How to Cut and Cook a Spaghetti Squash
Feeling intimidated by how to cut a spaghetti squash? Here are my step-by-step tips and tricks for safely cutting into one + how to cook this versatile veggie!
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I love keeping cooked spaghetti squash on hand for easily throwing into pasta dishes, casseroles, or simply enjoying as an easy veggie side that can be flavored in so many different ways.
However, like most squash, spaghetti squash can feel a bit intimidating to cut and cook. And many people opt out of adding this nutrient dense and versatile veg to the table because they don’t know how to prepare one. Well, I have got you covered! This is my favorite how-to for cutting into a spaghetti squash along with how to cook one in your oven!
How to cut a spaghetti squash
Spaghetti squash can be tough to cut raw. The outside is hard and the raw flesh can be a bit of a challenge to work through.
To safely cut into a squash (spaghetti or another kind), you need to make sure you have a nice sharp knife and a flat, stable work surface to cut on. Dull knives can lead to you struggling and the knife slipping (yikes). Spaghetti squash can also easily roll, so an uneven or tippy work surface can also result in a knife moving in a way that you don’t intend (again, yikes!).
Do I cut a spaghetti squash lengthwise? Or across the middle?
There are 2 different ways to cut a spaghetti squash. You can do lengthwise so that you get those lovely “boats” if you plan to stuff the squash with something. However, I find that to be a bit tricker since you have less squash to hold onto when cutting and more surface space to cut through. And, you also have to cut near the extra tough stem…
My recommend method is to cut a spaghetti squash across the middle. This way, you have a good amount of squash to hold stable while cutting and less to cut through! Plus, this will give you long, lovely strands once the squash is cooked!
What kind of knife is best to use when cutting a spaghetti squash?
I have found a sharp paring knife to be best, since it is less likely to slip versus a larger knife. Plus, a small paring knife is easy to get into the squash and cut around the circumference of the squash versus trying to muscle a larger knife through the middle.
To cut the squash
- Wash and dry your squash to be sure it is free of all dirt.
- Place the squash on your stable cutting surface.
- Hold one end of the squash firmly down on the cutting surface, being sure your hand is not close to the middle of the squash (where you intend to cut).
- Insert the tip of your sharp knife into the middle of the squash.
- Gently push the knife down towards the cutting surface.
- Rotate the squash around a bit and again pull the knife down (carefully) towards the cutting surface.
- At this point, the squash should easily crack apart, exposing the inedible seeds inside.
- Scoop out and discard seeds and then cook squash as desired!
How long does a spaghetti squash last?
Uncooked, a spaghetti squash can last in a cool space for 1-2 months. Therefore, they are great to stock up on so that you always have a veggie on hand!
Once cooked, a spaghetti squash should be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I find that cooked spaghetti squash does not freeze well and do not recommend storing your cooked squash in the freezer.
Can I cook a spaghetti squash whole?
You can! When I am in a hurry, I will often throw mine in the slow cooker to cook up easily.
To roast a whole spaghetti squash in your oven, pierce the flesh a few times with your paring knife to allow the moisture inside the squash to release as it cooks. Place in a baking dish or on a lined baking sheet and cook in a 425℉ oven for 45-50 minutes (depending on the size of your squash). Your squash is cooked when the outside can easily be pierced by a fork.
The downside to cooking a squash whole is that it is easy to mistake the stringy seeds for the edible (and delicious) squash strands. So, I opt to cut and deseed my spaghetti squash before cooking when time allows.
How to store cooked spaghetti squash
Once your squash is cooked, you can store it for future use (making this perfect for meal prep!). Allow it to cool completely before placing in an air tight container and placing it in your fridge for up to 5 days. Freezing cooked spaghetti squash is not recommended, as I have found thawed squash strands to be mushy.
How to reheat cooked spaghetti squash
You can zap the squash strands in your microwave for a minute to warm them up. Or, reheat your cooked spaghetti squash in a skillet on the stovetop. To do this, add a little oil to a skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Once hot, add cooked squash and toss in hot skillet until warmed through, about 3-5 minutes.
Recipes using cooked spaghetti squash
You can use this cooked spaghetti squash in whatever way your heart desires. Many people enjoy it mixed in with cooked pasta or in place of traditional pasta with meatballs and sauce. If you are looking for a few different ways to enjoy your squash, here are some recipes that you will love!
- Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole
- Chicken Spaghetti Squash Nuggets
- Ranch Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Veggie-Loaded Spaghetti Squash Bake
Other helpful veggie how-tos
- How To Store Spinach (so it stays fresh all week!)
- Slow Cooker Whole Spaghetti Squash
- Whole Roasted Butternut Squash
- How To Roast Beets
- Easy Roasted Radishes
- How To Store Avocado
- Crockpot Butternut Squash
Loving this easy veggie how-to and now you’re hungry for more?
How to Cut and Cook A Spaghetti Squash
- 1 medium spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil , or olive oil
- salt, to taste
- sharp paring knife
- cutting board
- Preheat your oven to 400℉ and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Wash and dry your squash to be sure it is free of all dirt. Place the squash on a stable cutting surface.
- Hold one end of the squash firmly down on the cutting surface, being sure your hand is not close to the middle of the squash (where you intend to cut). Insert the tip of your sharp paring knife into the middle of the squash. Gently push the knife down towards the cutting surface. Rotate the squash around a bit and again pull the knife down (carefully) towards the cutting surface. At this point, the squash should easily crack apart, exposing the inedible seeds inside.
- Scoop out and discard seeds.
- Brush the inside flesh of the squash with the oil and season with salt.
- Place the two halves of spaghetti squash cut side down on your prepared baking sheet.
- Cook for 35-40 minutes. Your squash is done when the outside is starting to turn golden brown and the strands inside easily pull away with a fork.
- Allow squash to cool a bit until it is safe to handle. Once you can, flip your cooked squash over.
- Use a fork to rake the strands apart and scoop them out of the squash's shell.
- Enjoy the squash strands warm with butter, a little extra oil, pasta sauce, or in your favorite spaghetti squash recipes (see blog post for ideas).
- Allow leftovers to cool and store in fridge for up to 5 days. Freezing is not recommended.
- If your squash is larger, it may take 45-50 minutes for your squash to cook.
- Smaller squash will be done in about 30 minutes.