This Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash is super easy to make and cooks in just 5 minutes under pressure! Saute the meat sauce after the squash is done cooking for a full meal!
How to cut spaghetti squash
The exterior skin of the spaghetti squash is very difficult to cut. To make it a little easier, microwave the entire squash for two minutes. This is an optional step but it will make slicing so much easier (and safer!) A sharp chef’s knife is always recommended for this step.
Once microwaved, you will easily be able to cut the squash in half. For this recipe, cut the squash in half lengthwise, from the top to bottom. If you want to make the squash into spaghetti-like strands and ditch the shell entirely after it’s cooked, it’s best to cut horizontally through the middle.
Scoop the seeds out before putting it in the Instant Pot. You can roast and eat them, just like pumpkin seeds!
How long to cook spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot
Once you have the squash cut in half, put it in the Instant Pot after putting the trivet in.
Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the Instant Pot so it creates the necessary steam and will come to pressure. Set the Instant Pot for five minutes. Do a quick release when it’s done cooking.
Many recipes out there recommend 7-10 minutes of cooking time but I find this to be overkill – it results in mushy squash. Limiting the cook time will ensure the squash is not overdone, and don’t worry the squash won’t be super crunchy either. Five minutes is just right! If you’d like your squash to be a bit more al dente, cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.
Making this recipe step by step
If you’re looking to make this recipe from start to finish, I have the exact step by step instructions below! More details are in the recipe card so you can also below.
- Microwave the spaghetti squash for 2 minutes to soften it, then slice it in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the trivet on the bottom of Instant Pot and pour in water, then add spaghetti squash.
- Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes then do a quick release. Remove the squash and scrape into strands.
- Remove water from pot and turn to saute mode. Cook ground beef, onions, carrot, celery, garlic, salt & pepper for 5 minutes or so.
- Add tomato sauce, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add sauce to cooked spaghetti squash, along with cheese and basil if desired.
What if I don’t have a trivet?
A metal or silicone trivet is a standard Instant Pot accessory. Most Instant Pot brand pressure cookers come with this handy tool. The purpose of the trivet is to keep the food out of the water.
If you don’t have one, you can make one with common kitchen tools. You can use stainless steel cookie cutters, the metal lid of a jar, the screen of a food mill or an upside down ceramic bowl.
Anything that can withstand the high temperatures of the Instant Pot and give your spaghetti squash a lift out of the liquid will work.
Trivets can also be bought to fit any Instant Pot – here’s a link to one for cheap online.
Cooking the meat sauce
You can cook the meat sauce in your Instant Pot as well, making this a one dish meal. The saute function on the Instant Pot works just like a skillet on the stove top!
- Saute your ground beef and then add the veggies.
- After three or four minutes, add the tomato sauce. Let this simmer for about ten minutes to combine all the flavors.
- Divide the meat sauce into the two halves of the spaghetti squash and enjoy!
How to make spaghetti squash strands
Spaghetti squashes tend to be pretty large, so it is likely that you aren’t going to eat a whole one by yourself. One large spaghetti squash with meat sauce will feed at least four people.
Spaghetti squash does not cube well so you won’t use it the same way you would butternut squash either.
Take a cue from the name and make a carb-free spaghetti dish.
- Rather than from top to bottom, cut the squash horizontally through the middle to create long spaghetti-like strands
- Do a quick pressure release on your Instant Pot so the squash doesn’t get mushy
- Let it cool upside down so the water drains out
- Use a fork to pull the strands out of the skin
How long can you store spaghetti squash?
Spaghetti squash, like pumpkin, can have a pretty long shelf life.
- In a cool dry location, a raw spaghetti squash will last for one to two months
- A raw spaghetti squash will last in the refrigerator for one to two weeks
- When stored in a refrigerator, cooked spaghetti squash will last three to five days
Storing and reheating Instant Pot spaghetti squash
Everything in this recipe is great for meal prep or keeping for leftovers. It can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator for three to four days. You can reheat this in the microwave or oven, but it will keep its texture better in the oven.
Can you freeze this dish?
You can freeze spaghetti squash, with or without the meat sauce. If you are freezing the halves, make sure they are tightly sealed before freezing them. If you have limited space, use a fork to take the flesh out of the shell before freezing.
To thaw, keep it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Be aware that spaghetti squash does have a high water content. As a result, after it thaws, you will need to drain some of the water from it.
How else can you serve spaghetti squash?
In this meal, the spaghetti squash acts as an edible bowl for your meat sauce. However, there are lots of ways to enjoy spaghetti squash. It’s a perfect low carb substitute for noodles of any kind.
- As a replacement for pasta, like in this Instant Pot spaghetti squash with meat sauce
- Spicy Honey Garlic Instant Pot Noodles
- Replace the noodles in Pad Thai
- As a low carb pasta salad
More Instant Pot comfort food recipes
This amazingly low-carb bowl of spaghetti and meatballs will satisfy your craving for comfort food. Try a few other recipes that are healthier spins on traditional comfort food.
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- Healthy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Buy an extra trivet online in case you lost yours
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on storing the leftovers
- I get all my grass fed ground beef from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen
- Use these Ziploc bag holders if you plan on freezing the sauce
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months
Instant Pot resources
If you’d like some more help with your Instant Pot, I’ve got you covered with free resources! Sign up for free below:
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash
- 1 cup water
- 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1 (690mL) jar tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated (optional)
- Chopped fresh basil, for garnish (optional)
- Microwave spaghetti squash for 2 minutes to soften it - this will make it easier to cut. Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place trivet on the bottom of Instant Pot and pour in water. Add spaghetti squash halves on their sides.
- Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal. Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 5 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 10-15 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook the 5 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Remove spaghetti squash with gloves and scrape into strands with a fork. Serve and enjoy, or continue by making meat sauce with instructions below.
- Add olive oil to Instant Pot and set to saute. Add ground beef, sauteeing 3-4 minutes until browned. Add onions, carrot, celery, garlic, salt & pepper and cook until veggies soften, about another 3-4 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove sauce from pot and serve over cooked spaghetti squash, adding cheese and basil if desired. Enjoy!