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How to Reheat Pasta so It Tastes al Dente Again

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If you’re a fan of spaghetti noodles that stick to the ceiling after you cook them, then you need to know how to reheat pasta so that it turns out perfectly al dente. The art of cooking pasta the right way takes time, and once you figure it out, you certainly don’t want to mess it up when you reheat your leftovers.

So, whether you want to know how to reheat pasta noodles, or more specifically, how to reheat Olive Garden pasta, we’ve got you covered. We asked two expert chefs to share their tips on how to reheat pasta so you can enjoy those delicious carbs a second time.

How to Reheat Pasta in the Microwave

Unless you want pasta sauce splattered all over the inside of this kitchen essential, it’s a good idea to know how to reheat pasta in the microwave. But before you touch those numbers on the microwave, check out these steps from Emily Hansen, chef at Masso Osteria in Las Vegas, on how to reheat pasta with sauce. 

  1. Place the cooked pasta with sauce in a microwave safe bowl that is either fitted with a lid or can be covered with plastic. 
  2. Place a leaf of romaine lettuce over the top of the pasta and cover.
  3. Cook for medium/high heat for about three minutes (if you’re wondering how long to reheat pasta in the microwave, plan for around four to five minutes). 
  4. Remove lettuce (which has moisture and will keep the pasta from drying out).
  5. Stir and cook another one to two minutes until hot.

And if you don’t have a lettuce leaf, no worries. Claudia Sidoti, a chef at HelloFresh, says you can add one to two tablespoons of water to the pasta before putting it in the microwave. 


(Photo Credit: HelloFresh)


How to Reheat Pasta in the Oven

Sure, the microwave is quick and easy, but it’s also a good idea to know how to reheat pasta without a microwave. Here, Hansen reveals how to reheat pasta in the oven in six easy steps.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the pasta in an oven safe dish that you can cover with a lid or foil.
  3. Add one to two tablespoons of chicken stock or water.
  4. Add more cheese to create a pasta bake with your leftovers.
  5. Put the pasta in the oven and bake. 
  6. After 10 minutes, stir the noodles, re-cover, and heat for another five minutes. At this point, the added liquid should create steam and thoroughly heat the noodles.  


(Photo Credit: HelloFresh)


How to Reheat Pasta With Sauce

If you want to “wow” your guests with a plate full of cheesy pasta with sauce, then you need to know how to reheat leftover pasta, especially if it’s covered in sauce. According to Sidoti, the best way to reheat any pasta with sauce already on it is to use the saucepan. Here are the three winning steps she uses to make this meal a hit

  1. Put your pasta in a pan and on the stove. 
  2. Add a small amount of water (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan).
  3. Add a splash of oil, tossing often, until the pasta is hot. 

Now when it comes to figuring out how to reheat pasta with cream sauce, Sidoti says using a double-boiler is the best method for cream-based sauces such as Alfredo or a la Vodka. Here are the steps she recommends for reheating pasta with sauce.

  1. Heat water in a double boiler (if a double boiler isn’t available, use the stovetop method instead over low heat).
  2. Place the sauce in the top of the double boiler. If possible, heat the sauce separately, then pour over cold pasta. If the sauce and pasta are well mixed, you can just add them both to the pot.
  3. Let sit until the water begins to simmer.
  4. Add a fresh splash of cream or whole milk to help keep the pasta and cream sauce together. This reduces the chance that the sauce becomes clumpy and messy. 
  5. Add in a little butter, so the cream doesn’t curdle. 
  6. Heat slowly, stirring occasionally.


(Photo Credit: HelloFresh)


One other method you can try if you want to know how to reheat cooked pasta is to use a pan — especially if the pasta has sauce. Reheating in a pan allows you to have more control over the temperature. Plus, you can maintain a slight stir so the cream doesn’t break. Here, Hansen shows us in six steps how to reheat pasta with cream sauce. 

  1. Start with a cool pan.
  2. Add a splash of milk/cream/stock to the pan.
  3. Place over the heat source. 
  4. Add the noodles (once the liquid begins to simmer) and stir or toss until the noodles start to loosen. 
  5. Add a little more liquid and increase the heat, cover with a lid and cook until the liquid evaporates. 
  6. Remove from heat and serve.

And if you absolutely have to reheat pasta with sauce in the microwave (which the experts do NOT recommend), Hansen says to make sure and add enough liquid to the dish, cover tightly and place on a high heat. 

Other Tips for Reheating Pasta

It’s no secret that making spaghetti from scratch is not for everyone. For those of us who check the clock and realize that waiting for the water to boil is just not in the cards, knowing how to reheat frozen pasta bake, how to reheat Pizza Hut pasta, or how to reheat pasta bake in oven are key to serving up a warm meal for dinner. 

Oh, and of course, we can’t forget the importance of knowing the best way to reheat pasta without sauce. Because let’s face it, sometimes life calls for plain noodles and butter, so you better brush up on your knowledge of how to reheat pasta noodles. 

Frozen pasta bake is a lifesaver for busy families. But you need to know how to reheat frozen pasta bake way before dinner time if you want to make this meal a real success. Fortunately, Sidoti has a few simple steps you can follow to reheat frozen pasta bake in the oven.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the pasta bake in an oven-safe dish.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake until warm in the center (about one hour).
  5. Uncover and heat for 10-15 minutes more. 

If you’re crunched for time, you might need to use the microwave to get dinner on the table, fast. Here are the four steps Hansen recommends for reheating frozen pasta bake in the oven.

  1. Add a small amount of liquid to the dish with the frozen pasta bake. 
  2. Cover with parchment paper, and then cover with plastic.
  3. Place in the microwave on medium/high heat and heat for five to eight minutes, depending on the thickness of your bake.
  4. Check the temperature by inserting a toothpick, skewer, or fork in the pasta and hold for 30 seconds to feel if the heat has penetrated. If necessary, heat for another three to five minutes. 

If you’re dealing with refrigerated pasta bake, consider these experts tips for how to reheat pasta bake in oven. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Put the pasta bake in an oven-safe dish.
  3. Cover pasta bake with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Uncover pasta and bake for another 10-15 minutes. 

Sometimes the portions at restaurants are over the top and you need to take your meal home. If your dining-out choices includes Olive Garden or Pizza Hut, you might be wondering how to reheat Olive Garden pasta or how to reheat Pizza Hut pasta the next day.

The good news is, reheating these tasty leftovers is no different than reheating the pasta you make at home. The only thing to remember is to transfer the leftovers from the aluminum to-go container into an oven-safe or microwave-safe dish before reheating. Enjoy!

This post was written by Sara Lindberg.

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