Ultimate guide to cooking spaghetti squash

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All our best tips on how to cook spaghetti squash. We show you how to cut, cook, and serve, including how to cook in the oven, slow cooker, pressure cooker (instant cooker), or, if you're short on time, in the microwave. Spaghetti squash is easy to cook and can be used in 100 different ways. Skip to the recipe that shows How to cook spaghetti squash or watch our quick video that shows you how we do it.

Watch us do it

The best way to cut spaghetti squash

Don't let the hard shell of spaghetti squash scare you! We have the trick to cut it safely. I've outlined the steps we take to cut the squash in half below and you can see me do it in the video above.

What you will need: You need a heavy chef's knife, a towel to keep the squash steady while cutting (as well as to protect your hand), and some muscle strength. You got this!

  1. Use the towel to stabilize the squash. I like to put half under the pumpkin so it can't roll on me. Then the other half sits under my hand so I can hold the pumpkin firmly.
  2. Cut the pumpkin from the stem to the end. Punch the knife in the middle of the spaghetti squash and cut it from the stem to the end, but don't try to cut it (it's too hard).
  3. Separate the halves. Take the knife out of the pumpkin and then separate each half. The pulling force will release half of the stem. (Watch us do this in the video, it's simple.)

How to Safely Cut Spaghetti Squash

Use a tea towel to stabilize the spaghetti squash by cutting it in half.

If the pumpkin is too difficult to cut, here is a trick to soften the peel: Punch the squash in places with a knife or fork and write it down where you want to cut eventually. Put it in the microwave for three to four minutes.

This little time in the microwave helps to soften the outer shell, making it easier to cut. However, we don't recommend microwaving an entire pumpkin longer than that – steam will build up inside the pumpkin and could lead to a rather dangerous situation. A few minutes should do it.

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Scooping out the seeds

When you have cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds. If you're a fan of roasted pumpkin seeds, you can use spaghetti squash seeds to do something very similar. If you take a look at the notes section of the recipe, we've shared tips on how to grill them.

Scooping out spaghetti squash seeds

Note: There is another way to cut the spaghetti squash: if you watch the video above, we show you a second way to cut the pumpkin. Instead of making squash jars, we cut it in half crosswise. You can see us do it around the 1:45 mark.

Four ways to cook spaghetti squash

We call this the ultimate guide to cooking spaghetti squash for a reason šŸ˜Š Read on for our tips on how to bake or broil, microwave, use a slow cooker or slow cooker, and how to cook it in a pressure cooker (instant Pot).

All four methods work extremely well, but I'll tell you from the start that roasting spaghetti squash is my favorite method. I love how the edges get a little caramelized.

Bake spaghetti squash in the oven

To bake spaghetti squash in the oven, follow these easy steps:

  1. Rub the inside of the pumpkin halves with olive oil. (or use melted butter). I also like to season with salt and pepper. This is also a good time to sprinkle on your favorite spice mix.
  2. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. By baking the cut pumpkin halves side down, the edges are caramelized and browned, adding flavor. It also allows excess moisture to drip out of the squash and onto the baking sheet. If I were to bake the cut pumpkin halves up, the liquid would collect in the middle of the halves.
  3. Bake until fork is tender, but still a little firm. I like that the strands still bite a bit, so we try not to over-bake the squash, resulting in a mushy result.

How to Bake Spaghetti Squash in the Oven

Baking spaghetti squash in the oven is easy and develops the greatest flavor.

Here is one more tip for roasting squash: Put a few sprigs of fresh herbs under each pumpkin half before baking: rosemary, thyme, sage, and mint are great. You can see us do this in the video above!

What is the best oven temperature for baking spaghetti squash?

A 375 degree Fahrenheit oven is ideal, but adding or reducing by 25 degrees is fine. So if you have something else in the oven at the same time, there is no need to worry about changing the oven temperature. Just watch the pumpkin while it's roasting and take it out when it's soft, but a little firm.

Bake the squash for 40 to 50 minutes. (at 375F). Please note that the baking time will vary depending on how small or large your pumpkin is.

Microwave spaghetti squash (fastest method)

If you are looking to cook spaghetti squash quickly, microwave is your answer. Microwave baked pumpkin can be used in place of roasted pumpkin in most recipes.

Whether or not we use a microwave depends on how long we are willing to wait. Baked pumpkin is tastier at the end. The additional baking time also removes excess moisture that the microwave does not remove. That said, if you're short on time, the microwave is your friend.

To cook the spaghetti squash in the microwave, follow these easy steps:

  1. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and season with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Fill the plate with water so that it is about 1 inch deep.
  3. Microwave for 5 minutes, check the pumpkin, and microwave for 2 to 5 minutes until the pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork. Let the squash cool, then scoop out the meat with a fork.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven or Microwave

A fork does a quick job of turning the baked pumpkin into strands

Using a slow cooker or slow cooker

To cook the spaghetti squash in a slow cooker, follow these easy steps:

  1. Rinse the squash with water and leave it whole. There is no need to cut the squash in half for this method.
  2. Use a small, sharp knife or fork to prick the squash multiple times to allow steam to escape as it cooks.
  3. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or more, depending on how large the squash is. Check cooking and add more time as needed. I would expect a 3-4 pound pumpkin to take 3-4 hours. Or cook LOW for 5 hours or more, depending on size.

