Is Spaghetti Squash Keto-Friendly?

Author Image

Written by Brenda Peralta, Registered Dietitian and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

Imge of Is Spaghetti Squash Keto-Friendly?



Dreaming of a big plate of spaghetti with sauce and cheese on top? Unfortunately for pasta lovers, this carb-heavy meal would knock you right out of ketosis. 

Pasta alternatives are essential when following a keto diet. So how about spaghetti squash? Is it keto-friendly?

The short answer is yes! Spaghetti squash is one of those low-carb keto alternatives that you can have. 

This article explores everything you need to know about this delicious food. We will dig into what spaghetti squash is, the calories and macronutrients it has, how much you can eat on keto, what to pair it with, and more! 


What is spaghetti squash?

Squash is a vegetable, and you can find two different types: winter and summer. Acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash are all in the winter family, along with pumpkin. Zucchini and yellow squash, on the other hand, are of the summer variety.

Spaghetti squash is a round orange vegetable. You can cook and shred it to make long, thin strands that resemble pasta (hence the name).

The way you can get spaghetti squash is by cutting the squash in half and baking it in the oven. Once it is baked, grab a fork and create the strands.


Spaghetti squash nutrition facts

Now that we know how to get the spaghetti effect, how about its calories and macronutrient breakdown? Is it really low in calories? Here you can see the nutritional value.

Serving size: 1 cup cooked squash (155 g) without salt

  • Calories: 42 kcal
  • Fat: 0.4 g
  • Net carbs (total carbs - fiber): 7.8 g
  • Total carbs: 10 g
  • Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 1.0 g

As you can see, it is a low-calorie and low-carb food. Compared to the 35 grams of carbs in 1 cup of pasta, 1 cup of squash has only 7.8 g net carbs. This is an excellent option to replace pasta in a ketogenic plan.

Another advantage is that it has vitamins and minerals. It has small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. It is also high in antioxidants. Remember that you can add other veggies to make a more colorful and nutritious meal.


Are you allowed to eat spaghetti squash on keto?

Yes! You are definitely allowed to eat it if you are doing keto. It is a great low-carb option.

If you are craving a nice warm bowl of pasta, this is one of the best keto alternatives you can find. Although it doesn’t have the exact texture or flavor of traditional pasta, when you add sauce and cheese, it’s similar enough to satisfy your taste buds.

Keep in mind that it does have a small number of carbs. Thus, try not to add other carb sources to avoid surpassing your total daily intake.


How much spaghetti squash can you have on a keto diet?

The amount of squash you might add depends on your carb limit. If you are looking to stay below 25 g of carbohydrates per day, you might have no more than ½ cup.

On the other hand, if you have 50 g of carbs per day, 1 cup is enough to have carbs to spare for different foods.

For those that follow a higher carb intake (less than 150 g), you can have up to 2-3 cups of spaghetti squash per day.

Always make sure to measure the portion size and subtract it from your total daily carb intake.


What kind of spaghetti squash can you have on keto?

There is only one type, but there are several ways you can include it into your ketogenic diet. Play around with cooking methods to change the texture and flavor:

  • Roasted. Chop it up into cubes, drizzle some olive oil over them, and sprinkle a variety of spices over everything before popping it in the oven. 
  • Boiled. Place it in boiling water to cook it without adding any fat.
  • Stuffed. Bake with cheese, mushrooms, and tomato sauce for the ultimate dinner.
  • Pasta. Create strings once you cook it to make a replacement for pasta.
  • Air fryer. Chop it up like you would when roasting it and place it in the air fryer.

Any way that you decide to use it, make sure to keep track of how much you eat so you know how many carbs you are having per meal.


What to eat with spaghetti squash on keto

Pair it with a protein source to increase your satiety and maintain your muscle mass. You can add chicken, beef, fish, seafood, or cheese.

Incorporate some veggies to increase the nutrient intake. Serve the squash with homemade tomato sauce or add some baked veggies (like mushrooms, zucchini, tomato, and onions) to make a delicious and nutritious dish.

For cooking it, you can always add a healthy fat like olive oil.

Anything that you add to pasta, you can add to spaghetti squash. Except for bread, try to avoid bread and have keto bread instead.


Keto-friendly spaghetti squash alternatives

Although this food is low in carbs, there are more veggie pasta options out there. Here are other veggies that you can make into low-carb spaghetti:

  • Zucchini
  • Carrot
  • Beets
  • Eggplant
  • Daikon radish
  • Cucumber

Any veggie that can be spiralized can be made into keto pasta. You can also mix them to have different flavors and nutrients added into your diet.

FAQ about spaghetti squash on a keto diet

If you still have questions about spaghetti squash and the keto diet, check out the answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

Yes! For a balanced meal, add a protein source (like cheese), extra veggies, and some healthy fats (like olive oil).

Yes, this type of squash can be used in a keto-friendly bread recipe instead of almond or coconut flour.

Absolutely! Eggs are a complete protein (meaning that they offer all the essential amino acids your body needs to stay healthy). Add cheese for extra protein and a couple veggies, and you have a complete breakfast.

Zucchini has fewer carbs than spaghetti squash. However, they are both great options for a ketogenic diet. If you are on a tighter carb intake, you might want to go with zucchini noodles instead.

Yes, as long as you don’t add starch to thicken it. Alfredo sauce is made with heavy cream and cheese. However, keep in mind that it is a food high in saturated fats. Thus it should be eaten in moderation.

Adding spaghetti squash to your favorite soup helps you get that cozy feeling without adding too many carbs. Be aware of any other carbs commonly added to chicken noodle soup (like potatoes).


More vegetables to add to the ketogenic diet