Learn How to Cut Spaghetti Squash easily and safely! This step by step tutorial goes over the best tips and tricks so you are no longer intimidated by its hard shell and can cut into it with confidence.

This post is part of the how-to series on spaghetti squash. To learn more, check out how to make spaghetti squash noodles and how to bake spaghetti squash whole.

Two spaghetti squash halves on a cutting board with a knife and towel.

I love the versatility of spaghetti squash noodles from using them as a pasta alternative with your favorite pasta sauce, to including them in casseroles, or as an easy dinner side dish.

Like with most winter squashes, cutting spaghetti squash can be intimidating because the shell of a spaghetti squash has a tough outer skin.

Well no longer, friends! I am sharing the best techniques and preferred methods for how to cut spaghetti squash so you never have to opt out of enjoying this nutritious vegetable again.

How to Pick Spaghetti Squash

You may ask “How can you tell if spaghetti squash is ripe or bad?”. I hear ya. Before you learn how to cut spaghetti squash open, here are some tips on what to look for when picking a whole squash at your local store or farmer’s stand:

  • The rounded stem should be intact: It should also be both firm and dry. All these three factors are important, as healthy stem keeps spaghetti squash fresh.
  • It should be firm to the touch: Ripe spaghetti squash should bree of any soft spots or cracks. Run your fingers and inspect with your eyes all around it.
  • Heavy in size: Pick one up and make sure it’s heavy for its size.
  • Golden yellow to dark yellow in color: Ripened spaghetti squash should be bright yellow or dark yellow, without any green spots.

Tools You Will Need

Spaghetti squash on a cutting board, knife and spoon on a towel.

There are a few kitchen tools that are essential when cutting spaghetti squash.

  • Cutting board: It is essential that you find a work area that is both flat and stable. I highly recommend a wooden board versus plastic. Make sure it isn’t warped. I pictured other Boos board, but here is a nice large Boos cutting board.
  • Chef’s knife: You will need a very sharp chef’s knife. Because spaghetti squash is hard to cut, you will end up sawing your squash vs. slicing it, plus it could get stuck inside the squash. Not to mention cause injury. I love my Henckels professional S chef knife.
  • Kitchen towel: Just make sure it’s dry to prevent it from sliding.
  • Large spoon: A tablespoon, an ice cream scoop or a cookie scoop will work.

Optional Tools

A microwave and small paring knife are also useful, but not required.

Preparing It for Cutting

Now that you picked the best spaghetti squash and got your tools, let’s go over very important step of preparing it for cutting.

  1. Remove the sticker: If you got your squash from a grocery store, chances are it has one.
  2. Wash the squash: Although store-bought squash comes pretty clean, I still recommend to rinse it with cold water.
  3. Dry completely: Then dry with kitchen towel completely. It is very important to start with dry spaghetti squash to avoid sliding and injuries.

Now, let’s cut it!

How to Cut Spaghetti Squash Lengthwise

Step by step collage how to cut spaghetti squash lengthwise.

If you are planning to stuff your squash or create ‘boats’, cutting lengthwise will be the best way for how to cut spaghetti squash in half.

Some may find this method trickier as you have more squash to cut through and less squash to hold unto while cutting!

  1. Grip one butt end on bottom and top of squash with a kitchen towel and make sure it’s sitting steady and nothing is sliding.
  2. Insert the tip of sharp chef’s knife into the middle of the squash lengthwise and gently push it down towards the cutting surface, a few inches deep. Remove the knife and make another small incision.
  3. Turn squash around and repeat on the other side, inserting the knife into previously made incision. At this point your squash should easily crack apart. Separate it into two halves.
  4. Scoop out the seeds from the inside of the squash with a large spoon. Discard or you can roast the seeds the same way we roast pumpkin seeds in air fryer. Proceed to placing cut side down on baking sheet to cook.

How to Cut It Across the Middle

Person showing the easy way to cut spaghetti squash across the middle in four photos.

This technique is also called cutting your squash crosswise and is the easiest way to get those longest strands!

Some may find it easier than the above method cutting it lengthwise.

  1. Hold squash with a towel on one butt end on a steady cutting board.
  2. Then grab a sharp paring knife, make a small incision a few inches deep in the middle. Remove the knife and keep inserting it a few inches at a time into previously made cut, rotating the squash.
  3. Now it should open easily into two squash halves. I prefer to use this method when cooking squash in my pressure cooker.
  4. Scrape and clean out the seeds.

