Duck and Cover: Microwave Spaghetti Squash

So, my dinner exploded last night.

The squash in question is hiding in the back by the paper towels.

I was, as usual, microwaving a whole spaghetti squash. I followed the directions on the label that had been stuck on one of the squashes I bought last fall. I pricked the skin multiple times (like 27 times with the tip of a rather dull steak knife), then put it in the microwave on high. After five minutes, it didn’t seem soft enough, so in for another five minutes it went.

In the meantime, I’d finished making the spaghetti sauce and the whole wheat pasta for the kids. Their hands were washed and I was dishing out their food when the microwave beeped. My daughter sat at the table talking about something or other (by evening, I kind of start tuning her out. It’s always about the reproductive or migratory habits of various animals anyway), and my son was engaged in some kind of crashing-trucks-into-teddy-bears game in the other room.

The squash was hissing and kind of squealing when I took it out of the microwave.

“This is new,” I thought. I didn’t remember the squash being so vocal before.

It was too hot to grasp well with my bare hands, but the hot mitts were across the room where my son dropped them earlier in the afternoon after pretending to check the doneness of his cookies. (“No, cookies aren’t done yet,” he’d said as he’d slammed the dishwasher door shut.) I balanced the stem end against the palm of my left hand and began prodding the squash along its equator with the one sharp knife we own. The skin of the squash was resistant. I applied more pressure with the knife blade.

“HisssSSSSSS…THWUMP!” said the squash as it split open and spewed molten squash innards on my hands, face, sweater, and pants.

I squealed, dropped the knife on the counter, and frantically flung the hot squash bits that clung to my bare skin onto the floor. I willed myself to reattain a calm demeanor as I ran cold water over my hands at the sink.

Squash splattered on the ceiling.

The squash strings and seeds that weren’t blocked by my body had continued on their trajectory until stopped by the floor, the table and chairs across the room, or the ceiling.

“What happened, Mommy?” my daughter asked from across the room with interest but without concern. She had been at a safe distance from the flying squash.

“My squash exploded,” I answered as I decided that the pain in my hands was a good sign since that meant the burns were likely only first- or second-degree, at least according to the information I’d retained from the anti-burns Shriners video they showed to my school when I was in third grade. That video neglected to warn about the dangers of microwaving spaghetti squash, but I’m fairly sure it was made before microwaves were in widespread use so I guess the omission is forgivable.

Squash burn, twelve hours later.

“What?” my daughter asked.

“My squash exploded,” I repeated.

My husband arrived home as I was trying to clean up the floor.

“What happened?” he asked from the doorway of the kitchen.

“My squash exploded,” I said yet again.

“What?” he asked. I looked at him over the rims of my squash-covered glasses. “Your squash exploded?”

“Yes, honey. My squash exploded.”

I have since discovered that I’m not remotely alone in my exploding squash experience. A quick internet search revealed that it’s a somewhat common occurrence, at least among bloggers. In fact, Mindy at Too Many Jars in My Kitchen! wrote about her exploding squash just a few days ago. If only I had found her blog before I made dinner last night.

I think that in the future, I might start cutting the squash in half before microwaving it. Unless there’s an intruder in the house, in which case having an improvised explosive might prove useful. Provided, that is, the intruder is willing to wait 5 to 10 minutes until the squash is done in the microwave.

14 Replies to “Duck and Cover: Microwave Spaghetti Squash”

  1. This just happened to me. I cooked mine in the oven. Prepped it by washing, coating with olive oil and poking several times with a knife. I took it out of the oven, held one end with a pot holder and poked the knife in it to cut it open…Then kaboom… Stringy molten hot squash everywhere. It burned my face, arm, leg and toes. This was pretty scary. Once I knew my burns were minor I could laugh while cleaning squash off pretty much every surface in my kitchen.


  2. LOL, Oh my! I too had a squash explode the other night and posted it on my blog. Thankfully it happened while in the microwave though. I don’t think I pricked mine enough though, but I’ve microwaved squash quite a few times and never had one explode! I did the same thing you did. Put it in for about 5min. and it didn’t seem done and then set it for another 5 or so. Heard the hissing and then about a min. later “Kaboom”! Anyway, I did a search for exploding spaghetti squash and found your blog πŸ™‚


    1. Exploding spaghetti squash…my claim to fame!

      I’m glad you found my blog, enjoyed the post, and especially that you took the time to comment. Thanks so much!


    1. My kitchen rugs are still a bit squashy, and I was picking seeds out of the washing machine this afternoon, but I think it’s mostly cleaned up! I’ll mop well tomorrow (and wipe the ceiling again); I hope that will get it all!


  3. OW! I always cut mine in half long ways so I can stuff things in it, or sometimes the other way, if I feel like trying to take all the strings out in one long spiral πŸ™‚ so I never had an exploding spaghetti squash.

    We did find out about another thing you should not cook in the micro-wave. Don’t cook Cream of Wheat in the micro-wave.. It also explode, t,hat is the bubbles explode and the hot cream of wheat is very sticky so it can be pretty dangerous too.
    I’m linking my spaghetti squash recipe with your story. Maybe it will help people to know Why they should cut their squash in half.


  4. Oh my gosh!!!! That’s awful. Funny until the burns part of the story.
    I just posted my own exploding watermelon story and I felt so sorr for myself at the time. Now, compared to scalding squash, I’m just counting my blessings.
    I keep trying to make spagetti squash. I just threw my second one away after leaving it on the counter for about 4 months. I’m definitely doing it in the oven though!


    1. It’s easy to cook in the oven (and I actually think it tastes better that way) I just don’t plan ahead well enough to cook it that way. It’s mostly five minutes before we sit down and I say, “Oh, heck! I forgot to cook the squash!” I might just have to go back to eating pasta with my spaghetti sauce. Or planning meal prep better. I’m heading over now to check out your exploding watermelon story!


  5. I fancy myself a decent cook, but have epic disasters in the kitchen occasionally. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one. Perhaps squash needs to come with black box warnings?


    1. I think a black box would definitely be in order, but my spaghetti squash never comes with a PI at all. I should probably ask my grocer about this.

      (And thanks for stopping by and commenting!)


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