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With its tough outer skin and rounded shape, preparing and cooking spaghetti squash can be intimidating. Not to worry, though — I’ll show you how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven (two different ways!), so that it turns out perfectly every time. Baked or roasted spaghetti squash using these two methods is surprisingly fast and will become a staple in your fall meals! Along with zoodles, it’s one of my favorite veggie noodle options.
What Is Spaghetti Squash?
Spaghetti squash is a winter squash (in the same family as acorn squash, butternut squash, and pumpkin) known for spaghetti-like strands in its flesh. It’s also rich in fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and antioxidants, making it a nutrient-dense food. The stringy texture of this vegetable makes it the perfect swap for pasta in your favorite comfort food dishes!
Why You’ll Love This Baked Spaghetti Squash Recipe
- Pefect fork tender noodle texture (not watery or too crisp!)
- Roasted, cozy flavor, with an option for caramelized edges
- Simple, common ingredients
- Shorter cooking time compared to most baked spaghetti squash recipes
- Naturally low carb and gluten-free
- 2 ways to make it — whole or cut in half!
- Easy to use in place of traditional pasta
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for roasting spaghetti squash, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Whole Spaghetti Squash – Find a firm, medium sized squash (about 4-6 pounds, with no cracks or soft spots. A larger squash or smaller squash will need adjustments up or down in cooking time, but you can use the doneness indicators below to ensure it’s done right.
- Olive Oil – You only need this ingredient if you roast spaghetti squash cut in half. I used extra virgin olive oil, but use any neutral cooking oil you like, such as avocado oil.
- Sea Salt – Like any other baked veggie, cooking a spaghetti squash with salt brings out the flavor.
How To Cut Spaghetti Squash
For a deeper, roasted flavor and shorter cook time, slicing the squash before baking is the way to go. The tough skin can make this difficult, so here is the best way to make it easier:
- Score. Place the squash on a cutting board and use a paring knife to poke holes all the way around the squash, where you’ll be cutting (see visual below).
- Cut. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to cut along the scored line.
- Remove seeds. Scrape out seeds with a spoon.
TIP: The length of your strands will depend on the direction you cut the squash.
The long strands in a spaghetti squash actually run perpendicular to the length of the squash. If you want longer spaghetti squash strands, the key is to cut it in half crosswise (as shown above), not lengthwise! You’d be cutting the strands shorter when slicing the long way.
- Advantage of cutting lengthwise: You get nice, stable spaghetti squash boats that way. It will be harder to serve recipes with spaghetti squash noodles in the shells if you cut the short way, because the side with the stem doesn’t always balance upright.
- Advantage of cutting crosswise: You get longer strands you can twirl around a fork more easily.
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash In The Oven
This section shows how to bake spaghetti squash (2 different ways), with step-by-step photos and details about the technique. For full instructions, see the recipe card below.
My best trick with baked spaghetti squash recipes is a higher temperature to cut back on time. Plus, a higher temp reduces the steaming effect, which means better taste.
How To Bake Spaghetti Squash Whole:
This method takes no prep whatsoever, so there’s no struggling with trying to cut through the hard skin. However, baking spaghetti squash whole causes the strands to steam cook, so they develop a more mild flavor.
- Pierce. Poke holes all over squash skin with a sharp paring knife. (This helps the hot steam escape, so it won’t explode.)
- Roast. Cook squash until skin pierces with very slight resistance using a knife.
- Finish. Let the squash cool enough to handle, then slice, scoop out seeds, and fluff the strands with a fork. Season with salt to taste.
How To Roast Spaghetti Squash Cut In Half:
Spaghetti squash baked in half develops a richer roasted flavor and cooks faster, but is more difficult to prepare because it requires slicing through the tough skin.
- Slice. Score squash lengthwise or crosswise, depending on your preference (see notes on this above). Cut completely and scoop out seeds. Drizzle with oil and season with salt.
- Roast. Cook until a knife inserted into the skin pierces deeply with just very slight resistance.
- Finish. Cool, open side down for 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Then use a fork to release the strands.
How Long To Cook Spaghetti Squash?
Spaghetti squash cook time in the oven depends on if you bake it whole or not. A whole roasted spaghetti squash takes 30-45 minutes at 425 degrees F, while a spaghetti squash roasted and cut in half takes 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees F. Most spaghetti squash recipes user lower temperatures, which take longer than these ranges.
TIP: Because squash sizes vary, use a knife to check for doneness.
A knife inserted into the skin should go in with just a little resistance.
- Signs of undercooked spaghetti squash: Knife is difficult to insert into the skin or goes in with a lot of resistance. If you stop cooking too early, the strands will be crunchy instead of tender.
- Signs of overcooked spaghetti squash: Knife goes into the skin with almost no resistance, and the skin may start to loose structure. If you overcook the squash, the strands will lose their shape and become mushy.
- Store: Place cooked spaghetti squash in an airtight container (with or without skin) and store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
- Reheat: Warm squash (outside the shell) in a low powered microwave or in a 350 degree F oven, until heated through.
Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash?
Cooked spaghetti squash freezes well, but it needs excess moisture drained first, so it won’t be soggy after thawing. Cool the squash strands completely, transfer to a colander with a plate or bowl underneath, and refrigerate for 12 hours before moving to a freezer-safe container. Store for up to 8 months. Thaw in the fridge before using.
Sauces To Serve With Roasted Spaghetti Squash
Now that you’ve learned how to bake spaghetti squash, you can serve it with all your favorite pasta sauces! Try these easy ideas (or keep it simple with butter, garlic, and parmesan!):
More Easy Spaghetti Squash Recipes
I have lots of spaghetti squash recipes — it works great in casseroles, pasta dishes, and so much more! Here are some of my favorite dishes to prepare with oven baked spaghetti squash.
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash In The Oven (FAST!)
Learn how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven – FAST! Use this baked or roasted spaghetti squash recipe (2 ways) to replace pasta in any dish.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 (adjust to scale recipe)
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
How To Bake Spaghetti Squash Whole
Pierce the spaghetti squash all over with a sharp paring knife.
Place the squash onto the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, flipping over halfway through. It’s done when the skin pierces fairly easily with a knife. The knife should be able to go in pretty deep with just very slight resistance.
Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Cut the spaghetti squash in half crosswise for longer low carb noodles, or lengthwise for shorter ones.
Scoop out the seeds, then use a fork to release strands. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste, then toss with your favorite sauce (or simply olive oil) to serve.
How To Bake Spaghetti Squash Cut in Half
Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the spaghetti squash in half. To make it easier, use a paring knife to score where you’ll be cutting first, then slice. Cut crosswise for longer low carb noodles, or lengthwise for shorter ones. Scoop out the seeds.
Drizzle the inside of the halves very lightly with olive oil. Season with sea salt.
Place the spaghetti squash halves onto the lined baking sheet, cut side down. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the skin pierces easily with a knife. The knife should be able to go in pretty deep with just very slight resistance.
Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes, open side down.
Use a fork to release strands. Toss with your favorite sauce to serve, or simply season with more sea salt to taste.
Serving size: 1 cup
See post above for tips & tricks when baking spaghetti squash!
Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.
Total Carbs 11g
Net Carbs 8.6g
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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