Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Zoodles weren't exactly "new" when they caught fire in the mid-2010s (most likely as a result of the availability and popularity of spiral vegetable slicers), but they were certainly a game-changer. Suddenly, it seemed that anyone with a zucchini, cucumber, butternut squash, or beet could easily and affordably make their own grain-free, gluten-free, vitamin-, antioxidant-, and fiber-packed "pasta-ish" from whatever vegetables they happened to have on hand in their fridge. But the truth is, there wasn't anything particularly novel about spiralized veggies back then either. Long before carbs became villainized as a result of trendy diets such as Atkins, South Beach, and keto, a very special squash was developed in Israel and brought to the U.S. (via Purdue University), and it carried with it the low-key promise of having all the benefits of spiralized noodles without the need for a spiralizer (via The Columbian).

We're talking, of course, about spaghetti squash. When cooked through, its flesh almost magically turns into bright yellow spaghetti-like strands without any coaxing, let alone the need for a dedicated small appliance. But how exactly does a novice turn this miracle squash into "spaghetti"? Read on as we learn the tricks of the trade from wellness expert and recipe developer Miriam Hahn, including not only how to cook spaghetti squash, but also how to pick the best ones your grocer has to offer.

Find your squash

Having discovered spaghetti squash just five years ago, wellness expert and recipe developer Miriam Hahn finds herself making it weekly now that she's on the hunt for ways to increase her family's "daily produce count." She also recommends it to her clients, especially those who either want to lose weight or, for whatever other reason, have simply given up pasta. "Making spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot is incredibly simple," Hahn pointed out to Mashed, and to gather your ingredients for this Instant Pot spaghetti squash recipe, all you need to do is head to your nearest produce stand or department and use your eyeballs.

"I always look for a medium-size one," said Hahn. "If you get one too big, it might be tricky to fit it in the Instant Pot, and they can also be hard to cut." You'll also need your Instant Pot, of course, and a bit of water to keep things moist in there. And, of course, for your spaghetti squash to become "spaghetti," you'll need pasta sauce (not to mention a sprinkling of fresh basil). Hahn recommends an organic sauce like the marinara you can get at Whole Foods because tomatoes have a thin and porous skin that can hold onto any pesticides that may have been used during the growing process.

Prep your spaghetti squash

There's not much in the way of prep involved with making spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot. Simply wash the outside with cold water, and then cut the squash in half. Now, when making a spaghetti squash in, say, the oven or some other large space, it wouldn't matter how you halve it, but for the Instant Pot, Hahn advises cutting cross-wise to help it fit into the relatively smaller space. Then all that's left is to take a fork, scoop out the seeds, and discard. Move directly onto the next step.

Place your spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot

You know that metal wire trivet thing that came with your Instant Pot? You're going to want to dig that out of your cabinet now and place it into your Instant Pot's pot. Add one cup of water. Then place the two squash halves face-down. Close the Instant Pot lid, and turn the nozzle on the lid to "sealing." 

Select the "pressure cook" button and set the timer to seven minutes. For purposes of time management, please note that it may take as much as 15 minutes for your Instant Pot to heat up sufficiently, and your timer will begin only when that has happened.

You're just minutes away from witnessing the miracle of spaghetti squash

When the timer goes off on the Instant Pot, carefully switch the nozzle on the lid to "venting" (carefully, because the steam that is going to come out will be hot), and then stand back as the steam escapes. Once all of the steam has been released (you'll know from the absence of steam and the absence of steam-release sounds), open the lid. When the squash is no longer too hot to touch, remove the halves from the Instant Pot, and place them on a cutting board or directly on your counter.

Scoop out the spaghetti squash

If you have children at home, now would be a good time to gather them around because you're about to do something that, we have no doubt, will seriously impress them, not to mention lend a bit of fun to everyday cooking. Now, with your audience and a plate or bowl on hand, take a fork to the inside of each squash half and scrape. The spaghetti-like strands will release from the rind, and you'll have a plate or bowl full of "squoodles" or whatever you decide to call the fruits of your Instant Pot spaghetti squash labors. 

Serve with tomato sauce and a sprinkling of fresh basil, if desired. Alternately, top with any sauce that up until now you associated with regular pasta.

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash Recipe
5 from 28 ratings
When cooked through, the flesh of spaghetti squash almost magically turns into bright yellow spaghetti-like strands without any coaxing.
Prep Time
2
minutes
Cook Time
7
minutes
Servings
2
servings
spaghetti squash in bowl
Total time: 9 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup water
Optional Ingredients
  • Tomato sauce or other pasta sauce
  • Fresh basil
Directions
  1. Wash the outside of the spaghetti squash with cold water.
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half cross-wise.
  3. With a fork, scoop out the seeds and discard.
  4. Add the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot to the cooking pot, then add in the water.
  5. Place the 2 squash halves face-down on the trivet.
  6. Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the nozzle on the lid to "sealing." Select the "pressure cook" button, and set the time to 7 minutes. The Instant Pot takes about 15 minutes to heat up. When it is ready, the cook time will begin, and the front panel will begin counting down from 7 minutes.
  7. When the timer beeps, carefully switch the nozzle on the lid to "venting." Stand back, as a lot of steam will escape out of the top of the lid. When the steam has been released, open the lid. When the squash is cool enough to handle, remove it from the Instant Pot.
  8. Using a fork, scrape the inside of each squash half to form "spaghetti" type strands. Ready to serve!
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 63
Total Fat 1.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.0 g
Dietary Fiber 3.0 g
Total Sugars 5.6 g
Sodium 39.1 mg
Protein 1.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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