Eat Your Vegetables: Spaghetti Squash

I call bullshit on anyone who says, “Spaghetti squash tastes just like spaghetti.”

No, it doesn’t.

Is it delicious? Sure.

But it does not. taste. like. pasta.

It does, however, meet my other criteria:

  • it’s easy to cook

  • it’s versatile

  • it’s paleo and Whole30 approved

  • it’s packed with good-for-you stuff like fiber, Vitamin C, Niacin, B6, and Pantothenic Acid, which Wikipedia tells me is “critical in the metabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.”

Well, OK then.

Spaghetti Squash |

Roasted Spaghetti Squash – Al Dente!

Prep 2 min | Cook 30-40 min | Serves 4 to 6 | Whole30 compliant

I’ve been repeatedly disappointed in the texture of spaghetti squash—I tried the microwave. I tried roasting it whole. I tried halfway submerging it in water while it baked. All of those methods resulted in a mushy mess. But now I’ve got it! If you follow this technique, you will enjoy spaghetti squash with a tender, but still al dente, texture. (Check out my video demo of how to cut a spaghetti squash below!)

  • 1 large spaghetti squash

  • 3 tablespoons water


Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.


Cut the squash in half lengthwise. The easiest way to do this is, surprisingly, with a small knife. Use a sharp paring knife to carefully create a shallow slit along the top of the squash, lengthwise. Now, using a LARGE knife, place the blade in the slit and bang the squash carefully with some force on the cutting board. It should crack along the fault line created by the small knife. Scoop out the seeds and pulp with a large spoon.


Place squash cut side down on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the water onto the paper around the squash. Roast until the squash is tender, but not mushy, 30-40 minutes. Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack, and, using a hot mitt, turn the squash cut side up to cool.


When it’s cool enough to handle, scrape the inside with a fork to shred the squash into gorgeous spaghetti strands.

Now’s the fun part. You can toss it with a little olive oil or sauté with coconut oil (quality fat!) and dress it up with:

How To Cut a Spaghetti Squash

Print this recipe
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  • Twin Reverb says:

    see, i tried to make this once, in the actual oven. my recipe said cut side *down* and it only cooked part way. i put butter and salt on it and hanney suffered through about four bites with me before i realized that it just wasn’t working out. and you really can’t just stick it back in the oven.

    my god there are giant mosquitoes dive bombing me right here in my room. one just attacked this comment. i have to get this house sealed.

  • Melicious says:

    For the squash–> try making it in the microwave.

    For the mosquitos–> citronella candles? Motel 6? massive amounts of bug repellent?

  • Nick Mollberg says:

    Don’t forget to roast the seeds!

  • Melissa says:

    I don't know why everyone cuts it in half and THEN cooks it. Stab it with a fork a few times and stick it, whole, in the oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on size) and it'll cook just fine that way. Then it's much easier to cut open, let cool, and cook up from there however you like.

    • Bim says:

      I tried this method without success. After 40 minutes I ended up splitting it down the middle and putting it back in.
      The positive though was at this point it was much easier to cut!

    • Melanie says:

      I have always cooked it whole, but I wrap it in foil just like I would cook a baked potato. Sometimes I put butter in the foil with it and cook for @40 min and it turns out amazing. And then I let it cool and then cut it in half and scrape it out with a fork. Easy Peasy!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Melissa, thanks for the suggestion! Cutting them is SO hard. I'm going to try the poke method tonight!

  • shannon says:

    poke it full of holes and slap it in the crockpot for the day. it’ll be ready to tear into by dinner!

  • Jamie G says:

    Be sure to turn it right-side up as soon as it comes out of the oven, or it’ll keep cooking when it’s out. The best part about this recipe is that the squash should come out slightly “al dente,” and it’s awful if it’s too mushy.

  • Amy says:

    Thank you for this recipe! This is the first time I’ve made spaghetti squash that hasn’t totally sucked!

  • Lea says:

    Brilliant! Love your attention to detail in your description. It turned out beautifully today… one of my favourite foods. In Chile they preserve it with sugar and eat it like marmalade.

  • Dee says:

    What is the best way to store this? I am single and one of these is way to much for me to eat alone. Can it be frozen?

    • Mel says:

      Cooked spaghetti squash will last for about 5-6 days in the fridge. I’m not sure how well it will freeze and defrost — I’ve never tried it. My recommendation is to freeze just a little bit — like, 1/4 cup — then defrost it and see how it fares. If you like the texture after defrosting, then you know you can freeze it.

      • Carrie says:

        It actually freezes beautifully. When I make mine, I poke a whole one all over with a fork, microwave it for 20 minutes on high, then wait for it to cool before I split and shred it. I freeze it in two-cup portions and then use it in recipes later. It’s always perfect.

  • Bret says:

    Thank you for the advice on cutting/cooking spaghetti squash; will give it a try soon. I’ve tried making it twice since going paleo, and absolutely *hated* the texture. Both times I prepared it by microwaving whole. Adding insult to injury (inre the nasty texture), the second time I cooked it, the squash exploded in my microwave. What a mess! 🙂

    PS – Love WF2. Pure food porn!

