A fork lifts spaghetti squash noodles above a ring of spaghetti squash.

I never understood the big deal with spaghetti squash. Every time I tried to cook it, it would turn out mushy and watery. But then I ran across my friend Beth from Pass the Plants’s tutorial for how to cook spaghetti squash, and since Beth has never steered me wrong before, I figured it was time to try it again.

Her method of cutting a spaghetti squash crosswise instead of lengthwise totally changed my world! The resulting spaghetti squash noodles were long, tender, al dente, and not at all mushy. I took Beth’s method as inspiration and went to work on perfecting the method in my own kitchen, and now I’m happy to say we cook spaghetti squash at least once a week in our house! It’s a favorite, and I want to show you how it became one.

What does spaghetti squash taste like?

If you’ve never cooked spaghetti squash before, you might be wondering what it tastes like. I personally feel like spaghetti squash is one of the most mildly flavored of the winter squashes. It has a very slight sweet squash flavor—imagine a super watered down butternut squash. This mild flavor makes it a great vehicle for all kinds of your favorite sauces and toppings.

Spaghetti squash noodles are covered in marinara and topped with meatballs. The noodles are on a white plate with a blue-handled fork.

Can you eat the skin on a spaghetti squash?

Is the skin on spaghetti squash technically edible? Sure. Do you actually want to eat it? Nope. It’s a hard, thick, rough skin that turns even tougher in the oven. It wouldn’t be pleasant to eat, and probably wouldn’t make your tummy feel so hot.

Is spaghetti squash healthy?

Like all fruits and veggies, spaghetti squash is a healthy addition to almost everyone’s diet, thanks to all its vitamins and minerals. Adding spaghetti squash to your weekly pasta bowl is a great way to boost the nutrition of dinner. It is also gluten-free, paleo, and grain-free, making spaghetti squash a great option no matter what diet works best for your body.

What’s the easiest way to cut a spaghetti squash?

So many people see a big, hard spaghetti squash and grab their biggest, baddest knife and then…get it stuck. A big knife is not the way to cut a spaghetti squash! Instead, the easiest way to cut a spaghetti squash is to use a small, sharp paring knife and work your way around the skin of the squash. It takes a bit longer, but the risk of cutting a finger off is much lower.

A fork rests on top of spaghetti squash noodles that have been scraped out of a ring of squash.

Is spaghetti squash supposed to be mushy?

Nope! Properly cooked spaghetti squash really does have the glorious texture of regular spaghetti noodles. Well-roasted spaghetti squash should have an al dente bite to it, without a hint of mushiness.

Two important things to remember to avoid mushy spaghetti squash:

  1. Salt the spaghetti squash first to draw out moisture: Letting cut spaghetti squash sit with coarse salt on it for 15-20 minutes draws out a TON of moisture from inside the squash. Less moisture equals less mushy noodles.
  2. Roast at 425°F: Anything lower than that, and spaghetti squash will be steaming instead of roasting, and a steamed spaghetti squash is a mushy spaghetti squash.

Wholefully Protip

Don’t skip the salting step! It draws out moisture so that your noodles aren’t mushy.

Close up of the water on a salted spaghetti squash ring.

So how do I roast spaghetti squash?

It may be time consuming, but cooking spaghetti squash isn’t hard, and most of that time is hands-off! Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Slice the squash into 1-2″ horizontal rings (like donuts) with a sharp knife. Scrape out the inside seeds and strings while you’re at it.
  2. Sprinkle the squash liberally with sea salt, and let them sit for awhile to get out some moisture.
  3. Line a baking sheet or large baking dish with parchment paper, then wipe the salt off the squash and move the rings to the baking dish.
  4. Slide that baby into the oven, and roast until fork tender (this will probably take around a half hour).
  5. Let it cool and then scrape the flesh of the squash with a fork to break it into noodles.

Can I cook spaghetti squash in the microwave, Instant Pot, or slow cooker?

I’ve tried every single method for cooking spaghetti squash out there, and I can safely say that the best way to cook spaghetti squash is to roast it in the oven. Yes, it takes longer. Yes, you actually have to keep an eye on it. But it’s worth it! Why? Well, your goal with roasting spaghetti squash (or honestly, any veggie) is to get rid of as much moisture as possible. The oven allows that to happen.

