Turn hard, yellow spaghetti squash into tasty, fluffy noodles you can use in a variety of recipes or enjoy as a nutritious side! Here’s how to cook spaghetti squash the absolute best way: Roasted Spaghetti Squash in the oven.
Why You’ll Love Cooking Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is underutilized, and I think a big reason is people aren’t sure how to cook it. That changes today!
- Baked spaghetti squash yields strands are tender, yummy, and pair well with just about any flavor.
- Spaghetti squash is budget-friendly, mild (key for serving kids), easy to prep, and versatile.
This post has everything you need to know to cook spaghetti squash, creative ways to use it, and the best spaghetti squash recipes.
Reasons to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven
- Roasting is simple and fuss-free.
- It makes vegetables caramelized and sweet.
- For only a few minutes of cutting, you have an easy way to add nutrition and create a well-rounded meal.
- It’s easy! You don’t need to peel spaghetti squash to roast it.
- You need little beyond oil, salt, and pepper.
To roast a medley of vegetables, and for more tips and seasoning suggestions, check out my ultimate guide to Oven Roasted Vegetables.
5 Star Review
“Perfect recipe, and leads to so many more healthful delicious dishes, I love a shake of fresh Parmesan cheese and a few herbs and I am got to go.”— Patty —
Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash
Along with a versatile range of ways to enjoy it, baked spaghetti squash comes with many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- 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.)
How to Cut Spaghetti Squash
The only hard part about roasting spaghetti squash in the oven is cutting it in half, and fortunately, with these tips, it’s not hard at all!
- The trick to cutting spaghetti squash is to start by trimming off the ends so that you have a flat base.
- Be sure to use a very sharp knife.
- Make sure your cutting board doesn’t slip.
- Prepare: Grab a non-slip cutting board and your best chef’s knife.
- Cut a Flat Base. Place the squash horizontally on the cutting board. Slice off the stem and base, creating two flat ends.
- Stand It Up and Cut Vertically. 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.
- Remove the Seeds. Using a plain old kitchen spoon, remove the seeds and stringy parts.
Not just for pumpkins! Do you have a pumpkin carving kit from Halloween lying around? One reader shared that she keeps one of the large carving knives from her kit in her kitchen year-round for cutting open all types of squashes.
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.
- Use this roasted spaghetti squash recipe any time a dish you are 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 in the oven.
- Oil and Season. Coat the insides of the squash halves with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Place Cut-Side Down. Use a parchment-lined baking sheet for easy clean up.
- Roast. Bake spaghetti squash for 35 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees F, until fork-tender on the inside and the outsides give when pressed.
- Flip. The flesh side is now facing up.
- Fluff. With a fork, gently rake the flesh to create the strands. ENJOY!
How Long to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Yes, you can overcook spaghetti squash even if it doesn’t seem like so!
Cook a 2-pound spaghetti squash 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.
- You know spaghetti squash is done when 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.
- If you are cooking a smaller squash or larger squash than 2 pounds, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time. Use the visual cues mentioned here to know when it is done.
- If you overcook the squash, it will be mushy.
More Spaghetti Squash Recipe Tips
- Don’t Overcook! The most important tip for roasting spaghetti squash in the oven is to not roast it for too long. As soon as the strands are fork-tender, the squash is done. See above for more.
- 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 baked spaghetti squash soggy.
- 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.
- Halves, Not Rings. I also tested roasted spaghetti squash rings, but I prefer the simple cut-in-half from top-to-bottom method for roasting. The squash was quicker and easier to cut, and I preferred the texture of the squash strands that resulted too.
- For other important and helpful cooking tips, The Well Plated Cookbook has heaps of great ideas for roasting vegetables and how to use them.
Need cooked spaghetti squash but don’t want to turn on your oven? This set-it-and-forget-it Crockpot Spaghetti Squash recipe is for you.
The Best Ways to Eat Spaghetti Squash
From excellent side dishes to pasta substitutes, and squash boats to casseroles, roasted spaghetti squash’s light, stringy texture works well with so many recipes.
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 roasted 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, like Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Mushrooms.
- With marinara sauce, garlic, and served with Baked Turkey Meatballs.
- Served underneath Italian favorites like Baked Chicken Parmesan.
Favorite Spaghetti Squash Recipes
Properly cooked spaghetti squash is mild and versatile! Here are some of the best spaghetti squash recipes, all of which start with roasting spaghetti squash:
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats
- Spaghetti Squash Boats with Bacon and Chicken
- Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
- Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
- See all spaghetti squash recipes here
- To Store. Refrigerate roasted spaghetti squash in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm baked 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. (Though honestly, 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.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
- Bake the squash: Preheat the oven to 400°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 1/2 teaspoon olive oil each and then sprinkle the salt 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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Frequently Asked Questions
Watery baked spaghetti squash was typically salted too heavily before baking. Adding too much oil before roasting can also cause spaghetti squash to become soggy while baking. Or your may have cooked your squash for too long.
No. Spaghetti squash does not taste like pasta—it just looks a lot like it. Rather, spaghetti squash has a very mild vegetable taste that easily takes on the flavors of the spices, herbs, or sauce it’s served with. For this reason, it’s often used as a pasta alternative in low-carb recipes.
If you’ve cut, seasoned, and roasted your spaghetti squash to perfection and it tastes a little off, the culprit was likely Mother Nature. During the growing season, if a spaghetti squash has to endure drought, excessive water, extreme temperatures, disease, or a pest infestation, it can impact the texture of your squash or even make it taste bitter.
While you don’t want to overcook your spaghetti squash, you can undercook it too. The strands should be pleasantly al dente and not mushy, but they should not be crunchy or have a raw taste. Once the flesh pierces with a fork, your spaghetti squash is done cooking.
No, it is not necessary to peel spaghetti squash prior to cooking. It is difficult to peel, and the peel helps the insides stay together and cook evenly. Roast the spaghetti squash halves with the peels on, then scrape out their insides and discard the skin. It’s much easier.