Leftover pasta doesn’t have to mushy or dry when you reheat it. Use our step-by-step to reheat pasta perfectly every single time.
If you’re anything like me, your idea of quick and easy comfort food is freshly made pasta tossed into a rich tomato sauce. It doesn’t take long to cook and it only involves a handful of ingredients that you can easily find in your pantry.
But even when I think I can never have too much pasta, I always end up with leftovers after dinner. Instead of throwing it away, I’ve learned how to store it properly in the fridge so I can reheat it within 3 to 5 days and enjoy a delicious dinner on a busy weeknight.
If you’re looking for ways to reheat leftover pasta without drying it out, continue reading to find a detailed guide on how you can reheat it using three simple methods.
Can You Reheat Pasta?
You can reheat both plain and sauced pasta in a number of ways. Before you can find the best way to reheat pasta, you should know that it almost entirely depends on the quantity and the type of pasta you wish to reheat. If you have leftover plain pasta that doesn’t have any sauce in it, you can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Reheating plain pasta in the oven isn’t ideal because it needs to be covered in sauce to keep it from completely drying out. Sauced or baked pasta, on the other hand, can be warmed up on the stovetop, in the microwave, or in the oven.
How to Reheat Pasta
Here are three simple methods you can use to reheat leftover pasta.
This method should only be used to reheat plain pasta.
What You Need:
- Large Pot
- Leftover Pasta
- Metal colander
- Fill up a large pot with water, add some salt to it, and place it over medium heat on the stove.
- After it comes to a boil, add the leftover pasta in a metal colander and lower it into the boiling water.
- Let it warm up for around 30 seconds, and then remove the colander from the boiling water.
- Toss the leftover sauce into the pasta, garnish with a few sprigs of parsley or rosemary or any other topping of your choice, and serve.
If you don’t own a metal colander, here’s what you can do instead. Let the pot full of water come to a boil then take it off the heat. Add your plain pasta in the water for about 1 to 2 minutes, strain it and mix in the sauce, and then serve.
Method 2: In the Oven
If you wish to reheat a baked or sauced pasta dish, this method is ideal for you.
- Add your leftover pasta in an oven-safe dish and cover it properly with foil. This will keep it from drying out.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and then place the pasta dish inside the oven.
- Let it heat up for about 20 minutes, and then use a fork or a knife to check if it’s warmed up completely. Place the knife/fork in the middle of the pasta for 10 to 15 seconds, then remove it and touch the tip to see if it’s hot. If it isn’t hot, pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Once it’s properly heated through, remove the dish from the oven, and serve. Be sure to use oven safe mitts.
This method can be used for both plain and sauced pasta, but it only works for small portions. For larger portions, you should use the stove or the oven.
What You Need:
- Microwave-safe dish
- Olive oil
- Plastic wrap or damp paper towel
- Add some sauce or oil into your plain pasta before heating it up in the microwave. This is done to make sure the pasta stays moist.
- If your pasta is already covered in sauce, then give it a stir to make sure it’s evenly distributed.
- Make sure your microwave is set at a medium-low power to prevent your pasta from becoming mushy.
- Place the leftover pasta in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a plastic wrap or a damp paper towel. If you’re using plastic wrap, leave one end open to let the steam escape.
- Heat the pasta in short intervals. Pop the dish inside the microwave for a minute, and then check to see if it’s heated through, and give it a stir. If it still needs some heating up to do, then return it to the microwave and check after every 15/30 seconds.
- After it’s warmed up all the way through, remove it from the microwave, and then stir it before serving.
- You should reposition the dish after every interval if your microwave doesn’t include a turntable.
- The reasoning behind using a damp paper towel is that it steams the pasta while it’s heating up and adds much-needed moisture to it.
- Try not to use the microwave if your pasta’s covered in cream or wine and butter sauces. They may separate in the microwave and you’ll be left with a pasta dish that isn’t worth serving.
Tips and Tricks
Use Round or Oval Microwave-Safe Dish
When you’re reheating pasta in the microwave, you should use a round or oval microwave-safe container so that it gets an even distribution of heat. If you use a square or rectangular dish, the corners of the pasta may get overcooked.
Poke Small Holes
If you wish to reheat lasagna in the oven, use an oven-safe container. Poke small holes on the top of the lasagna, and then a pour a touch of milk over them. You can also add in an extra amount of sauce. Allowing this extra moisture to go into the holes helps revive the pasta without it becoming mushy. This is done to keep the lasagna from dying out as it gets reheated. Cover the dish tightly with foil before popping it into the oven.
How Long Does Leftover Pasta Last in the Fridge?
Cooked pasta that’s properly stored can last for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. If you wish to store it for longer, then you should freeze it in a freezer bag or an airtight container.
The answer to this question largely depends on the measures you’ve taken to store the leftover pasta. You should refrigerate your pasta after two hours of cooking if you wish to extend its shelf life. Make sure it’s in a re-sealable plastic bag or in an air-tight container.
If your pasta contains sauce, you should try freezing it instead of storing it in the fridge to maximize its shelf life. Leftover pasta can last for 1 to 2 months in the freezer and needs to be thawed before getting reheated.
Can you warm up cooked pasta?
Yes, you can warm up cooked pasta. The best way to warm up cooked pasta depends on if it is plain or mixed with sauce. If it is plain consider reviving the pasta by adding it to boiling waterf for 1 minute. If it has sauce the best method is to reheat it in the oven. You can also reheat cooked pasta in the microwave. We have detailed instructions on each method above.
How to reheat pasta without it drying out?
When reheating pasta add an extra bit of sauce, milk or even a small bit of water prior to reheating it. Adding in this extra moisture will help revive the pasta and keep it from drying out. Be careful not to add too much. Start with a teaspoon per serving.
Now that you’ve learned how to reheat pasta, you no longer have to worry about leftovers. Remember the tips we’ve mentioned in this post the next time you’re turning to leftovers to cook up a meal for your family.
If your cooked pasta has developed an odor or a strange flavor during it’s time in the fridge, you should discard it immediately.
We hope you found this blog post useful and learned a thing or two about how to store leftover pasta properly!