Perfect Spaghetti Squash

Learn how to cook spaghetti squash perfectly with our helpful tips! We’ll guide you through cutting, cooking, and serving spaghetti squash using different methods such as the oven, slow cooker, pressure cooker (Instant Pot), or microwave. Its versatility makes cooking spaghetti squash easy. Let me show you how.

Watch the Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash Recipe Video

Related: Try one of our favorite spaghetti squash recipes, parmesan spaghetti squash and chicken.

How to Cut Spaghetti Squash

Don’t let spaghetti squash’s hard shell scare you! We’ve got the trick for how to cut spaghetti squash safely. I’ve shared how to cut the squash in half below, and you can watch me do it in the video.

To cut spaghetti squash you’ll need a heavy chef’s knife, a towel to keep the squash steady as you cut (as well as to protect your hand), and a little bit of muscle power. You’ve got this!

  1. Use the towel to steady the squash. I like putting half of it underneath the squash so it can’t roll around on me. Then, the other half sits underneath my hand so I can hold the squash firmly.
  2. Cut the squash from stem to end. Pierce the knife into the middle of the spaghetti squash and cut it from stem to end, but don’t try to cut through the stem (it’s way too tough).
  3. Pull the halves apart. Wiggle the knife out of the squash, then pull each half apart. The force of pulling will release one half away from the stem. (Watch us do this in the video — it’s simple.)
How to Safely Cut Spaghetti Squash

If the squash is too hard to cut through, here’s a trick to soften the shell: Pierce the squash in a few places with a knife or fork and score it where you eventually want to cut. Pop it into the microwave for three to four minutes.

This time in the microwave helps to soften the outer shell, making it easier to cut. We don’t recommend microwaving a whole squash longer than that, though — steam will build up inside the squash, which could lead to a 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 spaghetti squash seeds to make something similar. If you look in the notes section of the recipe, we’ve shared tips for roasting them.

Scooping Out the Spaghetti Squash Seeds

Note: There is another way to cut spaghetti squash. If you watch the video above, we show you a second way to cut the squash. Instead of making squash boats, we cut them in half crosswise. You can see us do it around the 1:45 mark.

Four Ways To Cook Spaghetti Squash

We’ve put together the ultimate guide for cooking spaghetti squash. We show you four ways: using a microwave, a slow cooker, a pressure cooker (Instant Pot), or roasting it in the oven. While all these methods are effective, my favorite is roasting because it gives the edges a deliciously caramelized flavor.

Cooking Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave (the Quickest Method)

If you’re in a hurry to cook spaghetti squash, the microwave is a great option. However, keep in mind that it may have more moisture and be less flavorful than roasted squash. Despite this, using the microwave is a convenient way to prepare spaghetti squash when you’re short on time. Here’s how we do it:

  1. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. 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.
  3. Microwave for 5 minutes, check the squash and continue to microwave for 2 to 5 minutes until the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Allow the squash to cool, and then scoop out the flesh with a fork.

How to Bake Spaghetti Squash in the Oven

Baking spaghetti squash in the oven is easy and develops the most flavor. It’s my favorite method. Here’s how we do it:

  1. Rub the inside of the squash halves with olive oil (or use melted butter). I also like to season with salt and pepper. This is also a good time to sprinkle on your favorite spice blend. I also love to sneak a few sprigs of fresh herbs under each squash half before you bake them — rosemary, thyme, sage, and mint are all excellent. You can see us do this in the video above!
  2. Place the squash halves cut-side-down onto a rimmed baking sheet. The edges caramelize and brown by baking the squash halves cut-side-down, adding 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 halves.
  3. Bake in a 375° Fahrenheit oven until fork tender but still a little firm. I like the strands to still have a bit of bite to them, so we try not to over roast the squash, which produces a mushy result.
Roasted spaghetti squash

What Is Best Oven Temperature for Baking Spaghetti Squash? For best results, preheat your oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° C). If you have other items baking at the same time, no need to change the temperature. Just monitor the squash as it roasts and take it out when it’s soft but still slightly firm. The baking time will vary based on the size of the squash, but it should take around 40 to 50 minutes. By the way, if you love roasted squash, try our garlic roasted delicata squash with parmesan.

Using a Slow Cooker or Crockpot

To cook spaghetti squash in a slow cooker, rinse the squash with water and leave it whole. There is no need to cut the squash in half for this method. Then, use a fork or small, sharp knife to prick the squash several times to allow steam to escape while it cooks. Place the lid onto the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for three or more hours, depending on how large the squash is. Check for doneness and add more time as needed. I’d expect a 3 to 4 pound squash to take 3 to 4 hours. Or cook on LOW for five or more hours, depending on size. 

Using a Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot

To cook spaghetti squash in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place a steamer basket or trivet into the pressure cooker (some models come with one). Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the pressure cooker, and then set the cut squash halves on top of the trivet. Seal the lid and cook on High Pressure for 7 minutes (for a 3-pound squash).

The pressure cooker will take some time to get up to pressure, so the cooking time will not start for 5 to 10 minutes. When the cooking time ends, release the pressure by pressing the quick-release button. When the floating valve at the top of the pressure cooker drops, it is safe to open the lid. For safety, we recommend that you read the manual that came with your pressure cooker before following our recipe.

Serving Ideas

As I mentioned above, we love spaghetti squash around here. It’s a low-carb, low calorie veggie that can be added to so many delicious dishes. My favorite spaghetti squash recipe is this chicken with spaghetti squash and parmesan (pictured below). In it, we combine the squash strands with chicken, fresh lemon, and parmesan. It’s incredible!

