How to Cook Spaghetti Squash In The Microwave

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It’s so easy to cook spaghetti squash in the microwave, you’ll wonder why you don’t prepare this low-carb alternative to pasta or polenta, more often.

spaghetti squash with jambalaya topping

Pictured: Spaghetti Squash Jambalaya

I love to cook spaghetti squash when I’m going to feed the family pasta. My people could eat noodles until the cows come home, but I like a little variety.

Sometimes I make polenta for myself, but often I will cook spaghetti squash as a low-carb alternative to both pasta and Italian grits. Spaghetti squash is easy to prep and reminiscent of spaghetti, though quite different, of course.

If you’ve never had spaghetti squash, it may seem a little weird at first. I didn’t grow up eating squash of any kind, so it’s a relatively new thing for me. All the same, I love it! I’ve even won over FishPapa and a few of the kids to enjoying the taste of the squash with a meaty red sauce.

To cook spaghetti squash is not difficult; it’s a great vegetable to add to your repertoire. You can roast spaghetti squash in the oven or cook it in the instant pot, but I’ve found the easiest way to cook it is in the microwave.

Yes, baby, that fun gadget that my parents bought as one of the first people on the block back in the 70s, it’s still good for a few things, namely reheating leftovers and cooking spaghetti squash!

Keep scrolling for step by step photos as well as a video explaining the whole thing.

How do you cook spaghetti squash in the microwave?

whole spaghetti squash and two halves

Spaghetti squash aren’t super expensive, and your grocery store probably has them in abundance.

Pro Tip: Choose squash that are hard, smooth, and pale yellow in color.

1. Wash the squash.

Wash the outside with vinegar and water to remove any bacteria that might enter the squash when you cut it.

2. Poke holes in the squash with a fork or knife.

Poke holes in the outside of it because we’re going to put it in the microwave whole. Yes, really.

Cooking it just a tad in the microwave will make it way easier to cut in half.

3. Microwave the whole squash.

Four minutes in the microwave will cook and therefore soften the hard exterior of the spaghetti squash. This makes it easier to cut through without hurting yourself.

4. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.

Cut it in half the longway. If the stem end is going to be problematic, you can cut that off crosswise before cutting the squash in half.

There are some arguments that say you’ll get longer “strands” of squash if you cut it crosswise, but that doesn’t fit well in the microwave and I found it didn’t really make longer strands.

I prefer cutting it lengthwise.

5. Scoop out the seeds and membrane.

Using a metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. It’s a little reminiscent of carving pumpkins.

half a spaghetti squash in a dish

6. Cook it fully.

Place the squash cut-side down in a glass baking dish. Add 1/2 to 1 inch of water and cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. Cook in the microwave for about 7 minutes.

cooked spaghetti squash in a bowl

 

7. Remove the wrappings and let it cool slightly.

Once you cook the spaghetti squash, the entire piece is very very hot, so you might want to use gloves or oven mitts to handle it. Be careful of steam burns!

It looks like that, soft and flossy.

cooked spaghetti squash with a fork

8. Scrape out the strands of squash.

With a fork gently, scrape the flesh. It falls into strings that resemble spaghetti.

scraped spaghetti squash

 

Keep scraping until the shell is scraped clean. Collect it in a bowl or serving dish.

If you’re serving the spaghetti squash right away, you’ll want to move quickly so that the squash doesn’t get cold.

spaghetti squash "noodles" in a bowl with a fork

 

What do you put on spaghetti squash?

You can season the squash with butter or oil and salt and pepper or other favorite seasonings.

As it’s a great substitute for pasta or polenta, you can top it with your favorite marinara sauce, a vegetable bolognese, or even meatballs.

Spaghetti squash is also a great base for bowl meals.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash In The Microwave
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
7 mins
Total Time
17 mins
 

It's so easy to cook spaghetti squash in the microwave, you'll wonder why you don't do it more often. Spaghetti squash is a great, low-carb alternative to pasta or polenta.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy dinner, low carb, microwave, spaghetti squash
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 74 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
Ingredients
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
Instructions
  1. Poke holes in the outer shell of the squash and microwave it for about 4 minutes. This softens the shell to make it easier to cut.

  2. Cut the squash in half the longway. If the stem end is going to be problematic, you can cut that off crosswise before cutting the squash in half. 

  3. Using a metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. It's a little reminiscent of carving pumpkins.

  4. Place each squash half cut-side down in a glass baking dish. Add 1/2 to 1 inch of water and cover the dish with plastic wrap. 

  5. Cook in the microwave for about 7 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

  6. Remove the squash from the dish with oven mitts to protect your hands. Watch for steam. With a fork gently, scrape the flesh. It falls into strings that resemble spaghetti. Keep scraping until the shell is scraped clean. Collect the strands in a bowl or serving dish.

