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Food & Recipes

This Simple Hack for Reheating Pasta Will Make It Just as Delicious as Night One

No dry spaghetti sauce here.


A yummy bowl of pasta, whether it’s tossed in a hearty red sauce or a creamy Alfredo, is quite possibly my favorite dinner. It’s simple yet so comforting. But is it just me, or does it seem near impossible to gauge the right amount of dry pasta to cook? Needless to say, I usually have leftovers. It’s definitely a meal I’m happy to eat again, but reheating pasta in the microwave often dries it out — that is, until I found these trusty hacks.

Microwaves work wonders for warming up comforting soup and making a quick bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, but since microwaves heat food up quickly the moisture within certain foods like pasta and pizza tends to evaporate, leaving them dry. Thankfully, writer Rachel Fairbank is here to save us from this reheating dilemma with two simple methods for retaining the pasta’s moisture fast.

The first tip calls for using an ice cube to create steam in the microwave to prevent it from drying out. Fairbank suggests first spreading out the cold pasta in a thin layer on a microwave-safe plate. Next, place one ice cube on top and cover with parchment paper or a paper towel. Microwave in one minute intervals and stir after each interval until the pasta is fully reheated.

Trying this out myself, it only took two minutes for my tagliatelle in red sauce to be evenly warmed up. But even more impressive, it came out just as saucy as when I first cooked it the night before. The ice cube didn’t completely melt once it was reheated though, so I had to remove it from the plate. Still, this method was impressive.

Reheating pasta using the ice cube method
Alexandria Brooks

The second method also calls for spreading out the pasta on a microwavable plate and microwaving in one minute intervals. However, you cover it with a damp paper towel instead of adding an ice cube. This too creates an evenly moist environment for the pasta to be reheated in.

Reheating pasta using the damp paper towel method
Alexandria Brooks

When I gave this tip a go, it only took one minute for the entire plate of deliciousness to be piping hot and saucy. Once it was reheated, all I had to do was remove the paper towel and dig in rather than trying to fish out the ice cube. To sum it up, this method really did the trick for restoring the pasta back to its saucy glory.

In the end, both methods worked for keeping the pasta’s moisture and didn’t interfere with the zesty tomato and herb flavor from the sauce (a major plus!). However, I’m giving the edge to the damp paper towel trick because it reheated the pasta in half the time.

Basically, I’ll be sticking to this damp paper towel hack as my go-to for reheating pasta when I overestimate how much I need to cook — maybe on purpose.

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