Parmesan Lemon Baked Spaghetti Squash with Chicken

Here Are Some More Suggestions

Perfectly cooked spaghetti squash

Perfect Spaghetti Squash

  • PREP
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Learn how to cook spaghetti squash in four different ways: oven, microwave, slow cooker, and pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot). If you want to maximize flavor, roasting the squash is the best option. However, if you’re in a rush, the microwave is a quick and easy alternative.

Makes 4 servings as a side

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 medium spaghetti squash, about 2 ½ to 3 pounds

1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Fresh herbs, optional, rosemary, thyme, sage, and mint are excellent

Directions

  • Prepare Squash
  • 1Using 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.

    2Scoop 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.

  • Oven-Baked Spaghetti Squash
  • 1Heat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet (or large baking dish) with parchment paper.

    2Place 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.)

    3When 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 “spaghetti-like” strands/noodles.

  • Microwaved Spaghetti Squash
  • 1Place 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.

    2Microwave 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.

    3When 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 “spaghetti-like” strands/noodles.

  • Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash
  • 1For this method, do not cut the squash in half and instead leave it whole. With a small, sharp knife, poke several holes into the outside of the squash. These will allow steam to escape. Set the whole squash into a slow cooker. Add the lid and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. Depending on the size of the squash, you may need more cooking time.

    2When the squash is done, allow to cool for about 5 minutes, and then cut in half. Run a fork through the flesh to separate the “spaghetti-like” strands/noodles.

  • Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Spaghetti Squash
  • 1Place a steamer basket or trivet into the pressure cooker and add 1/2 cup water. Place the squash halves down on top of the trivet. Secure the lid. Select the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” function and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Note that the timer will not start until there is enough pressure inside the pot so the timer may not start for a few minutes.

    2When the cook time is up, manually release the pressure by using the quick release button (be careful to keep your hands and face away from the venting steam). When the floating valve at the top of the pressure cooker drops, it is safe to open the lid. (We recommend that you read the manual that came with your pressure cooker since not all models are exactly the same).

    3Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, and then run a fork through the flesh to separate the “spaghetti-like” 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 database to calculate approximate values. We omitted salt from the calculations since you will need to add to your tastes. We assumed four side portions.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 of the squash / Calories 70 / Protein 1 g / Carbohydrate 9 g / Dietary Fiber 2 g / Total Sugars 4 g / Total Fat 4 g / Saturated Fat 1 g / Cholesterol 0 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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33 comments… Leave a Review
  • Janet B September 11, 2021, 5:44 pm

    I baked the spaghetti squash as you instructed and it was wonderful! I served it as a pasta with a sauce I made with sautéed onion, garlic, zucchini & canned diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, oregano & garlic. Topped with Parmesan cheese. Delicious!

    Reply
  • Lise March 9, 2020, 11:55 am

    This is the best squash there could be in the supermarkets. I have made my squash like this for years ,is so filling you don’t need rice as a side dish this is your side dish! It is delicious, the next time I make it though, I will use time herbs like the top video! Great with Fish, delicious with chicken, or beef, or anything you want! Thank you so much for posting, 5 Stars to this recipe

    Reply
  • Yv November 11, 2019, 4:20 pm

    You’re welcome ?

    Reply
  • Nathanael Belotti September 13, 2019, 8:11 am

    Learned a bunch. Super easy to understand. Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

    Reply
  • David Bobier February 23, 2019, 6:06 pm

    As I use to remember it being cooked by my mother

    Reply
  • Whole30 Guy January 7, 2019, 10:45 pm

    Had this at my friend’s house but didn’t ask for the recipe. I loved it so came here looking for a good recipe, and this did not disappoint! I love pasta, but this is a great grain free alternative I’ll use a lot in the future…

    Reply
  • LISA MEYER January 6, 2019, 4:59 pm

    Yummy. I made it today while watching football. Served it with spaghetti sauce and ground sausage(just like I would have done with pasta) a big hit. Also lower in carbs and a healthier option. Ps. I am a Very picky eater.

    Reply
  • Deb December 14, 2018, 9:26 pm

    Love the easy to follow video. Made the spaghetti squash and it was great.

    Reply
  • Melissa November 25, 2018, 6:33 pm

    If you want long strands, like spaghetti, you should cut across the squash, not end to end

    Reply
  • Wendy Kirkpatrick September 9, 2018, 5:00 pm

    I never made squash seeds before. They are delicious; perhaps better than pumpkin seeds. Thanks for sharing the instructions.

    Reply
  • Angeleen J Sanders August 13, 2018, 9:44 am

    I loved this. It was easy to make and delicious. Thanks for the easy instructions!

    Reply
  • Teresa June 10, 2018, 7:00 pm

    I baked the spaghetti squash. It was delicious! I actually like it better than traditional pasta.

    Reply
  • Sally White May 16, 2018, 1:37 pm

    Great! Thanks for the microwave tip!

    Reply
  • Karen May 15, 2018, 11:08 pm

    I went into Safeway desperate for a new vegetable. This recipe was spot on. The only difficult part I had was my knives weren’t sharp enough. It was really difficult to cut through the squash. I baked them for exactly 1 hour on parchment paper at 400. I only added salt and pepper and olive oil. It came out perfectly. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Meagan Grant April 23, 2018, 6:06 pm

    I loved it my daughter thought it would be nasty but she loved it when she tried it this way and is healthy I have lost 10 pounds eating less carbs

    Reply
    • Terry June 13, 2018, 7:10 pm

      I am also on a low carb diet. Have lost 4 pounds so far.

      Reply
      • Bonnie Whidden August 22, 2020, 2:54 pm

        I just forgot how to fix the spaghetti squash. You gave me ideas on how to fix it and I say thank you

        Reply

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