  7. Serve the squash as a side dish or as a base to bowl meals or as a substitute for pasta or polenta.

Recipe Notes
  • Choose squash that are hard, smooth, and pale yellow in color.
  • Wash the outside with vinegar and water to remove any bacteria that might enter the squash when you cut it.
  • Cut it in half the longway. If the stem end is going to be problematic, you can cut that off crosswise before cutting the squash in half lengthwise.
  • You can store baked spaghetti squash, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash In The Microwave
Amount Per Serving (4 g)
Calories 74 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Sodium 41mg 2%
Potassium 260mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 16g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 6g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 5.8%
Vitamin C 6.1%
Calcium 5.6%
Iron 4.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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Comments

  1. Jill says:

    I usually mix our spaghetti pasta and our spaghetti squash together. If I stick with about 2/3 pasta and 1/3 squash, my toddler doesn’t even notice it’s in there!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Just had to say that I love your blog and your cookbooks!
    We’ve been eating spaghetti squash in my family for years and I highly recommend cooking it in the oven. We rub the insides with olive oil and put herbs and garlic in the ‘bowl’ of the squash. I roast it for about an hour, flipping it over halfway. The strands of squash then have a lovely roasted flavour to them.
    It does take longer, but it genuinely tastes delicious. My kids eat noodles while my husband and I eat squash. I’m trying to get them to like it. I will try Jill’s idea above of mixing noodles and squash.

  3. Susan says:

    I know your husband doesn’t like sauerkraut, but we love this recipe: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/kielbasa_swiss_spaghetti_squash_casserole.html

  4. Timmi says:

    My favorite way to eat this is with alfredo sauce or plain with salt and pepper and some parm cheese with some cooked sausage.

    • I would never have thought alfredo, but now I want to try that. It’s one of my favorites!

  5. Vanessa B says:

    I’ve never tried it in the microwave. It would be so much quicker and not heat up the house. I’m waiting for my dad to bring me a spaghetti squash to try a recipe my husband’s cousin posted last week. (did you follow that silliness) Anyway, it was chicken lo mein and I am chomping at the bit to try it!

    • I just bought a few at the store this week. They were about $3 each, but they were huge.

  6. Janet says:

    What an easy way to cook spaghetti squash! I served it with Bolognese sauce. Now what to do with all the leftover squash? I think I will try to reheat it and use olive oil as a sauce and toss it with some other roasted vegetables. I will say that the cooking time was not enough for my microwave. It took about 14 minutes for me. I have a small, older microwave, which is probably not as powerful as other models.

  7. Terry says:

    I cook whole butternut squash in the microwave. After thoroughly washing the squash (and removing any sticker-label), I place the whole squash on a glass pie plate, pierce the squash all over with a fork or knife (about 8 jabs), then microwave on high until tender all over – about 10-15 minutes. I turn the squash over in the dish after half of the time for even cooking. I think you might be able to use this method with spaghetti squash, as well. There wouldn’t be a need to cut the squash in half or add any water. The squash has enough water in its flesh to cook itself.

    • Thanks for the tip!

    • Chelsea says:

      Another great thing about doing it whole is that you can cut it width-wise instead of length-wise. The threads of the spaghetti squash go around the squash width-wise, so by cutting it length-wise you’re essentially cutting the “noodles” in half. If you want longer, spaghetti-like strings, try cutting the squash the other way. I don’t have a microwave, so I can’t do this, but I always cut my spaghetti squash width-wise when I cook it in the oven, so I can enjoy twirling it around my fork like real pasta.

      I can’t take credit for this though. Here’s where I learned about cutting it this way. Once I did it, I never looked back. =) http://eatwithinyourmeans.com/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash/

      • I just tried this a few weeks ago. My husband had heard about the trick. It was great. He loves long pasta also. 😉

  8. Karen says:

    One thought. Somewhere, I stumbled on the trick of microwaving your squash very briefly, THEN cutting off the end and splitting the squash. Then I season and cook the squash. This really eases the process .

    • Yes! I saw that on the Kitchen awhile ago. I’ve been meaning to update the post. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. Pamela says:

    Help! I just cooked spaghetti squash for the first time and the texture is not at all what I expected. Should it be somewhat crunchy? Or should it be soft like a spaghetti noodle?

    • It won’t be like a spaghetti noodle. We prefer it a bit crunchy, but if you cook it longer, it will be soft, like cooked squash.

  10. Connie says:

    Hi, is there other Squash I can use to substitute with? Cause I can’t get spaghetti squash in this part of the world. Thanks for your help

    • Hi Connie! No, there isn’t another squash that acts like spaghetti squash, but I’m sure that you could use any cooked squash as a base to meat sauces or meat and vegetable toppings.

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