There are several ways to cook spaghetti squash, and being a self-proclaimed spaghetti squash aficionado, I have tried all of them. Today I’m going to go over the four methods of cooking this winter squash and the pros/cons of each method.
I love this squash, I really do. It’s a pretty bland fruit (yeah, it’s a fruit), but it’s so versatile. You can dress it up in many different ways and it’s a great low-carb replacement for spaghetti.
The main issue with spaghetti squash is that it’s easy to overcook. Cooking the squash al dente is practically an art. If I’m making a casserole, I don’t worry about overcooking the squash, because it really doesn’t matter. If I’m going for al dente noodle-like strands, I pay close attention to cooking times.
After reading through this post, please share any tips you have on cooking this squash below. And make sure to check out these 10 flavorful Spaghetti Squash recipes!
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (4 Ways)
1. In an Instant Pot
This is my new FAVORITE way to cook spaghetti squash, because it takes SEVEN minutes. That’s right, you can eat spaghetti squash in 7 minutes by using your Instant Pot. SO EASY. If your squash will fit whole, you can put it in, but if not, just cut it in a half.
Pro: 7 minutes. Need I say more?
Con: No cons that I can think of other than the fact that squash can be hard to cut in half – but if you have a small squash, you may not need to cut it at all.
Instructions: Place a cup of water in the steel bowl and then place a trivet (the one that came with your pot) on top. Place the spaghetti squash (whole or cut in half) on top of the trivet. Press the Manual button and set it to 7 minutes. Once the cooking time has completed, carefully open the valve to quick release any remaining pressure.
2. Cut Squash in Oven
The obvious con here is that you have to cut through the hard rind of a spaghetti squash. I find that using a small steak knife allows for more control than a large chef’s knife. I typically cut the squash in half before roasting it in the oven when I’m trying to get those al dente strands.
Pro: You can pull out the squash at any time and test it to see if it is done. There’s less chance of overcooking it. I also think the squash has a nice roasted flavor when you cook it this way.
Con: Squash is a PITB (pain in the butt) to cut.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and add a little oil, salt and pepper to cut sides. Place squash cut side down in a baking dish. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until you can easily pierce the skin with a knife (cooking time depends on size of squash).
3. Whole Squash in Oven
I use this method most often because it’s so simple. It takes longer to cook, but that gives me time to prepare the rest of the meal. If you decide to cook a whole squash in the oven, just check on it periodically to make sure you don’t overcook it.
Pro: Simple to prepare.
Con: It takes more time to cook and it’s easy to overcook.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 375°F. Stab the squash in several places. Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until you can easily pierce the skin with a knife (cooking time depends on size of squash). Remove seeds.
4. Squash in the Microwave
If you’re not anti-microwave, this is an easy way to cook your spaghetti squash. When I’m feeling lazy or if I’m in a hurry, this is my go-to method. I stab the squash with a knife and then nuke it in the microwave for several minutes until it’s soft enough for me to cut through. Once it’s cut in half, you’ll have a better idea of when to stop cooking the squash so that you get nice al dente strands rather than mush.
Pro: Quick and easy to cook.
Con: There isn’t any con that I can think of – unless you think microwaves are evil (which I don’t).
Instructions: Stab whole squash with a knife in several places. Microwave for 5-7 minutes, cut the squash in half to estimate the amount of time needed to produce al dente strands. Put it back in the microwave and cook until done.
5. Squash in the Slow Cooker
It doesn’t get easier than this. Poke the squash and put it in the slow cooker along with a little water.
Pro: So easy.
Con: The time. Also, it’s hard to cook the spaghetti al dente using this method.
Instructions: Poke squash in several places with a fork and put it in a slow cooker along with 1 cup of water. Cook on low for 8 hours or until the squash can be easily pierced with a knife.
Cook your spaghetti squash in whatever way sounds good to you. If you’re going for noodle-like strands, I suggest cutting in half or keeping a close eye on your squash.
What do you think is the best way to cook spaghetti squash?