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I’m so excited, you guys! I’m finally seeing spaghetti squash in stores again. I love this time of year. It’s still warm, but fall flavors are starting to emerge. And, it’s the perfect time for me to share a prep post with you. I have two methods for how to bake spaghetti squash in the oven, whole or cut in half. The best part? They are likely FASTER than what you’ve been doing!
If you’re looking for how to cook spaghetti squash, there are methods using just about any cooking device out there. You can roast it in the oven whole or cut in half, you can microwave it, you can even use a slow cooker or pressure cooker. I prefer an easy method that doesn’t require taking out additional equipment. My favorite way is to bake spaghetti squash in the oven – except my way is faster!
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash Fast
Microwaving is probably the fastest way to cook spaghetti squash. If you’re wondering how to microwave spaghetti squash, what you can do is cut it in half and microwave for about ten minutes. This method does work, but it’s not my favorite.
I don’t like the microwaving method for two reasons. First of all, I try to avoid cooking food in the microwave when possible. Pretty much any other cooking method is healthier and preserves food nutrients better.
Second, microwaving often results in uneven heating, and thus uneven cooking. You may end up with some areas of the squash noodles mushy and others too raw. Who wants that?
So, what is my favorite way to cook spaghetti squash fast? Roast it at a high temperature!
Many baked spaghetti squash recipes use lower oven temperatures, which take longer. I’m impatient! The key is roasting spaghetti squash at a high temp to save time. Most recipes do it at 350 or 375 degrees, but I went as high as 425 degrees to save time.
The higher temperature does mean you’ll get a little caramelizing on the edge if you’re using the cut-in-half method, but who cares? I actually think it’s delicious. If you don’t like that part, it’s only on the surface anyway. Totally worth the time savings!
Tricks To Baking Spaghetti Squash
Like I mentioned before, my best trick when baking spaghetti squash is a higher temperature to cut back on time. The other reason that a high temp works better is you reduce the steaming effect, which means more flavor. You definitely don’t have to use high heat, but who doesn’t want more flavor while saving time in the kitchen?
Speaking of steaming, don’t add water to your pan. I’ve heard some people do this when baking spaghetti squash cut in half. I tried it and was disappointed. It leads to watery squash!
Even though the cooking time is shorter with my high temp method, the spaghetti squash still needs to rest before you handle it. It comes out of the oven steaming hot! You may be thinking that the resting period adds time, but usually it’s not a big deal. You basically have to do that with other cooking methods anyway. The squash is too hot to handle when you remove it from the oven, microwave, or any other cooking method you use. Just prepare your sauce while you wait!
Keep in mind that the squash does continue to cook a bit as it’s resting, so follow the instructions on the recipe card to avoid overcooking. When testing for doneness, a knife or fork should slide in fairly easily, but there should still be a tiny bit of resistance as you go in deeper. Overcooking spaghetti squash will make it mushy. Don’t do that!
You can roast spaghetti squash whole or cut in half, with the latter being the fastest. There are pros and cons to each. I’m sharing both methods with you, and you can decide. There are also some tricks for cutting spaghetti squash – more on that below!
But first, here’s how to bake spaghetti squash…
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash Whole
If you’re looking for the easiest method, you’ll want to know how to cook spaghetti squash whole. The main advantage here is there is no prep whatsoever!
No need to struggle with trying to cut through the hard skin. Simply poke holes in it, place it on a pan and bake in the oven, flipping halfway through. It’s effortless to cut it open once it’s cooked.
The downside of baking spaghetti squash whole is that it basically steams on the inside. It works, but you don’t get the roasted flavor that cutting in half gets you. This may be good or bad depending on what you are going for.
Baked spaghetti squash whole results in a more mild, neutral flavor. This may seem bland compared to roasting cut in half, or it may be a better blank canvas for your spaghetti squash recipe.
When I’m feeling extra lazy and don’t want the fuss of cutting, I bake my spaghetti squash whole. Otherwise, I prefer to cut it in half, first.
How To Bake Spaghetti Squash Cut in Half
For a deeper, roasted flavor, slicing the spaghetti squash before baking is the way to go. Having the open edges touch the pan accomplishes this perfectly. And, some air escapes, preventing that blander steaming effect.
The other major reason to bake spaghetti squash cut in half? It’s a lot faster! Even more so when you use my high temperature method.
Of course, the main issue when you bake spaghetti squash cut in half is the slicing part. I absolutely hate cutting through that hard skin. Fortunately, there’s a method that makes it easier.
How To Cut Spaghetti Squash
The trick to cutting spaghetti squash? Score it first! Use a knife to poke holes all the way around the squash, where you’ll be cutting. Then, cutting will be a lot easier!
Some cooking methods recommend slicing the squash into rings before roasting. I can understand the allure of having more surfaces to roast, but personally I find that to be way too much work. It’s difficult enough to figure out how to cut spaghetti squash without cutting off a finger (ha!), without trying to do it multiple times! And when cutting rings, it’s harder to find an edge to grab onto for leverage.
Speaking of cutting spaghetti squash, that brings me to my next point…
How To Make Long Strands
Did you know that the long strands in a spaghetti squash actually run horizontally? If you picture the concentric circles inside, they run perpendicular to the length of the squash. Too much math? Don’t worry, I’ll get to the point. Here is what you need to know.
If you want longer spaghetti squash strands, the key is to cut it in half crosswise, not lengthwise! You’re basically cutting the strands shorter when cutting the long way.
I actually like to mix it up. Sometimes I cut spaghetti squash crosswise, sometimes lengthwise.
Despite the shorter strands, the advantage of cutting lengthwise is that you get nice, stable spaghetti squash boats that way. You won’t be able to serve the spaghetti squash noodles in the shells if you cut the short way, because the side with the stem won’t really balance upright.
Long story short? If appearance matters and you want to stuff your spaghetti squash back into the shells for serving, cut the long way. Want longer strands? Then cut crosswise!
Low Carb Spaghetti Squash Recipes
When it comes to low carb pasta recipes, spaghetti squash is king. The mild flavor and naturally occurring “noodles” make it the perfect low carb pasta replacement!
Let’s not forget, though, that spaghetti squash is special and delicious in and of itself. Even if you feel like it doesn’t replace pasta for you, it’s still awesome. In particular, if you bake spaghetti squash cut in half, you’ll get that amazing roasted veggie flavor. So good.
My favorite low carb spaghetti squash recipes are comfort foods. Probably no surprise there! Once cooked, you can pretty much use it in any pasta recipe. Do you have one you love? I wanna know!
I’ll be sharing another one of my favorites in a couple weeks. In the meantime, check out Spaghetti Squash Carbonara from last year! I actually used a lower oven temperature there, before I discovered this one, but you can use the method below to speed it up.
How To Bake Spaghetti Squash in the Oven (Whole or Cut in Half):
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Want more low carb, gluten-free recipes with squash? Try these: