Let’s say you have leftover pasta after a spaghetti dinner. (I like to make extra so no one goes hungry, and of course, I have mountains of leftovers.) You don’t want to toss it away—but can you freeze spaghetti noodles?
Yes! You can keep cooked pasta in the freezer for last-minute suppers. Here’s what to do.
How to freeze pasta
You can freeze just about any cooked pasta, but how you cook the noodles can make a big difference when you’re ready to thaw. (There’s really no need to freeze uncooked pasta, because it typically has a shelf life of one to two years. It likely won’t grow any mold or bacteria in your pantry.) Just make sure you’re not keeping any of these 16 foods in your freezer.
Step 1: Cook your pasta al dente
You can definitely freeze spaghetti. Aim to cook your pasta al dente. If the noodles are too soft or mushy, they might not survive reheating. We recommend adding a little bit of olive oil to your long noodles while they’re hot, so they don’t clump together. Here are 19 other foods you also didn’t realize you can freeze.
Step 2: Transfer to freezer
Let the pasta cool completely before placing it into freezer-safe bags or containers. You can also place cooked pasta in a single layer on a baking sheet, freeze, and then transfer to a reusable container.
How to thaw and use pasta
In the freezer, cooked pasta will last up to three months. When you’re ready to defrost the pasta, transfer it to the fridge to thaw.
Then, dump the pasta into boiling water (or pop it in the microwave) to reheat. You can also add the pasta to a brothy soup or slow cooker dish when it’s nearly done cooking. You want to make sure the pasta is heated through but not mushy—it doesn’t take long! Now that you know how to salvage leftover pasta, make sure you avoid these other ways you’re cooking pasta wrong.