Pasta is a versatile dish that works great for a solo meal, family meal or for big gatherings. It’s relatively easy to prepare and always goes down a treat. But, keeping pasta warm once it’s been cooked can be tricky, and making sure it isn’t sticky is another factor. Knowing a few simple tips or tricks for this is all you need to keep your pasta delicious, and most importantly warm after serving.
We’ve put together ways to keep your pasta warm, along with some advice to guide you through any pasta situation. No one wants to serve their guests with a cold and gulpy dish. But fear not, we’ve got you covered.
How to Keep Pasta Warm After Cooking
This is the number one priority for most people, especially if you’re hosting a dinner party. There’s a really simple method that uses cooking utensils you already have to keep pasta warm before serving the dish.
What You Need: All you need for this method is a colander and a heatproof bowl or plate.
Step by Step Guide
- When draining your pasta do it over your heatproof bowl.
- This keeps some of the pasta water, which can be added back to the sauce for extra moisture and warmth.
- Then when the pasta has been fully drained, empty the heatproof bowl or plate, leaving a small amount of water at the end.
- Mix this in with the pasta and viola.
- A warm bowl and your meal can be served with the guarantee it will be warm and the consistency will be just right.
How to Keep Pasta Warm in a Crockpot
A Crockpot is perfect if you want to keep pasta hot without overcooking it and let's face it overcooked pasta is not your friend. It’s quick, easy and means you can focus on other things.
What You Need – A trusty crockpot and a colander
Step by Step Guide
- Grease your crockpot with olive oil, or whatever cooking oil you prefer when your pasta is cooking.
- This will prevent the pasta from sticking to the sides of the crockpot.
- When you have drained your pasta, mix it with the sauce you will be using.
- Then, add to the crockpot, turn the crockpot to a “warm” setting and leave it until it is ready to be served.
How to Keep Pasta Warm in a Slow Cooker
A slow cooker is an essential item for any kitchen. Useful for so many dishes, we can’t even list them all. When it comes to keeping pasta warm it’s super effective. All it requires is a little bit of time to check the pasta but it guarantees deliciously warm and moist pasta.
What You Need – A slow cooker, colander your favorite pasta, sauce, water and/or olive oil.
Step by Step Guide –
- Cook pasta as normal and when it is cooked, remove from heat and drain it.
- Put the pasta in the slow cooker and drizzle with olive oil and water, or if you are using a sauce, replace the water with sauce.
- Make sure the pasta is coated and set the slow cooker on low heat.
- Continue to add water or sauce every 30 minutes. Make sure to check the texture when adding the sauce and add more pasta, if required.
How to Keep Pasta Warm for a Buffet
Buffets are challenging, there’s no denying it, especially when it comes to pasta. With the right equipment, it is possible to serve tasty and warm pasta in any buffet setting. You will need a chafing dish for this method, but these can be picked up cheaply, it doesn’t need to be high-end. They are available at pretty much any catering shops or can be easily ordered from Amazon.
What You Need – A chafing dish, sterno, and colander
Step by Step Guide
- Cook pasta until it is al dente.
- Set up your chafing dish where you will be serving food and light a sterno underneath. This will heat water and help keep your past warm.
- Pour around half an inch of room temperature water into the bottom of the chafing dish and cover to let the water heat up.
- While the water is heating, drain the pasta using your colander, and rinse in cold water, this will prevent the pasta from going sticky.
- Drizzle pasta with olive oil and toss. Then add your pasta to the chafing dish and close it.
- The steam will help keep the pasta moist. Stir as necessary and add more water if it evaporates. If your pasta is being served with a sauce apply the same methods.
How to Warm up Pasta
Pasta is always tricky to manage serving wise. There usually ends up being too much. Too much is never a bad thing though. There are plenty of ways to warm up pasta so it keeps its texture and taste.
If you want to reheat pasta with no sauce the best options are:
Submerging in boiling water – this is a really quick way to get warm pasta that doesn’t lose its texture. Simply add your pasta to a colander and dip in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, or until you feel it is the texture and warmth you want.
Microwaving – again, super quick and super easy. All you have to do is add some olive oil to the pasta and place in a microwaveable bowl. Cover the bowl in the microwave, but don’t fully close it, giving the pasta some air helps the moisture process. Turn the microwave to a low setting and heat for one minute at a time. When it has reached the desired temperature, take out and enjoy.
If you have pasta with sauce there are three easy options:
Oven – add your pasta to a foil-covered baking dish and put in the oven at around 340 degrees for 20 minutes.
In a saucepan – your pasta can be heated again using any saucepan over medium-low heat. Make sure to keep stirring the pasta, so it doesn't overcook and dry out in the process.
Microwave – The same method that applies to pasta with no sauce works here too. Simply add your pasta to a microwaveable bowl, put a cover on (but not closing this fully on the dish) and heat on a low setting for one minute, then stir and continue until the desired temperature is reached.
Some Tips For Pasta Cooking
Ok, so now we’ve got keeping your pasta warm, it’s also important to pay close attention to the actual cooking process for the best quality meal possible. These are some tips and tricks that might seem simple but a lot of people get so used to cooking pasta that they may have forgotten them. Or don’t think they are important, but trust us, they are. Our top tips for cooking pasta are:
Tip 1 – Always cook the pasta last
If you are cooking pasta to add to a sauce make sure to make the sauce and prepare all other food because adding your pasta noodles to boiling water. Pasta should always be last. Then you can instantly add the pasta to the sauce and it will keep it from sticking.
Tip 2 – Don’t rinse
Rinsing pasta after it is cooked removes the starch that helps absorb the sauce. It also takes away the pasta’s natural flavor. All pasta needs is a simple drain and a gently shake, never more.
Tip 3 – Use a large pot
It’s easy to think a small pot will fit all your pasta, but always go bigger than you think you should. Pasta expands when cooking and it should be fully covered in water. If there is not enough water it will go sticky.
Tip 4 – Add lots of salt
Salt is very important for cooking perfect pasta, and lots of it. Add around two tablespoons for every gallon. Pasta doesn’t absorb all the salt either, but instead, it stops the pasta from going slimy and it prevents it from taking on a metallic taste that can sometimes occur. Taste the water after it's been salted, it should taste salty.
So, cooking pasta to perfection shouldn’t be an impossible chore. It’s easy to get it to the right consistency, no matter what method you are using. Obviously, some people won't have all the necessary equipment for one method but will for the other and we've made sure to cover a wide range here so anyone can have great tasting pasta, whenever they need it.
Taking a little bit of extra time to prepare and monitor pasta is key to it tasting great. And with the tips we've discussed, you’ll never have to worry about serving tasteless, mushy pasta again, and that’s something to be celebrated.
Do you have any top tips or methods for keeping pasta fresh and warm?