Cooking Spaghetti Squash 101 + Tasty Recipe Ideas

In today’s cooking guide, I want to share a few ways for how to cook spaghetti squash such as baking or roasting, steaming, slow cooking and using the Instant Pot pressure cooker. You will learn how to prepare and cut spaghetti squash (and if you always should), and how long to cook it using different methods. I will also cover some common questions and highlight my favourite spaghetti squash recipes and various ways to use it in healthy meals and dishes.

Have you ever cooked with spaghetti squash? Do you have a favourite way to cook with this vegetable? Let me know in the comments below! 

How to cook spaghetti squash 4 methods and recipes
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Jump to: ℹ️ Overview |🥦 Nutrition | 📷 How To Make | 🥧 Bake | 🍳 Stovetop | 🥘 Instant Pot | ⏲ Microwave | ⏰ Slow Cook |❓FAQs | 🍽 More Recipes & Ideas

What is Spaghetti Squash?

Spaghetti squash is exactly what it sounds like. If you have never made it or enjoyed it in a meal before, it might be confusing when you see its outer shell and the texture of the food when it’s actually cooked.

Unlike its squash relatives like butternut, acorn, and pumpkin, spaghetti squash shreds when cooked, making it resemble spaghetti pasta more than it does a typical starchy vegetable. In fact, it’s pretty low in carbohydrates compared to other winter squashes and has much higher water content.

Spaghetti squash is almost always used as a pasta substitute. It can be used as a grain-free, gluten-free, and low-carb alternative to any type of noodle making it quite versatile. Because it shreds into medium to long strands, it’s best used in noodle dishes like angel hair, soba, or linguine. It holds sauces quite well and even twirls up like your favourite spaghetti noodles.

Spaghetti Squash Nutrition

Spaghetti squash is a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6. It is low in calories, low in carbohydrates, and suitable for all types of diets including paleo, keto, gluten-free, grain-free, vegetarian, and vegan.

Per 2 cups or ~200 grams 

Calories: 62 kcal
Fat: 1.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 14 grams (11 g net carbs)
Dietary Fibre: 3 grams
Sugar: 5.6 grams
Potassium: 218 grams or 6% DV
Vitamin B6: 10% DV
Magnesium: 6% DV
Vitamin C: 6% DV

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash: 4 Ways

Let’s look at how to prepare and cut spaghetti squash and if you always should; and, how long to cook spaghetti squash using different methods.

how to cook spaghetti squash
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Cutting Spaghetti Squash

If you’ve ever cooked spaghetti squash, you have probably found your preferred way! While there are many methods, the first step is to cut the squash. You can do this lengthwise or horizontally. The “noodles” come in longer strands with a horizontal cut. This makes for effortless and satisfying fork twirling!

Second, you must de-seed the squash. You can toss or compost the seeds, or you may pat them dry, season them, and roast them as you would pumpkin seeds.

Lastly, spaghetti squash should not be eaten raw and must be cooked before consumption.

how to prepare spaghetti squash for roasting
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Method 1. How To Bake Spaghetti Squash

Rest both sides face down on an oiled baking sheet or glass tray. Optionally, you can brush the insides of the squash with your preferred oil. Bake for 45 minutes at 190C / 375F. Upon taking out of the oven, a fork should easily rake out the innards of the squash.

Brushing spaghetti squash with oil
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How to bake spaghetti squash
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You can also roast the entire squash as a whole and cut it after cooking. You will want to set the oven to 205 C / 400 F and cook for 60 minutes.

Lastly, you can cut the squash into rounds up to 2-3 inches thick. If you cut them horizontally, you will reduce cooking time while still achieving longer strands of pasta. You can bake at 190C / 375F for 30 minutes.

With all options, it can also be useful to put some water at the bottom of a ridged pan to allow for more even cooking as it will help the squash steam through.

You can season spaghetti squash before and/or after baking or roasting. This could be as simple as salt and pepper or you could season it with spices, herbs, garlic and so on. Once cooked, use the fork to rake out the noodle strands. 

Spaghetti squash noodles with a fork
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Method 2. Stovetop (Steaming, Boiling)

Cut spaghetti squash in half and de-seed. Then, proceed to cut the squash into smaller pieces or quarters. You can place directly into boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender. You can also use a steaming basket if the pieces are small enough. This way reduces flavour and requires you to cut the squash into smaller pieces, decreasing the length of the “noodles.”

