Best way to cook spaghetti squash.

Come fall, we really enjoy spaghetti squash, with its lovely combination of healthfulness, deliciousness and flexibility. It can go in all kinds of directions, from main dish to side, topped, tossed, sautéed.

Like many winter squashes, though, spaghetti squash can be a bit of a pain in the neck to prepare, what with the tough outer skin that defies even the sharpest knife. I’ve tried microwaving it, which requires whacking the raw squash in half, no small feat. I’ve tried roasting it whole, which is easy but takes up to 90 minutes.

Then I discovered the absolute best way to cook spaghetti squash.

The woman from whom I purchased a nice, football-sized squash at the farmers’ market told me that she simply boils spaghetti squash in a big pot of water.

It’s SOOOO easy! Boiling cooks the squash in less than half the time it takes in the oven, it makes the squash so much easier to cut in half, and it yields very little waste. This method produces perfectly cooked, al dente strands of golden goodness that you can top with marinara and meatballs or sauté with tons of butter and garlic.

In coming posts, I’ll share two of my favorite ways to serve spaghetti squash—I promise, you’ll be totally hooked!

the very best way to cook spaghetti squash

Wash any dirt off the squash (and if the squash has a long stem, you can remove it with a small saw). Grab a stock pot large enough to hold the squash plus water to cover it. Bring the water to a boil, then gently drop the squash into the pot. It will float. This is OK. Cover the pot and reduce heat so that the water still boils but doesn’t sputter all over the stove. Periodically use a wooden spoon to turn the squash so it cooks evenly. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the squash, until it yields when you insert the tip of a paring knife. The skin may split, which is fine; this will make it easier to test for doneness. Dump the squash out into a colander and let it cool for 15 minutes or so, until it’s easy to handle. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and use an ice cream scoop to remove the seeds. Use a fork to scrape out long, spaghetti-like strands and transfer the cooked squash to a large bowl. Fluff it with a fork to loosen and separate the strands.

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17 thoughts on “Best way to cook spaghetti squash.

  1. Thanks so much! I’ve always wondered how to prepare spaghetti squash. I look forward to seeing the recipes.

    • I cook it the way my mom did.. Boil it and cut in half and add butter,salt and pepper.yummy

  2. That’s one thing that I’ve always wanted to cook but haven’t gotten around to try it. You make it sound so easy, I think I’ll have to try it soon. Thanks!

  3. I nuke mine, and it turns out well. Of course, I have a really bad habit of not waiting the requisite 15 minutes for it to cool before handling. That’s why I no longer have any fingerprints on my left hand.

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  8. OMG! I’ve been looking for a easy, no fail way to cook spaghetti squash for a long time, and here it is! I’ve done the oven and microwave route, which were personal disasters. But, boiling never occur to me. I can’t wait to try this method. Thank you, so much, for posting.

  9. On a Japanese program, a woman cut the squash into rounds then boiled it, rather than cooking it whole. It will probably cook even faster.

  10. This year was the first time I have ever grown spaghetti squash and tonight the first time to cook it. Family members kept telling me how good it was and my daughter actually fixed some for me. It was good to my surprise. Tonight I took your advise and boiled one, very easy. Scooped it out and just like magic it shredded into spaghetti strips. Served with sauted chicken with mushrooms & onions garlic salt, black pepper, butter and a little cream. I also learned that the squash I cooked could probably feed 10 people. Now the question can you freeze it or store it? I don’t want to just toss the rest.
    LeAnne Abell

  11. Place the cleaned squash in the pot, then fill. Remove the squash, then put on the boil. You’ll know the correct amount of water to account for displacement.

  12. You should add that you need to poke a couple of holes in it with a fork before boiling. I
    followed your steps and poked it lightly while boiling to see if it was tender and it BLEW UP on me. Exploded boiling water and pieces of the squash on my arm and face…
    Definitely a key step is to poke it before so this doesn’t happen to you.

  13. I put mine in an electric pressure cooker for 12 minutes, it comes out perfect. I bought one too large for my pressure cooker this time and thanks to your recipe know how to boil it in a post instead. Thanks!

  14. I nuke mine. I poke lots of holes in it with a fork. I usually do it for 3 minutes then check for softness and add from there if needed. I have also left it in for too long and it exploded. What a mess. Live and learn. 😉

    It also freezes well.

  15. OMG! I am training for a triathlon in April. All my training menus was spaghetti squash as a good carbohydrate! I just used your recipe with boiling and after I scraped out the spaghetti squash I tossed it in fat-free Swiss cheese awesome I’m addicted thank you for the hint about the boiling