Using a pressure cooker or instant cooker

To cook spaghetti squash in a pressure cooker or instant pot, follow these easy steps:

  1. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Place a steamer basket or trivet in the pressure cooker (some models come with one).
  3. Add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pot, place the cut pumpkin halves on top of the trivet and seal the lid.
  4. Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes (for a 3 pound squash). The pressure cooker will take a while to reach pressure, so the cook time will not start for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. When the cook time is over, release the pressure by pressing the quick release button. When the floating valve at the top of the pressure cooker falls, it is safe to open the lid.

For safety, we recommend that you read the manual that came with your pressure cooker before following our recipe.

Serving Ideas

As I mentioned earlier, we love spaghetti squash around here. It is a low carb, low calorie vegetable that can be added to so many delicious dishes.

My favorite spaghetti squash recipe is this chicken with spaghetti squash and parmesan (pictured below). In it, we combine the pumpkin locks with chicken, fresh lemon and Parmesan. Is incredible!

Baked spaghetti squash with lemon and chicken parmesan

See the recipe: Spaghetti squash with chicken, lemon and parmesan

Here are many more suggestions:

Ultimate guide to cooking spaghetti squash

  • PREP 5mins
  • COOK 50 minutes
  • TOTAL 55 minutes

How to cook spaghetti squash in four ways: oven, microwave, slow cooker, and pressure cooker (like an instant pot). For the best flavor, we love to roast the squash, but if you're short on time, use the microwave. This recipe will either make four side servings or generously serve two as a complete meal.

Makes 4 servings as an accompaniment.

Will need

1 medium spaghetti squash, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds

1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

The optional fresh herbs, rosemary, thyme, sage and mint are excellent.

Addresses

  • Prepare pumpkin
  • Using a heavy chef's knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise; See the notes section or our video to know how to do it safely.

    Scoop out the seeds and discard them. Lightly drizzle the cut side of each pumpkin half with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.

    • Baked Spaghetti Squash
    • Heat oven to 375 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet (or large baking sheet) with parchment paper.

      Lay the squash cut side down on the baking sheet and bake 40 to 50 minutes until smooth and easily pierced with a knife. (If you have something, place a few sprigs of fresh herbs under the pumpkin cavity; rosemary, thyme, sage, and mint are great.)

      When the squash is ready, flip the halves over so that the cut side is facing up and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pass a fork through the meat to separate the "spaghetti" strands / noodles.

      • Microwave spaghetti squash
      • Place the pumpkin halves cut side down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Fill the plate with water so that it is about 1 inch deep.

        Microwave for 5 minutes, check the squash and microwave for 2 to 5 minutes until the squash is smooth and easily pierced with a knife.

        When the squash is ready, flip the halves over so that the cut side is facing up and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pass a fork through the meat to separate the "spaghetti" strands / noodles.

        • Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash
        • For this method, do not cut the squash in half and leave it whole.

          Using a small, sharp knife, make several holes on the outside of the pumpkin. This will allow steam to escape. Place the entire squash in a slow cooker. Add the lid and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. Depending on the size of the pumpkin, you may need more cooking time.

          When the squash is ready, let cool for about 5 minutes and then cut it in half. Pass a fork through the meat to separate the "spaghetti" strands / noodles.

          • Pressure cooker (instant pot) Spaghetti squash
          • Place a steamer basket or trivet in the pressure cooker and add 1/2 cup of water.

            Lay the pumpkin halves down on top of the trivet. Secure the lid. Select the "Pressure Cooker" or "Manual" function and cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. Please note that the timer will not start until there is enough pressure inside the pot, so the timer may not start for a few minutes.

            When the cooking time is up, manually release the pressure with the quick-release button (be careful to keep your hands and face away from ventilation steam). When the floating valve at the top of the pressure cooker falls, it is safe to open the lid. (We recommend that you read the manual that came with your pressure cooker, as not all models are exactly the same.)

            Let cool for about 5 minutes and then run a fork through the meat to separate the "spaghetti" strands / noodles.

Adam and Joanne's advice

  • To safely cut the spaghetti squash, you need a heavy chef's knife, a towel to keep it steady while cutting, as well as to protect your hand and some muscle strength. Cut the pumpkin from the stem to the end, but don't try to cut it (it's very difficult). When you have cut the squash, separate each half.
  • How to Roast Spaghetti Squash Seeds: Remove the pulp and stringy threads from the seeds. Simmer the seeds in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Mix the seeds with olive oil and season lightly with salt. Roast in a 325 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The seeds will not change much in color, but will crunch when finished.
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We omit the salt from the calculations, since it will have to be added to your tastes. We assume four lateral portions.

Nutrition Per Serving: 1/4 Pumpkin Serving Size / Calories 70 / Protein 1g / Carbohydrate 9g / Dietary Fiber 2g / Total Sugars 4g / Total Fat 4g / Saturated Fat 1g / Cholesterol 0mg

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