Keep this recipe for air fryer spaghetti squash on hand for busy weeknights as a simple side dish or easy substitute for regular spaghetti. Drizzle the squash with olive oil, then air fry until fork tender and you see golden, caramelized edges.
Any vegetable that looks like pasta gets my vote. Even back when I was in high school (and I didn't eat vegetables), I still ate spaghetti squash because it doesn't REALLY taste like a veg that has health benefits too. It's also kind of magical running a fork through the squash and watching all those strands separate!
Spaghetti squash health benefits
The spaghetti squash is low in calories and carbs, but rich in several vitamins and minerals, making it really nutrient dense. It's a great source of pantothenic acid, beta-carotene and a good source of fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and vitamin B6. It's especially great for a low-carb diet and balancing blood sugar. You can learn more about spaghetti squash health benefits here.
Why air fry spaghetti squash?
I've spent a lot of time researching and testing spaghetti squash. i've tried several methods, and although I love the trusty oven roasting method, I found air frying spaghetti squash is the best way to cook it. The excess moisture drips to the bottom of the pan and the air circulation is second to none.
The air fryer is really just a fancy, counter-top version of a convection oven. But the air fryer has the racks the foods sits on that allows for hot air to flow evenly. This crisps up the sides of the spaghetti squash so you're left with golden, caramelized edges. It's a no fuss, no mush recipe.
It's also why we love to use it for air fryer butternut squash and air fryer asparagus. It's an easy way to crisp vegetables for the most flavor. We have the ninja foodi dual basket air fryer.
- Spaghetti squash: this winter squash is in season starting early fall through the winter, although you can find it in the grocery store year round. Look for a squash that is smooth (no soft spots) and has an even pale color all the way around.
- Olive oil: Coat the flesh of the squash in olive oil or avocado oil before roasting to cook and caramelize the squash.
- Salt and black pepper: salt is a flavor enhancer, so it's really important to season your food!
- Optional seasonings: you could sprinkle on garlic powder and Italian seasoning if you're planning to serve this with your favorite pasta sauce.
How to cut a spaghetti squash
Spaghetti squash has a thick outer skin, which can make it challenging to cut. I recommend starting with a sharp knife and a quality cutting board. You can place a damp towel underneath the cutting board to ensure it doesn't move or shift while you're slicing.
Carefully slice the top (stem side) and bottom off the squash. Stand it upright so that it's sitting on a flat surface. Very carefully start at the top and slice down toward the cutting board with even pressure. Be sure to keep your hands and fingers above the knife at all times. You should have two halves of the squash with stringy seeds in the center.
How to make air fryer spaghetti squash
- Cut and prep the spaghetti squash: Enter the most difficult part of this incredibly easy recipe. The slicing of the squash. See specific tips above for slicing. We're cutting this lengthwise because the squash will cook more quickly.
- Scoop out the insides: most squash have string, seedy insides (think pumpkin and pumpkin seeds). To scrape it all out, use the side of a large spoon against the sides of the seedy center and discard the stringy insides. You can save the spaghetti squash seeds for roasting with a little salt and cinnamon.
- Air fry: Drizzle the flesh sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip it over and poke 5-6 holes in the skin of each side. Place the squash cut side down in the air fryer basket and air fry for 30-40 minutes. Cooking time may vary based on the size of your squash. You'll know it's done when it's fork tender and the open side of the squash is caramelized.
- Cool and shred: the squash will be really hot when it comes out of the air fryer so allow it to cool slightly before working with it. When you're ready, carefully transfer it to a plate or cutting board and use a fork to pull the spaghetti noodles away from the skin. Start from the sides and work your way in to shred it into the center to get long strands. Taste it and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
Prefer to watch instead of read?
Everyday dinner side dish: one of my favorite ways to serve it is with fresh grated parmesan cheese to our squash for a simple and delicious side dish.
Thanksgiving side dish: Get fancy and add some brown butter and pine nuts for a no fuss Thanksgiving side dish.
Stuff it: use this ingredient as the main attraction (see also spaghetti squash chicken alfredo).
Pasta substitute: Omit the pasta in a recipe, especially if it calls for spaghetti or angel hair pasta, with this keto friendly ingredient. It would be amazing with our gluten-free meatballs, braised short rib pasta or the popular creamy penne arrabbiata.
Store leftover spaghetti squash in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It makes a great meal prep ingredient because it lasts all week and reheats really well. Just warm it up in the microwave or on the stove top.
Frequently Asked Questions
It always depends on your definition of healthy, but overall yes, a spaghetti squash is healthy. It delivers on fiber, vitamin C, B6 and antioxidants, but it's also a great swap for processed starches and can help balance blood sugar.
Spaghetti squash is not inflammatory. In fact, it's a great ingredient for an anti-inflammatory diet because it contains omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, that both contribute to balancing blood sugar (which helps you avoid added inflammation). Other things that can contribute to inflammation include dairy, gluten, processed oils and alcohol, and spaghetti squash is none of those things!
Spaghetti squash contains about 4 grams of sugar per serving (1 cup). It's middle of the road when it comes to starchy vegetables. There are other very low vegetables and starch squash, like zucchini and leafy greens, but it's not as starchy as other veggies like potatoes and carrots. Spaghettis squash contains a fair amount of fiber, which lowers its overall net carbs.
More air fryer recipes
- Air fryer asparagus
- Easy air fryer butternut squash
- Air fryer zucchini chips
- Crispy air fryer breakfast potatoes
Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Air Fryer
- Slice the ends off of the squash then stand the squash up tall and carefully slice down the center to cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Keep your hands above the knife at all time for safety.
- Use the side of a large spoon to scrape against the sides of the seedy center and discard the stringy insides. You can save the spaghetti squash seeds for roasting with a little salt and cinnamon.
- Drizzle the flesh sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip it over and poke 5-6 holes in the skin of each side. Place the squash cut side up in the air fryer basket and air fry for 20-30 minutes. Cooking time may vary based on the size of your squash. You'll know it's done when it's fork tender and the open side of the squash is caramelized.
- The squash will be really hot when it comes out of the air fryer so allow it to cool slightly before working with it. When you're ready, carefully transfer it to a plate or cutting board and use a fork to pull the spaghetti noodles away from the skin. Start from the sides and work your way in. Taste it and season with more salt and pepper as desired.