Method 3. Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

The Instant Pot is of course one of the quickest ways to get well cooked spaghetti squash. A stovetop pressure cooker will work as well.

Like with all methods, taste and texture are improved upon cutting the squash in half. Slice the spaghetti squash horizontally and de-seed. Then, add the squash halves to a trivet or steamer basket placed inside the Instant Pot. Add one cup of water to the bottom. Cook on HIGH pressure for 7 minutes and end the process with a quick pressure release.

With pressurizing and cooking, it will take about 15-20 minutes total. Nom Nom Paleo has a detailed post on how to cook spaghetti squash in the instant pot here.

Spaghetti squash in Instant Pot
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Image by Nom Nom Paleo

Method 4. Microwave Spaghetti Squash

While the microwave might not be the tastiest way to prepare spaghetti squash, it’s a great way to get the job done in a hurry – especially because you can easily cook it whole in this instance without increasing the time it needs to cook much. Be sure to use a knife to poke some holes for ventilation in the squash and don’t overthink it!

  • For a whole squash, microwave for around 10 minutes. Cut and serve. If the squash is not quite tender enough, add 2-5 minutes to the microwave.
  • For squash halves or quarters, place the pieces flesh-side down in a dish with a bit of water in it for steaming. Microwave for 8-10 minutes or until tender and serve.

Method 5. Slow Cooker

Set it and forget it with the Crock-Pot method. You can leave the squash whole and simply begin by piercing it all over with a fork or small knife to aid in steaming. Add the squash to the pot with 1 cup of water and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Spaghetti Squash FAQs

When is spaghetti squash in season?

Spaghetti squash is technically a winter squash, so it’s in-season from autumn/fall through part of winter or the cooler months in general. However, due to its growing popularity, it’s often available year-round in larger grocery stores, especially in the US.

How long does spaghetti squash last?

Spaghetti squash is a fairly hearty vegetable. If stored in a cool, dry place, you can keep a raw squash for up to three months. In the fridge, uncooked spaghetti squash will only last 1-2 weeks prior to spoiling.

How to tell if spaghetti squash is bad? The stem or the flesh of the squash will be good signs of how your squash is doing. If there is any discolouration, black/brown spots visible, your squash has probably gone off.

How many carbs in spaghetti squash?

Per 2 cup serving of spaghetti squash, there are about 14 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of net carbohydrates (carbs minus fibre).

How to freeze spaghetti squash?

Spaghetti squash can pretty easily be frozen. Simply cook the squash and rake it out into noodles. Use plastic bags to store servings of noodles laid relatively flat. You can steam these from frozen or thaw them prior to preparation when you are ready to eat them. You cannot freeze raw spaghetti squash.

Can you have spaghetti squash on a keto diet?

Spaghetti squash is relatively low-carb so it’s a great option for a keto diet. Larger servings may contain too many carbs depending on the rest of your diet, but it is a popular pasta substitute for low-carb dieters.

Spaghetti Squash Recipes & Ideas

I have curated some of tastiest looking spaghetti squash recipes to show you just how many uses this handy vegetable has. You can make noodles, soups, casseroles and stuffed creations. 

Spaghetti Squash ‘Noodles’ & Sauces

Spicy Spaghetti Squash Noodles
Spicy spaghetti squash noodles with creamy-flavor-packed-coconut-cream sauce. Recipe from Paleo Gluten Free.
Get the recipe here
Baked Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
A delicious make-ahead dinner that you can just throw in the oven. It's a spin on your traditional baked spaghetti recipe. Recipe from The Wooden Skillet.
Get the recipe here
Pad Thai Spaghetti Squash Noodle Omelette
Stuffed omelettes are valued much more than plain omelettes. So this recipe stuffs juicy chicken, Pad Thai sauce, and stir-fried with spaghetti squash noodles. Recipe from I Heart Umami.
Get the recipe here

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
This Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash is a high-protein, nutrient-rich recipe that’s loaded with those buffalo flavors you crave. Tender, juicy chicken combines with fresh veggies and tangy buffalo sauce in this healthful weeknight dinner that puts a new spin on buffalo chicken. Recipe from The Real Food RDs. 
Get the recipe here
Spinach Stuffed Spaghetti Squash (Vegan)
This easy vegan garlic spinach and feta cheese stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats recipe is the best healthy and delicious comfort food. Cheesy, creamy, dairy-free, gluten-free, loaded with vegetables, and even low-carb. Recipe from Bianca Zapatk.
Get the recipe here
Parmesan Spaghetti Squash
Embrace spaghetti squash as a tangled web of mild squash that pairs with just about anything. Roasted spaghetti squash tossed with creamy cheese, garlic, and fresh herbs is what low-carb eating is all about. Recipe from The Kitchn.
Get the recipe here

