Spaghetti squash serves as a great side dish as a healthy alternative to pasta.  When you know how to cook spaghetti squash perfectly, chances are even picky teenagers will like it! If you are looking for a way to increase healthy nutrients into your diet and lose weight, spaghetti squash is the perfect addition when cooked properly.

Several years ago I made spaghetti squash and thought it was terrible. Unfortunately, it was a long time before I tried it again. Sadly, I realized it wasn’t that I didn’t like it, but just that I did not know how to cook spaghetti squash properly! I want to help you from making that same mistake.

There are several ways to cook spaghetti squash successfully. No matter how much time you have, you can cook spaghetti squash tonight! I love knowing how to cook spaghetti squash fast on the days I start dinner later than planned.

how to cook spaghetti squash 3 different ways

If you have never cooked spaghetti squash before you will be shocked at how simple and quick it can be!

I absolutely love how the texture of spaghetti squash quenches that pasta craving! And better yet, spaghetti squash tastes better than pasta!

So, maybe you are wondering why people are switching from enriched pasta to spaghetti squash in recipes. Honestly, you won’t serve it to anyone without them realizing it’s not pasta. While it is a good replacement, it’s not pasta.

If you go into this realizing that, I believe you will love it. The similarities between pasta and spaghetti squash are the recipes and use that it can be used for with ease. You will see exactly what I mean once you fix it…and love it, no doubt.

The health benefits of spaghetti squash are pretty impressive, especially if you are trying to lose weight by eating fewer carbs.

Enriched pasta has its place in life. When you need some fast burning carbs in your life…enriched pasta is your food. Personally, I have learned I can eat one of my favs, cereal when I need some fast burning carbs…but that’s a story for another day.

Is Spaghetti Squash Healthy?

Absolutely!

Spaghetti squash beats the pants off of pasta when comparing carbs, fiber and calories. Calories of spaghetti squash alone, even if you don’t track macros (which btw, you totally should be doing if you’re trying to lose weight) is worth ditching the standard pasta we grew up on forever ago.

Spaghetti Squash Calories, Carbs and Vitamins

  • A 1 cup serving of spaghetti squash is just 1/4 the calories of pasta, 40 calories compared to 200 calories in pasta
  • Spaghetti squash is only 10 grams of carbs versus 70 grams per cup of regular spaghetti pasta
  • Spaghetti squash is a great source of vitamins A, C and several B
  • Spaghetti squash helps you absorb calcium, maintain healthy blood sugar control and supports nervous system health

There are tons of healthy spaghetti squash recipes available. So many different ways and varieties to include in your collection of recipes.

But first, don’t make the same mistake I did years ago.  Know the how to cook spaghetti squash from the start. If spaghetti squash isn’t cooked properly, the flavor doesn’t pop and the consistency is…well, rather gross. It was one of those meals when we all kind of looked at each other in hopes someone would suggest take-out instead.

First, How to Cut Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti squash cut in half lengthways for cooking

The first thing you want to do before you start cooking your spaghetti squash is to wash it. Simply rinse and wash with warm water and soap then dry it off. You will want to prep with this step first regardless of which method you choose for cooking.

How to cut spaghetti squash really depends how you are going to cook it.

But, no matter which method you choose, make sure to have a large, sharp knife to use since the squash is very hard prior to cooking. It is similar to cutting a watermelon, only a bit harder in texture.

If you are cutting the squash in half prior to cooking (see which method below) you may want to use some extra caution while cutting. As I mentioned, it is a very hard vegetable and using caution can help prevent a slip of the knife onto your hand.

If you cook the spaghetti squash whole, you need to poke the knife in a few times to release steam while it’s cooking.

How to cut spaghetti squash for cooking in the instant pot – leave the squash whole, poke or slice 12-15 holes in it. 

How to cut spaghetti squash for cooking in the microwave – leave the squash whole, poke or slice 12-15 holes in it.

How to cut spaghetti squash for cooking in the oven – cut the squash lengthwise. After cutting the squash lengthways, get a spoon to scrape out the seeds.

scarping seeds out of spaghetti squash with spoon

Now, you are ready to cook it.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash 3 Perfect Ways

  1. Cooking spaghetti squash in the microwave
  2. Pressure cooking with an Instant Pot
  3. Baking in the oven

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave

Are you as surprised as I was that it’s possible to cook spaghetti squash in the microwave??!! But it is true! Spaghetti squash in the microwave is a great way to speed things up for dinner when in a hurry. Anytime dinner can be cooked quickly is a winner for me.

1. First, wash the spaghetti squash with warm water. Dry, and poke 12 – 15 holes in it with a sharp knife. You want to do this so the steam has a way to escape while it’s cooking.

2. Next, place the whole squash in a microwave safe dish and place it in the microwave.

3. Cook the squash on high for 12 minutes.

4. Once it has finished, allow it to sit for about 10 min to cool a bit.

5. Carefully cut the squash in half. You can cut it in half lengthways or crossways, depending on personal preference. I chose to cut in crossways so you could see the difference.

6. Scoop out the center with the seeds and discard.

7. From here, you will see how easily the squash pulp shreds into fluffy yummy strands.

 

Cooking Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot

instant pot with spaghetti squash and water to cook in a hurry

I am still fairly new to cooking in my Instant Pot, but I’ve cooked enough to know how much I love it. It caught my eye when I saw the weight loss benefits of the Instant Pot.

