Roasted Spaghetti Squash {How to Bake Spaghetti Squash}

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by Sil Pancho

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10.03.2021


I’m a sucker for a good magic trick. Turning a hard, yellow gourd into tasty, fluffy noodles might be my favorite display of culinary sorcery yet. You too can make delicious Roasted Spaghetti Squash in the oven with just a wave of your kitchen knife (no spiralizers needed!).

Roasted spaghetti squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet with seasonings and a fork

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In our house, we rely on roasted fresh vegetables about as much as our WIFI.

For only a few minutes of chopping, they’re such an easy way to add nutrition and complete a well-rounded meal.

From Roasted Butternut Squash to Roasted Brussels Sprouts, often little more than salt, pepper, and olive oil is needed to magically transform a vegetable into caramelized candy.

If you ask me, baked spaghetti squash in the oven is an underutilized roasted vegetable, especially since it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

baked spaghetti squash on a plate with a fork and blue checkered napkin

From excellent side dishes to pasta substitutes, squash boats to casseroles (all of which you can find ideas about below!), roasted spaghetti squash’s light, stringy texture works well with so many recipes.

Today, I’ll show you the absolute best way to cook spaghetti squash in the oven.

It’s simple and fuss-free.

5 Star Review

“Perfect recipe, and leads to so many more healthful delicious dishes, I love a shake of fresh Parmesan cheese and a few herbs and I am got to go.”

— Patty —

You can use this roasted spaghetti squash recipe any time a dish you are making calls for baked spaghetti squash.

Whether you are seeking perfect al dente squash noodles, a fast side dish, or need it cooked for one of your favorite baked spaghetti squash recipes, after testing multiple methods, I can confidently report that this is the best way to roast spaghetti squash in the oven.

Of all the methods I tested, my favorite—the one that most yielded tender, caramelized, and NOT soggy spaghetti squash—turned out to be the easiest method too. (Now THAT is magic!)

A fork pulling out baked spaghetti squash flesh

Tip!

Need cooked spaghetti squash but don’t want to turn on your oven? This set-it-and-forget-it Crockpot Spaghetti Squash recipe is for you.


Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash

Along with a versatile range of ways to enjoy it, baked spaghetti squash comes with many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

  • A nutrient-dense food, it’s packed with vitamins C and B6, potassium, and manganese.
  • It’s high in fiber, which helps with digestive health.
  • Spaghetti squash also is loaded with antioxidants like beta carotene, which can help with heart disease prevention. (You can learn more about the health benefits here.)

Dietary Note

Beyond general health benefits, spaghetti squash has many great features that make it an important part of certain specific diets.

  • Being super low in calories, it’s helpful for those whose diet is designed towards maintaining a healthy weight.  
  • Roasted spaghetti squash is also a popular low-carb alternative to pasta noodles, and it’s keto-friendly.
  • Even if you’re not specifically following a gluten free diet, with less dense carbohydrates in spaghetti squash, the other flavors in your recipes can shine.

Tip!

Since spaghetti squash is ultra-mild, it’s also easy to serve to kids and sneak in extra nutrients. In fact, when I was younger, spaghetti squash (with brown sugar please) was one of very few vegetables I ate willingly.


How to Cut Spaghetti Squash

The only hard part about roasting spaghetti squash in the oven is cutting it in half, and fortunately, with these tips, it’s not hard at all!

Spaghetti squash on a cutting board
  1. Grab a non-slip cutting board and your best chef’s knife.
A spaghetti squash being chopped on a cutting board
  1. Place the squash horizontally on the cutting board. Slice off the stem and base, creating two flat ends.
  2. Using one of the flat ends, stand the squash upright and slice it in half from top to bottom. If your halves are not perfectly even, don’t stress. Your squash will still turn out.

Tip!

Not just for pumpkins! Do you have a pumpkin carving kit from Halloween lying around? One reader shared that she keeps one of the large carving knives from her kit in her kitchen year-round for cutting open all types of squashes.

A spoon scooping seeds from a squash
  1. Using a plain old kitchen spoon, remove the seeds and stringy parts.

Rings or Halves?

I also tested roasted spaghetti squash rings, but I honestly prefer the simple cut-in-half from top-to-bottom method for roasting. The squash was quicker and easier to cut, and I preferred the texture of the squash strands that resulted too.


How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven

Once your squash is cut in half, the hard part is over. All you need from here is salt, pepper, olive oil, and about 40 minutes in the oven.

Two uncooked spaghetti squash halves with oil and pepper on a baking sheet
  1. Coat the insides of the squash halves with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Two spaghetti squash halves on a baking sheet ready to bake in the oven
  1. Lay the halves cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
A roasted spaghetti squash on a baking sheet
  1. Bake spaghetti squash for 35 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees F, until fork-tender on the inside and the outsides give when pressed.
A seasoned roasted spaghetti squash on a baking sheet
  1. Flip the halves over.
using a fork to shred roasted squash on a baking sheet
  1. With a fork, fluff the squash flesh to create the strands. ENJOY!

