Spaghetti Squash Gratin

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This spaghetti squash is tossed with marinara sauce, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and cheese, and baked until golden brown.

spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is like a gift from the diet gods. When cooked, it miraculously transforms into low carb, golden, spaghetti-like strands. Here, I’ve tossed it with marinara sauce, sprinkled it lightly with crispy bread crumbs and cheese and baked it in the oven until golden brown. It makes a wonderful vegetarian main course — trust me, you’ll feel virtuous eating it — or side dish to Italian sausage or meatballs.

Spaghetti squash 7a

If you’ve never cooked spaghetti squash, it can be a little intimidating. It’s one of those vegetables you’re not quite sure how to go at. To cut it raw is suicidal unless you have a giant cleaver or very big muscles. I think it’s easiest to boil it first, then cut it when it’s nice and soft. See my pics below for the step-by-step.

Spaghetti squash 1a

How to create strands from the whole spaghetti squash

First, boil it in a covered pot for about 30 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with a fork.

Spaghetti squash 2

Slice off the ends.

Spaghetti squash 3

Cut in half lengthwise.

Spaghetti squash 4

Remove the seeds.

Spaghetti squash 5

Finally, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh (go from side to side to keeps strands intact).

Spaghetti squash 6

That’s all there is to it.

You may also like


Spaghetti Squash Gratin

This spaghetti squash is tossed with marinara sauce, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and cheese, and baked until golden brown.

Servings: 4 as a main course, 8 as a side dish


  • 2 small or 1 large spaghetti squash (4-1/2 - 5 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-3/4 cup jarred marinara sauce, best quality such as Rao's
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (such as Fontina, Asiago and Parmesan)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Fill a large pot with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer. Place the spaghetti squash in the pot, cover with a lid and simmer, turning once, for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Let cool.
  3. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, being careful not to shred the strands (it is best to go from side to side, rather than lengthwise). Place the strands in large bowl.
  4. Add the extra virgin olive oil, marinara sauce, salt, pepper, and thyme to the bowl and toss gently until squash is well coated with the sauce. Taste and add more salt if necessary (I usually add quite a bit more but season to your own taste). Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over top. Combine the melted butter with the panko and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cheese. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is golden. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 421
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 52 g
  • Sugar: 22 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Protein: 13 g
  • Sodium: 1350 mg
  • Cholesterol: 39 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • Awesome dish to satisfy pasta craving without the carbs. Easy to make other than waiting for the squash to cook. 🙂

    • — Dalia B. on February 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • Would this work with any Squash ? I am in Europe and having a very hard time find finding Spaghetti Squash as the season has just ended here.

    • — Sharon on October 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • Unfortunately not 🙁

      • — Jenn on October 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • My husband and I like this recipe! Would it work to make it up until the baking point, and then put in the refrigerator, and then bake later? What would you suggest to prep this for dinner ahead of time? (In the morning or day before)

    • — Heather on October 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Heather, I definitely think you could assemble this ahead and refrigerate. If given the choice, I’d probably do it the morning before (and glad you like it)!

      • — Jenn on October 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! You cannot overcook. Let it get nice and browned. YUMMMMM

    • — Jan on May 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • Easy to make and absolutely delicious. Loved it.

    • — Rita Singh on November 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • Jenn, your spaghetti squash recipe was AWESOME! I followed the recipe exactly (even using Rao’s marina sauce which I could have eaten out of the jar) …no substitutes! It was a BIG hit with my family …my son-in-law went back for seconds, or was it thirds?

  • How will this hold up if I assemble it one day and bake & eat it the next? Or will it be better if I assemble & bake one day and reheat the next? Thank You.

    • Hi Kate, I think you could go either way with good results. Hope you enjoy!

  • Spaghetti squash is difficult to find here in Portugal, could ordinary butternut squash be used instead in this recipe?

    • Unfortunately, because butternut squash doesn’t form spaghetti-like strands, it won’t work here– sorry!

  • Does this freeze well?

    • Hi Karen, I’ve never frozen this so I can’t say for sure, but I suspect you could freeze it.

  • My roommate and I just discovered the joy of squash and have enjoyed the leftovers of this recipe everyday for fantastic lunches!

  • This was my first experience with spaghetti squash. I’ve been skeptical, but how exciting that it really does work as a delicious pasta substitute! I made this with my homemade tomato sauce with sausage, au gratin per Jen’s recipe. The following week, I used the other half of the squash (which I had frozen) with a white clam-and-shrimp sauce. Also incredible! I think next time I’ll try without cutting the squash in half so that I can get nice, long “noodle” strands. Fabulous.

