spaghetti squash shredded

How to Cook a Spaghetti Squash in 15 minutes

In Sides by sarawalkenbach3 Comments

It’s a weekday. You want something quick, nutritious, and delicious to round out your dinner. Spaghetti Squash is it! Most winter squash takes a solid 30 minutes to roast. Sometimes you just don’t have that kinda time for a veggie. This post will show you how to cook a spaghetti squash in 15 minutes, and how to flavor it.

spaghetti squash before cooking
Spaghetti Squash are filled with vitamins and nutrients. Swap out your pasta with this slightly sweet veggie.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash has a mild flavor compared to other squash. I can actually get our kids to eat it… most nights. After all, it does look like spaghetti noodles.

Like most vegetables, spaghetti squash is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and many other healthy benefits, like antioxidants.

According to a article, Is Spaghetti Squash Good for You? by Rachael Link, MS RD:

Spaghetti squash contains beta carotene and vitamin C — two antioxidants that can curb free radical damage and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

Rachael Link, MS RD

Spaghetti squash is also high in fiber, which aids in digestion and weight loss. Swap out pasta for spaghetti squash for a healthier, low carb option.

spaghetti squash cut in half cooked in microwave
Don’t over cook squash or it will be mush. A fork should slide into the flesh with a little bit of give. The strands should be soft, but slightly crunchy.

How to Cook a Spaghetti Squash in 15 Minutes

This is one of the easiest cooked veggies to cook. Don’t be afraid. Here is a step by step on how to cook it.

Cut in Half

Carefully cut the squash in half, lengthwise. If it has a stem, try to avoid cutting through it, as you will really be flexing your muscles.

Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Discard seeds or roast, like pumpkin seeds.

Poke Holes

With a fork or small knife, poke holes all over the back (or skin) of the squash. This allows the steam to escape while cooking.


Place squash cut side down on a dinner plate. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Check to see if the flesh softening. Microwave in 3 minute increments after that, checking to see if it’s done. It’s done when a fork should slide easily into the flesh with a little bit of give.

Don’t Over Cook It

There is nothing worst than mushy squash. The spaghetti squash should be tender, yet slightly crunchy, almost al dente. This is the perfect texture on this squash.

If you let it go past the point of no return, your kids won’t eat it and you probably won’t be impressed. I speak from experience.

Shred it

Now, for the fun part. There is something satisfying about making the strands… to me, anyway.

Use an oven mitt or towel to hold the squash, so you don’t burn your hand. With a fork, shred the flesh of the squash. It will shred easily if it’s cook to perfection. If it’s a little tough to shred, microwave for another minute or two.

Shred both halves, and put in a bowl.

spaghetti squash shredded
Once squash is cooked, shred flesh with a fork producing beautiful strands of spaghetti squash.

Flavor Time

The possibilities are endless when it comes to topping spaghetti squash. My go to is pesto. It’s easy and our kids like it. Here are some other options for Spaghetti Squash as a side dish :

  • Butter & Garlic Salt
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Olive Oil, Parmesan Cheese, & Pepper
  • Fresh Thyme, Salt & Pepper
  • Greek Seasoning and Feta
  • Middle Eastern Spices
  • Pesto

Want more recipes that have pesto, try Spinach Salad with Easy Pesto Dressing.

spaghetti squash shredded in a bowl ready to be gussied up.
There are so many ways to flavor this squash. My go to is pesto.

Main Dish

Make spaghetti squash the main dish. Swap out pasta in any recipe for this delicious veggies. The slightly sweet strands mimic the look of spaghetti noodles… hence the name.

Here are a few ideas for making this veggie the star of the show:

  • Chicken, Pesto, Goat Cheese
  • Garbonzo Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Feta
  • Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce
  • Pork Loin, Mushrooms, Cream Cheese

What Does Spaghetti Squash Go With?

Just about anything! If making this for a side, Spaghetti Squash goes great with chicken, pork, beef, or vegetarian dishes. Here are a few ideas to pair this easy spaghetti squash with.

Chicken Spiedini with Lemon Basil Sauce

Pretzel Encrusted Schnitzel

Glazed & Grilled Salmon

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

spaghetti squash halves filled with shredded strands
Use spaghetti squash in place of pasta in any dish or as a veggie side dish.


Cooked Spaghetti Squash only lasts a day or two in the fridge. It’s good reheated or cold.

I’ll mix leftover spaghetti squash into my salad the next day, with spinach, zucchini, feta, and a vinaigrette.

thyme branch

Thanks for reading along. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. If you would like more healthy recipes like this one sent right to your inbox, sign up for my Recipe Drops. They’re always FREE.

If you love this recipe for making squash, please give me a 5-star rating. Thank you, friend.

spaghetti squash shredded

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in 15 minutes

Full of nutrients this squash variety is a fun one and so versatile! Swap it out for pasta in any dish or make it as a veggie side dish. Either way it's done in less than 15 minutes!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 50 kcal


  • 1 Microwave


  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • Seasonings to taste such as salt, pesto, spices, etc.


  • Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Flip over and poke skin with fork all over.
  • Place flesh side down on plate. Microwave for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, check the flesh of the squash. If it's still hard, microwave for another 2-3 minutes.
  • It's perfectly cooked when a fork slides into the flesh with a little bit of resistance. If it's not there yet, keep microwaving in 2-3 minute increments until done.
  • Once done, using an oven mitt or towel (because it'll be hot), take a fork and shred the flesh of the squash producing beautiful strands. The texture should be slightly crunchy.
  • Place shredded squash in bowl and season with your favorite spices. Enjoy!



Don’t over cook! You don’t want mushy squash.
Depending on the size of squash, it could be done in 5 minutes or 15. Keep checking it in 3 minute increments.
Use as a side dish or as the pasta in any dish.


Serving: 6gCalories: 50kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 27mgPotassium: 174mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 193IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 0.5mg
Keyword 15 minute spaghetti squash, keep it crunchy, spaghetti squash, swap out for pasta
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. 5 stars
    I have never made Spaghetti Squash and this was the perfect tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You’re right! Mushy squash is never good. I’ve been having trouble microwaving lately. I’ll try your method …. Obviously mine isn’t working. I don think spaghetti is great anyway you serve it

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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