How to Cook, Store, and Reheat Pasta

Created January 12, 2017
Pasta is everywhere these days, from pasta bars to ready-to-cook refrigerator ravioli to Asian rice noodle dishes in microwavable bowls. Look for fresh, frozen or dry pasta, or roll up your sleeves and make it yourself! MORE+ LESS-
Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Garlic-Basil Oil

How to Store Uncooked Pasta

Add pasta to soups, stir-fry it with veggies, or layer with sauce and cheese—you’ve got a satisfying meal. Maximize pasta flavor and texture by following these helpful pasta storing guidelines:

  • Dried pasta—Keep in a cool, dry spot at room temperature. Store in labeled, airtight containers and use within 1 year. Discard broken pieces that have marbled, lined surfaces—they’re too dry.
  • Purchased refrigerated pasta—Store in refrigerator and use unopened pasta by the expiration date. Store opened pasta in a tightly covered container for no more than 3 days. Buy only smooth, evenly colored pasta that’s sealed in an airtight package.
  • Homemade fresh pasta—Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. If the homemade pasta is completely dry, you can store it like dried pasta in a labeled, airtight container.
  • Frozen pasta—Freeze unopened in the original package for up to 9 months. Freeze opened pasta in airtight containers up to 3 months. Pasta should be frozen in individual pieces, not in an icy block.
  • Packaged pasta dishes—Store on the shelf until ready to cook (use by the freshness date). For a fast lunch or side dish, try Betty Crocker® Suddenly Salad® pasta; just add oil or mayonnaise as directed.
  • Microwavable pasta dishes—A great pasta-to-go meal is the Betty Crocker Bowl Appétit!®, which can be microwaved and eaten in minutes. It comes in three pasta flavors—Pasta Alfredo, Three Cheese Rotini and Homestyle Chicken Flavored Pasta.

How to Cook Pasta

Cooking pasta is a straight-forward process:

  • Bring 1 quart of water to a rolling boil for every 4 ounces of dry pasta.
  • It’s not necessary to add oil or salt to the water; pasta doesn’t cling as well to oil-coated pasta. If you like salted pasta, add ½ teaspoon for every 8 ounces of dry pasta.
  • Follow time guidelines on your pasta package. Pasta should be slightly undercooked and firm if it’s being added to a baked dish or casserole.
  • Cooked pasta should be tender but firm to the bite (“al dente”), not mushy and soft.
  • Rinse pasta only when adding it to cold pasta salads; sauces cling best to drained, unrinsed cooked pasta.

How to Store and Reheat Cooked Pasta

You can keep cooked pasta for up to 5 days in a tightly covered container or freeze it for up to 2 months in a moisture-proof container. Tossing it with a little vegetable or olive oil first helps prevent sticking during storage.

Reheat pasta with any of these methods:

  • Cover and microwave pasta on High for 1 to 2 minutes per 2 cups of pasta (or until heated through).
  • Reheat in water that’s been boiled and removed from the heat. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes and drain.
  • Place pasta in a colander in the sink and pour boiling water over the pasta until hot.