How to prevent pasta noodles from sticking together

If you can’t cook anything else, you should at least be able to cook pasta noodles. Pasta can get pretty sticky (no pun intended) if the noodles aren’t cooked correctly.

Luckily, there are a few fool-proof things you can do to prevent this:

Make sure your water is boiling before you add your noodles.

If you dump your noodles in before your water is truly boiling, they will sit in the not-hot-enough water and become gummy and clumpy. When you add pasta to boiling water, it actually lowers the temperature of the water, so if your water isn’t even boiling to begin with, it will be pretty luke-warm once you add your noodles.

Stir your pasta. A lot.

During the first two minutes that you drop your noodles into boiling water, they’re covered in a sticky layer of starch. If you don’t stir them continually during the first two minutes, the noodles will stick to each other and stay stuck because they will cook adhered to one another. So just keep stirring.

DO NOT add oil to your pasta if you plan on eating it with sauce.

Yes, oil will make your pasta less sticky, but it makes them so slippery that when you try to add sauce to them, the sauce will just slide right off. There’s nothing worse than when all your sauce ends up at the bottom of your plate. However, if you’re planning to eat your noodles buttered or with olive oil only, then feel free to add oil to your boiling water.

Rinse your cooked pasta with water — but only if you’re not eating it right away.

If you’re not planning on draining your pasta, dousing it in sauce, and eating it right away, it’s best to rinse your cooked noodles with cold water. This removes the starch, which is the main reason noodles stick. When you’re ready to eat the noodles, make sure to reheat them with the sauce you’re using. This method also works (minus the reheating part) if you’re using your noodles for a cold pasta salad.

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