How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Published on October 25, 2022 | JUMP TO RECIPE
Published on October 25, 2022 | 0 Comments

Learning how to cook spaghetti squash opens up a world of gourmet goodness. Need a low-carb pasta swap out? Spaghetti squash is your filling friend. Craving a decadent dinner?  Spaghetti squash can star in stellar, cheese-filled suppers. 

Squash grows into all sorts of tasty types. Sweeter squashes, like pumpkin, are pie-worthy crowd pleasers. Savory kinds, like zucchini or spaghetti squash, lend themselves to getting dressed up in tomato sauces or sprinkled with melty mozzarella. 

This versatile vegetable is a nutritious alternative to noodles. It brims with beta-carotene, fiber, vitamins and minerals. And, for time-crunched home cooks, it’s quick to master how to cook spaghetti squash—whether you’re a diehard Instant Pot fan or more apt to zap a weeknight meal in the microwave. 

But, how to decide the best way to cook spaghetti squash? There are plenty of ways how to cook spaghetti squash, including preparing spaghetti squash in the oven, microwave and stove. Below is a helpful chef’s guide to how to cook spaghetti squash, including a detailed spaghetti squash recipe and 15 scrumptious tips for cooking with spaghetti squash.

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how to cook spaghetti squash

How to Prepare Spaghetti Squash

With a vegetable this versatile, there’s no one way to cook spaghetti squash. Oven-roasting spaghetti squash, brushed with a glaze of golden olive oil, conjures crispy and caramelized edges. Roasting the squash will bring out the natural sugars, all while ensuring the squash won’t turn mushy. Cooking spaghetti squash in the oven comes with certain flavor and texture advantages, but slow roasting does take more time. 

Microwaving, stove-top steaming or using the Instant Pot can be good options for a quicker weeknight dinner. Still, speedier techniques come with one potential downside: moisture stays in the squash. Wetter squash won’t summon a spaghetti-like al dente texture, for instance.  

Choosing how to cook spaghetti squash boils down to this: what dish do you want to make with the cooked squash? Soups, saucy curries and wetter casseroles will sing with a steamed or boiled squash. Crusty quiches, spaghetti-like threads, wok-fried dishes and fritters will do better with roasted spaghetti squash.

preparing spaghetti squash

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven

To understand how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven, follow the detailed Cozymeal recipe and video at the top of this page. You’ll cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and then roast it (lightly oiled and seasoned) for 40-50 minutes at 400°F. Let it cool fully before shredding the squash, back and forth, with a metal fork.

how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave

To cook spaghetti squash in the microwave, cut and halve the squash as described in the roasting recipe. Then, place both halves —flat-side-down— in a microwave-safe dish. Fill the dish with approximately 1-inch of water. Microwave on high heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before using a fork to fluff the squash into threads.

how to cook spaghetti squash in the microwave

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in an Instant Pot

Here’s how to cook spaghetti squash in an Instant Pot. First, clean, seed and halve your squash. Then, place the steamer trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Fill the Instant Pot with 1 cup of water. Gently rest the squash halves in the Instant Pot, partially submerged. Close the lid and turn on the high-pressure setting — 6-7 minutes for al dente and 8-9 minutes for a softer squash. Drain and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  

how to cook spaghetti squash in the instant pot

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash on the Stove

To cook spaghetti squash on the stove, just follow these simple steps. Fill a pasta pot halfway with water and bring to a rolling boiling. Place the cleaned squash halves in the boiling water (lid off). Cook for 25-30 minutes—or until you can easily probe the flesh with a fork. Scrape noodle-like strands from the squash, once cooked and cooled (cool enough to handle). Discard the skin. 

how to cook spaghetti squash on the stove

15 Ways to Use Spaghetti Squash 

1. Swap Out Your Spaghetti & Meatballs 

Instead of your standard spaghetti and meatballs, swap out your pasta for roasted spaghetti squash crowned in spiced meatballs. Be sure that your squash is steaming hot before topping it with meatballs and a savory tomato-based sauce. 

