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Spaghetti Squash

posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces by Kathy Maister
difficulty rating

There are many varieties of squash available at the grocery store and farm stands. Spaghetti squash, also know as calabash squash or vegetable spaghetti, is really quite unique because when cooked looks like thin translucent strands of thin spaghetti. It has a mild, delicate flavor somewhat like that of yellow summer squash and watery texture.

Spaghetti squash has a rounded shape and can vary in weight and size. The ones I bought weighed almost four pounds and were about 9 inches long.

When you buy spaghetti squash, it should have a nice lemon yellow color. If it is green it means that it is under ripe.

Washing and Cleaning Spaghetti Squash

Begin by washing the squash with a vegetable brush under running water.

Dry it well so that it does not slip when you are cutting into the squash.

To cut spaghetti squash you need a big, heavy kitchen knife. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise.

Cutting the squash is the most difficult part of preparing the squash! It is like making that first cut into a melon, which can be tricky if you are not using a knife that can handle the task.

Once open, you can see there are seeds and stringy bits that need to get removed. (Just like with butternut squash or pumpkins.)

Using a spoon, scrape away the seeds and stringy bits….

…until the inside is clean.

Cooking Spaghetti Squash

I’m going to show you how to roast spaghetti squash in the oven and also how to cook it in the microwave. Normally these two cooking methods provide very different results. Roasting vegetables often makes them crispy and brings out their natural sweetness. Surprisingly enough, there is virtually no difference in the taste or texture when spaghetti squash is cooked in the oven vs. the microwave!

Oven Method:

Preheat the oven to 400º F ( = 200º C = gas mark 6-moderately hot.)

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on cut side of the squash and rub it around with your fingers.

Sprinkle on some salt and pepper.

Place the squash, cut side down in an oven-proof dish.

Depending on the size of your squash, it will take approximately 35-45 minutes to get tender.

Microwave Method:

Place the squash in a microwave-safe dish…

…cut side down.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap…

…being sure to leave a steam vent.

Cook the squash on high for approximately 7-10 minutes – depending on the size of your squash and how powerful your microwave is. If you do not have an automatic turntable in your microwave, give the dish a turn every 3 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Remove the plastic wrap with a pair of tongs and be very careful of the built up steam.

Note: I do not recommend cooking the squash WHOLE in the microwave. Some recipes have you pierce the whole squash about 20 or 30 times with a knife (so the squash does not explode in the microwave). Then stick it in the microwave whole. It is very difficult to cut and remove the seeds and stringy bits from a steaming hot squash.

How to Make the Squash Look Like Spaghetti

Once you have removed the squash from the oven or microwave, check to see if it is cooked by sticking a knife into it. The knife should slide in easily.

If you have over cooked the squash it will taste fine but the texture will be creamy and you will not be able to make the spaghetti like strands.

Flip the squash over with a spatula so that the cut side is facing up. (Be careful as it will be very hot!)

The above photo is of the oven roasted squash

Using a dinner fork, scrape the flesh of the squash….

…moving gently around the shell….

…fluffing up the strands of squash.

Turning the squash into spaghetti strands takes about 10 seconds!

You can then serve the squash as is or remove it to a serving plate. It will be very hot so hold the squash in a dish cloth so you don’t burn your hand.

The above photo is of the microwave cooked squash

Decision time! What do I now do with this squash?

You can eat it as is or dress it up with your favorite spaghetti sauce.

I like to add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of basil infused olive oil, and some salt and pepper!


P.S. Just for the heck of it, I tried freezing the leftover spaghetti squash. WRONG! It turned into spaghetti squash mush. It tasted fine but the spaghetti texture did not hold up at all!

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Cortni Marrazzo said:

I just found your site a few days ago and added it to my favorite feeds. Yesterday I received a spaghetti squash from my huband’s grandparents’ garden and had no idea what to do with it. I was so excited to see it featured today! I love your step by step instructions with detailed pictures- it helps a newbie cook out a lot! I tried making stuffed pattypan squash last night and was surprised by the seeds and the middle stuff. Now I’m fully informed and confident about cooking my spaghetti squash. Thanks!

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Cortni, Spaghetti squash is really great fun to make and eat! I can’t wait to try it with one of my TomatoSauces!

Creal said:

So glad to find your site. Just found out that my son is allergic to eggs. Spaghetti is his favorite meal and given the hardship of finding spaghetti noodles without egg or without being prepared on a machine that also prepares egg products, I figured I’d give spaghetti squash a try. Hope he likes it as it looks so easy and tasty!

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Creal,
Just remember it looks like spaghetti but tastes like squash!

SB from San Francisco Bay said:


Just had to write to say thanks for all your great videos! I am a homemaker who has been trying to branch out from typical recipes..watched your video on preparing spaghetti squash-and when I saw it in my local store the other week-I knew I had to try it.

So I rewatched the video, cooked up the squash-sprinkled a little Parmesan cheese on top..and was amazed how delicious it was!

