spaghetti squash

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Forget processed gluten-free noodles, spaghetti squash noodles are nature’s very own Paleo pasta.

Spaghetti Squash is one of my favorite vegetables. This fabulous winter squash is easy to make. The best thing about spaghetti squash is that it’s a versatile gluten-free, grain-free substitute for regular pasta –yes, here you have nature’s very own Paleo pasta noodles.

I make Paleo pasta noodles for myself whenever the rest of the family is eating their processed gluten-free noodles. Though often the boys have a helping of “my” Paleo pasta noodles too as they can’t resist once they’re on the table.

So, how to cook spaghetti squash? There are several ways. It can be cut in sections and steamed on the stove, or spaghetti squash can be cooked in the oven. When it comes to the oven method there are two ways to prepare your spaghetti squash –the easy way, and the hard way!

Cooking spaghetti squash the easy way is of course, my favorite method. It avoids the process of wielding a huge knife and stabbing a giant hard squash. That’s no fun. I find it preferable to first cook the whole squash in the oven and then cut the tender flesh easily (and safely) with a knife. The other benefit of cooking spaghetti squash whole? When the flesh is sealed inside the skin of the squash it steams quite nicely adding both flavor and moisture, tenderizing the spaghetti squash noodles.

Looking for Paleo noodles? Look no further. Your noodle dreams are about to come true.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Serves: servings
Ingredients
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
Instructions
  1. Place whole (uncut) spaghetti squash on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  2. Using a fork, poke the squash twice
  3. Bake at 350° for 60-80 minutes
  4. Allow spaghetti squash to cool for 20-30 minutes
  5. Cut squash open with a knife
  6. Using a spoon scoop out seeds
  7. Scrape the flesh out of the squash into stringy noodles
  8. Serve

spaghetti squash

After the spaghetti squash is cooked, allow it to cool and then slice it in half.

Spaghetti-Squash-3332

Scoop the seeds out of the spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti-Squash-3399

After the seeds are out, scoop the lovely noodles into a dish.

I serve my spaghetti squash with coconut oil and cinnamon, or use it as a vegetable based spaghetti noodle (Paleo pasta!) with Bolognese –a recipe that I will show you how to make in the next month or two. I also have a fabulous recipe in my latest book Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry for a Paleo Pad Thai that you might like!

Here are some of my sauce recipes that would go well with spaghetti squash noodles:

Comments

  1. says

    I’ve never cooked it whole before (I’ve always sliced it in half before baking it), but somehow that seems to make better sense to me. I’ll have to try this method!

  2. Alison Scully says

    Hi Elana – I’ve never cooked a spaghetti squash whole before. I usually cut it in half, scrape out the ‘guts’ and then bake. It takes a lot less time. Is there some reason why you cook yours whole?

  3. Amy says

    So one time I tried to cook the spaghetti squash in the microwave. I read online it was okay so it must be, right? Well, I was in the other room when the squash blew up and the contents went all over the kitchen…maybe the oven will be less eventful :)

    • Annette Baker says

      The same thing happened to me. I was still finding seeds 2 weeks later and even found that two had sailed through the pass-through into the living room and were on the couch. What a mess to clean-up!

    • Kyra says

      I cook them whole in the microwave, You need to stab several vent holes. about 15 minutes for a whole one. I have a turntable in my micro. They cook beautifully.
      Also cutting them in half around the equator instead of lengthwise makes for longer strings. The strings run round the equator not lengthwise.

  4. Rebecca says

    Perfect! I bought a spaghetti squash a few days ago and was looking for a good recipe. Until now nothing really convinced me and the squash is still waiting to be devoured, but this sounds fabulous. Thanks!

  5. Dena says

    As a kid, my mom made this for us and we rejected it. As an adult, I started longing for it, knowing that it’s not pasta but I love squash, so I’d no doubt like it! I made it twice this past month, and it’s a hit with everyone! My 12 y.o. daughter loves to top it with cheese and sauce. My “no weird foods, please” partner actually was excited when I made it a second time!

    I’ve been cutting it in half (mainly because I always start cooking too late), and the other day I saved the seeds and roasted them. They were even better than pumpkin seeds!

    My question: If I cook it whole, will the seeds still be roast-able? Or will they be too moist to then roast?

    • MamaCassi says

      i’ve never tried to roast the seeds again afterwards, but often the kids and i will eat them kinda like boiled peanuts- they’re easy to get out of the shell and white and delicious.

      in fact, no matter how i cook squash, we always try to eat the seeds.

      but you could try roasting them again afterwards to crisp them up.

