Make sad reheated pasta a thing of the past.
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bowl of pasta noodles
Credit: Meredith

There are few things worse than putting last night's pasta dinner (which you probably spent a fair amount of time making) in the microwave, only to be left with dry, clumpy pasta that isn't even thoroughly warmed. Let's be honest, no one really thinks hmm, this tastes just as good as it did last night when eating microwaved pasta. 

However, you can put those pasta nightmares in the past with these methods for reviving leftover pasta so that it tastes just as good as it did the first time.

The Best Ways To Reheat Leftover Pasta

Boil It

This method only works if you keep your noodles and pasta sauce separate when storing in the fridge. 

When it's time to reheat your dish, start by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil. Then, place your leftover pasta noodles in a heat-safe colander and carefully dip the entire colander into the pot for 30 to 60 seconds to warm the noodles. After they're warmed (and not at all mushy), toss your pasta with your favorite pasta sauce and serve. 

If you don't have a colander, you can bring your water to boiling and remove it from the heat. Then dunk your naked pasta in the warm water for about one minute to heat it. Be sure to drain the warmed noodles immediately to prevent them from becoming soggy.

Bake It

If your pasta dish is already coated in sauce, reheating it in the oven could be the best option. Simply place your pasta (sauce and all) in an oven-safe baking dish, cover it with foil and bake at 350℉ for 15 to 20 minutes. 

This method offers the added benefit of making your dish a little crispy and bubbly. And for extra cheesy goodness, you can also remove the foil at the end of the bake and add some additional cheese to the top. 

If you're worried about your leftovers being too dry, you can add an extra dollop of pasta sauce or even a few drops of water to the baking dish. This will revamp your leftovers and keep the taste and texture the same as the first time you enjoyed the meal.

Sauté It

If you're looking for a quick fix that doesn't involve the microwave, you can warm your leftover pasta on the stove. This method works for both pastas coated in sauce and plain pasta. 

Add some olive oil, or your favorite cooking oil, to a pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add your pasta, sauce, and any new, fresh ingredients to the pan and sauté for two to five minutes, until heated through. 

This method cooks quickly, so be sure to stir your pasta frequently so the sauce doesn't brown or burn.

Microwave It (With Water)

If the microwave is your only option, that's OK. You can still achieve delicious reheated pasta.

To achieve the perfect taste and texture, dump your pasta into a microwave-safe dish, and add a few drops of water or sauce. This will keep the pasta from sticking together and drying out.

Start by loosely covering the dish and reheating it for 1 to 1 ½ minutes, then check to see if it's heated all the way through. If not, continue microwaving at 15-second increments until hot. Stirring the pasta in between each microwave session will also keep the pasta from clumping together.

How Long Does Leftover Pasta Last?

When properly stored in an airtight food storage container, leftover pasta, both sauced and plain, will last up to five days in the refrigerator.

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