2. Make Creamy Spaghetti Squash Soup 

Cooked spaghetti squash, once pureed or blended, turns delightfully creamy. To transform your spaghetti squash into a velvety soup, purée 2 cups of it with equal parts stock (chicken, turkey or vegetable broth) and one caramelized onion. For added flavor, stir in toasted cumin seeds or roasted garlic.     

3. Thai Red Curry in Squash Boats 

Cooked halves of spaghetti squash are the ideal vessel for curries, stews, or hearty sauces. One particularly tasty way to enjoy spaghetti squash is to fill two steamed halves with a sweet-and-savory Thai red curry—flavored with coconut milk and aromatic lemongrass. You get to dig into the squash while filling up your spoon with soup. 

4. Spaghetti Squash Fried “Rice” 

Roast and chill the “noodles” of one whole spaghetti squash. Heat some peanut oil in a non-stick skillet or steel wok. Then, sauté the squash with fresh ginger, garlic, green onions, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. For added heat, add in some Chinese chili oil or dried Asian chiles. Cook until the squash begins to caramelize and the flavors fuse. 

5. Deep-Fried Squash Fritters

Deep frying may not be the healthiest way to savor spaghetti squash, but the noodle-like strands of squash make for perfect fritters. To make spaghetti squash fritters, you’ll mix together: 1 cup of shredded, chilled spaghetti squash, 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/3 cup of grated Parmigiano cheese, roughly chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Heat ¼ cup of oil in a deep skillet and then spoon rounds of the mixture into the hot oil. Flip once or twice, until golden brown on both sides. 

6. Vegetable-Packed Squash Frittata

Spaghetti squash and zucchini make for one fine Italian frittata. Combine 1 cup of shredded cooked spaghetti squash with sliced zucchini rounds, blanched spinach, and chopped mushrooms. Stir in ½ cup of grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a greased oven-safe dish and bake at 425°F for 35 minutes—until firm and golden-brown up top.

7. Squash and Chorizo Tacos with Pumpkin-Seed Salsa 

Sauté shredded and cooked spaghetti squash with the meat from one Mexican chorizo. Cook until the squash and the chorizo begin to sizzle and brown. Fill a corn or flour tortilla with the squash and chorizo filling, drizzling with pumpkin-seed salsa. For a vegetarian take, substitute pork chorizo for soyrizo. 

8. Eggplant Parmesan Stuffed Spaghetti Squash 

Roast your squash halves according to the Cozymeal recipe and video. While it’s roasting, cube and salt one eggplant—allowing the excess water to drain out in a colander. Fry the eggplant until golden brown. Then, fill the cooked squash halves with the browned eggplant. Top it all with Italian marinara sauce, grated Parmesan and pasteurized mozzarella. Brown the squash boats under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot.

9. Spaghetti Squash Minestrone 

Make your go-to, vegetable-packed minestrone recipe. But, instead of using zucchini, stir in 1 cup of shredded cooked spaghetti squash for the last 10 minutes of cooking. For added flavor, cook the batch of soup with the rind of a hunk of Parmigiano cheese.

10. Spaghetti Squash Carbonara 

Cook cubed pancetta or guanciale until golden. Then, continue cooking the salted pork with 2 cups of cooked spaghetti squash — until the squash starts to sizzle and caramelize. To create this twist on traditional carbonara, combine 4 egg yolks, 2/3 cup of grated pecorino cheese and 1-2 tablespoons of fresh cracked black pepper. Toss with the steaming hot spaghetti squash noodles with the pan off the heat until the cheese melts into the egg, creating a creamy sauce. 

11. Turkey Sausage & Spaghetti Squash Baked Ziti 

Sauté 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash with 1 cup of Italian turkey sausage meat. Cook until both the squash and the meat have started to brown. Then, mix the squash and sausage blend with 2 cups of ziti (cooked until very al dente), ½ cup of grated aged Italian cheese, and 2/3 cup of tomato sauce or passata. Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes, dusted in grated cheese or mozzarella. 

