How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven or Microwave
Discover how to cook spaghetti squash perfectly every time using an oven or, if you are short on time, a microwave. See How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the recipe below or watch our quick video showing how we do it.
It’s easy to cook spaghetti squash. Read on to see our tips for doing it in your kitchen.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: This is one of our favortie ways to enjoy spaghetti squash! Our Baked Spaghetti Squash Recipe with butter cooked chicken, parmesan, and fresh lemon is a total winner.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Thanks to its hard shell, spaghetti squash can be tricky when it comes to cutting it. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got the trick to cutting through it safely.
You need a heavy chef’s knife, a towel to keep the squash steady as you cut (as well as to protect your hand), and some muscle power.
Cut the squash from stem to end, but don’t try to cut through the stem (it’s too tough). Then, when you’ve cut through the squash, just pull each half apart. The force will pull one half away from the stem. (Watch us do this in the video — it’s simple.)
If the squash is too hard to cut through, here’s a trick we picked up that helps soften the shell, which makes cutting the squash a little easier. Pierce the squash in a few places with and score it where you eventually want to cut. Pop it into the microwave for three to four minutes.
The little bit of time in the microwave helps to soften the outer shell, making it a little easier to cut. We don’t recommend microwaving a whole squash longer than that, though — steam will build up inside the squash and it could lead to a pretty dangerous situation. A few minutes should do it.
When you’ve cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds. If you’re a fan of roasted pumpkin seeds, you can use these to make something very similar. If you take a look in the notes section of the recipe, we’ve shared tips for how to roast them.
By the way, if you watch the video above, we show you another way to cut spaghetti squash. Instead of making boats, we cut it in half crosswise. You can see us do it around the 1:45 minute mark.
The Best Way to Cook Spaghetti Squash: Roast it in the Oven
You can use the oven or a microwave to cook spaghetti squash, but if we have the time, roasting in the oven is our favorite option.
To cook spaghetti squash in the oven, rub the inside of the squash halves with olive oil or butter, and then season with salt and pepper. You can also sprinkle on your favorite spice blend for even more flavor.
Place the squash halves cut-side-down onto a rimmed baking sheet, and then roast until soft. By baking the spaghetti squash halves cut-side-down, the edges caramelize and brown, which adds flavor. It also lets excess moisture fall away from the squash and onto the baking sheet. If you were to bake the squash halves cut-side-up, the liquid would pool in the middle of the squash halves.
In our recipe, we call for a 375 degree F oven, but adding or reducing by 25 degrees does not make much of a difference. So if you have something else in the oven at the same time, there’s no need to worry about changing the oven temperature. At 375 degrees, you will need to bake the squash for 40 to 50 minutes. Keep in mind that the bake time will vary depending on how small or large your squash is.
Here’s one more tip for roasting squash. If you have some, sneak a few sprigs of fresh herbs under each squash half before you bake them — rosemary, thyme, sage, and mint are all excellent.
The Quickest Way to Cook Spaghetti Squash: Microwave it
If you are looking to cook spaghetti squash quickly, the microwave is your answer. Microwaved squash can be used in place of roasted squash in most recipes. Whether we microwave or not is dependent on the time we are willing to wait. Baked squash is more flavorful in the end. The extra bake time also gets rid of a lot of excess moisture that the microwave doesn’t. That being said, if you are short on time, the microwave is your friend.
To cook spaghetti squash in the microwave, cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Fill the dish with water so that it is about 1-inch deep.
Microwave for 5 minutes, check the squash and continue to microwave for 2 to 5 minutes until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife. Allow the squash to cool, and then scoop out the flesh with a fork.
And there you have it, the best ways to cook spaghetti squash. You can scrape out the spaghetti squash strands and mix with your preferred ingredients, as we did for this chicken and spaghetti squash dish, or leave the squash in the shell and serve the halves as spaghetti squash boats topped with your favorite things.
You May Also Like These Squash Recipes
- Simple roasted butternut squash recipe with cinnamon, brown sugar and a little cayenne.
- Butternut squash is roasted on top of garlic cloves and fresh thyme then blended with stock into a silky smooth butternut squash soup.
- How to bake acorn squash in the oven with walnuts and cranberries.
- How to make our 20-minute zucchini pasta recipe with garlic, tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven or Microwave
Roasting is the best way to cook spaghetti squash, but if you are short on time, use the microwave. This recipe will make four side portions or will generously serve two as a full meal.
You Will Need
1 medium spaghetti squash, about 2 1/2 pounds
1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Fresh herbs, optional
- Prepare Squash
- Oven-Baked Spaghetti Squash
- Microwaved Spaghetti Squash
Using a heavy chef’s knife cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise — see the notes section or our video for how to do this safely. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Lightly drizzle the cut side of each squash half with olive oil, and then season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet (or large baking dish) with parchment paper. Place the squash cut-side-down onto the baking sheet and bake 40 to 50 minutes until it is soft and easily pierced with a knife. (If you have some, sneak a few sprigs of fresh herbs underneath in the cavity of the squash — rosemary, thyme, sage, and mint are excellent.)
When the squash is done, flip the halves so that the cut-side is facing up and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Run a fork through the flesh to separate the “spaghettilike” strands/noodles.
Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Fill the dish with water so that it is about 1-inch deep.
Microwave for 5 minutes, check the squash and continue to microwave for 2 to 5 minutes until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife. When the squash is done, flip the halves so that the cut-side is facing up and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Run a fork through the flesh to separate the “spaghettilike” strands/noodles.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- To safely cut spaghetti squash, you need a heavy chef’s knife, a towel to keep it steady as you cut as well as to protect your hand, and some muscle power. Cut the squash from stem to end, but don’t try to cut through the stem (it’s too hard). When you’ve cut through the squash, pull each half apart.
- How to Roast Spaghetti Squash Seeds: Remove pulp and fibrous threads from seeds. Simmer seeds in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Toss seeds with olive oil and lightly season with salt. Roast in a 325 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The seeds will not change much in color but will crunch when done.
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values. We omitted salt from the calculations since you will need to add to your tastes. We assumed four side portions.