How can I make day-old pasta taste better?

In this article, we will answer the following question: How can I make day old pasta taste better? We will teach you how to properly reheat pasta and talk about the dangers of eating leftover pasta.

How can I make day-old pasta taste better?

To make day-old pasta taste better you can dress it with a tasty sauce (pesto, Neapolitan, Bolognese, carbonara …) or other dressing that you like the most. To do this, you can try a different touch with:

  • Extra virgin olive oil and pepper, a bit of nutmeg or balsamic vinegar of Modena.
  • Extra virgin olive oil flavored with basil or chili.
  • Butter melted with sage in the pan, in the purest Italian style.

Pasta is so versatile and we can make so many recipes with it that it is probably one of the most recurring ingredients in any kitchen. It is prepared in no time, admits all kinds of sauces and preparations, and, in addition, in summer, it is the perfect base for a salad.

How to reheat pasta?

Ideally, the pasta is freshly made and calculate the approximate amount we need per person so as not to end up with a pot full of boiled spaghetti. In fact, anything that means reheating pasta will be a source of outrage – and rightly so – in Italy.

Of course, no matter how little time we have, we cannot make pasta for a week either, for food safety and because, like all ingredients, pasta also loses properties that change its texture and flavor. So 3 days should be the maximum to keep the pasta in the fridge. Remember that the pasta is boiled in 10 minutes. Are you sure you don’t have time?

If we are still out of hand or we are in such a hurry that we decide to make in quantity to save, we have to do it well so that it does not dry out or become so doughy that it is inedible.

In the tupper – The leftover pasta has to be stored in an airtight container to prevent air from entering and becoming dry. We have to make sure that it is well closed, and if it is made of glass, much better than plastic so that it does not absorb odors that may have been impregnated in the Tupperware.

A splash of oil – If we keep the pasta in the container without oil, it will inevitably end up turning into a sticky dough. A splash of extra virgin oil and stir well so that all the pasta is soaked is the solution to keep it in perfect condition. Every 12 hours we can stir the content a little so that all the oil does not go to the bottom.

Always al dente – It would have to be the norm and Italians should take their heads for how we cook pasta here. It is true that we tend to cook it more than necessary, but really al dente is the perfect point for pasta. 

Correctly cooked pasta is healthier as it is digested more slowly, regulating blood glucose levels little by little. And if we decide to save it for another day, it will withstand the passing of hours much better than an overcooked pasta that, over time, will become even pastier.

Never cool with water – Sacrilege would be the least we could say about this widespread technique. You should never cool the pasta with water after cooking, it loses its texture and porosity, being smooth and too soft. 

If we cook the pasta as we have said, al dente, remove it from the heat and drain, it will just be done with the residual heat remaining just right. Then, you just have to let it cool down to room temperature with a splash of oil so it doesn’t stick.

Mandatory refrigeration – We all remember the headlines of the boy who died hours after eating pasta that he had left at room temperature for a few days. Indeed, you always have to refrigerate cooked pasta (and rice, meat, legumes, vegetables, fish …) otherwise, over time, bacteria appear that can be very harmful to our health due to the intake of toxins, even causing liver necrosis and death in severe cases. 

So it is not a joke and, when in doubt, if due to an oversight we have left the pasta out for too long – especially in summer – better get rid of it.

Other FAQs about Pasta which you may be interested in.

How often should I eat pasta?

How long do you cook pasta for?

the pasta from absorbing all the sauce?

Is cooked pasta really dangerous?

Does this case confirm that eating a plate of reheated pasta or rice, if it has not been preserved in the correct conditions, can be lethal? 

Yes, anything can happen as long as there is contamination. Pasta can be the substrate in which a number of harmful bacteria proliferate. Although the problem, in this case, is not the pasta or fried rice, since freshly boiled pasta is sterile because it is boiled. 

The problem is that kept at room temperature can be the object of contamination, which had to occur in the first days after leaving the pasta without refrigeration, so that there was a time of incubation, of proliferation. 

Some bacteria can generate toxins. If this is the case, heating the food is not a solution to eliminate them . The problem with toxins is that they can cause greater damage to some organs such as the kidney or liver, so if it is not treated quickly, in this case, it could cause death.


There are many ways to make day-old pasta taste better. Remember that olive oil and spices are the best allies when it comes to reheat pasta. 

We remind you that eating 3+ day old pasta can be dangerous. By keeping food in the wrong conditions, this bacteria can proliferate and secrete dangerous toxins that are not killed by heat when the dish is heated, for example, in a microwave. In the most severe scenarios, this can cause liver failure and even possible death.

If there is any way we can help or if you have a comment on the content, please let us know.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.