(I never would have attempted this squash otherwise)

Thank you so much for helping me add to my cooking repertoire and cooking confidence!

A fan from the San Francisco Bay

Kathy Maister said:

Glad to hear it SB!
With all this cooking I’m doing, my husband is discovering foods he never knew he liked!

paige said:

Thank you so much for posting this, A friend told me about a low carb “spaghetti” and I was a little reluctant, after buying it I had no idea what to do with it, Your step by step instructions were so helpful, I cant wait to make it tomorrow!!

thanks so much

casey pons said:

I stumbled onto your website looking for ways to oven roast Spaghetti Squash whole…… Now I know that answer. I like your method (not) using a water bath.
I think I will try it with some of my homemade Italian Sausage, simmer some fresh garden Tomatoes into a nice sauce with Basil, Marjoram, Oregano, Fennel, Sage, Lavender, Willamette Valley Onions, lots of fresh Mushrooms, celery, carrots, wine a little garlic to ward off the Boogie-man at this time of year and top it with some Parmigiano Reggiano.

casey pons said:

P.S. Kathy, Thanks so much for your time consideration and last but …..absolutely not least…. your expertise.

Kathy Maister said:

Thanks Everyone!

CP – your recipe sounds wonderful – except for the lavender! I love the scent of lavender in my drawers but not in or on my food! Candied lavender looks really pretty on special desserts but the taste of it (for me!) is really overwhelming! :-)

Just for the heck of it, I tried freezing the leftover spaghetti squash. WRONG! It turned into spaghetti squash mush. It tasted fine but the spaghetti texture did not hold up at all!

Linda said:

Thanks SO MUCH for the great information! My husband was sceptical of this culinary experiment, but my very first attempt at spaghetti squash turned out perfect! We BOTH loved the slightly crisp strands which I served with a chicken curry sauce. JUST GREAT!!!

Kathy Maister said:

That’s great Linda! Spaghetti Squash is a really unusual vegetable – both the taste and the texture are not what you expect from a squash!

Carrie said:

Hey – Great post! I’ve been using spaghetti squash for years, but was looking to see if anyone was doing anything different when I came across your site. The step by step instructions and photos are great – glad you are introducing everyone to this great veg! Its a Fat Flush staple, you know! Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I freeze my cooked spaghetti squash, all the time and get great results. You can’t overcook it to begin with, and have to press it between two sheets of paper towel to get the water out first, but then I freeze individual portions in ziplocks or small glass containers. When defrosted it is still watery, drain first, but then serves up just like freshly roasted! Hope you can enjoy it this way too!

startcooking said:

Hi Carrie,
I am delighted to hear that you can indeed freeze spaghetti squash. (My husband does not like it so I always have a lot of leftovers)
I will give it another try!
Thanks for sharing.

Tanya said:

Your method of cooking this squash is fine, but you have the cutting of it all wrong. If you cut the squash the other way, the short way instead of the long sided way, you will get much longer strands of spaghettoy!i! The strands of squash run in a circle around the squash, and if you cut it long ways, you get shorter little pieces. Cutting it the other way really makes spaghetti squash look and taste like spaghetti! Enjoy!

startcooking said:

Hi Tanya, I did a lot of research on cooking spaghetti squash and you are the first to mention cutting in around the short way instead of the long side. I will give it a try!
Many thanks for sharing your great tip!

carolyn said:

i have never had squash. never ate it . dont know how to cook it.. its hard to try something new..what you think..

startcooking said:

Hi Carolyn,
Why not give it a try? My husband always said he did not eat squash until he tried a few of my butternut squash recipes! Spaghetti squash has a very mild flavor and tastes great with some Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and some salt and pepper.
Squash, How to Choose and Use
Squash – Butternut

Butternut Squash Soup (video)

More on Butternut Squash Soup

e said:

can regular squash be used instead? I bought the wrong kind at the grocery store,

Thank you!

startcooking said:

In a word…no.

Check out my post on Different Varieties of Squash.

It may help you to determine what you bought and how to cook it!


Melissa said:


My dh & I have recently decided to start eating healthier & I ran across a recipe that called for spaghetti squash. We’ve never tried it, nor have I ever cooked it. So I googled it to see what it looked liked & came across your site. LOVE love LOVE the pictures!!! great info!!! thank you so much.

You wrote, “Spaghetti squash has a very mild flavor” & that it tastes like squash;…. so my question to you is, If I use a marinara sauce will the spaghetti squash take on the flavor of the sauce, or will it still taste like squash? (my dh & 3 boys are picky eaters)

thanks again

startcooking said:

Melissa, it will never actually taste like pasta, even with the sauce, but it will certainly be a fun vegetable for the kids to try!
Good Luck,

Liz from Simple Italian Cooking said:

I haven’t tried making spaghetti with this type of squash, but I have with zucchini though. it was excellent. The mix of pasta sauce and vegetables always tastes so good!

Lance said:

I like this idea, but not a fan of squash. I find it has little flavor. Although, when you cooking with a little garlic and some fresh Italian tomato sauce, you’re onto a winner.

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