    • Mel says:

      I never really liked it until I figured out this roasting technique. Maybe it will win you over, too! Glad you like Well Fed 2… YAY!

  • tifaney wollert says:

    Thank. You.

    This is the third recipe of yours I’ve followed of something that I’ve made A LOT of times my own way before, and yours has turned out way better! Looking forward to furthering my relationship with your books and recipes 🙂

  • Stacey says:

    I am new to cooking/baking. When you say bake, what temperature would you set your oven?

    • Mel says:

      Hi, Stacey! Welcome to the world of kitchen fun! I ALWAYS let you know, usually in the first step of a recipe, what temperature you need to preheat the oven.

      For this, it’s 375. It’s in the first step of the recipe above “1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.”

      Feel free to hit me with other questions!

  • Shannon says:

    Sunshine sauce on spaghetti squash is everything. Sunshine sauce on anything is everything, but on SS, it brings me a macaroni and cheese sense… to be fair, I haven’t eaten mac n cheese for at least 5 years, but still. my mouth is so happy!

  • Annei says:

    Hi Melissa! I just bought Well Fed and I love it! (so much that I brought it to Kinkos and had a spiral binding and front and back plastic cover put on so I can bring it in the kitchen with me).

    I am in the process of making Paleo Pad Thai and I just watched your video on how to cut a spaghetti squash without an ER visit.

    I went to use a small knife to “score” the spaghetti squash, but it cut all the way through! I bought it at a Pampered Chef demonstration and it’s called their “tomato knife.”

    (not a paid endorsement! I do not sell it!)

    So there you have it. Thank you for your great Paleo and cooking advice. I’m recently back on the wagon.


  • Annie says:

    PS And I spelled my own name wrong. Time for bed!

  • Annie says:

    Thank you, Melissa. And the Pad Thai was DELICIOUS. So happy because I really missed it!

  • No, it doesn’t really taste much like spaghetti.

    But it does taste like pancit!


    Thank you for the instructions on how to prepare this. It’s the one I always use.

  • Jenny says:

    I never met a squash I didn’t like EXCEPT for spaghetti squash. My past experience with it has produced nothing but a drab, watery, stringy mess palatable to no one in our house, human or feline! Will give it a go with your roasting method and will report results.

    PS finishing week one of first-ever whole 30. Purchased Well Fed as a motivator and so appreciate your creative (and flavorful) approach to grain and dairy-free cooking. Love the “Know How You Could Do That?” blurbs throughout. Grew up in family of from-scratch cooks, who also played this game!

    • I’m so happy you’re having fun with “You know how you could do that?”! And congrats on Whole30-ing!

      If you really want to avoid mush, roast for the minimum amount of time and flip them over as soon as you take them put of the oven. Good luck!

      • Bobbi says:

        I’ve just started with spaghetti squash, and look forward to trying your cutting method, and roasting it in the oven. I’ve found it to be very watery, but have had to resort to microwaving as I generally get home very late (9-10pm) and don’t want to wait 30-40 minutes to cook it. My last attempt I microwaved, then put in a sieve and pressed it with a flat spoon to push all the excess water out. Found that MUCH more acceptable.

  • Keiten says:

    So delightful! First time I’ve made this and it turned out quite perfect. Cooked it closer to 40 min and the texture was great. Then sauteed it with smoked paprika, garlic, pink salt and tossed it with Italian parsley. Ate. It. All. Did not share. 🙂

  • Mark Wickens says:

    I love, love, love the Paleo Pad Thai. Thanks for that! But I feel like we must get different spaghetti squash up here in Canadia. After 40 minutes in the oven, mine are always still positively crunchy. I’ll then zap the “noodles” in the microwave for another 10 minutes and *still* I wouldn’t call them al dente. Certainly, mine have never been in any danger of getting mushy.

    I wonder if I have bad luck and am getting unripe squash. They’re yellow, but maybe not deep enough yellow?

  • Sandi says:

    I am starting my whole 30 tomorrow and will be trying your way of cooking a spaghetti squash tomorrow so I can make your Paleo Pad Thai later this week. I’ve tried only one other time to cook one and it was awful, all mushy.

    • I HATE mushy spaghetti squash — hope this works for you! Happy Whole30-ing!

      • Sandi says:

        OMGee!! My spaghetti squash came out perfect! Then I made your Paleo Pad Thai and my daughter and I love it!!! Even my non-veggie lovin’ husband actually liked it. My son, not so much, but he’s not big on any type of nut butter anyways, (he just didn’t really like the sunshine sauce).
        Thank you for the wonderful recipes! (I also have your chocolate chili on the stove now for tomorrow nights dinner, and of course I had to taste it, yummy!) I’ve already bought both Well Fed and Well Fed 2 for the Kindle, I’m excited to try more of your recipes!

  • Bekka says:

    This was exactly what I need to baby step into spaghetti squash – thank you for putting the video up too! I didn’t see it at first and was basically slapping the knife until I noticed it… The squash came out perfectly and my anti-veg BF snuck back for seconds! Four thumbs up, I am so excited to gourd it up this fall 😀