This step by step guide will teach you how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven, in an air fryer, or in the microwave. Using these easy tested and perfected recipes will give you perfectly cooked spaghetti squash every time, no matter which appliance you cook it in!

cooked spaghetti squash on plate with fork

Spaghetti squash is packed full of vitamins, potassium, and fiber. Their flesh shreds into noodle-like strands making an excellent gluten-free and low carb alternative to pasta!

This guide will teach you how to cut the squash, prepare it for cooking and how to cook it with 3 different methods. Roast for the most flavor, or pop it in the microwave to have it ready in minutes!

Once it’s perfectly tender, create “noodles” by scraping the flesh, top with butter and a sprinkle of fresh herbs, tomato sauce, or your favorite pasta sauce and dig in!

spaghetti squash cut in half on cutting board

Preparing squash for cooking

While it is possible to cook a spaghetti squash whole, you get more flavor if you cut it in half first. This way you can add seasonings, and when it’s roasting, the edges get nice and caramelized!

  • Choose a firm spaghetti squash that feels heavy for its size, with smooth skin and an intact stem.
  • Wash the exterior.
  • If you leave the squash whole, you will need to make sure to poke some holes. Use a sharp knife or fork to poke the exterior all over, about 10 times. This will allow steam to escape and prevent your squash from exploding in the microwave.
  • Otherwise, cut the squash in half (see tips below) and remove the seeds.
  • Drizzle olive oil on the flesh, then rub it all over with the desired seasonings.
    • Salt and pepper are classic and will go with a variety of flavors.
    • Onion powder, garlic powder, and herbs like oregano, thyme, parsley, or rosemary would all taste great.
    • Get the taste of fall with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.
spaghetti squash in microwave
spaghetti squash on cutting board with knife slicing through the middle

Tips for cutting spaghetti squash

The hardest part of cooking spaghetti squash is getting it cut in half! It is possible though, especially with a few tips for making it easier.

  1. Start by placing the squash on its side on the cutting surface.
  2. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice off the bottom to create a flat end, so that you can easily stand the squash up on a cutting board.
  3. Stand it up and carefully cut down the length of the middle of the squash.
  4. If the squash is too difficult to cut, simply microwave it for 5 minutes to soften the skin, then use the above steps to cut it in half.

How to cook spaghetti squash in the oven

Baking a spaghetti squash in the oven is the preferred method for the best flavor. Roasting gives it a nice sweet flavor, especially if you’ve cut it in half!

spaghetti squash cut in half on cutting board, with seeds removed on the side of the board

Step 1: once the spaghetti squash is cut in half, use a fork to scrape out all of the seeds from both sides of the squash. Discard the seeds.

seasoned spaghetti squash halves on cutting board

Step 2: brush olive oil on the inside flesh of the spaghetti squash and season with salt and pepper.

spaghetti squash cut in half on wire rack on top of baking sheet

Step 3: place the squash, cut side down on a wire rack, on top of a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. I recommend using a wire rack, so that any moisture drips out of the squash as it’s roasting and onto the baking sheet. Otherwise, the squash is sitting in the liquid as it cooks and it’s steaming from the inside. The end texture of the squash will be better using this method. Roast the squash as 400°F for 30-40 minutes.

roasted spaghetti squash half sitting on wire rack on top of a baking sheet

Step 4: Remove the squash from the oven. Use a fork to try to pull the fresh of the squash apart into “spaghetti strands”, if they are tender and easily pull apart, the squash is done cooking and ready to eat. If the squash is still tough and hard to pull apart, put it back in the oven in 5 minute increments, until it’s tender and pulls apart easily.

roasted spaghetti squash on plate with fork

How to microwave spaghetti squash

If convenience is what you’re after, the microwave method is for you since it is the fastest way to cook spaghetti squash!

fork stuck in spaghetti squash to poke holes

Step 1: leave the spaghetti squash whole. Use a fork to poke several holes in the squash to release steam as it cooks in the microwave.

