Pasta dinners are a staple in most households. It’s quick and easy to make and you can make almost any variation to create endless combinations. But one thing about pasta, it doesn’t always reheat well. The good news is, you can enjoy your pasta dinner a second time around with just a few easy steps. Here are all the tips to help you learn how to reheat pasta so it’s just as delicious as it was fresh!
One thing to keep in mind is that there are different techniques for reheating that depend on the whether or not the noodles have sauce, and the type of sauce, if there is any.
How To Store Leftover Pasta
If you make a big batch of pasta at home, you’ll want to store the leftovers for later. It’s always nice to have those leftovers for a quick and easy dinner on a busy weeknight.
Plain Noodles: If you want to store the noodles separate from the sauce, toss the noodles with a light splash of leftover pasta water and stir to ensure that the noodles aren’t sticking together. Then, add a tablespoon of butter or a splash of olive oil (you can use less if you only have a small amount of pasta) to the noodles and stir gently to evenly coat all the noodles.
Once the noodles are all coated, place the pasta in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. If you want to keep it longer than that you can freeze it for up to a month.
Pasta With Sauce: If the sauce is already on the pasta, just put all the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Again, you can freeze it for up to a month.
How To Reheat Pasta
Here are a few techniques to reheat pasta, both with and without sauce.
How To Reheat Pasta In The Microwave
Plain Pasta Noodles: Put the pasta noodles in a microwaveable dish and add a splash of water. Lightly cover it, leaving a space for steam to escape. Microwave the pasta for one to two minutes or until heated through, stopping once in the middle to stir the pasta.
Pasta With Sauce: Place individual portions of pasta with sauce into a microwaveable dish. Add a teaspoon or so of water to keep the pasta moist. Cover the dish lightly, leaving space for steam to escape during cooking. Cook for a minute and a half, stir, then heat for another minute or until heated through. If your pasta has a cream sauce, microwave it in short bursts, add a splash of milk, and stir it occasionally to get the sauce to reconstitute.
How To Reheat Pasta On The Stove
Plain Pasta: If you added olive oil or butter to the noodles before storing as recommended above, all you need to do is add a tablespoon or two to a pan and sauté the pasta over medium heat, stirring frequently, until heated through. Heating pasta at too high a temperature can lead to crispy noodles, so keep the temp no higher than medium, and stir often to separate the noodles and cook it evenly. If there is no oil or butter on the noodles, you can also add butter or olive oil to the pan instead of the water to sauté instead.
Pasta With Red Sauce: Add a bit of nonstick spray, a tablespoon of butter, a drizzle of olive oil, or a few splashes of water to your pan and bring it to temp, then add the pasta with sauce, and heat on medium heat until warmed through, stirring frequently to ensure even cooking.
Pasta With Cream Sauce: Add 1/2 a tablespoon of butter and one to two tablespoons of milk to the pan. Warm over medium heat until butter is melted and milk is warm. Add the pasta to the pan and sauté it, stirring frequently to combine the butter, milk, and cream sauce as it’s warming. Continue stirring until the cream sauce reconstitutes (When Cream pasta is stored in the fridge, the sauce will separate as it cooks so there will be oily patches and creamy patches, stir gently until it works itself back together). You can add extra milk as needed to reconstitute the sauce.
How To Reheat Pasta In The Oven
Plain Pasta: We don’t recommend the oven for reheating plain pasta, but here’s the best way to do it if you want to. If the pasta already has olive oil or butter on it, simply add it to a baking dish, cover it with foil, and bake it at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. If there is no butter or oil on the pasta, consider spraying the dish with cooking spray or drizzling with olive oil before adding the pasta to the baking dish.
Pasta With Sauce: This is an easy one. Just add the pasta with the sauce directly to the oven safe baking dish, cover it with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. If it is a cream-based sauce, pull the dish out half way through cooking, stir, and add a splash of milk to reconstitute the cream sauce. Place back in the oven and continue baking until heated.
*Note: The oven is the best way to reheat lasagna! Just put it in a baking dish, cover with foil, and heat at 350 until warmed through.
How To Reheat Plain Tortellini or Ravioli (No Sauce)
Tortellini & Ravioli On The Stove: The best way to reheat filled pasta like tortellini or ravioli without sauce, is this: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place leftover tortellini or ravioli in a metal strainer or colander. Rest the colander into the boiling water to submerge the pasta (do not dump it back into the water, keep it in the strainer). Let cook for 30 seconds to one minute to bring the pasta back to temp. If it is not warmed through, you can gently stir and submerge again for another 30 seconds. Be sure to do these in small increments to avoid overcooking the pasta. Drain the water from the pasta, and add sauce.
Tortellini & Ravioli In The Microwave: You can reheat tortellini and ravioli in a microwave safe dish. Add a splash of water and cover lightly with a lid, leaving a space for the steam to escape. Cook in one minute increments, until heated through.
Tortellini & Ravioli In The Oven: Add the tortellini and ravioli to an oven safe baking dish with a splash of water. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.
Our Favorite Method For Reheating Pasta
Our favorite method to reheat pasta is actually dependent on its form. For plain pasta, we prefer the microwave. It cooks quickly, and it isn’t as prone to getting crispy. For pasta with red sauce, we definitely prefer the stovetop, but remember to keep the temperature low and stir frequently. For pasta with cream sauce, we also prefer the stove top, but for this one, again, keep the temp low to help keep the sauce breaking to a minimum, and stir vigorously to help reconstitute the sauce during reheating.
Try These Delicious Pasta Recipes and then Reheat!