Our tips for cooking spaghetti will help you create the perfect pasta dish, the first time around. Cooking pasta isn’t as easy as it looks, and if you’re a beginner, then you’re probably having trouble knowing when your pasta is ready, how long to cook the pasta, and how to avoid overcooking it. Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled the top tips from the best cooks all over the world, bringing to you surefire tips and tricks that will prevent you from suffering through another dinner eating overcooked or undercooked pasta.

Our tips for cooking spaghetti couldn’t be easier to follow. Even if you don’t have cooking experience, the following cooking instructions will help you to avoid many of the common mistakes most new cooks tend to make with their first, second, and even third attempt to cook spaghetti to perfection:

  • Avoid putting oil in the boiling water
  • Make sure you add the correct amount of water
  • Add a dash of salt
  • Water should be brought to a boil before the spaghetti is added
  • Always stir the spaghetti immediately after adding it to the boiling water
  • Read the instructions on the spaghetti package in order to ensure you cook the spaghetti for the recommended amount of time
  • Save some of the water from the pot
  • Drain the pasta but avoid drying it
  • Always add the spaghetti to the sauce, not the sauce to the spaghetti
  • Add some of the water you saved from the pot to encourage the sauce to stick to the pasta

As you can see, cooking spaghetti is pretty foolproof, if you follow the above directions correctly. If so, you’ll enjoy pasta that’s not too firm or mushy, and the next day, you can reheat your leftovers for another delicious spaghetti dinner that has been cooked to perfection. Preparing your cookware and the other necessary supplies and having them on hand before you start cooking the pasta will also go a long way towards a successfully cooked dish. Additionally, you may need to lengthen the cook time of the pasta, depending on the type of cookware you use.

Keep on reading to learn about the best tips and tricks you should use the next time you’re preparing a spaghetti dinner.

Should I Add Oil to the Spaghetti to Prevent the Pasta From Sticking Together?

This is a common question most people have and it’s also a major mistake you’ll want to avoid. Many cooks recommend adding oil to a pot of pasta in order to prevent the pasta from sticking together, but doing so actually prevents the sauce from sticking to the pasta. You’ll also end up with really greasy pasta, so avoid adding oil at all costs.

Filling Up Your Pasta Pot

When filling up your pot in preparation for cooking spaghetti, make sure you start off with fresh, cold water. Keep in mind, pasta expands as it cooks so you must ensure that there’s enough water in the pot to accommodate the expanding spaghetti. We recommend filling up the pot around three-quarters of the way. You want to avoid filling it up all the way to prevent the boiling water from spilling over as the pasta cooks.

Why You Should Add Salt to the Pot When Preparing Spaghetti

When you add a few pinches of salt to a boiling pot of spaghetti you’re basically seasoning the pasta. This works to flavor your pasta, giving it a fuller taste. Many people believe that adding salt to the pot can also make the water boil faster, but this is a common misconception. While the salt does, in fact, increase the water’s boiling point, adding salt will only serve to make the water hotter, but it doesn’t cause the water to boil at a faster rate. However, adding salt to a boiling pot of spaghetti can add some great, much-needed flavor, so it’s a step you should never skip.

The Water Should Be at a Boil Before You Add the Pasta

Did you know that the starch in spaghetti instantly absorbs water? Because of this the water should be rapidly boiling before you add the pasta in order to cook the spaghetti correctly. If you add the pasta before the water is boiling you’ll end up with mushy, overcooked pasta. Allow the water to boil for a couple of minutes before you add the spaghetti. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the pasta cooks when you follow this tip.

Spaghetti Should Be Stirred As it Cooks

Cooking spaghetti in a pot with boiling water

Once you add the spaghetti to the boiling water, begin stirring it immediately. Doing so will prevent the noodles from sticking to the sides and bottom of the pot. It can also prevent the pasta from sticking together. As it cooks, be sure to stir the spaghetti every few minutes to continue to prevent it from sticking.

Read the Cooking Instructions to Test for Doneness

If you’ve discussed how to cook the perfect batch of spaghetti, then you may have heard many methods to use in order to test the pasta’s doneness. Often, this involves throwing a strand of spaghetti against the wall. If it sticks, it’s ready, if it falls off it’s not. But each brand of pasta has its own required cooking times, which are clearly listed on the pasta’s package. Cooking time can also depend on the thickness of the spaghetti. Thicker spaghetti calls for a longer cooking time, while thinner spaghetti cooks much faster. When cooked correctly, the pasta should be firm, yet tender.

Why You Should Save Some Water From the Pot

Before you drain the spaghetti make sure you save half a cup of the water, placing it in a bowl and setting it to the side, you’ll need to add this water later when mixing the spaghetti into the sauce.

Avoid Drying the Pasta

Avoid allowing the pasta to dry completely once you’ve drained most of the water. When spaghetti dries the starch in the pasta becomes very firm and can cause the noodles to stick together.

Mixing the Spaghetti with the Sauce

Many beginners struggle with this step and often slowly add the pasta sauce to the spaghetti, when in fact, you must slowly add the pasta to the sauce. Before you add the spaghetti, make sure the sauce is nice and warm. After the pasta is drained it should be added to the sauce immediately.

Add Water from the Pot to the Spaghetti and Sauce

Remember that half a cup of water you saved from the pot before you drained the pasta? You’ll now need to add that water to the sauce and pasta in order to not only help flavor the pasta dish but doing so also encourages the sauce to stick to the pasta, thanks to the high starch content in the water.

Related Questions

Should I Cook the Sauce First or the Spaghetti?

You should cook the pasta sauce first. Usually, cooking homemade spaghetti sauce can be a day-long process. Remember, you should avoid allowing the spaghetti to completely dry, otherwise, the pasta will stick together. Because of this, it’s best to cook the spaghetti last and quickly add it to the waiting pot of sauce.

What Should I Cook the Spaghetti in?

We recommend using the best copper cookware. Copper heats up water quickly and works to evenly heat the surface, so all of your pasta will be cooked evenly and to perfection. We recommend the Lagostina Q554SA64 Martellata Tri-ply Hammered  Copper Cookware Set, which comes with a large stockpot that’s perfect for cooking spaghetti.

If you’ve never cooked with copper cookware before, click here to read our article on how to properly clean copper cookware, for a faster cleanup process that will save you plenty of time in the kitchen.

How Do I Cook the Perfect Spaghetti?

Follow our tips here! Remember, read the instructions on the spaghetti package, cook the pasta last, use the right cookware, and stir occasionally. If you follow our tips, you can’t go wrong. Keep in mind that you must pay special attention when it comes to the directions for a specific type of spaghetti. You can choose from thin, medium-thick, to thick spaghetti and each type will have very different cook times. If you’re still not certain whether or not your pasta is finished cooking, don’t be afraid to sample a few of the noodles. If the pasta feels too firm, allow it to cook for two to three minutes longer before testing again.

Last Words

Our tips for cooking spaghetti to perfection are easy to follow and can finally help you to cook your spaghetti right on your first try. Many people struggle to cook pasta correctly, because some types of pasta, especially spaghetti, cook very quickly, making it difficult to judge the correct cook time. If you have a plan in place, pay attention to the cooking instructions on the package, add the pasta to water that’s already boiling, and add a few pinches of salt to the boiling water for flavor. If done correctly, you’ll end up with pasta that’s firm and tender.

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The Top Ten Tips for Cooking The Perfect Spaghetti Dish
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The Top Ten Tips for Cooking The Perfect Spaghetti Dish
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Follow these top ten tips to finally achieve spaghetti that's cooked to perfection, and check out the common mistakes many beginners make when cooking pasta.
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