Find out how to cut and cook spaghetti squash to get those long strands. It's easily roasted in the oven and is a great alternative to pasta.
There are quite a few methods for cooking spaghetti squash, but nothing beats the traditional oven roasted method.
Aside from the initial labor of cutting the squash, the actual cooking time is very hands-off and yet produces the best tasting al dente low carb spaghetti.
- ❤Why you'll love this method
- 💭Helpful Tips
- 🔪How to cut spaghetti squash for long strands
- How to cook spaghetti squash cut in rings
- How to cook spaghetti squash cut in half
- How to bake whole spaghetti squash
- 🔪Helpful Tools & Links
- 🥗What to serve with spaghetti squash
- ♨️Storage and Reheating Instructions
- Printable Recipe
❤Why you'll love this method
- Taste & texture: Fresh, crunchy, yet tenderly cooked, al-dente pasta but without the heavy carbs. But there is a specific way to cut and cook the spaghetti squash to get those long strands.
- Healthy: This spaghetti squash pasta is paleo, Whole30, low carb and keto.
- Versatile: Enjoy this with chicken, fish, steak or even eggs. Garnish with the basics like parmesan cheese and parsley or go all out and top with bolognese sauce.
- Easy: Choose one of the 3 methods below to cutting the squash - there's something for everyone.
💭Good to Know: Winter squashes like spaghetti squash, acorn squash and butternut squash are a great source of vitamins A and C, which are both essential during the cooler months.
This recipe has very simple ingredient list.
- spaghetti squash: These are very popular right now and will be well into spring. Choose firm squash with no blemishes.
- salt & pepper: basic seasoning of these staples but feel free to season with your favorites.
- oil: I used avocado oil but good olive oil works. An avocado oil spray would be even better for ease and convenience as it covers a broader surface area.
See recipe card for detailed instructions.
- 🕐Time Saving Tip: Cook time will vary depending on the size of your squash. The times listed in the recipe card a are a general suggestion but for quicker results, look for smaller squash.
- 🗓Make-Ahead Tip: Spaghetti squash can be made in advance and stored in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. I often make enough to last me for a few meals.
- 🚫Food Safety: Always wash all produce, even those that you will be discarding the peel or skin. The bacteria and any pesticide residue can be transferred to the flesh of the fruit during cutting.
🔪How to cut spaghetti squash for long strands
The most important thing to remember about spaghetti squash is that the strands run crosswise not lengthwise.
This means that when you cut your squash lengthwise, from stem to bottom, as is commonly instructed, you are significantly reducing their natural luscious lengths by cutting them in half.
The best way to achieve long spaghetti-like strands is to cut the squash crosswise (between stem end and bottom).
You can do this with raw squash or cooked, but be sure to cut it correctly for longer strands.
How to cook spaghetti squash cut in rings
The complete printable recipe is below in the recipe card for your convenience. It includes instructions for all three methods.
This basic recipe calls for these ingredients: spaghetti squash, avocado or extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper.
This is my favorite way to cook spaghetti squash for those pasta-like strands. It's the best method that gives you best results, in flavor and texture.
Step 1. Using a sharp chef's knife and holding tightly to the stem with no-dominant hand, cut spaghetti squash crosswise into rings 1-½" thickness. Depending on the size of squash, you should end up with 4-7 rings.
Step 2. Remove the seeds and flesh and season with salt and pepper and oil. I prefer either extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil for their high smoke point. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
Step 3. Remove from oven and separate the squash strands using a fork. Discard the skin of the squash.
Step 4. Separate the spaghetti squash strands for the remaining rings and transfer to a container or serve directly in the rings.
💭Pro Tip: Roasting spaghetti squash in the rings makes a very impressive presentation. Serve rings of flaked spaghetti squash directly on dinner plates and spoon sauce or protein on top of the squash strands.
How to cook spaghetti squash cut in half
This comes a close second to the rings method. Contrary to how you've been taught on the internet, it's better to cut the squash crosswise, not lengthwise to achieve the longest strands.
Step 1. Cut the uncooked squash in half crosswise using a sharp knife. Remove seeds and flesh and season with salt and pepper and oil.
Step 2. Roast on rimmed baking sheet cut side down. Separate squash strands using a fork.
How to bake whole spaghetti squash
This method works when you are short on time and can't safely cut the squash into rings. Once the squash has been roasted, the butter cuts through effortlessly.
The only drawback to this method is that it's hard to control how al dente the squash comes out.
Step 1. Prick holes throughout the squash. This will foster proper heat circulation and also allow the steam to escape.