It is perfect for me for those days I should have started dinner 3+ hours before I actually walked into the kitchen. This pressure cooker is such a slow cooker dream for procrastinators like myself!

Side note: This is the Instant Pot we have, and we also gave all of our adult children one last year for Christmas.

 

adding water to instant pot to cook spaghetti squash

1. After you have washed your squash with warm water and poked 12 – 15 holes in the squash with a sharp knife, you will need to place the rack on the bottom of the Instant Pot. If you don’t, the Instant Pot will not be very happy with the squash or you in a few short minutes when it starts to burn. Also, add in 1 cup of water to help the steaming process.

spaghetti squash in instant pot for quick cooking

2. Next, place the squash on the rack into the Instant Pot.

3. Cover and seal the lid. Make sure the steam valve is closed.

4. Cook on High for 15 minutes.

5. After the 15 min, release the steam valve completely and remove the lid.

6. Let sit and cool for ten minutes as it will be hot to the touch

7. Carefully cut the squash in half. You can cut it in half lengthways or crossways, depending on personal preference.

8. Scoop out the center with the seeds and discard.

9. Take a fork to pull out the pulp and see how easily it pulls apart to form the shredded squash ready for your favorite recipe!

Cooking Spaghetti Squash in the Oven

Honestly, if I have the time, this is my preferred way of cooking spaghetti squash. I love the roasted taste of anything, especially veggies.

Cooking spaghetti squash in the oven is time-consuming. Not hands-on time consuming, but of course, it does take longer to cook.

1. Just like the other methods, you will need to wash the squash and then poke 12 – 15 holes in the squash using a sharp knife.

2. Once you’ve done this, you are ready to cut the squash in half, lengthwise.

3. Scrape the seeds out and discard.

4.Place the squash face down in a baking dish. I like using a pyrex dish.

spaghetti squash cut lengthways and placed in pyrex dish for baking in oven

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 – 40 minutes, or until it begins to cave in a bit and tender when you stick a knife through it.

6. Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes so it won’t be as hot to the touch.

7. From there, you want to flip the squash over and using a fork, pull out or scrape the pulp.

perfectly cooked spaghetti squash on white plate with fork ready to eat

 

Spaghetti squash is a Fall favorite of ours. I hope you enjoy using this vegetable to add healthy nutrients to your diet and have fun experimenting with different ways to serve it!

Since discovering how to cook spaghetti squash the right way, I have discovered a whole new world of recipes that I had previously stopped cooking after avoiding the high carbs of pasta. The recipes that you can use spaghetti squash for are truly endless.

So there you have it. Three easy, simple and delicious ways to cooking spaghetti squash. No matter what your time, what equipment you have, spaghetti squash for dinner – or any meal is at your fingertips.

Now that you know how to cook spaghetti squash perfectly, you can start experimenting with your favorite spaghetti squash recipes! This Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs recipe is a great one to try tonight.

spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and sauce on white plate with fork

 

Are you ready to give the squash a try instead of pasta?

spaghetti squash instant pot and measuring cup and cooked spaghetti squash on white plate with fork for dinner

 

perfectly cooked spaghetti squash on white plate with fork ready to eat
5 from 3 votes
Print

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash 3 Different Ways

Spaghetti squash is an easy, healthy, delicious alternative to pasta. Cooking times and methods are as flexible as you need. Microwave, Instant Pot or oven - spaghetti squash can be ready tonight! 

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Vegetables
Prep Time 2 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 40 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Medium Spaghetti Squash Washed

To Cook in the Microwave

Instructions

  1. After the squash is washed, puncture it with 12 - 15 half inch knife cuts to allow the steam to release while cooking.

  2. Place the whole squash in a microwave safe dish and place it in the microwave.

  3. Cook on high for 12 minutes.

  4. Let sit and cool for ten minutes as it will be hot to the touch.

  5. Cut squash in half, crossways.

  6. Scoop out the center and the seeds and discard.

  7. Use a fork to pull out the pulp to enjoy.

To Cook in the Instant Pot

  1. After the squash is washed, puncture it with 12 - 15 half inch knife cuts to allow the release of steam.

  2. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the Instant Pot, then place trivet inside the pot.

  3. Place whole squash into the pot.

  4. Cover and seal with the lid; make sure the steam valve is also closed.

  5. Cook on high for 15 minutes.

  6. Release the steam valve and carefully remove lid.

  7. Let sit and cool for ten minutes as it will be hot to the touch.

  8. Cut the squash in half. Be careful of potential steam. 

  9. Scoop out center with seeds and discard.

  10. Use a fork to pull out the pulp to enjoy!

To Cook in the Oven

  1. After the squash is washed, puncture it with 12 -15 half inch knife cuts to allow the release of steam.

  2. Cut squash in half, lengthwise.

  3. Scrape out seeds with a spoon and discard.

  4. Place cut side face down in a baking dish.

  5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, or until it begins to cave in a bit and tender when you stick a knife through it. 

  6. Let sit and cool for ten minutes as it will be hot to the touch.

  7. Use a fork to pull out the pulp to enjoy!