Everything you need to know about cooking spaghetti squash

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 step-by-step and get those long, stringy noodles that aren’t mushy or watery at all.

The post also includes:

How to cut spaghetti squash

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

Image of someone cutting a spaghetti squash crosswise with a large chef's knife.
Cut the spaghetti squash down the middle crosswise (not end-to-end). Use a sharp knife and hold the squash on one end to keep it stable while cutting.
Cooked half of a spaghetti squash with noodles and an arrow showing which direction the noodles grow
The strands of the spaghetti squash grow around the squash in a circle. Cutting it crosswise keeps the longest noodle strands together.

As noted in the image above, the spaghetti squash strands grow around in a circle that follows the round 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 make oven-baked spaghetti squash (step-by-step)

  • First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Then, follow the steps below:
Image of someone cutting a spaghetti squash crosswise with a large chef's knife.
Cut the squash in half crosswise with a sharp knife.
Image of spaghetti squash cut in half crosswise with the seeds scooped out of one side and in a pile on the cutting board.
Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds from the middle of the squash.
Spaghetti squash cut in half crosswise and placed open face down on a lined baking sheet to roast in the oven.
Place the squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 25-35 minutes.
Roasted spaghetti squash on a baking sheet.
Remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool down enough that you can handle it (about 10 minutes).
Roasted spaghetti squash on a baking sheet with the noodles scooped out in one half.
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.
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.
Now the spaghetti squash noodles are ready to serve or be used in any recipe you choose. See recommended recipes below.

How to cook spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot or Air Fryer

For both options below, 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 the Instant Pot or Air Fryer.

Instant Pot:

  1. Place the trivet in the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pot.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400° Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the squash cut side down in the air fryer basket and cook for 20-25 minutes.

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

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.

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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Get the Recipe:

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.
  • 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).
  • Place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
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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!)