  6. MamaCassi says

    I always cook mine exactly like this! my kids also LOVE ‘noodle’ squash and we have to plan the meal to make sure there’s enough to go around.

    i’ve taken to just roasting a few squash at a time like this (usually a butternut or two and a spaghetti squash) so that i always have an easy go-to veggie in the fridge. often w/ the butternut squash i’ll cut rounds and fry them in coconut oil and sprinkle w/ sea salt for a super-fast and delicious side dish!

  7. Lucy Lou says

    So is it the same way to tell if it’s ready? I don’t want my noodles too soggy. I usually use my knife and pierce it to tell how ready it is.

  8. Leah says

    I recommend piercing the squash a few times with a knife (like you do for baked potatoes) to avoid explosions. I’ve had a few explode when I forgot to do so!
    We cook ours this way then sauté with butter, garlic & herbs of choice. Really yummy.

  9. elise says

    I was introduced to Spaghetti Squash back in college. My friend made it just like this, in place of noodles, and we ate it with red “spaghetti” sauce (it was delicious). She told her roommate, who was always skeptical of new things, that it was “angel hair pasta”. I think he was actually fooled for a minute, and we all had a good laugh afterwards.

    • Kay N. says

      I cooked a spaghetti squash and an acorn squash together in my Nesco. I set it at 350 degrees and cooked about 2+ hours, however, next time I will cook it for less time. I did set them on the rack and added some water to the bottom of the pan….also punched a few slits with a knife.

  10. Nana says

    Elana, Thank you so much for the instructions. I bought a spaghetti squash at the farmer’s market and planned to cook it tonight. I’m so glad to know that I can cook it whole.
    Jennifer, How did you cook yours in the slow cooker? Did you use any water? Cook for how long?

  11. Niki says

    I have wanted to try baking the squash whole and was too afraid – thank you for liberating this process for me…. cut/scoop second – love. Makes such good sense.

  12. CJ says

    If it is a fresh spaghetti squash it cuts in half easily. I prefer to cut it in half, remove seeds, salt and pepper each cut half, and place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast in oven set at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I don’t like it mushy, but some tooth to it like pasta so I start testing it with a fork after about 25 minutes..the fork should not slide into the squash real easy for then it will be mushy. Let cool on cutting board a bit and then scrape with a fork and serve with your favorite sauce..yummy!

  13. Serena says

    I’ve recently changed to cooking mine in the oven- I prefer it over microwave. However, I definitely prefer it cut in half. I don’t like really moist spaghetti squash.

  14. says

    Hi Elana!
    I love your blog and books! I find that cooking spaghetti squash with seasoning makes it much more palatable for me. If I’m serving spaghetti I use garlic, white pepper and oregano rubbed into the uncooked squash halves. I really like your idea to use parchment! It makes for easy clean up!

  15. Heather says

    My favorite way to cook spaghetti squash is whole and in the microwave. I read a few comments that stated their squash blew up in the microwave. The easiest way to prevent this is to poke holes in the squash to allow steam to escape. I use a steak knife to poke about 8 holes. My spaghetti squash last night was finished cooking in 12 minutes, but it all depends on size. ^_^ hope that helps some people out.

  16. Penny says

    Thank you so much for including pictures! Even though I can read (lol), it’s so nice to have pics when you’re trying something new. I started trying to eat healthier the low carb way the first of the year. So far I’ve lost 34lbs. Thanks again for explaining this to the point where I’m not afraid to try something new.

  17. says

    If you cut it before putting it in the oven then you only bake for 20 minutes.

    I usually cut it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, put it open side down on a glass baking dish, bake on 400 for 20 minutes. Poke with a fork to make sure it is cooked through.

  18. MAvis Mackin says

    I too love using Spaghetti squash over processed pasta. I want to share a frightening experience I had with cooking the squash. It’s so hard and frankly dangerous, to cut the squash before cooking it. I thought it might be fine to cook it in the microwave whole. I many, many holes in it before I put it in the microwave. Cut in half I’d usually bake it for 20 minutes. I hit time cook, walked away and about 15 minutes in…the door blew open, the microwave rack flew out and squash was everywhere. Needless to say I now go for the more dangerous method of cutting it in half before baking!

  19. Marina says

    I have tried this method x2 and both times the squash was very watery and mushy not like yours in the pictures above. Any idea why?
    Many thanks

  20. Natalie Westlake- Di Sensi says

    Hi , just was sent ur link for Spaghetti Squash and as my sugar numbers are a bit high I want to try this in place of Pasta, Question I have can I use Tomato sauce on it!with mybe some onions & peppers

    • says

      Hi Natalie (attempt 2)

      Not sure if you will see this, but I know Elena cannot answer all the comments, so I thought I’d take a stab at answering your question.
      Yes, you can use the spaghetti squash just like a vegetable noodle base for almost any pasta sauce, and it works pretty well. I have tried it with marinara sauce in the past it worked great, and from Elena’s comment about the Bolognese sauce at the very end of her post, I gather that must be fantastic as well. Enjoy!

