3 Ways to Cook Spaghetti Squash with Recipe Ideas
My goal with this quick guide is to show you a few of my favorite ways to cook spaghetti squash and answer potential questions about different cooking methods and techniques. I’ll also include a handful of recipe ideas and meal examples at the end, so you can put this to use right away. The 3 ways to cook spaghetti squash we’ll be looking at are:
- Oven – about 45 minutes total
- Microwave – about 15 minutes total
- Instant Pot – about 15 minutes total
If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash, you’re in for a treat. Not only does spaghetti squash have roughly 1/5th the calories of regular spaghetti, it has a great texture (at least in my opinion) and takes on flavors extraordinarily well. Meaning, you won’t really know you’re eating a vegetable as your pasta replacement. Woo!
The Difference Between These 3 Ways to Cook Spaghetti Squash
I’d like to say up front that I can’t tell a difference in the finished product regardless of cooking method. With many foods, microwaved or pressure cooked might mean you’re sacrificing flavor or texture for time saved. But in the case of spaghetti squash, I think it turns out just about the same no matter how you cook it.
I imagine some may disagree, but we’re not much for food snobbery here on my blog. If it’s saving us tons of calories and is still delicious, nitpicking is an afterthought. We’ll save that for the restaurateurs and food critics.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven
You may be wondering why I’d even recommend cooking a spaghetti squash in the oven if it takes significantly more time than the other ways to cook spaghetti squash in this guide. Two reasons:
- Okay, I admit that you can season the oven-baked spaghetti squash and make it more flavorful than the other methods.
- If you’re cooking more than one spaghetti squash at a time, the oven is the easiest. (If you go this route, know that cook time is extended by maybe 5-10 minutes per spaghetti squash.)
So how do you cook spaghetti squash in the oven? Check out the graphic below. It’s a graphic I put together for Stronger U members. Stronger U is a nutrition coaching company that I partnered with in early 2018 to develop recipes and food-related content for. They’re an awesome company, servicing nearly 10,000 clients at this point. I would recommend following Stronger U’s Instagram to see more graphics like these as well as recipes and other content.
One thing I’ll add is that there are a number of ways to cook spaghetti squash in the oven, or in general. Don’t stress doing it a wrong way. Just get the thing cooked and enjoy! That said, here are a few additional tips for cooking spaghetti squash in the oven:
- If you want longer spaghetti squash noodles, run the fork horizontally instead of vertically. If you place it between the skin and the noodles, you should be able to slide it from side to side and keep longer noodles intact. (I prefer shorter noodles.)
- If you have trouble cutting the spaghetti squash before it’s cooked, you can use a smaller paring knife to create an incision and then finish with a larger knife. I’ve found the easiest way is to get a large knife started on one side and use your other hand to rotate the spaghetti squash away from the way you’re applying pressure with your knife if that makes sense.
- Want more flavor? Use something like olive oil to brush the spaghetti squash before going in the oven.
- In this method, and the two that follow, a good way to tell if the spaghetti squash is cooked enough is to see if you can easily puncture the outside with a fork. When you can, it’s all G double-O D GOOD.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave and Instant Pot
Here we have two faster ways to cook spaghetti squash. Like I mentioned above, I can’t tell much difference between the three methods. If you need to cook spaghetti squash quickly, I’d go one of these two routes. And if I’m being honest, the microwave is the winner in my mind unless you’re avoiding microwave cooking.
The graphic below should cover what you need to know. One thing worth mentioning is that in the Instant Pot photo, I’m using a Lux60 6-quart model. As you can see, any smaller and you may not be able to fit a spaghetti squash inside.
Healthy Spaghetti Squash Recipes
One of the more obvious uses for spaghetti squash is to make spaghetti and meatballs. But don’t worry, I won’t be giving you recipes for plain ol’ meatballs. I’ve got two recipes for an Asian-style chicken meatball with noodles and a pepperoni chicken parmesan meatball.
Szechuan Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash Noodles
Pepperoni and Chicken Parmesan Metaballs with Spaghetti Squash
As you can see, I produce a ton of content for Stronger U. Be sure to give them a follow and while you’re at it, swing by my Instagram as well.
Oh, and one more thing if you’re still reading. No meal is complete without dessert. If you’d like some ideas for high protein chocolate recipes, check out my free cookbook for chocolate lovers. You can simply enter your info in the form below and I’ll send a copy straight to your inbox.