Step 2. Roast the entire squash for 50-60 minutes, flipping it over halfway during the roasting time to ensure even cooking.
Step 3. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut the squash in half.
Step 4. Using a kitchen towel to secure the squash halves, remove the seeds and flesh and separate the squash into strands using a fork.
🔪Helpful Tools & Links
Below are some affiliate links that may be helpful to you as you make this recipe. You can find some of these items cheaper at your local store but it helps to have a link so you know what you're looking for.
- Tools: chef knife, cutting board, stainless steel baking sheet,
- Ingredients: real salt, black pepper, olive oil, avocado oil spray,
- Storage Supplies: glass snap containers
🥗What to serve with spaghetti squash
In short, any way you would eat traditional spaghetti you can eat the squash spaghetti as well.
- Enjoy as a side dish with your favorite spaghetti, bolognese, or marinara sauce
- With your favorite alfredo sauce
- Make "Lazy" Carbonara: whisk 2 eggs together with ½ cup of parmesan cheese. Gently toss and cook over medium heat on a well-greased skillet. Top with bacon bits and fresh parsley.
- Add a dollop of fresh basil pesto over the squash and enjoy with baked salmon or chicken.
- Add spaghetti squash to soups that call for pasta like this Healthy Vegetable Soup or Chicken Noodle soup
- A simple seasoning of salt and pepper and drizzle of your favorite oil (mine is La Tourangelle Roasted Walnut Oil).
💭Make it Nutrient-Dense: Swapping spaghetti squash for regular pasta is an easy way to bump up the nutrient profile of a meal.
♨️Storage and Reheating Instructions
To store: The easiest way to store leftovers are in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Storage containers: These glass snap containers are perfect for leftovers
To reheat: Heat stainless steel pan over medium-high heat and add a little oil. Heat squash spaghetti pasta until warmed through, turning and tossing regularly.
The best way to enjoy spaghetti squash is when it's still a tad crunchy or al dente. This is largely why using this method to cut and cook spaghetti squash will yield long strands. It's superior to steaming it in the pressure cooker.
You have more success with al dente squash strands when you roast because you have more control over the cooking process. You can periodically check for doneness with a fork or knife and remove as soon as you are happy with the texture.
Spaghetti squash can be cooked in the Instant Pot, although it is not recommended for long al dente strands. Roasted spaghetti squash is unparallel to steamed squash (which is exactly what the pressure cooker does - it steams it!). It has that impeccable golden flavor that you can only obtain from indirect heat.
If you prefer your spaghetti squash fully cooked instead of al dente, finish cooking on the stove top. Heat a stainless steel pan with a little olive oil and toss your spaghetti squash over medium-high heat to cook to desired doneness. You may also add your sauce of choice and coat well.
Looking for more healthy basics? Here are some ideas:
Did you make this? Please leave a ⭐ rating in the recipe card below and leave a review in the comments. Thank you!💚
How to Cut and Cook Spaghetti Squash for Long Strands
- 1 spaghetti squash approximately 4-5 pounds
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash Cut in Rings
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the squash well. Using a sharp chef's knife and sturdy cutting board, cut the squash in 1-½" rings. It helps to hold the stem with your non-dominant hand.
- Remove the seeds and flesh from all rings. Season the rings with salt, pepper and oil evenly and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Roast for approximately 30-40 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Separate squash into strands using a fork.
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash Cut in Half
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the squash well. Using a sharp chef's knife and sturdy cutting board, cut the squash in half crosswise (not lengthwise from stem to end). It helps to hold the stem with your non-dominant hand.
- Remove the seeds and flesh. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil evenly.
- Place the squash cut side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Separate squash into strands using a fork.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash Whole
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the squash well. Using a small paring knife. prick holes throughout the squash.
- Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for approximately 55-60 minutes or until tender to your liking. Flip the squash over halfway during the roasting time to ensure even cooking.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Cut in half crosswise (not lengthwise from stem to end). Remove seeds and separate the squash into strands using a fork.
- Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the spaghetti squash. Generally, the smaller the squash the quicker it will roast.
- It may benefit to check for desired doneness by poking with a knife.
- Cooked spaghetti squash will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- A serving size is approximately 1 cup of spaghetti squash. A 4-pound squash will yield approximately 5-6 cups of cooked squash.
The information shown is an estimate provided for your convenience by an online calculator. It should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our complete Nutritional Information Disclaimer.
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This post was originally published February 2019 but has since been updated to include helpful information.