How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a fantastic healthy side dish or substitute for pasta that’s low-carb, high in fiber, and delicious. Today, I’m showing you how to cook spaghetti squash three ways- in the microwave, oven, and slow-cooker!

image: two spaghetti squash halves with squash made into "noodles" inside the skin.

This post is your go-to source on how to cook perfect, tender spaghetti squash every time no matter the method you choose. Plus I’ve added a delicious recipe you’ll want to make ASAP with cooked spaghetti squash. Let’s get started!

image: two spaghetti squash halves with squash made into "noodles" inside the skin.

Is Spaghetti Squash Good For You?

Spaghetti squash is a delicious low-carb alternative to regular spaghetti that offers other nutritional benefits.

One cup of spaghetti squash yields a healthy does, nearly 10% of the daily recommended values, of vitamin C, B6, manganese, and 2.2 grams of fiber. All of this for under 40 calories!

image: spaghetti squash in a bowl topped with parmesan cheese, parsley and black pepper flakes.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any problem eating two servings in one sitting. Watch how easy it is to cook in this video.

Different Methods for Cooking Spaghetti Squash

There are several ways to cook spaghetti squash and, of course, enjoy it! Whether your pressed for time and need it pronto or could use a hands-free method that you can set and go, your best method is right below! 

image: two spaghetti squash halves in a green dish, inside of squash has been turned to "noodles"

Microwave
By far, the quickest way to cook spaghetti squash and perfect on those nights when you’re in a pinch. Make sure to cook the spaghetti squash until it’s fork tender at least, 10 minutes.

Oven
Baking is my preferred method to cook spaghetti squash; it gives the squash a rich flavor and golden-brown color that steaming can’t do. This method is great if you want to serve the spaghetti squash with simple toppings, it has all the flavor on its own!

Slow-Cooker
When you need an easy way to cook spaghetti squash and aren’t pressed for time, the slow-cooker is a simple solution that makes perfectly cooked spaghetti squash.

How to Cut Spaghetti Squash

Before you cut your spaghetti squash, give it a quick wash with warm soapy water in your sink, and with a kitchen towel, dry the skin completely. Once clean, you’re ready to slice it up!

If you’re going to roast the spaghetti squash in the oven, you’ll need to cut it before cooking. For the slow cooker and microwave methods, you can get away with partially cooking it and then slicing it. When the skin is softer it’s easier to cut.

To cut your spaghetti squash, you’ll need a large cutting board, a sharp knife, and a spoon. 

  1. First, rest the squash horizontally on the cutting board. Hold the squash firmly in place and slice a thin sliver on one edge and lay flat. 
  2. Next, use the knife to slice the squash in half lengthwise, making sure to slice AWAY from your hands. 
  3. Once the squash is halved, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard. 

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave

The microwave is a great place to cook spaghetti squash because in about 10 minutes (cooking time will vary, depending on the size) you can turn it into a delicious low-carb side dish or pasta substitute to go with your favorite recipes!

image: two spaghetti squash halves on a cutting board, the seeded insides being scooped out into a bowl with a spoon.
  • On a flat surface, carefully slices the spaghetti squash lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape the seeds out and discard. 
  • Use a fork to pierce the skin of the squash 6 to 7 times to ensure even cooking. 
  • Place one half of the squash into a microwaveable baking dish that is a few inches deep. 
  • Fill the cavity of the squash with water and place the other half on top, matching the sliced seams of the squash. 
  • Microwave for 10 minutes, or until the skin is softened and the squash shreds easily with a fork. 

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Slow-Cooker

Cooking spaghetti squash in the slow cooker is a great “set-it-and-forget-it” option. It requires minimal supervision and it’s super easy although you will need to cut the spaghetti squash before placing it in the slow cooker.

image: two spaghetti squash halves on a baking sheet, lightly peppered
  • On a flat surface, carefully slices the spaghetti squash lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape the seeds out and discard. 
  • Use a fork to pierce the skin of the squash 6 to 7 times to ensure even cooking. 
  • Place each squash half in the slow cooker, add 2 cups of water to the dish, cover, and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 7 hours.
image: spaghetti squash half in a slow cooker, water being poured on top from a measuring cup.
  • Once the squash is fork-tender and shreds easily with a fork, remove it from the dish and allow to cool before shredding the centers between 2 forks.

How to Bake Spaghetti Squash Step-by-Step

One of the reasons that most people prefer to bake spaghetti squash in the oven is because like all veggies that roast in the oven, spaghetti squash gets a delicious caramelized flavor that only the oven provides. Baking spaghetti squash will require you to cut it in half as well.

image: two spaghetti squash halves on a baking sheet holes have been poked in the skin of the squash with a fork.
  • Preheat your oven to 400F. Grease a baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray. 
  • Use a fork to pierce the skin of the squash 6 to 7 times, to ensure even cooking. 
  • Drizzle olive oil onto the flesh of each squash half and season with salt and black pepper. 
  • Place each half flesh-side down into the baking dish and transfer to the preheated oven. 
  • Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the flesh is tender, and easily pulls apart into spaghetti-like strands with a fork.
image: closeup view of two spaghetti squash halves, cooked and turned into squash noodles.

What to Serve Over Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash has a very neutral flavor that’s easy to serve up the say way you’d use pasta; any and all sauces go with it!

The debate still remains at my house but I’m a firm believer that even keeping it simple by topping the cooked strands with Parmesan cheese and butter and serving it as a side dish is simply delish.

image: spaghetti squash in a dish topped with pepper flakes, parsley and parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti squash is a quick side-dish I like to throw together and serve with grilled chicken or steak. It has a rich flavor with the baked spaghetti squash and Parmesan but still makes a light side or lunch. 

If you want to turn cooked spaghetti squash into a meal, you can try it out with classic meatballs and sauce or this Garlic Butter Chicken & Spaghetti Squash recipe. That garlic butter sauce is the bomb.com.

For those of us that love visuals, check out how easy it is to cook in this video.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash – Garlic Butter Spaghetti Squash

After cooking your spaghetti squash, turn it into the most delicious side dish with garlic, cheese and pepper. 

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved and seeds scooped out
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook spaghetti squash in the microwave, oven, or slow cooker.
  2. Once the spaghetti squash is fork-tender, shred the squash meat into a large serving bowl.
  3. Top with 2 tablespoons butter, garlic powder, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper. Toss to combine, serve, and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
  • Calories: 114
  • Sugar: 3.6g
  • Sodium: 398.3mg
  • Fat: 7.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.6g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.6g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 2.9g
  • Cholesterol: 18.9mg

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