Cook Spaghetti Noodles a Day Ahead for Easy Meal Prep

If you cook your spaghetti noodles ahead of time, you can make dinner in a snap.
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Spaghetti is one of the easiest pasta dishes to make. Even though it's quick to throw together, sometimes the extra 20-minutes to boil water and cook noodles is time you don't have. Solve the problem by preparing noodles a day in advance and reheat at your convenience.


When paired with olive oil, lean protein and fresh vegetables instead of sodium-filled sauces, it makes for a healthy meal. Whole-wheat pasta is widely available in grocery stores and provides you with a bit more nutrition and fiber.

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Things You'll Need

  • Spaghetti noodles

  • Cooking pot

  • Salt

  • Colander

  • Olive oil

  • Measuring spoon

  • Airtight container


  1. Fill a large cooking pot with water. An entire box of spaghetti noodles will need at least 5 quarts of water. The large volume of water helps the pasta shed some excess starch and prevents the strands from sticking together.
  2. Bring the water to a rolling boil and add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of the spaghetti. You can use up to 2 tablespoons of salt per pound of pasta without affecting the taste.
  3. Add the spaghetti noodles to the pot. Fan out the spaghetti around the pot evenly so the strands will not clump together as they begin to soften.
    • Break the dried spaghetti in half before adding the pasta to the water, if you prefer.
  4. Cook the spaghetti for 7 to 8 minutes, until the noodles are "al dente," which means "to the tooth" in Italian. The pasta should be a little firm when you bite into it. Spaghetti that will be served immediately is usually cooked for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the cooked spaghetti into a colander to drain the water.
  6. Rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  7. Mix in 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking to one another as they're stored overnight.
  8. Place the cooked, cold spaghetti in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
  9. When you're ready to serve the pasta, mix with sauce or vegetables and reheat in a saucepan or microwave.


Make-ahead spaghetti can be stored for up to three days in the refrigerator.

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