Wholefully Protip

The best way to cook spaghetti squash is to roast it in the oven—it’s how you will get noodles that aren’t at all mushy.

However, you can absolutely cook a spaghetti squash in a microwave, Instant Pot, and slow cooker. Beth from Pass the Plants has a great tutorial with a how-to for all of those methods. But just remember, those three methods (and particularly the electric pressure cooker and slow cooker) are designed to keep moisture in. Which could result in a much mushier spaghetti squash noodle.

Three big mistakes most people make when cooking spaghetti squash (please don’t do these)

  1. Roasting spaghetti squash at 350°F: If a recipe tells you to roast spaghetti squash at anything less than 425°F, step away! Anything less than that and the spaghetti squash steams in the oven instead of roasting. Steamed spaghetti squash means soggy spaghetti squash. High heat is the way to go; it results in al dente noodles and caramelized squash. Yum!
  2. Using a big knife to cut spaghetti squash: Put down the chef’s knife, and instead pick up a sharp paring knife. Large knives tend to get stuck inside of hard-skinned squash like spaghetti squash. You’ll have much more luck (and much fewer cuts) if you work your way around the spaghetti squash with a smaller knife.
  3. Cutting a spaghetti squash in half lengthwise: By cutting a spaghetti squash in half the long way, you’re cutting right through the strings that make the noodles—making your noodles half the length they could be. Instead, cut your spaghetti squash into rings for the best spaghetti squash noodles.
Rings of spaghetti squash spread out on a baking sheet.

What are some spaghetti squash recipes?

Now that you’re a pro on how to roast spaghetti squash, let’s talk about what you should do with it! Here are some ways to doctor up those perfect spaghetti squash noodles:

How long does spaghetti squash last?

Spaghetti squash noodles will be fine in the fridge for 5-7 days in an airtight container.

More tasty recipes with winter squash

  • Butternut Squash Basmati Rice. This butternut squash side dish is great for Thanksgiving and other fall dinners.
  • Pumpkin and Black Bean Enchiladas. Everyone will love these vegan enchiladas—even the non-vegans!
  • One Pot Pumpkin CurryAnyone who thinks pumpkin is only for sweet recipes needs to try this savory preparation, and their minds will surely be changed.
  • Savory Pumpkin Hummus. Sweet pumpkin and smoky paprika balance nicely in this twist on the classic hummus.
  • How to Roast Pumpkin SeedsSave the seeds from your pumpkin, and make one of our six roasted pumpkin seed recipes. Whether you want savory or sweet, we have you covered!

And check out these reader favorites:

  • How to Make Limoncello. Our limoncello recipe is sweet, tart, and a little boozy—make it for yourself, or as a gift.
  • Slow Cooker Mashed PotatoesMake fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes right in your slow cooker, and free up some space on your stove top this Thanksgiving.
  • How to Make an Awesome Cheese Board in Minutes. Learn how to make a perfect, crowd-pleasing cheese board with no fuss.
  • Cashew Cream.  We’ll teach you how to make this vegan replacement for dairy, plus six different recipes to use it in!
A fork lifts spaghetti squash noodles above a ring of spaghetti squash.

How to Roast Spaghetti Squash

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Get perfectly al dente LONG spaghetti squash noodles with this tutorial for how to roast spaghetti squash. We’ll cover the three big mistakes most people make when they cook spaghetti squash so you won’t make them!


  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • Coarse sea salt


  1. Using a sharp knife, slice the spaghetti squash into 1-2” horizontal rings—like donuts. Cut out the inside seeds and strings and discard. 
  2. Lay the squash rings on a clean kitchen towel, then sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Let sit for 15-20 minutes to release some of the water in the squash.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. Set aside.
  4. Using another clean towel, wipe off the excess water and salt. Place the rings on the prepared baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender, but not mushy.
  5. Remove squash from the oven and let it cool to the touch, about 30 minutes. Then use a fork to remove the noodles from the skin and fluff. Serve with your favorite sauce and toppings.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 129Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 377mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 7gSugar: 12gProtein: 3g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. First time trying spaghetti squash to replace noodles but it was quite strange. At first glance it looked very mushy. Everything in clumps. Mixing in sauce makes everything look and feel even more mushy. However, once eating it, it’s somehow both mushy and has a bite. I’d like it with less bite, softer, but not as mushy feeling. Certainly not like noodles at all. It doesnt have that “springy” texture.

