Cheesy Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

updated Sep 30, 2019
Cheesy Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

Strands of spaghetti squash are tossed with a garlicky three-cheese mixture for a satisfying keto-friendly side dish.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook1 hour

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Credit: Photo: Christine Han/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

If you’re looking for satisfying low-carb meals, it’s time to buddy up with spaghetti squash. Trouble is, spaghetti squash doesn’t taste like actual spaghetti. It’s time to stop thinking of spaghetti squash as a carb replacement and instead embrace it as a tangled web of mild squash that pairs with just about anything. Roasted spaghetti squash tossed with creamy cheese, garlic, and fresh herbs is what low-carb eating is all about.

Credit: Photo: Christine Han/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

How Do You Open Spaghetti Squash?

With its curves and thick skin, tackling a spaghetti squash can be daunting for even seasoned cooks. But all you need is a sharp chef’s knife. First, check if there’s a naturally flat side of the squash. If the squash settles sturdily on a side without wobbling, you’re good to go. It’s more likely, however, that you’ll need to carefully cut a thin slice off one long side to create a stable resting place for the squash.

Next, pierce the center of the squash with the tip of your knife and carefully cut through the flesh. Rotate the squash and slice, cutting the squash lengthwise into two halves. Use a large spoon to scrape out the seeds. We’re roasting the squash in this recipe, but if you’d prefer to cook it in the microwave or Instant Pot, skip that step and pick back up at step 3.

The Secret Is in the Spice Cabinet

Once the squash is cooked, you’ll toss the faux-spaghetti strands with a combination of rich and gooey cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley, Parmesan, and garlic powder. Garlic powder is the secret to adding intense garlicky flavor. No mystery science here — garlic powder is made from dehydrated garlic cloves that have been ground into a fine powder. Use 1/2 teaspoon for the equivalent flavor of 4 fresh cloves, with none of the chopping.

Is Spaghetti Squash Keto-Friendly?

Keeping keto is all about balancing macronutrients. Of all the winter squash varieties, spaghetti squash is the best choice for keto dieters. It’s not only a lower-carb choice than traditional pasta, but it also has fewer carbohydrate grams than butternut or acorn squash. In the end, the spaghetti-like strands do deliver carbohydrates, but if you manage your macros right, spaghetti squash can fit into the keto diet.

Cheesy Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

Strands of spaghetti squash are tossed with a garlicky three-cheese mixture for a satisfying keto-friendly side dish.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 1 hour

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 2 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 2

    medium spaghetti squash (about 5 pounds total)

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 ounces

    whole-milk, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)

  • 2 ounces

    Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup), divided

  • 2 tablespoons

    chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper; set aside. Place 2 ounces cream cheese in a large bowl and let sit out at room temperature while the oven heats to soften.

  2. Cut 2 spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Arrange the squash cut-side down on the baking sheet. Roast until the squash are soft when poked with a fork and the skin is browned and blistered, about 40 minutes.

  3. Shred 3 ounces mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 cup) and grate 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (1 cup). Chop until you have 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, plus chop a little extra for garnish. Add the mozzarella, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan (set aside the remaining 1/4 cup for topping), 2 tablespoons parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder to the cream cheese and stir with a rubber spatula to combine.

  4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Flip the squash over and use a fork to shred the inside of each squash half, leaving about 1/2-inch of unshredded squash left in the shell. Transfer the shredded squash to the cream cheese mixture and toss to combine. Evenly divide the filling between the squash halves, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

  5. Bake until the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the oven on to broil and broil until browned and bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes more. Garnish with more parsley and serve hot.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The squash can be roasted and shredded a day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Add an extra 10 minutes to the baking time.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.