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How to Tell if Spaghetti Squash Is Bad

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Spaghetti squash is a healthy alternative to pasta that people love.

You can swap out a bowl of noodles for half of a spaghetti squash as a low-calorie alternative that skips the carbs. With a bit of pasta sauce on it, you’ll hardly notice the difference.

However, one of the only drawbacks of spaghetti squash is that it has a limited shelf-life. Eventually, like other products, the squash will go bad.

So, when should you not eat spaghetti squash?

Anytime you see visible signs of mold or a foul odor, it’s time to toss the squash in the trash.

Thankfully, spaghetti squash is relatively affordable and lasts about as long as fresh pasta does. Of course, packaged or dried pasta will last much longer, but you don’t get the same health benefits as when you make pesto pasta or carbonara with spaghetti squash.

halved raw spaghetti squash and seeds on wooden table with wooden spoon

Here are some ways to tell if spaghetti squash is bad to guarantee you’re always eating fresh squash. 

How Do You Know if Squash Has Gone Bad?

A few easy signs will tell you when a squash has gone bad.


Black rot or mold on the outside of the squash is an easy sign that you should throw it in the trash rather than eat it.

In some cases, you can cut off the bad parts and eat the sections without mold while the spots are small, the best decision is that you should get rid of the whole thing to avoid taking any chances.

Foul Smell

Raw spaghetti squash cut in half on white background

Don’t eat any squash that smells off.

A good squash will have a fresh, slightly earthy smell. If something smells sour or rancid, then you should dispose of it or avoid buying it as the case may be.

The Taste Test

Of course, you can always taste the squash to tell if it’s gone bad. Stop eating any squash that doesn’t have a light flavor. Avoid eating anything sour or something that tastes like vinegar.

Fork with spaghetti squash on plate


Spaghetti squash usually has a light yellow or orange color to it. It will change slightly once you cook it. For example, if you grill squash, it will usually get darker.

However, don’t eat anything with brown or black flesh.

Can You Eat Bad Spaghetti Squash?

You should never eat bad spaghetti squash because it could make you sick.

Thankfully, most rotten squashes taste foul, and you won’t want to keep eating them once you notice that they are rotten.

Fresh whole green and yellow striped spaghetti squash

Instead, play it safe and only eat squashes that pass the smell, visual, and taste tests. Then, you’ll know you’re not at risk of food poisoning.

How Long Does Spaghetti Squash Last?

Typically, spaghetti squash from the grocery store will last a week or two on the counter.

If, however, you put it in the fridge, squash can last for weeks. If you want it to go for longer, then you can dice it up and store the squash in a sealed plastic container. Once inside, it can last for around a month.

How you prepare the squash can also affect how long it lasts.

For example, cooking spaghetti squash in pasta sauce can make it last much longer than if you grill it and leave it in the fridge.

This is because the sauce preserves it, so you can take it to work for lunches or reheat leftovers when you don’t feel like cooking.

Closeup of half roasted spaghetti squash with fork and cheese on the table

Can Spaghetti Squash Give You Food Poisoning?

Eating spoiled spaghetti squash is a free ticket to ending up at the hospital with food poisoning.

Anytime you eat rotten food, you’re at risk of getting sick. Food poisoning is no laughing matter. It can make you vomit and give you severe diarrhea. This is because your body is rejecting the lousy food you put in your stomach.

Spaghetti squash is affordable, so you should take advantage of it. Buy fresh produce to reduce your chances of food poisoning, and always wash and cook the squash thoroughly before you eat it.

halves of fresh spaghetti squash with spoon on wooden background

What Does Ripe Spaghetti Squash Look Like Inside?

A ripe spaghetti squash will have yellow flesh, but the middle will be filled with what looks like clear or light-yellow noodles.

That’s where the squash gets its name from.

Many people cook spaghetti squash by slicing it in half and baking it with light seasoning. You can add marinara sauce to the squash before sticking it in the oven to give it more flavor. The skin of the squash acts as a bowl, so you’ll save time from having to do the dishes as well!

Is It Ok to Eat Spaghetti Squash if the Seeds Have Sprouted?

Generally, you can still eat the squash if the seeds have sprouted a bit. You’ll want to watch for any signs of rot or bad smells coming from the squash, however.

Unripe spaghetti squash on the vine

Why Does My Squash Taste Bitter?

Bitter spaghetti squash is typically a sign that the squash is not ripe yet.

In most cases, grocery stores will sell spaghetti squash that are a few days ahead of being fully ripe. This gives customers more time to buy and prepare dishes. If stores only stocked perfectly ripe squashes, then they’d lose a lot of money when things over-ripen and start to go bad before they sell.

You can try to get the bitter taste out of the squash by grilling it or cooking it longer.

Why Is My Spaghetti Squash Mushy?

On the other hand, mushy squash is a sign it’s gone farther in the ripening process.

When a squash ripens, it begins to soften into a mushier texture. It’s usually still perfectly safe to eat, but some people don’t love eating food with mushy textures.

Of course, always watch for signs that might tell that it’s bad, but otherwise, enjoy your ripe squash!

unripe spaghetti squash on the ground in a vegetable garden

Signs Your Squash Isn’t Ready to Eat

Some people will look at their squash and wonder, “Why is my spaghetti squash white?” White squash skin is a sign that it’s not ripe yet, so you should probably let it sit on the kitchen counter for another day or two.

The same goes for if you slice it open and the squash is green on the inside. You should keep it for a few days to ripen further before you cook it.

Final Thoughts

Spaghetti squash is an incredible alternative to go for if you want to avoid the carbs present in pasta. But while you’re opting for spaghetti squash probably due to nutritional reasons, you shouldn’t consume spoiled squash. If you do, you’ll be causing more harm than good to your body.

The tips discussed above are essential if you want to enjoy the maximum benefit of spaghetti squash.