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How to cut and cook spaghetti squash

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways – and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

I've tested multiple ways to cut and cook a spaghetti squash and today I'm sharing all the secrets.

Usually I prefer to buy squash like butternut pre-cut when possible, but spaghetti squash is a different beast. When I used to buy spaghetti squash it would tend to sit on the counter for a long while because I was intimidated about cutting it.

If you're anything like me (i.e. someone without much upper body strength and wary of big knives) then maybe you can relate.

Luckily I figured out that you can cook a spaghetti squash without cutting them first, which makes life a lot easier. I also discovered a neat trick for how to get the longest strands possible that might actually look more like spaghetti!

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If you do prefer to cut the squash ahead of time, I also list cooking times for that method. It does take a little longer to cook when it's whole.

Cooking option 1: Microwave

Whole squash: Prick outside of squash with fork or an ice pick many times, all the way around the squash. This will allow air to get out and prevent the squash from exploding. I do not know the “magic number” but I probably did it 20 times.

Cook time: approximately 10-12 minutes, or until you can insert a fork in the skin very easily. Since microwave's vary greatly, I would recommend to start at 7 minutes and work your way up from there to find your microwave's perfect time. (If cooking after slicing, start at 5 minutes and work your way up to 7-8 minutes.)

Using a microwave to cook your squash will result in a faster cook time, but many of you do not like to use a microwave to cook your food. See below for oven instructions.

Cooking option 2: Oven

Whole squash: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Prick squash with fork many times all the way around the squash to release air, same as you would for the microwave option. I do not know the “magic number” but I probably did it 20 times.

Cook time: About 1 hour, or until you can insert a fork in the skin very easily. Start checking around 45 minutes as oven times vary greatly. (If cooking after slicing, start checking around 30 minutes and work your way up to 40-45 minutes. You may also want to drizzle slices with olive oil before baking with the pre-cut method.)

See the bubbles escaping from the holes in the squash after cooking?

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

Now, the cutting. No matter which cooking method you use, be sure to let the squash cool for at least 10 minutes so you do not burn yourself.

Cutting option #1:

Most of the time I see a squash cut this way: Cut end to end. This is what that looks like:

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

Scoop out the seeds and rest of the stringy insides so that you just have the squash.

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

Advantages of this method are that you can eat the spaghetti squash right out of the shell. Add sauce, spinach, olive oil, whatever toppings you desire.

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

Cutting option #2:

Here's the fun part! I learned this trick from Beth over at Eat Within Your Means. This method of cutting will get you longer strands of squash that look more like spaghetti. This method is to cut into rings.

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

Alternatively you can make two halves by cutting down the middle of the squash if you get tired of that much cutting.
How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

You'll still need to clean out the seeds and other stringy-ness inside.How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

Do you notice anything different about the squash strands below?
How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

Hint: The strands are not cut short and are in a complete circle.
How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti! How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti! How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti! How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

To see the difference, refer back to the picture in cutting method #1. You see how the strands are “cut short” when cut this way? Use method #2 to get longer spaghetti squash strands (and help to trick yourself that you're eating actual spaghetti).

Yield: 1 squash

How to cut and cook spaghetti squash

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 whole spaghetti squash
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, optional, for cooking when pre-cut

Instructions

Cooking option #1: Microwave

  1. Whole squash: Prick outside of squash with fork or ice pick many times, all the way around the squash. This will allow air to get out and prevent the squash from exploding. (I do not know the "magic number" but I do it about 20 times.)
  2. Cook time: approximately 10-12 minutes, or until you can insert a fork in the skin very easily. Since microwave's vary greatly, I would recommend to start at 7 minutes and work your way up from there to find your microwave's perfect time. (If cooking after slicing, start at 5 minutes and work your way up to 7-8 minutes.)
  3. Using a microwave to cook your squash will result in a faster cook time, but many of you do not like to use a microwave to cook your food. See below for oven instructions.

