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Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with Lemon Cream Sauce

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Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with Lemon Cream Sauce is light, yet savory. Tender strands of spaghetti squash are swirled with a lemony cream sauce and topped with lemon zest for an incredibly classy vegetarian dish where no one will miss the meat!

a bowl of Instant Pot spaghetti squash with lemons a grater, and a bottle of cream in the background. a fork lifts a strand out

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot?

You’re in the right place! Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash can be cooked whole or split in half, each is cooked differently in the Instant Pot. I’ll walk you through how to cook spaghetti squash in the instant pot, with two halves.

cooked spaghetti squash on a red napkin in the shell

Prep your spaghetti squash

First, rinse your spaghetti squash under cold, running water to remove any dirt and dust. You’ll also want to remove any stickers! Next, take the sharpest knife you own, and firmly cut the spaghetti squash in half — either vertically or horizontally. 

After cutting your spaghetti squash, take a large spoon, and scoop out all of the seeds and strands! My pro tip? To get those pesky strands, I like to use a pair of kitchen shears to snip them out!

two spaghetti squash halves in an instant pot pressure cooker

Pressure cook the spaghetti squash

Now the fun begins! Place a trivet in your Instant Pot liner with one cup of water.

Place both pieces of the spaghetti squash onto the trivet/rack/sling, cut side up. Placing the Instant Pot spaghetti squash cut side up prevents it from falling out after cooking.

Lock the lid of your Instant Pot, and cook on manual high pressure for 9-12 minutes. 

If you notice the squash is still firm, pressure cook it for an additional 2-3 minutes.

a whole, uncooked spaghetti squash
My spaghetti squash has a few blemishes, because I didn’t cook it for about a month after I purchased it.

Cooking whole spaghetti Squash

Sometimes, cutting the spaghetti squash can be a pain because it is a very firm, hard vegetable.

If I have the time, I’ll cook the spaghetti squash whole in the Instant Pot by placing it on the trivet or better yet, in a steamer basket. Then, I’ll pressure cook it for 20-24 minutes.

closeup of Instant Pot spaghetti squash with lemon cream sauce

Shred the squash and enjoy

After the steam releases from your Instant Pot, unlock the lid and carefully remove it. Take a fork and start fluffing the strands of spaghetti squash “noodles.” As you remove the strands (or noodles), be careful not to stir or smash!

closeup of Instant Pot spaghetti squash with lemon cream sauce

How to Make Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with Lemon Cream Sauce?

After the spaghetti squash is cooked in the Instant Pot, we’ll scoop it out and strain it really well. I like to push it on a fine-mesh strainer to get the liquid out.

Because it’s been pressure cooked and spaghetti squash naturally contains a lot of liquid, it’s important to get as much moisture out as possible to avoid a soggy end result.

The lemon cream sauce is mixed together really quickly in the Instant Pot to keep everything warm, and then the cooked “spaghetti” is tossed together. Voila! That’s it! 

cooked spaghetti squash
Properly cooked spaghetti squash will be tender and not crunchy

How Long to Cook Spaghetti Squash in Instant Pot

Instant Pot spaghetti squash is a no-fuss recipe to make! Baking spaghetti squash in the oven can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, or in the slow cooker for 4 hours! 

In the Instant Pot, your spaghetti squash can cook within 9-12 minutes. I’ve found that with a 3-pound squash, 10 minutes is the magic number!

If your squash is extra large, thick, or old, Add an additional 5 minutes. Sometimes spaghetti squashes that are the same size cook for different lengths of time- I usually choose to err on the side of overcooking than undercooking.

If your spaghetti squash is crunchy, it is not done and you’ll want to pressure cook it for a couple extra minutes.

closeup of Instant Pot spaghetti squash with lemon cream sauce

Is Spaghetti Squash Healthy?

Absolutely! Spaghetti squash is traditionally a winter vegetable, packed with nutrients! I love to use spaghetti squash as a low-carb replacement for things like pasta. 

This relative of pumpkin and zucchini is rich in antioxidants, promotes digestive health, and supports overall weight loss. Did you know that one cup of spaghetti squash has only an estimated 42 calories?