Low-Carb & Keto-Friendly

Keto Spaghetti Squash & Garlic Parmesan Shrimp
Buttery, warm and delicious flavours of garlic shrimp scampi are paired with tender spaghetti squash noodles – perfect for a healthy, low-carb dinner. You can also substitute with zucchini noodles. Recipe on the blog.
Get the recipe here
Low Carb Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats
Stuffed spaghetti squash lasagna boats are cheesy, healthy comfort food with simple ingredients and prep. Easy, healthy, and low carb! Recipe from Wholesome Yum.
Get the recipe here
Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin
Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin has all the amazing flavors that potato’s au gratin has but with amazing spaghetti squash. This Low Carb spaghetti Squash dish is one that is always a crowd pleaser. Recipe from The Midget Mom.
Get the recipe here

Spaghetti Squash Recipes With Chicken

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
This pesto chicken spaghetti squash is a flavourful and lower carb option for those who are craving a light and refreshing meal. Recipe from Haute and Healthy.
Get the recipe here
Spaghetti Squash Chicken Parmesan
An amazingly healthier version of everyone’s favorite chicken parm without compromising taste. Recipe from Damn Delicious.
Get the recipe here
Dairy-Free Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo
This spaghetti squash chicken alfredo is the perfect paleo alternative to a classic! It’s made with a cauliflower alfredo and is whole30, dairy-free, and AIP. Recipe from Unbound Wellness.
Get the recipe here
Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti Squash Bake
There are a lot of make-ahead options here. You could prep the sauce, chicken, and squash, and then assemble them a day or two later. You could also assemble the whole thing and bake it later. Recipe from Perry’s Plate.
Get the recipe here

Vegan & Vegetarian

Greek Spaghetti Squash Salad
Greek spaghetti squash salad is a fun take on pasta salad. Perfect for lunch or dinner and great for meal prep. It’s vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, keto and Whole30 friendly. Recipe from Bites Of Wellness.
Get the recipe here
Spaghetti Squash Pasta With Mushrooms and Tomatoes
When it comes to healthy and creative alternatives to traditional noodles, spaghetti squash pasta is a true game-changer. With its unique texture and low carbohydrate content, spaghetti squash is a must-try for anyone looking to simply add a new twist to their meals. Recipe from What A Girl Eats.
Get the recipe here
Spaghetti Squash Soup (Vegan)
Move over noodles, Spaghetti Squash Soup is here! Deliciously hearty and comforting, it’s the perfect meal to make you feel better inside and out when winter refuses to go. Recipe from The Healthy Foodie.
Get the recipe here

Spaghetti Squash Fritters
This Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns recipe is a delicious and healthy alternative to the traditional potato version. These savory patties are made by pan-frying cooked squash until golden and crispy, offering a tasty combo of textures and flavors. Recipe from The Honour System.
Get the recipe here

Plus More…

Sausage Frittata With Kale & Spaghetti Squash
A Sausage Frittata with Kale, Spaghetti Squash and Sun-Dried Tomatoes is the perfect filling meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s an easy Italian recipe with chicken sausage baked in a cast-iron skillet for a quick weeknight meal. Paleo, Whole30, and good for meal prep, too. Recipe from Fit Mitten Kitchen.
Get the recipe here
Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole
Easy and kid-friendly combine to make this spaghetti squash pizza casserole a win! It’s naturally grain-free and low in carbs, too! Recipe from Raia’s Recipes.
Get the recipe here
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
This healthy spaghetti squash Pad Thai uses spaghetti squash strands instead of rice noodles for a veggie-packed dish that’s lower in carbs and super satisfying. Recipe from Eating Bird Food.
Get the recipe here
Spaghetti Squash Chicken Chow Mein
This meal is simple to make on a weeknight or meal prep for the week as leftovers. It’s packed with veggies and features protein and healthy fats to make it a complete, whole meal. Recipe from Unbound Wellness.
Get the recipe here

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Cooking Spaghetti Squash & Recipes
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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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