How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in a Microwave, Oven, or Slow Cooker

Oct 28 2015
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

I love spaghetti squash, but I don’t quite understand how to turn the squash itself into noodle-like strands. Help!

Skeptical About Spaghetti Squash
Answer@2x Dear SAGG,

You've come to the right place! It’s hard to believe that a big, solid vegetable can turn into a perfect pasta swap, but it’s definitely possible... That’s why it's a called a spaghetti squash! I love that a cup of the cooked squash strands has just 42 calories and 10g carbs, while the same amount of cooked traditional spaghetti has around 200 calories and 40g carbs. As for how to transform the spaghetti squash into noodles, I’ve got three foolproof methods...

In a Microwave (The Quickest)
Cook Time: 20 minutes
This method is fastest, but it's also pretty hands-on. To get the squash soft enough to cut, first microwave it for about 6 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, carefully cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place one squash half in an extra-large microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water. Cover and microwave for 7 minutes, or until tender. Repeat with remaining squash half. (If you don’t have a bowl big enough for the halves, quarter the squash and microwave ‘em one at a time.)

In the Oven (The Classic)
Cook Time: 50 minutes
The old standby! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, microwave the squash for 6 minutes, or until soft enough to cut. Once cool, carefully cut it in half lengthwise, and scoop out those seeds. Fill a large baking pan with half an inch of water, and place squash cut-sides-down in the pan. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes.

In a Slow Cooker (The Easiest and HG Favorite!)
Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours
What makes it so easy? You don't even need to cut through the tough skin of a raw squash... Just put the squash in your slow cooker whole! Add 1/2 cup water, and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, or until soft. Then you can easily slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Pssst... Click for a video to see how it's done!

After your squash is cooked…
Once it's cool, just use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands. You’ll be surprised how simple it is! The spaghetti squash strands will have a lot of excess moisture, though. So place them in a strainer to drain, and then thoroughly blot dry. The drier they are, the more pasta-like they'll taste!
Ready for recipes? A standard spaghetti squash yields about 5 cups of strands. So cook one up, and use the strands in these recipes!

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