Last Updated on September 8, 2023
Here’s how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven the easiest, tastiest way — with a waste-reducing, energy-saving twist!
Spaghetti squash used to be something of a niche vegetable, but as the low-carb craze has caught on, spaghetti squash has earned some well-deserved love and is easier to get for a longer season. Hooray!
I’ve loved this funky veggie for years, and it’s so nice to be able to buy spaghetti squash at the store after the local season has wound down. Here’s what to know about cooking and using your new favorite vegetable.
WHY YOU NEED SPAGHETTI SQUASH IN YOUR LIFE
If you don’t already know spaghetti squash, let me explain why it’s worth your while to get to know this unusual veggie.
Spaghetti squash is a winter squash like butternut and acorn. But unlike these more familiar squashes, spaghetti squash isn’t sweet. It has a unique flesh that becomes noodle-like when you bake it in the oven, and its blander taste actually makes it perfect for all kinds of creative recipes. (I’ve collected some of my favorite healthy spaghetti squash recipes here.)
When you cook spaghetti squash in the oven, it magically creates these fabulous noodle-like strings that can sub for pasta — without the trouble of spiralizing to make noodles out of veggies like sweet potatoes and zucchini.
Just be aware that spaghetti squash does have a slightly squash-y flavor and won’t fool anyone if you try to pass it off as grain-based pasta.
Spaghetti squash helps you to get in extra servings of vegetables if it replaces pasta as a main course, excellent for your gut health. I often enjoy spaghetti squash topped with marinara and parmesan as a satisfying and healthy meal, and occasionally I use it in more complex recipes, like pad thai or yaki soba. You can also stuff it, use it in lasagna, or even make crusts out of it.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven
Cooking spaghetti squash in the oven is easy-peasy! Follow these simple instructions and you’re good to go.
The toughest part of cooking spaghetti squash is cutting it open. You want to use a sharp knife and be prepared to exert some force. (Or soften it by microwaving briefly if you prefer.)
I’ve always cut my squash lengthwise, but you can cut it widthwise to get longer noodles if that appeals to you. The other advantage to cutting widthwise is there’s just less to cut through. Did I mention cutting spaghetti squash can be hard?
SO… CAN YOU ROAST A SPAGHETTI SQUASH WHOLE?
Though it is possible to cook whole spaghetti squash in the oven, it takes far longer, results in mushier squash, and the seeds are harder to remove. Bake your spaghetti squash whole if you must, but do give cutting it a try and the squash you’ll get will be so much better, ready sooner, and you won’t be wasting those delicious little spaghetti squash seeds.
Some recipes tell you to discard the seeds, but please don’t! Spaghetti squash seeds are AMAZING, waaay more tender and tasty than the pumpkin seeds you make from your Halloween jack o’ lantern! And like pepitas, squash seeds are full of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
I strongly recommend removing the seeds before baking, as you can roast spaghetti squash seeds the way you would pumpkin seeds and make a tasty and healthy snack while your squash bakes.
Try roasting those seeds, and you’ll be astonished anyone would ever consider throwing them away!
Energy saving tip: If a spaghetti squash is the only thing you’re baking, it makes sense to make it in a countertop convection oven, which will use far less energy than a standard oven sized for a full dinner. These countertop ovens are just a little bigger than a toaster oven, but are so helpful for cooking small things quickly rather than wasting energy heating up a full-size oven.
If you are going to use your regular oven, bake something along with the squash like some yummy pumpkin muffins or spiced roasted chickpeas. And don’t forget to throw in some kale chips toward the end while the oven cools down!
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 tsp olive oii (optional)
- Use a *sharp* knife to cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. You may have to use some force. If it's too tough, microwaving for 3 minutes can help to soften it.
- Remove seeds and set aside for roasting.
- You can drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil if you like, but it isn't necessary.
- Place face down in an oiled baking dish, roasting pan, or rimmed baking sheet. Pierce the skin several times with a fork.
- Cook at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Times will vary according to the size of the squash and your oven,
- While the squash is baking, rinse the seeds and remove any squash stuck to them. Spread on a towel to dry.
- Spread seeds on a baking sheet and use a refillable sprayer* to spray with oil, or drizzle oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and bake along with the spaghetti squash for about 15 minutes, till they're golden brown. If you hear pops, remove the seeds immediately.
- When you can release the squash "noodles" easily with a fork, your spaghetti squash is ready.
- Use a fork to loosen the "noodles." You can turn them out into a bowl, or use the squash skin as its own bowl.
- Top with your favorite sauce (or this easy ratatouille for even more veggie goodness!) and cheese if desired. Or try in one of these delicious and healthy spaghetti squash recipes. Enjoy!
Some people prefer their "noodles" more al dente, so try your squash less cooked and see what you think.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2-4 Serving Size: 1/4 large spaghetti squash
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 131Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 97mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 7gSugar: 12gProtein: 3g
You might come to love it so much, you’ll want to grow your own! (Here’s how to grow spaghetti squash.)
Now that you know how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven, I hope you’ll join the fan club and cook up a bunch of them this season!
Pin to save this info on how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven!
Love recipes that make it easy to eat your veggies? Check these out:
- 50+ Delicious Zucchini Recipes
- 25 Healthy Kale Recipes
- 50+ Healthy Bean Recipes
- 75 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
How to cook spaghetti squash photo credits: www.personalcreations.com, DocteurCosmos,
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.