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How to Roast Spaghetti Squash for the BEST Noodles!

A fork lifts spaghetti squash noodles above a ring of spaghetti squash.
Recipe At-A-Glance
Gluten-Free, Vegan1 hour, 30 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!

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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. 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 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.

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

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.

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.

How do you serve the cooked noodles?

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:

More tasty recipes with winter squash

 
How to Roast 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!

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • Coarse sea salt

Instructions

  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: 129 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 377mg Carbohydrates: 31g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 12g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 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.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

2 Responses
  1. Carly

    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

  2. Mara

    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!

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