How to Use a Spiralizer for the Perfect Veggie Noodle Dishes

Try your hand at zoodles (that's zucchini noodles), as well as other vegetable noodles made from carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, beets, and more.

Whether you're looking for low-carb, low-calorie, or gluten-free alternatives to noodles—or you simply love vegetables—a vegetable spiralizer (aka zucchini noodle maker) is your ticket to making oodles of colorful noodles in minutes. Start by choosing the veggie noodle maker that best suits your cooking style and kitchen space. If you don't have a spiralizer or are not sure if you want to invest in one yet, we've got tips for making vegetable noodles without a spiralizer, too. Find out which foods make the best vegetable noodles, then get noodling with our step-by-step vegetable spiralizer instructions as well as some of our favorite spiralized vegetable recipes.

spiralizers hand crank hand-held zucchini squash vegetables noodles
Jason Donnelly, Marty Baldwin

How to Use a Spiralizer

The best vegetable spiralizer depends on your needs—and your kitchen real estate situation. If you often cook for a crowd, a hand-crank countertop vegetable spiralizer is your best bet. Most options include different blades for a variety of noodle styles, from thin spaghettilike strands to flat, wide ribbons. If you simply don't have enough kitchen space for a hand-crank countertop vegetable spiralizer, or if you don't plan on making buckets of vegetable noodles at a time, a handheld veggie noodle maker could be your best option. These little guys work best as a yellow summer squash or zucchini noodle maker; other vegetables may need to be trimmed to fit through the gadget, and hard veggies will require more muscle power to maneuver. Choose the one that works best for you, then follow the directions below based on the type.

How to Use a Spiralizer with a Hand Crank

Make sure your vegetable spiralizer is anchored to your countertop. Most models have suction cups that help secure the unit to your work space. From there, follow these directions:

  1. Place the desired blade into the unit.
  2. Wash and dry your veggie; trim one end to make it flat and even.
  3. Place the vegetable in the spiralizer, positioning the flat end against the blade and using the pronged disk to keep the other end in place.
  4. Turn the crank and watch your vegetable noodles pile up!
  5. Add the vegetable noodles to your spiralized veggie recipes.

How to Use a Handheld Vegetable Spiralizer

Choose vegetables that are at least 1½ inches in diameter, then proceed with these directions:

  1. Wash the vegetable; trim one end to make it flat and even. If the vegetable is longer than 6 inches, cut it in half. If the vegetable isn't naturally straight, trim it into straight pieces that are at least 1½ inches in diameter.
  2. Select the blade and secure it onto the body of the vegetable spiralizer.
  3. Place the flat, trimmed end of the vegetable against the blade.
  4. Using your hands, apply pressure to the veggie while twisting it clockwise to make long, thin spirals.
  5. When you get toward the end of the vegetable, insert the pronged food holder into the vegetable and use it to twist noodles from the remainder of the veggie. (Using the pronged food holder helps keep your fingers away from the sharp blade.)
  6. Add your oodles of vegetable noodles to your healthy spiralizer recipes.

Making Spiralized Vegetables without a Spiralizer

Zoodles (and other veggie noodles) are easiest to crank out with a spiralizer, but if you don't have one, you can use a mandoline to thinly slice the vegetables or a box grater to coarsely shred them.

Zoodle Bowls with Tomato Sauce and Sausage
Blaine Moats

Best Vegetables for Making Vegetable Noodles

Wondering what to make with a spiralizer? Let us be the first to tell you, your vegetable spiralizer is more than just a zucchini noodle maker! While we wouldn't recommend trying to spiralize tomatoes, many firm vegetables are good candidates for making vegetable noodles. In addition to making yellow summer squash and zucchini noodles, you can also use your vegetable spiralizer to make vegetable noodles from carrots, beets, butternut squash, plantains, cucumbers, radishes, turnips, parsnips, regular and sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and broccoli stalks. See what we mean with this Summer Spaghetti Salad—it's a favorite of our spiralizer salad recipes. Also note that even though the tool is usually called a vegetable spiralizer, it can be used on firm fruits like apples and pears as well.

Need some spiralized recipe inspiration? Try our Scallop and Noodle Salad, Bahn Mi Noodle Bowl, Triple-Veggie Pasta, or Garlicky Zucchini Noodles.

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