Learn How to Cook Spaghetti Squash Whole without the need to cut it first! It’s the easiest way to cook this nutritious vegetable in the oven, microwave, or even slow cooker for a healthier, low carb pasta alternative.

This post is part of the how-to series on spaghetti squash. If you need more help, here is how to easily cut spaghetti squash and how to make spaghetti squash noodles.

Black bowl with spaghetti squash noodles garnished with pepper and basil. Salt, pepper and towel nearby.

Even for a seasoned cook, cutting into a spaghetti squash is a daunting task. That is why I am a huge fan of baking whole spaghetti squash, it’s the easiest way!

First, cook whole spaghetti squash, then cut into it after the skin softens. Genius!

You can also microwave it for an even quicker option, place it into the slow cooker for a hands off method, make whole spaghetti squash in Instant Pot, or even make air fryer spaghetti squash!

It’s the easiest way to make squash noodles that results in perfect al dente pasta-like strands!

Ingredients You Will Need

Person holding uncooked whole spaghetti squash in hand.

Just the squash! Could it be any easier?!

How to Bake Spaghetti Squash Whole in the Oven

Traditionally, you would cut spaghetti squash first, then proceed to roasting it. Baking spaghetti squash whole in the oven, though, is a total gamechanger.

Not to mention there is no risking of life and limb involved when slicing through that hard outer shell. Seriously, cooking spaghetti squash whole is the best way! And an easy way!

Person showing how to roast spaghetti squash whole in a collage.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash the outside of the squash and pat dry.
  • Using a paring knife, pierce spaghetti squash about 15 times. Place whole squash on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, turning once.
  • Remove from the oven, place on a cutting board and let cool for 20 minutes.
  • Wearing an oven mitt, hold the squash and cut lengthwise.
Person showing how to remove seeds and fluff spaghetti squash.
  • Scoop out seeds and flesh from inside of the squash, then discard or roast the seeds just like pumpkin seeds. Now let squash cool down for 10 more minutes to let more steam to escape.
  • For long spaghetti like strands, use a fork to remove them and put into a bowl. Run a spoon or fork around the inside of the shell to remove remaining squash flesh out.

Recipe Tip

How long should I roast spaghetti squash whole? The actual cooking time will depend on the size of the squash and your oven. I used a medium sized squash. If your squash is smaller, it might be done in as little as 30-40 minutes or larger squashes, up to 60 minutes.

How to Microwave Whole Spaghetti Squash

When you are in a hurry, cook your whole spaghetti squash using this microwave method! It’s similar to baking whole squash, but microwaved spaghetti squash is done in a fraction of the time.

  1. Using a sharp knife, pierce spaghetti squash about 15 times. Don’t skip this step or you risk your spaghetti squash exploding in the microwave.
  2. Place the whole spaghetti squash in a microwave safe dish. An 8×8 or 9×9 inch square baking dish fits in most microwave ovens.
  3. Microwave for 10-12 minutes. You may need a few more minutes depending on the strength of your microwave.
  4. Your squash is done when you can easily pierce the skin with a knife. Remove to cool.

Recipe Tip

You can also use your microwave to first soften spaghetti squash before cutting it lengthwise. Brush each half with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Place squash cut-side in a baking dish and continue cooking until done in the oven or microwave.

How to Cook Whole Spaghetti Squash in the Slow Cooker

Whole spaghetti squash in the crockpot is a great hands off method and depending on your time constraints, it can be cooked on high or low.

  1. Pierce the skin of the squash about 15 times more or less. This allows steam to escape while it slow cooks.
  2. Place squash in the slow cooker with 1/4 cup of water.
  3. Cook on low 5-6 hours or high 3-4 hours. The time will depend on the size of your squash.
  4. Test for doneness by using a knife to pierce the skin. Remove to cool.

How to Test for Doneness?

To test your cooked spaghetti squash for doneness use a knife to pierce the skin. If it pierces easily, your squash is done! If there is resistance, you will need to cook your squash a little longer.

What Direction Should I Cut My Squash?

There are two different methods to slice your baked whole spaghetti squash.

Using sharp paring knife you can cut your spaghetti squash crosswise through the middle if you like long spaghetti-like strands. This is perfect if you plan to use the long strands as a spaghetti pasta substitute!

Cut your squash lengthwise if you need shorter spaghetti squash strands for a recipe, or if you are making ‘boats’. This is my preferred method.

How to Use It?

So you learnt how to cook spaghetti squash in the oven. Now what?!

There are so many great ways to use this versatile vegetable with a mild flavor. You can meal prep it to use throughout the week for an easy low calorie side dish or make spaghetti with spaghetti squash as a low carb alternative!

Top the veggie noodles with your favorite marinara sauce or even mix them into cooked spaghetti noodles. It is a great way to encourage kids to eat more veggies!

Other favorite toppings include:

  • Peanut sauce
  • Homemade meat sauce
  • Various cheeses: Grated mozzarella or Parmesan, crumbled blue cheese or feta.
  • Healthy fats: Olive oil, melted butter or ghee.
  • Spices and herbs: Fresh basil or parsley, garlic powder, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

FAQs

Can I make spaghetti squash ahead of time?

Yes! Spaghetti squash is great for meal prep as you can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 5 days. If you find water has pooled at the bottom of your storage container, drain it. Then proceed with sauteeing it to remove excess moisture or using in a recipe.

Should I cook my squash longer if it is still crunchy?

It really is up to personal preference! Whether your squash noodles are soft or slightly crunchy, both are edible. If you plan to use your noodles in a casserole, slightly crunchy might actually be better as you are cooking the squash again.

How to store uncooked whole spaghetti squash?

You can store raw squash for up to 3 months in a cool dry place. Always check before using! It is has soft spots or brown spots, it has gone bad and you will need to discard it.

More Spaghetti Squash Recipes

Black bowl with spaghetti squash noodles garnished with pepper and basil. Salt, pepper and towel nearby.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash Whole

Learn How to Cook Spaghetti Squash Whole without the need to cut it first! Bake it in the oven, microwave, or slow cooker.
5 from 2 votes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 150
Diet Low Calorie
Diet Low Calorie
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 18 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 spaghetti squash washed and dried

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and get large baking sheet.
  • Using a paring knife, pierce spaghetti squash about 15 times. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes, turning once. The actual cook time will depend on the size of squash, from squash to squash and your oven.
  • Remove from the oven, place on a cutting board and let cool for 20 minutes.
  • Wearing an oven mitt, hold the squash and cut lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and flesh, discard. Now let squash cool down for 10 more minutes.
  • Using a fork, separate squash into "noodles" and place in a bowl. Use a fork or spoon to run it inside the squash to get all the flesh out.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If you find water has pooled at the bottom, just drain it.
  • Microwave: Pierce outer skin multiple times to let steam escape, place in square baking dish and cook 10-12 minutes. Check for doneness, then remove to cool.
  • Slow cooker: Pierce outer skin multiple times to let steam escape. Place in slow cooker with 1/4 cup of water and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 5-6 hours. Test for doneness, then remove to cool.

Nutrition

Serving: 1half | Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 82mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. I LOVE this tip !!!!
    I am always so nervous cutting a spaghetti squash ! This will definitely make the job easier and much less dangerous. Thank you for sharing !
    Do you think that I could use this technique for butternut squash?

    1. Hi Beth. Yes, for sure, in fact I am working on this post. For whole butternut squash just poke it randomly with a knife and bake at 425 degrees F for 60-70 minutes. I did it yesterday and it peeled so nicely! So easy!

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