spaghetti squash on plate in microwave

Step 2: place the squash on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 5 minutes, use tongs or an oven mitt to flip the squash over on the plate. Microwave for an additional 5 minutes. After 10 minutes, gently squeeze the squash with tongs or an oven mitt. If it’s still hard, with no give, flip the squash and microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Flip and add 2 minutes to the cooking time until the squash is tender. For a 3-4 pound squash, this should take no more than 14 minutes.

spaghetti squash standing up on cutting board cut in half
microwaved spaghetti squash cut in half on cutting board

After you remove the squash from the microwave, let it cool for 10 minutes. Slice the bottom off of the spaghetti squash, so that it can easily stand on a cutting board, then slice it in half.

Use a fork to remove the seeds from the squash, then pull the “spaghetti strands” from the squash and use in your favorite recipes, or season with salt and pepper, and serve it as a side dish.

microwaved spaghetti squash half on plate with fork

How to cook spaghetti squash in an air fryer

This method will result in a tender texture for almost all of the squash, with a slightly crispy texture on the top layer of the squash. This method is slightly quicker than the oven.

uncooked spaghetti squash half in air fryer

Step 1: once the spaghetti squash is cut in half, the seeds are removed and it’s seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, place the squash cut side up in an air fryer basket.

cooked spaghetti squash half in air fryer basket

Step 2: cook in the air fryer at 380°F for 24 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time. If you don’t want any browning on the flesh of the spaghetti squash, cook it cut side down the entire 24 minutes.

three halves of cooked spaghetti squash on cutting board

What’s the best way to cook spaghetti squash?

Let’s break down the pros and cons of each method for cooking spaghetti squash.

  • Microwave: it’s the fastest, by far, so if you’re in a hurry, this is the way to go. This method produces the least amount of texture from the squash, but the taste is delicious and it’s a great way to make spaghetti squash very quickly.
  • Oven: probably still my favorite method for making spaghetti squash. You can easily roast 2 whole spaghetti squash (4 halves) at a time, and it only takes slightly more time than the air fryer method. If you would like a little more texture on top of the spaghetti squash, simply flip it over and cook it flesh side up for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
  • Air fryer: this method is good, if you’re only roasting half of a spaghetti squash. Otherwise, it will take more time than the oven to roast a whole squash. I have a 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer and it will only fit one half of a 4 pound spaghetti squash in it at a time. If you use a smaller squash, that’s 3 pounds or less, you might be able to fit both halves in the air fryer, but that’s the only time it would make sense to use this method, over the oven method.

Recipes to make with it

Use the spaghetti squash noodles just as you would regular pasta and serve it with your favorite sauces, or use it in dozens of spaghetti squash recipes!

Sauces to serve it with

Spaghetti squash recipes

Tips and tricks

  • You’ll know when the spaghetti squash is done when you can easily insert a fork in the flesh. You want it tender, yet not mushy. If the squash is already cut in half, you can easily test if it is done by trying to shred the flesh. If it starts to come apart into “noodles”, you’re there!
  • To avoid watery spaghetti squash, do not over cook it. Overcooked spaghetti squash will be watery and mushy. Also, use a wire rack when roasting it in the oven, so that the moisture from the squash drips out onto a baking sheet and doesn’t stay in the squash and steam it, adding to the moisture content. Salting the squash before roasting it also helps to pull out some of the moisture to avoid watery squash.
  • Cutting the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise makes it easier to scoop out the seeds and will give your shorter noodles. If you want longer noodles, slice the squash in half horizontally.
  • You do not need to peel spaghetti squash before cooking, as the flesh will easily scoop out of the squash once it’s cooked.
cooked spaghetti squash strands in freezer plastic bags

Storing and freezing

Once the squash is cooked and the flesh is shredded into noodles, you can store it in the refrigerator or freezer for leftovers or meal prep!

  • Let the squash cool to room temperature.
  • Seal it in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate for up to 7 days.
  • You can also freeze cooked spaghetti squash for up to 8 months.
    • It is best to vacuum seal to avoid freezer burn.
    • If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, simply place in freezer safe zip-top bags and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.

