How To Make Spaghetti Noodles Not Stick After Draining

Don’t add oil, it’s unnecessary and just adds fat to your pasta.

Fixing your timing problems by cooking the pasta later is a better solution. Before your sauce is finished, bring the water to a boil, but don’t add the pasta until the sauce is ready. The pasta will only cook for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on its thickness and cut, so reduce the heat and keep the sauce warm.

To keep things loose once I plate the pasta, I also toss it with a tiny bit of sauce before serving.

Additionally, as with most things, price makes a difference. The final product’s stickiness will vary depending on the type of pasta you use.

Just follow these recommendations (Italian here):

  • Choose a well-known brand of Pasta.
  • It’s crucial to use a large pot with plenty of water.
  • After adding pasta to the hot water, stir it for a few minutes.
  • DO NOT put lemon juice please.
  • DO NOT put oil please.
  • Cook it according to the recommended timing (for spaghetti, 8 minutes).
  • Use your tooth to feel the “al dente” thing instead of going blind.
  • Drain your pasta.
  • Please, DO NOT put your pasta under hot water.
  • When you drain your pasta, leave a small amount of hot water in the strainer.
  • Add sauces or virgin oil (not required, but I suggest it)
  • Add the Parmesan cheese; it’s not required, but I do suggest it for some sauces.
  • Pasta is ready and looks pretty yummy.

Bonus tip: You can cook your pasta “al dente” and finish cooking it with your sauces in a large pan if you need to add sauces that need to be warmed.

To prevent your pasta from sticking, you really don’t need oil.

There is a lot of starch from the pasta in the water you used to cook it. You can save a tiny amount of the water you cooked your pasta in for when you go to drain it. When it’s time to serve, just drizzle the pasta with the reserved water and toss. This helps avoid stickiness and reheats pasta after it has been sitting for five to six minutes, or for however long you decide to wait to serve it.

Add a small amount of oil after draining it; this should keep it from sticking.

Before placing the spaghetti in the boiling water, give it a small twist. In this manner, they will separate and not cling to one another.

Also stir the pasta in the first two minutes of cooking (see).

I simply turn on the hot tap for a little while and stir up my spaghetti if it has been sitting in the colander (usually in the sink) and has started to stick. Seems to unstick it easily enough.

A long time ago, Cooks Illustrated published an article about this. Their tip, which I frequently utilized with excellent results for fresh pasta, is to use a lot of water. They used four quarts of water for a pound of pasta. They also added salt to the water, but no oil. Oil changes nothing but the flavor. Stir during cooking also to help prevent any sticking.

Rinse your pasta after cooking while in the colander to keep it from turning into a gluey mass, especially if you are using freshly made pasta that has been coated with flour to prevent it from sticking to itself.

Usually, I toss the pasta with a tablespoon or so of my sauce.

One last thing to consider: if you are making your own fresh pasta, mix in a fair amount of flour while it is resting before boiling it. By doing this, you’ll somewhat dry out the surface and lessen sticking when you add it to the pot. Before adding the flour to the pot, shake off the majority of the excess.

If oil is required, your pasta is either too thin or you are cooking it for too long. Use Barilla if you can.

A good explanation from Barillas website

These are a few of the notes I made about making pasta while I was in college. I use these techniques in the workplace quiet often. It applies to dehydrated and fresh pasta.

  • Use 10Ltr of water to every 1kg pasta
  • Water should be boiling furiously before pasta is added
  • Water should be salted but not oiled
  • Place pasta in water all at once spread evenly
  • When the water cools down to a temperature below boiling, stir the pasta until it comes back to a boil.
  • After pasta is cooked, strain it and immediately rinse it with water to get rid of starches.
  • On a large, flat tray, spread out the pasta and drizzle with a little vegetable oil.
  • Place tray in cool room to dry.