Recipe Tips

  • Easy On the Oil and Salt. Make sure you add salt and oil to your spaghetti squash before roasting, but don’t overdo it. Too much salt may draw out more moisture than you want, and excess olive oil can make baked spaghetti squash soggy.
  • Don’t Overcook. As soon as the strands are fork-tender, the squash is done. (See more below.)
  • Don’t Add Water. While some recipes may call for a little water in the pan with the squash, I found that it roasts perfectly without it.
  • Skip the Holes. You don’t need to poke holes in the outsides of your spaghetti squash before roasting.
  • For other important and helpful cooking tips, The Well Plated Cookbook has heaps of great ideas for roasting vegetables and how to use them.

Don’t Overcook Your Squash!

The most important tip I have for roasting spaghetti squash in the oven is to not roast it for too long. Yes, you can overcook spaghetti squash even if it doesn’t seem like so!

  • For a 2-pound spaghetti squash (which is average size), I used to think I needed 50 to 60 minutes for the squash to be tender. I wanted my fork to fall through it with no effort.
  • BUT that just resulted in the squash noodles being too soggy and mushy, which did not make for an appealing texture, especially when using the roasted spaghetti squash as a stand-in for noodles.

Now, I’ve drastically cut down my roasting time; that same 2-pound spaghetti squash I now cook for 35 to 40 minutes only.

  • You want the squash strands to be al dente enough to hold their texture but still tender enough to be tasty.
  • As soon as the flesh of the squash is fork-tender inside, the outsides are turning golden, and when you press on the outside of the squash, it gives a little, your squash is done.
  • If your squash is larger than 2 pounds, you’ll need to add some cooking time. Use the visual cues mentioned here to know when it is done.
Two roasted spaghetti squash halves

The Best Ways to Eat Spaghetti Squash

Once properly roasted, there’s truly no wrong way to serve baked spaghetti squash. Here are some of my personal favorite ways to enjoy it:

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate roasted spaghetti squash in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm baked spaghetti squash in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat with a little olive oil or your sauce of choice.
  • To Freeze. While you can freeze spaghetti squash, it may become very soggy once thawed. If you want to freeze leftovers, freeze them in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. (Though honestly, I’d avoid freezing if you can.)

Meal Prep Tip

Roast your spaghetti squash in the oven on Sunday, shred, and store in the fridge to use as a side dish or in your favorite spaghetti squash recipes all week long.

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Cutting Board

This non-slip cutting board is ideal for cutting large items (like spaghetti squash) because it won’t slide out from under you while you cut.

Roasted spaghetti squash with seasonings

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Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is My Spaghetti Squash Watery?

Watery baked spaghetti squash was typically salted too heavily before baking. Adding too much oil before roasting can also cause spaghetti squash to become soggy while baking. Or your may have cooked your squash for too long.

Does Spaghetti Squash Taste Like Pasta?

No. Spaghetti squash does not taste like pasta—it just looks a lot like it. Rather, spaghetti squash has a very mild vegetable taste that easily takes on the flavors of the spices, herbs, or sauce it’s served with. For this reason, it’s often used as a pasta alternative in low-carb recipes. 

Why Does My Spaghetti Squash Have a Weird Taste?

If you’ve cut, seasoned, and roasted your spaghetti squash to perfection and it tastes a little off, the culprit was likely Mother Nature. During the growing season, if a spaghetti squash has to endure drought, excessive water, extreme temperatures, disease, or a pest infestation, it can impact the texture of your squash or even make it taste bitter.

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash about 2 pounds
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Bake the squash: Place a rack in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Grab a large, sturdy chef’s knife and a cutting board that doesn’t slip.

  • Lay the squash down horizontally on the cutting board. Using a very sharp, sturdy chef’s knife, trim off the stem and base end of the spaghetti squash so that you have a flat side on each end.

  • Stand the spaghetti squash upright on the larger of the two ends, and carefully cut it in half lengthwise from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds and stringy insides. You can discard the seeds or save them to roast later.

  • Drizzle the cut sides of the squash with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil each and then sprinkle the salt and pepper over the halves. Rub lightly to evenly coat the insides of the squash.

  • Place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Do not press any holes in the squash.

  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the squash is just fork-tender on the inside, lightly browned on the outside, and the skin gives a little when pressed on the outside (be careful, it is hot!). If your squash is very large, it may be as long as 50 minutes or so, but don’t let the squash overcook or your strands will be soggy.

  • Flip the squash over.

  • With a fork, fluff to separate the strands. Enjoy topped with butter and herbs, a sprinkle of brown sugar, or in any recipe calling for baked spaghetti squash (see blog post above for suggestions).

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate roasted spaghetti squash in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm spaghetti squash in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat with a little olive oil or your sauce of choice. 
  • TO FREEZE: While you can freeze spaghetti squash, it may become very soggy once thawed. If you want to freeze leftovers, freeze them in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Serving: 1(of 2)Calories: 118kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPotassium: 348mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 386IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 1mg

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