Tools for this recipe

More kitchen tutorials

Don’t miss these other quick and easy cooking how-to posts!

cooked spaghetti squash on plate with fork
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
5 from 1 vote
Rate this Recipe

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash

This step by step guide will teach you how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven, in an air fryer, or in the microwave. Using these easy tested and perfected recipes will give you perfectly cooked spaghetti squash every time, no matter which appliance you cook it in!

Ingredients

  • 4 pound spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Oven Method

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
  • Use a fork to scrape out all of the seeds from both sides of the squash. Discard the seeds.
  • Brush olive oil on the inside flesh of the spaghetti squash and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the squash, cut side down on a wire rack, on top of a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  • Place the squash in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the squash from the oven. Use a fork to try to pull the fresh of the squash apart into “spaghetti strands”, if they are tender and easily pull apart, the squash is done cooking and ready to eat. If the squash is still tough and hard to pull apart, put it back in the oven in 5 minute increments, until it’s tender and pulls apart easily.

Microwave Method

  • Leave the spaghetti squash whole. Use a fork to poke several holes in the squash to release steam as it cooks in the microwave.
  • Place the squash on a microwave-safe plate and into the microwave for 5 minutes.
  • Use tongs or an oven mitt to flip the squash over on the plate.
  • Microwave for an additional 5 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, gently squeeze the squash with tongs or an oven mitt. If it’s still hard, with no give, flip the squash and microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Flip and add 2 minutes to the cooking time until the squash is tender. For a 3-4 pound squash, this should take no more than 14 minutes.
  • After you remove the squash from the microwave, let it cool for 10 minutes.
  • Slice the bottom off of the spaghetti squash, so that it can easily stand on a cutting board, then slice it in half.
  • Use a fork to remove the seeds from the squash, then pull the “spaghetti strands” from the squash and serve.

Air Fryer Method

  • Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
  • Use a fork to scrape out all of the seeds from both sides of the squash. Discard the seeds.
  • Brush olive oil on the inside flesh of the spaghetti squash and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the squash cut side up in an air fryer basket.
  • Cook in the air fryer at 380°F for 12 minutes.
  • Use tongs of an oven mitt to flip the squash over in the air fryer basket and cook for an additional 12 minutes.
  • se a fork to try to pull the fresh of the squash apart into “spaghetti strands”, if they are tender and easily pull apart, the squash is done cooking and ready to eat.

Notes

  • A 4 pound squash will produce approximately 6 cups of cooked spaghetti squash. The nutritional information provided is for 1 pound of spaghetti squash, which is approximately 1 ½ cups.
  • If you don’t want any browning on the flesh of the spaghetti squash using the air fryer method, cook it cut side down the entire 24 minutes.
  • If you want more browning on the flesh of the spaghetti squash using the oven method, simply flip it over and cook it flesh side up for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
  • To make the spaghetti squash easier to cut, slice off the bottom of the squash so that it can easily stand up on a cutting board. This will make it easier to cut the squash lengthwise. If it’s still too difficult to cut, microwave it whole for 5 minutes. This will soften the skin and make it easier to cut.
  • I recommend using a wire rack when oven roasting the squash, so that any moisture drips out of the squash as it’s roasting and onto the baking sheet. Otherwise, the squash is sitting in the liquid as it cooks and it’s steaming from the inside. The end texture of the squash will be better using this method. 
  • Cutting the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise makes it easier to scoop out the seeds and will give your shorter noodles. If you want longer noodles, slice the squash in half horizontally.
  • You do not need to peel spaghetti squash before cooking, as the flesh will easily scoop out of the squash once it’s cooked.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 131kcal (7%)Carbohydrates 22g (7%)Protein 2g (4%)Fat 5g (8%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 3gSodium 346mg (14%)Potassium 351mg (10%)Fiber 5g (20%)Sugar 9g (10%)Vitamin A 388mg (8%)Vitamin C 7mg (8%)Calcium 75mg (8%)Iron 1mg (6%)
Did you make this recipe?Tag @WhitneyBond on Instagram and hashtag it #WBRecipes!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.