If serving right away, you can omit the final two steps when cooking at home. The key takeaway from this is that sticking pasta is brought on by:

  • Not enough water or
  • Water not hot enough

And that in order to prevent the pasta from sticking, you add the oil after it has cooked. Adding oil to the cooking water has no desirable effect.

Upon closer inspection, this question relates specifically to handling pasta that is finished before sauce is

The simplest method is to just pull the pasta a minute or two before it’s done, then finish it with the sauce for the final few minutes, which will also help to reheat it.

You can also just toss a small amount of sauce in with the pasta to help lubricate it if the sauce is already done and the pasta is cooked through but you need to hold them both for a while. It just takes enough to lightly coat the strands, not so much that the dish is left dripping with sauce.

As soon as you remove the pasta from the water, toss it with oil or sauce for optimal results. If your sauce is just oil and parmesan (a little butter is fine too), I wouldn’t use oil because it will make the sauce not stick to the pasta.

Rinsing the starch off would eliminate flavor, and there’s a chance the sauce won’t adhere. Chef Hubert Keller demonstrated this on Top Chef Masters (in a shower with cold water), but he was in a special circumstance. I wouldnt recommend it if you can avoid it.

If you’re having trouble with timing, don’t drop the pasta until the sauce is finished. The sauce ought to be able to withstand low heat for some time (cheese sauces can be tricky; if they get too hot, they break). To finish cooking the pasta in the sauce, Mario Batali suggests pulling it out 1-2 minutes ahead of time.

The issue with adding oil is that you want the sauce to seep into the pasta so that every bite is flavorful to the fullest. By adding oil, you coat the pasta in it and stop the sauce from seeping through. Apart from the previously mentioned suggestion of utilizing high-quality pasta, I would suggest promptly adding a ladle of sauce to the pasta and stirring to evenly coat the pasta. When the pasta starts to clump, you can also try saving a cup or two of the pasta water after you drain it and adding it to the pasta.

Stir the pasta during the first few minutes of cooking to prevent it from sticking. The starch released in the initial stages is what causes the sticking. Your sauce will never adhere to the pasta if you use oil.

A couple References:

Serious Eats article (under “A Sticky Situation”).

Since the question is more about “how to prevent the phenomenon” than “how to fix it,” my response will stray a little from the subject at hand, but in my experience, the best way to ensure that your pasta doesn’t turn into a sticky mess is to add a small amount of water and drain right before serving. It simply functions flawlessly, but even with all precautions, there will still be some slight stickiness.

The starch that was gluing everything together is again dissolved when you add water, mix, and drain the pasta before using it. It will stick again if you let it dry, but if you serve it right away or add sauce, the starch won’t have time to do its sticky work.

Pasta that has been cooked has a coating of sticky starch that, as it cools, causes it to adhere to nearby objects. If its pasta, the pasta will stick together. The pasta will not stick to itself if you add oil, but you’ll also get a lot of oil on it, which is not nice!

The right way to add sauce to pasta is to toss it right away so that the sauce coats the pasta. This serves two purposes:

  • The pasta doesnt stick to itself.
  • The delicious sauce sticks to the pasta; otherwise, the pasta and sauce will “separate.”

I would also add that, in the past year or so, I have begun to cook pasta with just enough water to cover it (as opposed to the large amounts I always see being used), and that the sticking together issue has vanished after I stirred it initially over a low heat and slowly boiled it.

This answer suggests that you reduce the starch in the pasta by adding a little lemon juice to the water, which will make the pasta less sticky.

To prevent the issue of overcooked pasta, incorporate a few drops of lemon juice into the water. Any food acid would prevent the pasta from absorbing too much water and developing a glue-like texture.

The best advice I have is to not overcook it. I used to overcook my pasta way past al dente. You’ve cooked the pasta for too long if when you strain it there’s not even a slight chew to it. Pasta that is past al dente becomes mushy and sticks to itself.

