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You have hundreds of different pasta sizes to choose from when whipping up your favorite noodle dishes. And with so many options and so many recipes to use them in, there’s a good chance you’ll be eating a lot of leftovers, which means you need to know the best way to reheat pasta.

The good news is that you have a variety of techniques to choose from that will keep your noodles al dente and get them on the table in time for dinner.

Best Way to Reheat Noodles

When it comes to the best way to reheat noodles, nothing beats the simplicity of using a saucepan on the stovetop. Boiling water and a decent-sized pot work for most types of pasta, including angel hair, spaghetti, penne, rigatoni and fettuccine.

You have two choices when using the stovetop: with a colander or without. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you have a colander, use it.

  1. Fill a large pot with water and boil. You can add a pinch of salt to flavor the noodles. 
  2. Put the leftover noodles in the colander and place in the boiling water. It should hover over the hot water. 
  3. Heat for 30 seconds, remove and serve. 

No colander, no problem. Simply remove the boiling water from the heat source and place your leftover pasta in the pan. Leave it in there for 2 to 3 minutes; drain and serve.

Cook Pasta in the Microwave

While not the most popular way to prepare your favorite short noodle dish, you do have the option to cook pasta in the microwave. This method works best for smaller-sized pasta such as macaroni, shells and penne.

  1. Find a large, microwavable bowl and add the noodles to the bowl. 
  2. Pour enough water to cover the pasta; then add about another inch of water. 
  3. Find the cooking time on the box of pasta and add 3 minutes to the time. For example, if the cooking time is 6 minutes, microwave for 9 minutes. 
  4. Place a plate that is larger than the bowl in the microwave and put the bowl on top of the plate. 
  5. Cook for the desired amount of time, checking to make sure it’s not boiling over. Stir at least once. 
  6. Strain the pasta and serve. 

Reheat Spaghetti With Sauce

If your leftover pasta has sauce on it, do you know the best way to reheat spaghetti noodles with marinara sauce? Well, if you have time, a saucepan is ideal.

  1. In a saucepan large enough for your leftover pasta, add a small amount of water to the bottom.
  2. Put the spaghetti with sauce in the saucepan, but only fill it halfway. 
  3. Place the pan on the stove and heat on low to medium heat until the pasta is warm.
  4. Increase the temperature as needed. You don’t want to scorch your leftovers.  

When you reheat spaghetti noodles with sauce, it’s a good idea to add a drizzle of olive oil to keep the noodles from drying out or sticking together.

Reheat Noodles in Oven

If you have time, leftover pasta bakes, lasagna and cheesy casseroles have a better chance of tasting freshly made if you reheat noodles in the oven.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Take the pasta dish out of the refrigerator and scoop it into an oven-safe dish.
  3. Use a piece of aluminum foil to cover the dish.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes; uncover the pasta and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the noodle dish is warm enough to serve. 

If you’re reheating frozen leftovers, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake covered for one hour. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the leftovers are warm and ready to serve.

About the Author

Sara Lindberg

Sara Lindberg is a lifestyle, health, wellness, and fitness freelance writer.