  21. kendra says

    I am glad my friend recommended your website, as Gluten Free Girl refuses to make any substitutions for recipes and her food has been meh. I can’t wait to try the squash.

  22. Clarissa says

    Be sure to pierce the squash with a sharp knife in several places before baking–I had one blow up in my newly cleaned conventional oven!

  23. Julie Earnest says

    Elana, I LOVE your recipes and your cookbooks!!! And I cook pumpkin, kabocha squash, and spaghetti squash this way all the time….never cut in half, too hard! -BUT I have had squashes explode in the oven, so I highly recommend cutting two slits by piercing a sharp knife into the squash/pumpkin!

    Best,

    Juile

  24. says

    Spaghetti squash is so versatile. You can cook it in different ways, cut up or whole, by baking, boiling, microwaving, or even in a crock pot. Thanks for the share!

  25. says

    I have heard so much about spaghetti squash and how it’s such a great alternative to real pasta.

    I have yet to try it. Surprisingly, the recipe doesn’t look as difficult as I had imagined.

    Putting the entire squash in the oven first to get it soft and tender is a great tip.

    I have had my share of trying to cut it raw with a knife and it can get pretty dangerous.

  26. Kathy says

    Loved this way to cook the squash!!! I poked a few holes just in case and it worked perfect at about 60 minutes. I discovered another HUGE time saver! I scooped the seeds out with a melon ball tool and then did same with the squash. Worked fantastic! Also works really well on other squashes before and after baking.

  27. says

    I make my spaghetti squash the same way. In my area of upstate New York we have a dish called Chicken Riggies. It is made with a tomatoe sauce which has cream in it peppers, garlic and a few other spices. and chunks of chicken. I substituted the spaghetti squash instead of the pasta rigatoni. It was better than with the pasta. The squash takes the flavors it is mixed with and is quite pleasing

  28. Sunny says

    I always seem to have very watery “noodles” when I try this….like others who have had same comment.
    Is it low in carbs? Curious for the diabetics

  29. tracy says

    I think if you cook your squash whole you are wasting the seeds… They are so good for you!!! I cut my squash in half, oil the inside of both halves and place upside down on a cookie sheet to cook. I then clean season and roast the wonderful seeds!!! What a bonus!

  30. Stephenie says

    I LOVE roasting the seeds.. they are so delicious! Thanks for sharing this — I actually have a whole spaghetti squash in the oven as I type! Hopefully, the seeds will still be okay to roast afterwards… we’ll see! :)

  31. Janine says

    Please can you tell what type of squash you use ? Is it Gem Squash , Hubbard Squash? Being diabetic I thought squashes were no no

  32. Kay says

    how do you keep it from making your recipes so watery? we love it but when I make a casserole with it it makes everything so watery even after I let it sit and drain in a colander overnight? thank you

  33. CJ says

    I have been cooking spaghetti squash for years, and because I like it to be on the crunchy size, or, have a “bite” to it, like pasta, I cut it in half, sprinkle salt and paper on each cut side, put it cut side down on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and cook at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. For me, I know it is done when I have to apply a little pressure to push a fork into the skin. I let it sit on a cutting board until cool enough to handle and then rake it with a fork to get the strands. Then, top with favorite sauce, or oil and parmesan cheese! Can also be mixed with pesto, or sautéed with anything your heart desires after baking.

    Cooking it in the microwave, cut in half, I have found makes it much too soggy.

  34. Lavi a says

    Hello, thank you again for the great idea!
    Now I know why mine were so unsuccessful – I’d grate them raw, then boil them, not bad but these seem way better. And I’ve come to fully trust your recipes. :)
    All the best,
    Lavi Andrei

  35. Maureen says

    FYI, I’ve tried your method of cooking the squash whole in the oven. While it is very convenient I did have one explode. It blew the oven door open completely and spaghetti squash was everywhere….so beware!

  36. Ericka H. says

    My squash always is always watery but I cut in half before baking. Do you know if cooking it whole will help with this?

  37. thornye rose says

    A corkscrew is a great tool for drilling holes into the squash. Seems like a fork would again be work.

    Microwave it in 5 minute increments or so and it will be less likely to explode and redecorate your house.

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