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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
Don’t skip the salting step! It draws out moisture so that your noodles aren’t mushy.
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:
- 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.
- Sprinkle the squash liberally with sea salt, and let them sit for awhile to get out some moisture.
- 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.
- Slide that baby into the oven, and roast until fork tender (this will probably take around a half hour).
- 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.
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)
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- Mix them with a pesto sauce and meatballs.
- Slather them with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.
- Mix them with marinara and vegan meatballs.
- Use them as a base for stir-fry or curry.
- Put them into a frittata.
- Top them with Swedish meatballs and mushroom gravy.
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 Curry. Anyone 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 Seeds. Save 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 Potatoes. Make 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!