Let’s talk about spaghetti squash for a minute. I’m working on a fun stuffed spaghetti squash recipe for fall. I noticed that there are quite a few different ways that people suggest cooking spaghetti squash.
Here are the suggested methods:
- Baked or microwaved whole
- Steamed in a pan of water in the oven
- Sliced into rings and baked
- Halved lengthwise or crosswise, baked cut-side up or down
Sure, all of those options will work, but I have a strong preference for one method. My preferred method reduces the amount of moisture in the squash and yields golden, caramelized edges that add extra flavor.
Here’s my trick: Cut the spaghetti squash in half from the stem end to the base, rub the inside lightly with olive oil, and roast it cut-side down on a baking sheet. There’s a little more to it (see the recipe below), but that’s the gist.
Easy, right? No fuss, no mush, just tender and delicious spaghetti squash! This way, the moisture pools on the pan instead of collecting inside the spaghetti squash, and you end up with a perfect built-in bowl that you can load up with toppings.
How to Slice Your Spaghetti Squash in Half
Spaghetti squash has thick walls, which can be difficult to cut through. You’ll need a sharp chef’s knife and a good cutting board that won’t slip. Pro tip: You can rest your cutting board on a wrung-out paper towel or kitchen towel to prevent it from moving around.
The trick is to create a flat surface so you can slice through the squash safely. Here’s how I do it (see the video below for visuals, and be careful):
- First, rest the squash horizontally on the cutting board. Hold the squash firmly in place with your non-dominant hand.
- We’re going to cut off the tip-top and bottom edges, so keep your hand several inches away from where you’ll be slicing. With your dominant hand, use a sharp chef’s knife to cut off the top. Turn the squash around 180 degrees and slice off the bottom, again keeping your hand far away from the knife.
- Then, turn the squash upright, with the widest end against the non-slip cutting board. This gives us a stable position for slicing. Start at the top and slice downward. Your hands should never be beneath the knife, or in danger’s way.
If at any point you are uncomfortable with this technique, stop and ask someone for help. Safety first!
More Reasons to Love Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is a nutritious winter vegetable that offers lots of fiber, beta-carotene, folate and more. It offers a really fun, spaghetti-like texture and built-in bowl shape. See how I turned it into a burrito bowl?
Spaghetti squash is a good stand-in for pasta, and also plays nicely with a variety of other flavors. It goes particularly well with these ingredients:
- Tomatoes and tomato sauce (marinara)
- Parmesan or other cheeses
- Garlic and onions
- Basil and thyme
- Bell peppers
- Vinegar: balsamic, sherry, red or white wine vinegar
How do like your squash? Please let me know in the comments!
Watch How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (The Best Way!)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
- Category: Basics
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: American
Here’s the best way to cook spaghetti squash! Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, rub a little olive oil and salt on the inside, and roast in the oven cut-side down. No fuss, no mush, just tender and delicious spaghetti squash! Recipe as written yields 2 baked squash halves (1 squash total); you can easily bake 4 halves (2 squash) at a time on a large baking sheet.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sprinkle of salt and pepper
- To prepare the spaghetti squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Use a very sharp chef’s knife to cut off the tip-top and very bottom ends of the spaghetti squash. Stand the squash upright on a stable surface and carefully slice through it from top to bottom to divide it in half.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds and discard them. Drizzle the insides of each squash half with 1 teaspoon olive oil and rub it all over the inside, adding more oil if necessary. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly over the interiors of the squash, then place them cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, until the cut sides are turning golden and the interiors are easily pierced through with a fork. Small squash will be done sooner than large squash, naturally!
- Once the squash is done baking, fluff the interiors with a fork to make the insides spaghetti-like. Serve as desired.
Storage suggestions: Baked spaghetti squash will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days. Just reheat before serving.
▸ Nutrition Information
Recipes Made with Spaghetti Squash
Gluten free and vegan
“I’m a frequent visitor to your blog, and I’ve tried many of your recipes and they’ve all proven to be delicious, but this one, my oh my! I’ve never tried spaghetti squash before, and thought this was a great way to start and boy was I right! The spiciness from the salsa verde combined with the crunch of the slaw and sweetness of the squash… wow! Thank you, thank you. Just perfect and delicious.” – Anya
Gluten free and easily vegan
“This. Was. Marvelous! I left out the olives and bravely served it to workers doing some landscaping and they LOVED it! I was worried about the pesto being too zingy, but it’s not as pronounced when assembled with everything else. Thanks for another amazing recipe as I’m never disappointed with Cookie and Kate!” – Holly
“I just happened to have a spaghetti squash in my house so I was delighted to see this recipe in my inbox today. I gave it a try and was so impressed. It was incredibly delicious and satisfying. It does take a bit of time, but now I have the second half to look forward to at another meal. It’s also a very pretty dish and I can see serving it to a group of similarly health-focused girlfriends!” – Danielle