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How to Cook, Store, and Reheat Pasta

Created January 11, 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!
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.