How To Cook Spaghetti Squash
Many online recipes for how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven will tell you to poke holes in the squash and bake it at 350 F… but I think this is a huge mistake!
With spaghetti squash, most people seem to fall into one of two categories:
There are those who LOVE spaghetti squash as a lower-calorie replacement for pasta; then there are those who shun it, believing that if you’re going to eat pasta, you should enjoy the real thing.
But I feel that looking at it as a pasta “substitute” in the first place does the vegetable an unfair disservice. The unique taste and texture of spaghetti squash ought to be appreciated in their own right, not compared to carb-filled noodles. No matter how many websites you find that claim their spaghetti squash recipe “tastes just like the real thing,” spaghetti squash will never be pasta.
And that’s completely okay!
Another thing to keep in mind if you think you hate spaghetti squash is that it might just be the way you’ve been cooking it.
So many tutorials for how to cook spaghetti squash will tell you to poke holes in the vegetable, add water to the bottom of the pan, and either cook the whole thing or two halves at 350 F or 375 F. I think this is a mistake because the extra water and lower temperature mean you end up with watery, steamed spaghetti squash instead of sweet, roasted spaghetti squash, especially if you don’t cut the squash in half to give the moisture inside the squash a place to escape.
And watery strands will, in turn, also water down whatever sauce you choose to put on your spaghetti squash after cooking. If you’ve made spaghetti squash this way and do prefer steamed strands, that’s fine… But I much prefer roasted, so if you’ve had spaghetti squash in the past and think you aren’t a fan, it might be worth giving the vegetable one more chance.
The following recipe is my favorite method for how to cook a spaghetti squash that yields non-watery results every time. It calls for roasting the spaghetti squash at 460 F, which is higher than any other recipe I’ve ever seen and works beautifully to caramelize the natural sugars in the squash and zap away extra moisture, leaving you with perfectly cooked spaghetti squash that is ready to be dressed up however you wish or even eaten by itself.
To Bake The Spaghetti Squash:
Start by carefully cutting the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. EDIT: Many readers say that cutting it width-wise is even better because you get longer strands. I haven’t tried that yet, but I am intrigued! (Have any of you tried it?)
Place the squash—flat sides up—in a baking pan. If desired, scoop out the seeds and brush the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. I usually opt to scoop out the seeds after baking. Place the pan on the middle rack in a non-preheated oven, and turn the oven to 460 F.
Most spaghetti squashes will take around 40-50 minutes to fully roast, depending on the size of the squash; but if you have a small squash, it’s a good idea to check it after 20-30 minutes or so.
Scoop out the strands, and add tomato sauce, cheesy sauce, pesto, or any other sauce you’d add to pasta. You could also top the spaghetti squash with a coconut curry or stew, like you’d do with rice. It is the perfect blank canvas for thousands of recipes.
Below are a few of my favorite sauces to use with spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti Squash Recipes:
You can also keep things simple by seasoning the spaghetti squash with salt and olive oil or buttery spread – it makes the perfect accompaniment to sautéed kale and a toasted English muffin, as seen in the photo below.
I’ve written up the recipe and am also including instructions for how to cook spaghetti squash in the microwave for those of you who would rather not cook it in the oven. My preference is for the oven-roasted spaghetti squash, but the microwave version will work if you are short on time and want something quick and easy.
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash4.69/5
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- optional olive oil, salt, etc.
- sauce or seasonings as desired
Total Time: 50m
Yield: 1 spaghetti squash
*Note that larger spaghetti squashes tend to yield sweeter strands. However, small ones will also work if they are all you can find. To Make: Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. (Some readers say that cutting it width-wise gives you longer strands. I haven ‘t tried this yet, but I am intrigued!) Place the squash—flat sides up—in a baking pan. If desired, scoop the seeds out and brush the squash strands with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. You can opt to scoop the seeds out and season after baking if you prefer. Place the pan on the middle rack in a non-preheated oven, then set the oven to 460 F. Large squashes will take around 40-50 minutes to roast fully, but very small ones may take less time, so it’s a good idea to check the squash after 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and scoop out the strands. If you’d like, you can mix the strands with other ingredients and then stuff them back into the hollowed-out spaghetti squash shells.
If you’re short on time and don’t mind more of a steamed-spaghetti-squash result, you can cook your spaghetti squash in the microwave. I do highly recommend trying the oven version at some point, though! To microwave: Poke holes in the spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds if desired. Fill a glass baking dish about 1/4 up with water, then place the squash—flat sides down—in the pan and microwave 10-15 minutes or until tender. Remove from the microwave, and scoop out the strands.
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