If spaghetti squash isn’t a top pick when it comes to pasta replacements, consider spiralizing your favorite vegetables like carrots or butternut squash.

two spaghetti squash halves

How Do You Keep Lemons From Curdling Cream?

Science! Okay, I’m actually excited to be talking about this, because we’ve all been there — staring at a sauce on the stove that is broken and curdled. And there are several reasons why a sauce may curdle: 

  • Not enough fat
  • High-heat
  • Acidity
  • Too much salt

It’s all about finding the right balance when it comes to lemon and a creamed sauce.

The right balance with acidity

Because lemons are considered high in acidity, I’m going to show you what you can do to avoid a broken or curdled lemon cream sauce with your Instant Pot spaghetti squash.. 

After incorporating your cream with lemon zest and salt, toss the spaghetti squash to coat it completely. Then, slowly drizzle the lemon juice into the spaghetti squash while stirring.

Don’t dump the lemon juice directly into the heavy cream, or it’ll curdle or turn into a heavy buttermilk. It’s also important to mix it up well and eat as soon as possible to avoid the sauce from separating.

This Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with Lemon Cream Sauce is a great recipe for someone looking for a low-carb, flavorful pasta dish for any night of the week!

About the Author

Lisa Childs in a red shirt folding her arms

About Lisa

Lisa childs holding an instant pot lid with a mickey instant pot

Lisa Childs is the food blogger behind Tried, Tested, and True. Join the hundreds of thousands of people each month that learn from Lisa-

Subscribe to her website, follow her on Instagram at @tried_tested_true, follow her on Pinterest, and find her on Youtube at Tried Tested and True. She is passionate about giving home cooks confidence using their Instant Pots. Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter to hear from personally from her weekly! Learn more about Lisa.

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with lemon cream sauce- low carb and keto pin graphic with lemons and forks
closeup of Instant Pot spaghetti squash with lemon cream sauce

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with Lemon Cream Sauce

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes

This gorgeous dish is light yet savory. Tender strands of spaghetti squash are swirled with a lemony cream sauce and topped with lemon zest for an incredibly classy vegetarian dish where no one will miss the meat!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 lb Spaghetti Squash (you'll need 2 cups cooked, drained, and packed for the dish)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Pour water into Instant Pot®and add the trivet.
  2. Place whole spaghetti squash onto the trivet.
  3. Close the lid, turn the knob to Sealing.
  4. Press Manual or Pressure Cook button and adjust time to 20 minutes.
  5. When the timer beeps, turn the knob from sealing to venting, then remove the lid and carefully transfer the spaghetti squash to a cutting board. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Carefully slice the spaghetti squash in half. Cutting the squash through the stem will result in shorter strands while cutting in the middle will result in longer strands. Scoop out the seeds from each halve, then using tongs or a fork, gently scrape and pull the spaghetti squash out of the shell into a strainer. Push the squash against the sides of the strainer to remove as much liquid as possible, then measure two cups, packed, for the dish and reserve the rest. This should be about half the squash.
  7. Drain and rinse out the Instant Pot® liner and place it back in the base. Press the Saute button and adjust to low. 
  8. Add 2 teaspoons lemon zest, heavy cream, and salt to the Instant Pot® and stir to combine. Add spaghetti squash and toss to coat. Slowly stir in the lemon juice and transfer to a serving bowl.
  9. Swirl the spaghetti squash into a tall mound, then top with freshly cracked black pepper, fresh parsley, parmesan cheese, and the remaining lemon zest.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 469Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 29gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 1.7gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 130mgCarbohydrates: 7gNet Carbohydrates: 5.5gFiber: 10gSugar: 0gProtein: 6g

Did you make this recipe?

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Allen

Thursday 8th of April 2021

It says 2 cups heavy cream in the ingredients, but then only referenced as 2 teaspoons in step 8? I think step 8 needs to be completely rewritten.

Lisa Childs

Friday 20th of August 2021

Step 8 reads to add 2 teaspoons lemon zest (because in the ingredients it is 4 teaspoons, divided) and all of the heavy cream.

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