Cooking option #2: Oven

  1. Whole squash: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Prick squash with fork or ice pick many times all the way around the squash to release air, same as you would for the microwave option. I do not know the "magic number" but I do about 20 times.
  2. Cook time: About 1 hour for the whole squash, or until you can insert a fork in the skin very easily. Start checking around 45 minutes as oven times vary greatly. If slicing before cooking, start checking around 30 minutes and work your way up to 40-45 minutes. You may also want to drizzle slices with olive oil before baking with the pre-cut method.

Cooking option #3: Slow cooker

  1. Prick squash with fork or ice pick many times all the way around the squash to release air, same as you would for the microwave option. I do not know the "magic number" but I do about 20 times. Cook on 'high' for 3-4 hours or until you can insert a fork in the skin very easily. Cooking times vary for each slow cooker.

Cutting option #1:

  1. Cut in half, end to end. This will give you "boats" you can eat the spaghetti squash out of if you choose.

Cutting option #2: longer strands!

  1. Cut into rings, or in in half in the middle. This method of cutting will get you longer strands of squash that look more like spaghetti.

Notes

See step by step pictures in post for clearer instructions.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 497Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 173mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 13gSugar: 24gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically by an online tool at Nutritionix. It is not always accurate. Please use your own tools to check if you rely on this information.

Did you make this recipe?

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Tell me, what are your favorite cooking or cutting tips for squash?

 

How to cut and cook a spaghetti squash in multiple ways - and a trick to get longer strands that might actually resemble spaghetti!

 

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Marcia Perone

Saturday 24th of September 2016

Great tips! I've already attempted to cut one and ended up cutting myself instead. I only have one suggestion that works better than poking holes in it with a fork. If you happen to have an ice pick around somewhere, it's sharp enough to penetrate the tough skin of a spaghetti squash easier than with a fork. The only problem is ice picks are difficult to find anymore. At least, that's what I've heard.

Karen

Saturday 19th of September 2020

@Karen, you can use long a barbecue tool that has only 2 teeth (I'll call it) at the very end to pierce the squash before baking. I just tried it for the first time and it worked well.

Kelly

Monday 26th of September 2016

Thanks for the tip Marcia! I've updated the post with your suggestion and also included a link to an ice pick on amazon in case you aren't sure where to find them.

Marci

Tuesday 31st of March 2015

These are great tips, thanks for sharing. I only cooked spaghetti squash once and muddled my way through it. Pinned!

Liv

Monday 30th of March 2015

I'm going to definitely try the rings. However, I do have a compulsive need to take the seeds out before cooking. My chef sister gave me a tip: If you want to make cutting a raw squash easier, just pop the whole uncut thing in the microwave and cook for 1 minute. The knife cuts it so much easier and the fear of losing a finger...gone!

Kelly

Tuesday 31st of March 2015

Microwaving definitely makes it easier to cut! I'm impressed you take the seeds out before cooking Liv, I tried this method because I didn't want to cut before cooking :)

Lauren @ ihadabiglunch

Friday 6th of March 2015

Oh my gosh I love that second cutting method! Genius! I always have issues when I roast it so I think it's time to try the microwave method...that way, even if it fails I'll at least not have wasted as much time ;)

Kelly

Saturday 7th of March 2015

Thanks Lauren, I had good luck with the microwave method - and it's easy to pop it back in for another minute or two if you find it's not quite done when you cut it. It's always good to have a quick option!

Shayla

Saturday 21st of February 2015

If you're the kind of person who likes to "set it and forget it" I've done mine in the crock pot, again you have to poke it to let steam out, but I left mine in for probably 4 hours on high, and it was perfect when I took it out :)

Golly

Thursday 25th of April 2019

My daughter bought this squash after seeing her workmate's lunch. I'm going to try the half method today as I have several things to bake today. Saving energy at the same time. A small vegan Hawaiian pizza, a large eggplant with 2 tomatoes smashed after baking with herbs and spices for serving with pita another day, a baked sweet potato for a sweet snack, waffles or brownies and of course your squash recipe. Thank you . I suppose I'll remove the seeds before baking. Much love.

Kelly

Sunday 1st of March 2015

Thanks for the tip Shayla! I'll have to add that to my list to try :)

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