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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash: Two fool-proof methods for cooking spaghetti squash in the oven or in the instant pot.

roasted spaghetti squash

Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Spaghetti squash is a delicious, nutrient-dense, gluten-free, and low carb alternative to pasta or rice noodles. It can take the place of almost any noodle dish, ranging from a classic “spaghetti” and meatballs, to a baked Italian “pasta” dish or even as a Pad Thai. However, it can feel intimidating to tackle if you don’t know how to cook it!

If cooking spaghetti squash feels intimidating to you, you’re not alone. BUT believe it or not, it’s actually super easy to make. I’ve put together instructions for making either roasted spaghetti squash or instant pot spaghetti squash. 
Both methods are super simple, super easy, fairly hands off, and result in a delicious low-carb pasta alternative!

Safe knife skills so you can learn how to cut spaghetti squash

Ingredients Needed

  • Spaghetti Squash: I use a 3-4 pound spaghetti squash. If you use anything bigger or smaller, the cooking time will be affected.
  • Oil: you’ll only need oil if you’re roasting in the oven.
  • Salt and Pepper: a simple seasoning duo that results in flavorful yet versatile squash noodles.

How to Cut Spaghetti Squash (Safley)

Spaghetti squash has pretty thick walls so it can be somewhat difficult to cut through. Your best answer to safely cutting a spaghetti squash is to have a large sharp knife, and a flat stead surface to cut it. As long as you do it safely and proceed with caution, you will be just fine! Just follow these few simple steps:

  1. Set the squash horizontally on a cutting board. 
  2. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to cut off each end.
  3. Flip the squash so it stands upright with the widest end on the cutting board. 
  4. With one hand, steady the spaghetti squash, and with the other press the knife into the squash before using your weight to leverage the knife through the squash.
  5. Once the knife is at least an inch inside the squash use your other hand to push down on the knife until it cuts through the squash entirely. Slice down the center to split it into two halves lengthwise.
  6. Once the squash is cut, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and it’s ready to cook!

Let’s break it down further, we have two main methods for how to cut spaghetti squash:

  1. Crosswise the the middle: This is our preferred method. This way is easier because there is less squash to cut, and you don’t have to go close to the stem. This results in long strings of noodles.
  2. Lengthwise: This method is harder to cut the squash and results in shorter noodles. Don’t try to attempt to cut through the hard stem. Once you’ve cut to that, take the knife out and use your hands to pull apart the spaghetti squash halves.

Still feeling afraid to cut spaghetti squash?

You can always cook the squash whole, and cut after it is cooked. It’s obviously much easier to cut after it is soft, but we don’t prefer this method (see below as to why).

Can you Cook Spaghetti Squash Whole?

In theory, yes. However, this is not my preferred method. It’s much harder to scoop out the seeds when they’re soft because you can’t easily distinguish between the inedible seeds and the edible squash strands. 

If you are truly intimidated by cutting a squash, cooking it whole does make it easier to cut. If you’re willing to sift out the seeds after it’s cooked to avoid cutting it, feel free to go that route instead.

Roasted spaghetti squash recipe

Cooking Methods

Once the spaghetti squash is cut, you’re on to the easy part! Cooking it! I like to roast spaghetti squash in the oven but I also included the instant pot method. There is a slight difference in taste and an even greater difference in cooking time, but knowing both methods is useful!

Oven-Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Roasting spaghetti squash in the oven takes longer, but the result is tender caramelized squash noodles. If you have the time, I highly recommend cooking it this way!

  • Prep: Cut the spaghetti squash as instructed and scoop out the seeds. Brush the inside with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake: Place the squash facedown on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400ºF for 45-50 minutes.
  • Serve: Once cool enough, turn the squash over and scrape out the spaghetti with a fork.

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

Steaming spaghetti squash in the instant pot is by far the quickest method so it’s great when you’re shorter on time! Since there is no caramelization occurring, the squash noodles have less flavor depth. But don’t worry. They still taste delicious!