Not much more than adding oil to the water to help prevent foaming It doesnt prevent the pasta from sticking. Check out this pasta-cooking article (which already has links to the answers to a few other questions):

When the water is boiling, you can add a small amount of oil (olive) and stir the spaghetti constantly. While the pasta is boiling, oil will adhere to it and prevent it from sticking, but stirring is crucial.

A few years ago, I used to do the same thing. Someone more skilled than me taught me that adding oil to water serves no purpose. Indeed, I have stopped using oil and am unable to detect any difference. Pasta sticks together when it isn’t stirred, especially in the first few minutes of cooking.

On a side note: I have read that cooking beyond al dente and rinsing the pasta afterwards both contribute to nutrient loss. I was taught to stir a tiny amount to butter into the pasta immediately after straining to keep it from sticking and to lock in the nutrients.

I think it has to do with the region. Last night, I prepared spaghetti and sauce that would cut like cake. Last October, I made spaghetti at home in Texas, but it wasn’t sticky or loose. According to me, it could be the humidity, altitude, or something else entirely. Update: I recently tried something different, and it really helped. I prepared a perfectly cooked dish of spaghetti noodles for two people. We have to have our drinking water delivered every month because our city’s water quality is so poor, so perhaps the issue is with the water. So. I made a batch with bottled water and a less expensive brand of pasta. It turned out beautifully,separate and not sticky at all. After letting it cool, it’s still perfect. I hope that by solving my difficult issue, it will assist anyone else who may be in need. Since my hometown is in Texas and we have good water, I suppose it is the area in some ways.

A lot of home cooks use pots that are far too small for the amount of pasta they prepare. Cook the noodles for at least five minutes per pound of pasta, or until they are swimming freely. Moreover, after draining, overcooked noodles become sticky and adhere to one another.

Just cook the pasta a couple minutes later. If you mess up the timing, I can’t think of a sauce that couldn’t sit there for a few minutes while the pasta finishes. Should the sauce become too thick, you can always thin it out with a little pasta water, even in reduced cream sauces.

A small amount of olive oil can be added to the water, and it has few calories. In fact Evoo is good fat. Next, save some of the pasta water after draining it, then add the sauce and mix it in if you want the pasta sauce to stick to the pasta. Furthermore, the pre-packaged pasta found in the deli section is incredibly simple to prepare. Boil the water, when it boils youll add the pasta. Usually it cooks really fast. Some will boil and settle on top of the water; all you have to do is watch it. Done. Taste is also the best way. Happy Cooking, Ciao!.

As a 65-year-old who has cooked for over 50 years, I can attest that the region has a significant impact on whether or not your spaghetti is sticky. I use Barilla pasta and have tried all the tips, but nothing seems to work very well in Illinois. It has to do with the wheat that’s used to make the noodles for pasta. Although Barilla isn’t as sticky as other brands, the best way to deal with sticky pasta is to bring the water to a boil and stir. Although I never experienced this issue in Texas, it is now a major concern for me because I married an Italian who adores red gravy and pasta. Just as making my famous buttermilk biscuits here. When I use flour other than the kind I can’t seem to find here, my biscuits turn into tough lumps of dough. I say it is all in location. To reduce stickiness, simply cook pasta in salted boiling water, stirring frequently.


  • Question I am having a potluck. I’d rather wait to add noodles to my sauce. Community Answer: If you’re not eating the spaghetti right away, rinse the noodles under cold water to prevent them from getting sticky. This will eliminate the starch that causes it to adhere to one another. Later, you can reheat it with the sauce.
  • Ask a Question 200 characters left Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

31 Answers 31 Sorted by:

This is Italian for you:) I am aware that everyone knows about the oil trick. but Italy. Pasta’s primary issue is that people simply cook it too much. Pasta should be cooked for 8 to 12 minutes; any longer and it will become sticky. Since spaghetti is the easiest to prepare, all you need to do is cook it for 8 to 9 minutes, and it won’t stick.

Related Posts