them to roast later.
- Drizzle the cut sides of the squash with ½ teaspoon olive oil each and then sprinkle the salt and and pepper over the halves. Rub lightly to evenly coat the insides of the squash.
- Place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Do not press any holes in the squash.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the squash is just fork-tender on the inside, lightly browned on the outside, and the skin gives a little when pressed on the outside (be careful, it is hot!). If your squash is very large, it may be as long as 50 minutes or so, but don’t let the squash overcook or your strands will be soggy.
- Flip the squash over.
- With a fork, fluff to separate the strands. Enjoy topped with butter and herbs, a sprinkle of brown sugar, or in any recipe calling for baked spaghetti squash (see blog post above for suggestions).
- TO STORE: Refrigerate roasted spaghetti squash in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm spaghetti squash in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat with a little olive oil or your sauce of choice.
- TO FREEZE: While you can freeze spaghetti squash, it may become very soggy once thawed. If you want to freeze leftovers, freeze them in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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