    1. Thank you for showing a better way to do spaghetti Squash. I will most likely do it for 15 minutes though. The reason for this is due to the fact that once cooled to touch, I will separate and place on dehydrating trays. This way I can preserve for long term.

  2. Let me preface this by saying I love pasta. Every time I tried a veggie substitute (I’ve even tried shirataki noodles) it’s been a huge let down. I have tried zucchini as a pasta replacement and NOPE! I was skeptical about trying spaghetti squash as a replacement…I thought here we go again. But this came out really great. I loved it. Thank you for posting this method.

    1. So glad you’re happy with the way it turned out, Alisha! Thanks for taking the time to tell us about it!

    2. I think the “KEY” to this is the temperature. Like you, I have heard a lot of folks who have tried but were very disappointed with the end result. I don’t think they were actually had the temperature high enough.

  3. Tried this method — Loved this method!!! My family was convinced that they wouldn’t like spaghetti squash because it was going to mushy and not taste good and taste like over cooked zucchini. Did this method and served it under turkey meatballs and chunky tomato sauce. Next time…. will have to buy a bigger spaghetti squash and everyone asked…. “Is there any more?!” Thanks for the method!!!!

  4. This was my first time using spaghetti squash. I was choosing an acorn squash, when a woman picked up a spaghetti squash nearby. I asked her how to cook it, and she enthusiastically told me her method. So I thought, why not try it? At home, I did a Google search and found your great instructions. Well… one thing I discovered almost immediately was that if I do this again I’m going use a power hatchet instead of my paring knife. I literally had sweat dripping off my face by the time I’d cut all the slices. Judging from the amount of liquid that collected in my pan, the kosher salt was an important step. I rinsed and dried the slices instead of wiping them because I’m not a fan of salt. The rest of the job went well. No mushiness, just great “noodles”. I used a spaghetti sauce with them, but with the rest of them that are in the fridge, I’m planning on making a salad.

  5. After too many years of hating this squash for being bland mush, I can’t believe you just taught me the right way to cook it….and love it! OMG, this method is da bomb!!! Never knew I was cutting it wrong, cooking it wrong, and never thought of salting it first. Sweet, tender but not mush, and everything I always heard it should be! To anyone debating about it….follow this base recipe and LOVE IT!!

    1. Hooray! Spaghetti squash is super delicious and we’re so happy this helped you cook up the good stuff! Thanks for your feedback, Allen!

  6. I tried them today. Best Spaghetti Squash recipe ever!!! I followed directions to the T (although I never like to bake with oven above 400º 😉 and avoided all mistakes. Perfect result! Neither soggy, nor steamed, caramelized and delicious. Thank you!!!!!

  7. Hi, I’ve been a Executive Chef for 45 years (recently retired) and the last time I cooked spaghetti squash is was so mushy it was almost unedited. I was cutting lengthwise and baking flesh side down. I can’t wait to try this technique. It makes perfect sense. Thanks

  8. Great and lovely recipe. I’m also trying to switch to a healthier lifestyle and started to mine for healthy recipes like yours. Also, I started a marathon training with SportMe, and I managed to get rid of some pounds. Your blog posts are super inspiring for me in this phase, thanks!

  9. Gotta say I’m all about steaming it in a pot on the stove. It doesn’t have to be mushy at all, just Steam it for less time. Mine is done in 15 mins start to finish. Ain’t nobody got time for roasting. Haha

    1. Thank you for sharing your method of roasted spaghetti squash… Can I just say two things?
      #1. DELISH! We gobbled this right up and were filled but not “uncomfortably full”….the flavor was incredible!
      #2. This for me, is along the lines of “Life Changing”! I loved traditional pasta spaghetti but it did not love me back… This brings one of my all-time favourite meals back into my life; in a whole new, delicious way!
      You’ve gained a new subscriber. 😊
      Thank you, again!

      1. Yay! We really appreciate you taking the time to tell us how helpful this was, Tamara. Thanks so much!