How to Slice It into Rings

Person showing how to slice spaghetti squash into rounds.

While less common, this is another great way for cutting spaghetti squash so you get longer strands.

  1. Similar to how to cut a squash in half lengthwise, you will want to place your squash on its flat side, then hold unto the butt end with a towel.
  2. Starting at the opposite end that you are holding, insert your knife through the widge about 2 inches from the edge. In one motion, slice down, then lift the knife so the end falls to cutting board. Repeat with remaining squash to create rings.
  3. Using a tip of a knife run it around the fibrous center of each ring, then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds before proceeding to cook your squash.

How to Make Spaghetti Squash Easier to Cut?

Now that you are familiar with the different methods on how to cut a spaghetti squash, you may be wondering if there are any hacks to softening spaghetti squash before cutting it.

Here are 2 methods that can make the tough shell easier to slice through:

  1. How to soften spaghetti squash in microwave: First thing, remove any stickers from the outside of the squash, wash then dry it. Using a paring knife poke holes or make long cuts in the skin of the squash. This allows steam to escape so your squash does not explode. Place your squash on a paper towel and microwave squash 4 – 6 minutes.
  2. How to soften spaghetti squash in oven: Wash, dry and poke squash same way like for microwaving. Place it on a pan and bake in the oven at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.

Tip

Softening your squash in the microwave or oven is not essential, but it can be helpful if you are finding your spaghetti squash hard to cut.

How to Cook It?

Most recipes will have you cook spaghetti squash twice. The first time will be when you are cutting spaghetti squash to cook it. The second time will be when you use your squash in your recipe!

Just as there are many different ways on cutting a spaghetti squash, there are many ways to cook your squash to get that al dente spaghetti-like texture.

How to Store

Uncooked spaghetti squash can be stored in a cool place for a few months. It’s a great way to always have a fresh veggie on hand!

Leftover cooked spaghetti squash is great for meal prep as it can last several days in the refrigerator.

Cool completely then place in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Reheat quickly in the microwave or in a skillet for a few minutes with a little olive oil.

I do not recommend freezing your cooked squash as it can turn watery and mushy upon thawing. But if you are okay with that, you can technically freeze it for a few months in an airtight storage bag.

Spaghetti Squash Recipes

Top your noodle-like strands with homemade meat sauce, use in pasta dishes, or enjoy them on their own with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Here are some favorite recipes we love to make with cooked spaghetti squash strands!

Would you like more cooking tutorials? Here is how to cut cauliflower and how to make cauliflower rice.

Holding spaghetti squash with a towel and inserted knife in it on a cutting board.

How to Cut Spaghetti Squash

This step by step tutorial goes over how to prepare and cut spaghetti squash easily and safely. Learn How to Cut Spaghetti Squash lengthwise, across the middle and into rounds!
5 from 3 votes
Calories 299
Diet Vegan
Diet Vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 spaghetti squash

Instructions 

  • Wash squash and make sure to dry completely. Identify the flattest part and place it on a cutting board.
  • Grip one butt end on a bottom and top of squash with a kitchen towel and make sure it's sitting steady and nothing is sliding.
  • Insert the tip of sharp chef's knife into the middle of the squash lengthwise and gently push it down towards the cutting surface, a few inches deep. Remove the knife and make another small incision.
  • Turn squash around and repeat on the other side, inserting the knife into previously made incision.
  • At this point squash should easily crack apart. Separate it into two halves.
  • Scoop out the seeds with a large spoon and discard. Now your squash is ready to cook.

Notes

  • Microwave trick: If you still have hard time cutting squash because its skin is too thick, make small incisions all around it and microwave on high for 4-6 minutes. After cool until safe to handle and you should be able to cut it easily lengthwise.
  • To cut squash across the middle: Hold squash with a towel on one butt end on a steady cutting board. Then grab a sharp paring knife, make a small incision a few inches deep in the middle. Remove the knife and keep inserting it a few inches at a time into previously made cut, rotating the squash. Now it should open easily.
  • To cut squash into rounds: Starting at the opposite end that you are holding, insert your knife through the widge about 2 inches from the edge. In one motion, slice down, then lift the knife so the end falls to cutting board.
  • Safety first: Make sure you have a sharp knife and flat steady cutting board, nothing is wobbly or slipping. And it’s important to have everything dry and not wet. This way you will not hurt yourself.

Nutrition

Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 164mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 27g
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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