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. Microwave spaghetti squash
Pictured: Spaghetti Squash Jambalaya
I love to microwave 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 microwave 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.
What Is Spaghetti Squash?
Spaghetti squash is golden yellow squash that can be cooked and then the inside flesh is pulled into threads resembling pasta.
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 sausage bolognese and this Quick Meat Sauce.
Cooking the 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 to microwave your spaghetti squash.
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!
What Should Spaghetti Squash Taste Like?
Spaghetti squash will of course taste a bit like squash! It has a bit of sweetness it as well like butternut squash. It won’t taste like pasta or have exactly the same texture, but makes for a great low carb alternative.
How do you cook spaghetti squash in the microwave?
Spaghetti squash aren’t super expensive, and your grocery store probably has them in abundance.
Pro Tip: Choose spaghetti squash that are hard, smooth, and pale yellow in color.
1. Wash the spaghetti 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 spaghetti 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 the squash in half lengthwise. 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.
Remove the seeds using a metal spoon You want to scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. It’s a little reminiscent of carving pumpkins.
6. Cook it fully.
Place the squash cut sides down in a glass baking dish. Add ½ to 1 inch of water and cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. Cook in the microwave for about 7 minutes. (The time might vary bit, which just depends on the size of the squash)
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.
8. Scrape out the strands of squash with a fork.
With a fork gently, scrape the flesh. It falls into strings that resemble spaghetti.
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.
How Do You Cut Spaghetti Squash Easily?
So as explained in step 4 above you want to microwave the squash 4 minutes. It will cook and therefore soften the hard exterior of the spaghetti squash. This makes it easier to cut through without hurting yourself.
How Do You Know When Spaghetti Squash Has Gone Bad?
There are few ways you can tell if your spaghetti squash has gone bad:
- If it has spots
- Is discolored or is very dull
- If the flesh is soft and mushy
- If the flesh is dry and pulling away from the rind
Is Spaghetti Squash Supposed To Be Crunchy?
If your spaghetti squash is crunchy, then it needs to be microwaved a bit more.
The flesh should pull away easily into strands. If it doesn’t or if it still has a crunch, then place it back in the microwave for a bit longer.
Can You Reheat Spaghetti Squash?
Yes you can! You can reheat it again in the microwave with a bit of water added to it.
Or simply place your sauce of choice on top and re-heat back in the microwave for a couple minutes.
What do you put on spaghetti squash?
You can season the squash with butter or oil and salt and pepper or other favorite seasonings.
Spaghetti squash recipes are also a great substitute for pasta or polenta, you can top it with your favorite marinara sauce, a vegetable bolognese, or even meatballs. Or try this spaghetti squash recipe – Spaghetti Squash Jambalaya for a spicy low carb meal.
Spaghetti squash is also a great base for bowl meals.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash In The Microwave
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 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.
- 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.
- Using a metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. It's a little reminiscent of carving pumpkins.
- Place each squash half cut-side down in a glass baking dish. Add ½ to 1 inch of water and cover the dish with plastic wrap.
- Cook in the microwave for about 7 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
- 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.
- Serve the squash as a side dish or as a base to bowl meals or as a substitute for pasta or polenta.
- 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.
Try it with butter, cinnamon & nutmeg. Or butter, Italian Seasoning & grated cheese. or Aglio with Olive Oil & Garlic & grated cheese.
I’ve been thinking of Pesto too. I’ve never acquired a taste for it with spaghetti sauce. But I would think you could add cooked spaghetti squash to Homemade Pasta sauce to get more veggies in it. It would disappear into the sauce & sweeten it like grated carrots do. Practical for diabetics & whole 30 folks. Serve it on the plate with butter, salt & pepper. Leftovers could be added to Soups, too. I’m all for microwaving it, in a Corning Ware casserole with a cover. We do Corn that way. I would think the Spaghetti
Squash strands would be more fluffy.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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. 😉
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.
Yes, your mileage may vary when it comes to microwaves. 😉 Glad you liked it!
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.
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!
I know your husband doesn’t like sauerkraut, but we love this recipe: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/kielbasa_swiss_spaghetti_squash_casserole.html
Thanks! I’ll share that with my mom. She will love it!
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.
Thanks for the tip — and the very kind words. 🙂
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!