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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Looking for a super easy way to cook a spaghetti squash? Here are easy step-by-step instructions showing how to cook spaghetti squash in an oven or in a slow cooker. Also included is a wonderful cheesy and buttery spaghetti squash recipe.

A closeup of Spaghetti Squash on a glass plate

Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite vegetables and I use it in place of pasta all the time. If you're cooking for one, you might not have considered baking spaghetti squash because it's a fairly large vegetable. Trust me, you won't mind the leftovers. You can enjoy it in so many different ways.

Spaghetti squash looks and behaves a lot like spaghetti but it does not taste like pasta. It has a mild taste which makes it such a great low carb alternative to pasta and it's delicious in so many sauces or served simply with butter, a few herbs, and Parmesan cheese.

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Why This Recipe Works

  • I've been cooking spaghetti squash in the oven for years. This method is easy and results in perfectly cooked spaghetti squash.
  • Spaghetti squash is delicious! Use it in place of pasta in recipes or enjoy on its own with melted butter and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (See recipe below).

Ingredient Notes

In the recipe box below, I've included one of my favorite spaghetti squash recipes. It's a simple recipe that tastes anything but simple. The ingredients you will need are below with a few ingredient notes.

  • Spaghetti squash: Choose a firm squash that is free of soft spots and feels heavy. The stem should be firm and dry. Store uncooked squash in a cool, dry place; it will usually last up to 1 month.
  • Olive oil: I use extra virgin olive oil in this buttery spaghetti squash recipe as well as in every other recipe on One Dish Kitchen that calls for olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed form of olive oil. It is an unrefined oil and the highest-quality olive oil you can buy. Because of the way extra virgin olive oil is made, it retains more true olive taste. It also contains more of the vitamins and minerals found in olives. It's my favorite type of olive oil to use but you may use a lighter olive oil instead.
  • Salt and black pepper: For flavor.
  • Butter: I use salted butter
  • Garlic: Thinly sliced
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated, if available to you.

RELATED: 8 Healthy & Delicious Single Serving Meals

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

There are many ways to cook spaghetti squash but my tried and true method is by cooking it in the oven. See below for the slow cooker method.

  1. Select a nice, oval shaped spaghetti squash. Wash and dry the squash well. Place the squash on a flat surface such as a large cutting board and cut off both ends of the squash with a sharp knife.
  2. Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. Open up the squash and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
  3. Heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place the spaghetti squash halves on a heavy-bottomed pan or baking sheet. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper to each half.
  4. Flip the squash over and rub on the outside skins as well. Place the squash cut side down on the roasting pan and cover the pan with foil.
  5. Put the pan with the squash into the oven. Bake until the rind is slightly soft or gives with a little pressure, about 45-50 minutes.
  6. Allow the squash to cool just enough so you can handle it and then scrape the strands out with a fork. The squash will resemble stringy noodles.
six steps showing the process of cooking spaghetti squash.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know When Spaghetti Squash Is Done?

Press into the skin firmly with your finger. Be careful, the squash will be hot. If the skin is soft and "dents" when pressed, the squash is done. If the skin is still hard and firm and does not give in to pressure, leave it in the oven a few minutes longer.

How Do I Store Cooked Spaghetti Squash?

Spaghetti squash can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Can Spaghetti Squash Be Cooked In A Slow Cooker?

Yes, but I actually prefer baking it instead. I like the slightly crispier texture that you get from baking the squash in the oven. If you'd like to make spaghetti squash in a slow cooker, follow these easy steps:
* Wash the outside of the squash with soap and water. Dry well. Prick the outsides of the squash several times with a fork. This creates vents to allow steam to escape.
* Place the squash in your large slow cooker and cover. For a medium-sized squash (3-pounds) cook for 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low. Add an extra hour for every pound over 3 pounds.
* When the squash is done, carefully remove the squash from the slow cooker and place it on a large cutting board or surface to cool until it is easy to handle. Slice in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and use a fork to pull the strands away from the skin as shown in the photos above.

Expert Tips

  • Use a large, sharp knife to cut the spaghetti squash. Place the squash on a cutting board and cut off both ends. Then, cut directly through to the center. If the knife gets stuck, return to where you began to cut and cut in the opposite direction.
  • If you find that your squash is not completely cooked after the suggested baking time, return the squash to the oven to cook longer if necessary.