  • OMG!!!! Have tried to make spaghetti squash 2-3 times over the years and have been more than a little disappointed. No more! I just made this recipe, using ingredients I had on had (i.e., no panko bread crumbs, just plain; mozzarella and cheddar, no Italian cheese blend; and I had a meat sauce in the freezer).
    Can I say I’m moaning with delight in every bite!!!! Cannot wait to take leftovers to work and share the love. This recipe is a hit.

  • Wow wow wow! This was delicious! Very filling and so easy to assemble. Can’t wait to make this one again.

  • Delicious and easy. I was very pleased with myself for serving this dish up. Reheated well for leftovers too.

    • Thanks for sharing the “reheated well for leftovers”! I live alone, and hesitate to make some dishes, because I eat leftovers ALL THE TIME! So glad to know in advance!

      • — Doreen Sanders
      • Reply
  • How do you keep the spaghetti squash from getting soggy? I usually roast it or microwave it and when I scoop it out, there’s always so much water in the bowl. Do you drain it repeatedly?

    • You can certainly drain it or, if you want to get even more water out, you can squeeze it gently with a clean dish towel.

  • Love this recipe. Even my picky eater ate this!

  • Hi Jenn,

    Would you serve this with your glazed chicken meatballs?

    • Absolutely!

  • Hey Jennifer! I’ve never made spaghetti squash before but am going to try this recipe! It looks awesome! How well will the squash stand up as leftovers? I’ll be cooking this only for myself so will have 3 portions leftover that I’ll probably use to bring as lunches to work. Will the squash keep its spaghetti shape or will it get mushy? Just curious…thanks!

    • It holds up beautifully so no worries….you can reheat in oven or microwave. Hope you enjoy it!

      • Oh good, thank you!

        • Jenn, I made this tonight and it was AWESOME! Instead of using jarred sauce I used homemade turkey bolognese (I wanted some more protein in it). It was my first time cooking with spaghetti squash and it definitely won’t be my last. Thank you for a delicious recipe!

  • I might have to try this for my kids and see if they notice it isn’t real spaghetti. Great way to limit calories and carbs for me too!

  • My oldest son always begs me to buy spaghetti squash and I never do because I don’t like it. Next time he asks, I will buy some and try this recipe. This recipe will make us all happy I think.

  • I have a trick for you…..puncture the spaghetti squash with a knife all over and microwave each one for ten minutes. So much easier than trying to cut them raw…and faster than boiling!

  • Never knew how to make a dish with Spaghetti Squash. This was wonderful,Jenn.Ironically, made it the next night right after Heather did. Shared it with all my teacher friends and they loved it also. I sent them your site Thanks!

  • I have made this twice already, and last night when I served it my husband exclaimed, “Yay! You made my favorite dish!” My husband cannot eat gluten, and this tastes much better than any rice pasta we have made. I love it also and did not feel guilty indulging in seconds. Instead of the panko, I used Aleia’s brand seasoned GF breadcrumbs – still tasted delicious without the gluten! I prepped the squash earlier in the day – you can boil it and scoop out the spaghetti strands and put them in the refrigerator until you are ready to combine them with the other ingredients and bake. Saves time and effort at dinnertime!

  • Jenn, you are a genius! This dish was amazing and even my kids ate it.

  • This recipe was incredible!!! I have never cooked spaghetti squash before and this method was full proof. I truly felt like I was eating spaghetti and knowing I could eat more and more without the guilt, was amazing!!! Thanks for this recipe, you made my day!!!

  • Made this for dinner last night and my whole family loved it. I never made spaghetti squash before but always wanted to try. Thanks!

  • This was yummy.

    I used freshly grated fontina, asiago and some Parm for the cheese topping, and the panko bread crumbs gave it a nice crunch.

    When I made this (years ago) I baked it, and it came out mushy. With your boiling method, the strands were perfectly separated and held their shape. Love it.

    I served it with meatballs so my meat loving hubby would not be asking “Where’s the beef?” LOL (he loved it btw)

  • Love squash – love cheese/cream — can wait to try this one

  • Looks amazing!

  • I recently made this using a lite alfredo sauce, mushrooms and grilled chicken. My husband thought I was a culinary god – he was totally mesmerized.

  • I’m glad to get your reminder about spaghetti squash. It’s a great dish that somehow got dropped from my already sparse repertoire. And the instruction for cutting it will prevent the awful mess I made the first time I made it.


  • I’ve been obsessed w spaghetti squash lately. That looks great, will have to try it asap. =)

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.