  • Prep: Cut the spaghetti squash as instructed and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Cook: Add 1 cup of water to the instant pot, stack the squash, cut side up, then close the lid and cook on manual high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Serve: Shred the spaghetti squash with two forks, then serve as desired.
Long strands of roasted spaghetti squash

How Long to Cook Spaghetti Squash

First of all, this depends on how you’re cooking it. It also depends on the size of the spaghetti squash you use! 

For a spaghetti squash between 3-4 pounds, it should take 45-50 minutes in the oven and 10 minutes in the instant pot. If the squash is a different size, you may have to adjust the cooking time—especially for the instant pot. 

I always like to check the squash to make sure I don’t overcook it. Once it’s done cooking, the squash noodles will be tender but not mushy!

Do You Eat the Skin of Spaghetti Squash?

No! Definitely not. While some types of squash have edible skin, spaghetti squash is not one of them. To serve the squash, you’ll scoop out the “noodles” and discard the skin.

Ways To Use Spaghetti Squash

Treat spaghetti squash noodles like pasta! You can serve spaghetti squash on its own with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese OR incorporate it into another recipe. 

Serve roasted spaghetti squash with a protein like Air Fryer Chicken Breasts, Shrimp Curry, or Turkey Meatballs with Spinach!

Here are some of my favorite healthy spaghetti squash recipes:

How to Store

Cooked spaghetti squash will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, microwave, or warm in a skillet on the stove with olive oil or your sauce of choice.

I don’t recommend freezing spaghetti squash because the texture will be affected.

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instant pot spaghetti squash cooked and ready to eat

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

5 from 3 votes
Cooked spaghetti squash is a great nutrient dense, gluten-free, lower carb alternative to pasta or rice noodles. Here are two fool-proof methods for cooking spaghetti squash in the oven or in the instant pot.
Servings 2 -4
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 3-4 lb. spaghetti squash see note
  • splash of oil roasting only
  • salt and pepper


For the Oven:

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with foil
  • Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise (for short "noodles") or crosswise (for long "noodles") and scoop out seeds.
  • Scoop out seeds and discard.
  • Brush inside with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place facedown on baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until you can pierce with a fork.
  • When cool enough to handle, scrape out "spaghetti" with a fork.
  • Cooked spaghetti squash will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.

For the Instant Pot:

  • Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise (for short "noodles") or crosswise (for long "noodles") and scoop out seeds. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  • Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot.
  • Stack the spaghetti squash on top of each other (cut-side up).
  • Close the lid and make sure the knob is turned to sealing.
  • Set to manual high-pressure for 10 minutes (longer time will be needed for bigger squash)
  • When the timer goes off, turn the vent on the top of the lid to venting to release the steam.
  • Once the venting knob has dropped, open the lid and shred the spaghetti squash with two forks to turn squash into spaghetti-like noodles!
  • Cooked spaghetti squash will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.


If your spaghetti squash is a different size, you may have to adjust the cooking time, especially for the Instant Pot.
Keyword: how long to cook spaghetti squash, how to cut spaghetti squash, instant pot spaghetti squash, roasted spaghetti squash
Course: meal prep, Side Dish
Cuisine: Gluten-free, Paleo, whole30
Author: Lexi

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    1. We use a 6 or an 8 quart Instant Pot! I think only a very small spaghetti squash would fit in a 3 quart.

  1. I had never had spaghetti squash before. I cut mine lengthwise, ( had a terrible time doing so), then put both 1/2’s on a plate, skin side up, 10 in the microwave,xas per my recipe directions. Done perfectly! The recipe was Yakisoba style–yum, yum, yum!!

  2. Lexi’s Clean Kithchen should allow us to print a “Clean” recipe minus all of the ads superimposed over them.

    1. We hope you enjoy the free-to-you recipes that the Lexi’s Clean Kitchen team creates for you. You might not know this, but creating this free-to-you content means money spent on food, electricity and gas to cook such food, among MANY other things, as well as salary to employees like myself and the Lexi’s Clean Kitchen team. Ads are one of the way that allows all of this to be created. We’re thankful we get to create this content, but we’re also thankful there are ways to pay for it so it stays free for you. -Kelli

    2. 5 stars
      The ads are obviously needed, so I save the entire recipe post on a new Word document, and then delete all but the information I want. This way I can save just the recipe to my file.