Serving Suggestions

All single serving and small batch recipes

In place of pasta:

As a side dish with:

With any of these sauces:

RELATED: Recipes For Empty Nesters

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Spaghetti Squash Recipe | One Dish Kitchen

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cool: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Main Dish
Diet: Gluten Free
Keywords: how to cook spaghetti squash, spaghetti squash
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 132kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic , thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
  • Under cool running water, rinse off the squash. Dry with a towel.
  • Slice off each end of the squash.
  • Slice the squash horizontally down the middle.
  • Open up the squash and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  • Drizzle a little of the tablespoon of olive oil over the tops of each piece of squash. Sprinkle tops with salt and pepper.
  • Rub the remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper over the insides and the outsides of the squash.
  • Place the squash in a baking pan, cover with foil and bake in the  oven for 45-50 minutes or until the skin of the squash is tender and the flesh pulls away easily from the rind.
  • When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork and "scrape" out the squash, pulling it gently from the rind. It will resemble "spaghetti-like" strands.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in the spaghetti squash, cook for about 2 minutes until heated through. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Taste and add salt or pepper if desired.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Use a large, sharp knife to cut the spaghetti squash. Place the squash on a cutting board and cut off both ends. Then, cut directly through to the center. If the knife gets stuck, return to where you began to cut and cut in the opposite direction.
  • If you find that your squash is not completely cooked after the suggested baking time, return the squash to the oven to cook longer if necessary.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 616mg | Potassium: 17mg | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 225mg | Iron: 0.2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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About The Author

15 thoughts on “How to Cook Spaghetti Squash”

  1. First time making spaghetti squash. Easy recipe, used Cabot 5 cheese Italian shredded cheese. Very tasty. Thanks for sharing 😊

  2. Hi this will be my first time trying the recipe, I can’t wait! A bit of clairfication, please Your description says heat the oven to 400f but the actual recipe say 375? What do you suggest?

  3. Have you tried baking the squash whole and just poking it like you would a baked potato? I baked my spaghetti squash like that at 350 for about 45-50 min and turning over half way through.
    After I let it rest, I cut it in half then scooped out the seeds and stuff. Then I was able to get almost all of the squash out, down to the skin. And it was still that crunchy, nutty flavor that is spaghetti squash and not over cooked, baby food!

  4. It’s my first time baking spaghetti squash and I’m so glad you mentioned consistency in a previous comment. I searched everywhere looking for it and no one bothers to mention it. I popped my spaghetti squash back in the oven after realizing it was probably under cooked. Thank you for your comments!!!!

  5. Lauren @ Wicked Spatula

    I’m making spaghetti squash chow mein today but I’ve never worked with it so I was thrilled to stumble across your post. So helpful!!

    1. Lesa,
      The texture of spaghetti squash will not be as soft as regular pasta. There will always be a slight crunch to the spaghetti squash. You will know that the squash is completely cooked if there is a little “give” to the rind of the squash when you press on it and when the strands pull away from the rind easily. If your squash isn’t completely cooked after 45 minutes, I would recommend leaving the squash in the oven, covered for an additional 10 minutes to cook. Hope this helps.

  6. I am the only one who eats spaghetti squash in my house. They are too large to eat the whole squash. Can I save half uncooked and covered in the fridge? If so, how long do you think it will last?

    1. Hi Andrea, you can save the other half of the spaghetti squash by wrapping it in plastic wrap and storing it in the fridge. It’ll stay good for a few days. What I have done in the past is cooked up the entire spaghetti squash and stored the remaining portion in the freezer. To do this, portion the spaghetti squash into smaller containers and when you want to eat it, defrost the squash and then heat it in a skillet with a little olive oil and flavor it with herbs and parmesan cheese. You will find that the squash will be watery when defrosted but by warming it in the skillet, the water will evaporate.

  7. Your recipe for spaghetti squash sounds so easy, I am looking forward to cooking it. This will be my first attempt with this squash. So thank you for your help.

    1. Thanks, Susan. It’s such an easy vegetable to cook, the hardest part is cutting it down the middle. I’d love to know how you prepared your spaghetti squash.

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