Spaghetti squash noodles are a healthy alternative to regular noodles – and they are really easy to make!

This post will show you exactly how to cook spaghetti squash and get those long, stringy noodles that aren’t mushy or watery at all.

The post also includes:

The right way to cut spaghetti squash

It’s counterintuitive, but you should cut spaghetti squash crosswise for the longest noodles. See the picture below.

Image of someone cutting a spaghetti squash crosswise with a large chef's knife.

The spaghetti squash strands actually grow around in a circle that follows the shape of the squash. So, if you cut it lengthwise you are cutting the noodles in half.

Cutting tip: Using the sharp tip of your knife, poke it through the skin. Apply pressure to slide the knife into the flesh and slowly work your way around the squash crosswise until it is in two pieces.

How to cook spaghetti squash (3-ways!)

Any way you cook it, follow the instructions above to cut the squash crosswise. Then, scoop out the seeds from the middle. You can cook your spaghetti squash easily using any of the following methods.

  • Bake – line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet. Place in the oven to roast for 25-35 minutes (see tips below).
  • Instant Pot – Place the trivet in the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pot. Place the halves of spaghetti squash in the pot. Secure the lid and close the pressure valve. Press the “manual” button (or “pressure cook” button) and set the time to cook for 8 minutes at high pressure. Once the time is up, carefully quick release the pressure manually. (Since this method uses steam to cook the squash, it can cause the noodles to be watery. See tips below).
  • Air Fryer – Preheat air fryer to 400° Fahrenheit. Place the squash cut side down in the air fryer basket. Cook for 20-25 minutes.

After cooking the spaghetti squash allow it to cool enough to handle (around 10 minutes). Then, using a fork, gently pull the squash flesh from the sides and scrape it out of the shell. It will form into long, spaghetti-like noodles.

Spaghetti squash noodles all scooped out in the shell with a fork with noodles wrapped around it.

NOTE: All spaghetti squash are different sizes. The cooking times noted above are general guidelines for for “average-sized” squash. Adjust cooking times as needed for larger or smaller squash.

Tips For Avoiding Mushy, Watery Noodles

It’s easy to end up with mushy spaghetti squash noodles. Here are some tips to avoid this!

  • Don’t overcook them – This is the #1 reason that noodles become a mushy, watery mess! Stick to the times noted above and don’t allow the squash to become soft to the touch. It will still feel hard when it’s cooked.
  • Don’t cook them twice – A lot of recipes will call for cooking the squash to get noodles and then baking the noodles again. Make sure you are only warming up the noodles with the other ingredients, not cooking them for another extended period of time.
  • Add cooked noodles into recipes at the very end – if you’re going to be eating them with anything else that’s warm, simply toss the cooked noodles with the rest of the warmed up ingredients.
  • Strain them – If you do end up with softer noodles, you can let them sit in a colander for 10 minutes to remove some of the water.

Some recipes with spaghetti squash

Overhead image of a bowl full of spaghetti squash noodles with herbs sprinkled on top. A fork is in the bowl with noodles wrapped around it.
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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (That’s NOT Mushy or Watery!)

How to cook spaghetti squash that's never mushy, soggy or watery! 3 easy ways to cook spaghetti squash for perfect noodles every time. Includes instructions for the right way to cut a spaghetti squash for the longest noodles.

Ingredients

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place spaghetti squash on a cutting board so one end is on your right side and one end is on your left side (crosswise). Using a sharp knife, poke the knife tip through the skin of the center of the squash. Apply pressure to slide the knife into the flesh and slowly work your way around the squash until it is in two pieces.
    Image of someone cutting a spaghetti squash crosswise with a large chef's knife.
  • Scoop the seeds out of the squash with a spoon and discard. Drizzle a little olive oil and salt and pepper on the cut sides of the squash (optional).
    Image of spaghetti squash cut in half crosswise with the seeds scooped out of one side and in a pile on the cutting board.
  • Place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet.
    Spaghetti squash cut in half crosswise and placed open face down on a lined baking sheet to roast in the oven.
  • Place in the oven to roast for 25-35 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
    Roasted spaghetti squash on a baking sheet.
  • Using a fork, gently pull the squash flesh from the sides and scrape it out of the shell. It will separate into long, spaghetti like strands.
    Roasted spaghetti squash on a baking sheet with the noodles scooped out in one half.
  • Enjoy these noodles tossed with a simple mix of oil/butter, herbs and salt and pepper. Or, use them in any recipe calling for spaghetti squash (see blog post above for some recipe suggestions).
    Overhead image of a bowl full of spaghetti squash noodles with herbs sprinkled on top. A fork is in the bowl with noodles wrapped around it.

Notes

See the post above for alternative cooking methods.
 
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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (That\'s NOT Mushy or Watery!)How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (That\'s NOT Mushy or Watery!)