12.  Indian-Spiced Spaghetti Squash Pakora 

Pakoras are Indian vegetable fritters — crunchy, spiced and oh-so-satisfying. Combine 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash with salt, toasted cumin seeds, turmeric, chat masala and Kashmiri chili powder. Stir in 1/3 cup of rice flour and 1½ cups of chickpea flour. Then, pour in water as needed until a smooth batter forms. Spoon the fritters into a skillet with ½ cup of hot oil. Fry, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides.  

13. Shredded Spaghetti Squash with Mole & Queso Fresco 

Cooked spaghetti squash, once pureed or blended, turns delightfully creamy. To transform your spaghetti squash into a velvety soup, purée 2 cups of it with equal parts stock (chicken, turkey or vegetable broth) and one caramelized onion. For added flavor, stir in toasted cumin seeds or roasted garlic.     

14. Savory Spaghetti Squash Parmesan Pancakes

Mix the cooked threads of one roasted spaghetti squash together with grated Parmesan, chopped parsley, flour, an egg and some green onions. Stir until a smooth batter has formed. Then, pan-fry the cakes in olive oil until crispy on both sides. 

15. Spaghetti Squash with Feta, Olives and Tzatziki 

Top a heaping pile of roasted spaghetti squash threads with herb-cured Mediterranean olives, brined Greek feta, and tangy tzatziki sauce. Serve with toasted pita and enjoy warm. You can also use vegan tzatziki and cashew cheese for a vegan take on this dish. 

there are many ways to use and cook spaghetti squash

Spaghetti Squash Recipe and Chef Tips

Now you know how to cook spaghetti squash from scratch. It’s tasty whether roasted, steamed, grilled, shredded or pureed. Ultimately, the best way to prepare spaghetti squash is whichever direction your taste buds direct you. So, try out a few different preparations and decide for yourself. 

Chef’s tip: Remember, spaghetti squash doesn’t have a strong natural flavor. So, it’ll taste its best when paired with tangy, spiced and seasoned ingredients — from savory sauces to spicy curries, from herbed yogurts to Mexican moles. 

Ready to try making your own breadcrumbs? Check out our easy and delicious spaghetti squash recipe.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Learning how to cook spaghetti squash opens up a world of versatility. This step-by-step video will clearly instruct you on how you can cook spaghetti squash at home.
Meal Prep
New American
4
ingredients
6
steps
60
minutes
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
After discovering his passion for cooking as an Italian language instructor at UC Berkeley, Chef Chris went on to be the co-founder of a culinary event business, specializing in regional Italian cooking, and then worked as a chef teaching cooking classes for corporate groups, cultivating a 5-star rating. Chef Chris now works with a company providing walking food tours of Little Italy as well as teaching his lauded cooking classes.

Ingredients

Servings:
2
1
large spaghetti squash
1-2 tsp
extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp
kosher salt
1 tsp
cracked black pepper

Directions 6 steps | 60 Minutes

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the tops and the bottoms off the squash. Then, stand the squash upright on a cutting board.

Step 2

Use a flat-edged knife and slice the squash in half, cutting from the flat top down to the base. The squash should split into two even halves. Scoop out the seeds and pat the flesh sides dry. 

Step 3

Drizzle the flesh side with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (See notes 1.) 

Step 4

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the surface. Place the squash halves flesh side down on the sheet pan. Roast for 40-50 minutes or until the underside is golden brown on the edges and a knife enters the flesh with no resistance. (See notes 2.) 

Step 5

Flip the squash over so the flesh side is facing upwards. Allow the halves to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes. Use a fork to scrape the cooked spaghetti squash flesh into noodle-like strands. 

Step 6

Now, the cooked spaghetti squash can be used in other recipes or stored in your fridge, covered for up to five days. 


Notes:

  1. If it suits the flavor profile of the dish you’re wanting to make, you might also season it with garam masala, smoked paprika, ground coriander or nutmeg.
  2. The exact cooking time will vary based on how big the squash is, so check its consistency with a butter knife at the 40-minute mark.

Nutrition Per Serving
View All
CALORIES
112
FAT
4.9 g
PROTEIN
1.8 g
CARBS
18.4 g
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