Jennifer Causey

It's all about how you cut them.

Ann Taylor Pittman
January 18, 2018

While it’s common practice to halve the squash to get at the “spaghetti," our test kitchen experts swear by the ring method for long, flowing strands that won’t sog out. Follow these foolproof steps for spaghetti squash with al dente pasta texture, then try our Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi for a satisfying weeknight dinner with less than 400 calories.

New Year. New Food. Healthy eating starts here, with the Cooking Light Diet.

Step 1: Cut squash into rings.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

The squash’s strands run horizontally in circles around the inside of the squash. To get the longest “spaghetti,” cut the squash crosswise into rings, First, trim off a small slice from the stem and blossom the ends, and discard. Then cut the remaining squash into 1 1/2-inch rings.

Step 2: Scrape out the seeds.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Clean out each squash ring by scraping away and discarding the seeds and stringy membranes in the center. Scoop with the edge of a large spoon, or try scraping with the blunt side of a paring or utility knife.

Watch how we make Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi, a gluten-free, lower-carb alternative to pasta:

Step 3. Bake, cool, and separate.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Coat squash rings with cooking spray; bake at 375° until al dente. Cool slightly, then cut through the outer edge of each ring so that you can open it a bit and get the full length of the strands. Gently scrape out strands (your fingers may work best here since the strands are delicate).

Step 4. Look at the difference.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Squash that’s cut lengthwise (see above) give you strands that are half as long as they could be; these shorter strands can overcook and grow soggy faster compared with the longer strands that maintain their texture better.