Your Foolproof Guide on How to Cook Spaghetti Squash Perfectly

By: Hilary Meyer, EatingWell Recipe Contributor

Find out how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven, microwave and even in your Instant Pot. Plus learn how to roast delicious, crunchy spaghetti squash seeds.

Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Pictured recipe: Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash, with its long strands of sweet yellow flesh, is the most versatile winter squash. It can mimic pasta, be spiced up and used as a side dish all on its own, or even stuffed, baked and served right in its shell. And yes, you can even roast and eat the seeds (more on that below). While its unwieldy size and tough exterior may intimidate some, we're here to give you plenty of tips to make cooking with spaghetti squash a breeze. Read on for the best ways to enjoy this versatile winter vegetable.

Try These: Healthy Spaghetti Squash Recipes

How to Roast Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Pictured recipe: Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

If you've got some time and want the least amount of fuss, then baking your spaghetti squash is the way to go. It may also be your only option if your squash is too large to fit in your microwave or pressure cooker.

• Halve and seed your squash.
• You can brush the cut sides with a little oil to prevent sticking, if desired. Then, simply place the squash halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet.
• Bake in a 400°F oven until the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.
• When it's cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh into strands with a fork.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes, Beans and Almond Pesto

Pictured recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes, Beans and Almond Pesto

Your microwave can cook a spaghetti squash in about 10 minutes, which is great for busy weeknights or if you don't feel like firing up your oven. Since microwaves are on the small side, this works best with small to medium squash (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds), depending on the size of your microwave.

• Cut your squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. One thing to note: While it may be tempting to avoid this step, it's important! Microwaving a whole spaghetti squash that hasn't been cut could cause it to burst (or more accurately explode) inside your microwave.
• Place the squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish; add 2 tablespoons water.
• Microwave, uncovered, on High until the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes.
• When it's cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh into strands with a fork.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in a Pressure Cooker

Pressure-Cooker Spaghetti Squash

Pictured recipe: Pressure-Cooker Spaghetti Squash

You can easily cook your spaghetti squash in your pressure cooker or multicooker, like the Instant Pot. It's fast and easy. Like with the microwave, this is a great method if you're crunched for time and have a small to medium squash (about 2 1/2 – 3 pounds).

• Pour 1 cup water into a pressure cooker or multicooker.
• Halve your spaghetti squash lengthwise, remove the seeds and place the cleaned halves in the pressure cooker or multicooker. You can sprinkle the flesh with a little salt and pepper if you desire.
• Close and lock the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. Release the pressure and remove the squash from the cooker to cool slightly.
• When it's cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh into strands with a fork.

How to Cut and Prep Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti squash side by side

Cutting into a spaghetti squash can be a bit tricky, thanks to its oblong shape and tough skin, but there are a few tricks to make it easier.

• Steady the squash as best you can on a cutting board. Insert the tip of a large heavy chef's knife into the center of the squash in a lengthwise direction.
• Place a folded kitchen towel between your hand and the spine of the knife and apply pressure to work your knife through one half of the squash. You're halfway there!
• Spin the squash 180 degrees and repeat the process on the other side.
• With your squash halved, all you need to do is scrape out the seeds. You can discard the seeds—or you can roast them!

Watch: How to Cut Spaghetti Squash and Cook It in the Microwave

How to Roast Spaghetti Squash Seeds

roasted spaghetti squash seeds

Spaghetti squash seeds are similar to the hull-on seeds you've scooped out of a pumpkin and roasted up as a tasty snack. But these are slightly smaller, which we've found actually makes them roast up crunchier, and faster too.

• After removing the seeds from the squash, place them in a bowl of warm water (the seeds float to the top, making them easier to separate from the threads) and remove any flesh sticking to the seeds. Drain and pat with a towel to dry well.
• Toss in a light coating of olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and any other seasonings you want. Try: ground cinnamon, ground cumin, garlic powder or even grated Parmesan cheese.
• Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake in a 300°F oven for 15 minutes. Give the seeds a stir, and continue baking until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes.

Try spaghetti squash seeds in these: Delicious Pumpkin Seed Recipes

How to Store Spaghetti Squash

Whole spaghetti squash can be stored in a cool dry place for up to a month. Halved squash can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week, covered. Cooked strands can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. If the strands seem watery, drain them like you would pasta before using. You can freeze cooked strands of spaghetti squash for up to 3 months. Drain them of excess water before freezing.

Watch: How to Make Spaghetti Squash Lasagna