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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Easy Ways to Use Spaghetti Squash

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Spaghetti squash may seem like an odd name for a giant winter squash — until you cook it. Where most winter squash turn delightfully smooth when cooked, spaghetti squash separates into slightly crunchy strands. Weird, perhaps, but delicious and fun to serve. Spaghetti squash has a milder and less sweet flavor than other winter squash, making it extremely versatile.

1. Prepare the Spaghetti Squash for Cooking

Photo © Molly Watson

First, choose a spaghetti squash that feels heavy for its size. Then decide if you want to cook it whole or halved. It is easier to cook it whole, but takes longer.

To cook spaghetti squash whole: poke it all over with a fork so steam doesn't build up too much inside (no wants to clean up exploded squash). Whole squash can also be microwaved (see below).

To cook spaghetti squash halved: cut off and discard the stem end and cut the squash in half lengthwise. Spaghetti squash are big; this will take a large knife and a bit of brute strength. Use a large spoon to scrape out the seeds and attached strands. Lay halves cut-side-down on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

2. Roast or Microwave the Spaghetti Squash

Cooked Whole Spaghetti Squash
Photo © Molly Watson

I prefer roasting winter squash — but then I live in a cold house and having the oven going often sounds like a great idea.

To roast spaghetti squash: Preheat oven to 375°F and set whole or halved squash in the oven. Cook until a fork inserts easily through the skin and into the flesh of the squash, 60 - 90 minutes for whole squash, 45 - 60 minutes for halved.

To microwave spaghetti squash: Set whole spaghetti squash in the microwave and cook on high power for 5 minutes. Repeat with 2-minute increments until a fork inserts easily through the skin and into the flesh of the squash, up to 30 minutes total depending on the power of your microwave.

3. Cut Spaghetti Squash Open

Cutting Spaghetti Squash
Photo © Molly Watson

If you cooked the spaghetti squash whole, you'll need to cut it open. If you cooked it halved, skip to step 5.

Cut off the stem end and then cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Since it's cooked, you won't meet a lot of resistance, so even weaklings like me can do this easily. A big knife is handy, though, just because spaghetti squash tend to be so large.

Note that the squash will be hot and a lot of steam will come out as you cut it.

4. Scoop Out Spaghetti Squash Seeds

Scooping Out Spaghetti Squash Seeds
Photo © Molly Watson
Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds from each half. Spaghetti squash tend to have fewer seeds than other winter squash and the "guts" are less easily distinguishable from the strand-like flesh of cooked spaghetti squash. Just make sure to get all the seeds out.

5. Scrape Out Spaghetti Squash

Scraping Spaghetti Squash
Photo © Molly Watson
You can use the large spoon you used to scoop out the seeds, but I prefer to use a fork to really separate the strands of cooked spaghetti squash to scrape the flesh out of the shell.

6. Voila! Spaghetti Squash!

Bowl of Cooked Spaghetti Squash
Photo © Molly Watson
Now you have a nice big bowl of lovely cooked spaghetti squash! I think it's delicious plain, with a bit of butter or salt, but my favorite way to serve spaghetti squash is as Spaghetti Squash In Jalapeño Cream — delicious!

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