How to Cook & Refrigerate Pasta

Whether you prefer long spaghetti noodles or one of the other shapes including farfalle or macaroni, pasta can be prepared ahead of time and then refrigerated for a quick meal later. A low-fat option suitable for lunch or dinner, properly prepared and stored pasta retains its flavor and texture in the refrigerator, allowing you to pull out what you need for a low-effort meal. Enjoy the noodles hot or cold with a variety of sauces or toppings.

Cooked pasta on a plate. (Image: Elena_Danileiko/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Place 1 gallon of water for each pound of pasta into a large pot. Add ½ tablespoon of salt per gallon of water.

Step 2

Bring the water to a full boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water.

Step 3

Cook the pasta for 5 to 15 minutes once the water returns to a boil. Cooking time varies between pasta type, size and shape, so refer to the package for cooking time recommendations.

Step 4

Pour the pasta into a colander, draining off the water. Rinse the pasta in cold water to cool it down and wash away the the excess starch.

Step 5

Place the pasta in a food storage container. Toss the pasta with olive oil, using 1 teaspoon. per pound of cooked pasta. The oil prevents the pasta from drying out or sticking together during storage.

Step 6

Place the lid on the container and seal it closed. Store the cooked pasta in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot

  • Salt

  • Colander

  • Olive oil

  • Storage container


Properly cooked pasta is tender but not mushy, a state referred to as “al dente.”

There is no need to rinse pasta you are serving immediately, only pasta you intend to refrigerate.

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