How to Keep Pasta Bake From Drying Out

Whether you have leftovers of your pasta bake or just need a quick, satisfying meal, it’s important to keep the dish moist and flavorful. If it gets too dry, you’ll end up with a dried-out pasta that’s hard to eat and won’t hold up to reheating. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent this from happening.

1. Precook It Before Baking

Many baked pasta recipes tell you to boil the noodles until they’re halfway cooked before baking them. This technique works well if you follow it, but it can take time and can dirty up a large pot or colander. It’s also difficult to know if the pasta has been cooked enough to be tender before baking.

2. Use A Wide, Shallow Dish

To avoid the pasta from drying out too much, bake your pasta in a large dish that’s wide and shallow. This will heat the pasta evenly and help it get hot in a shorter amount of time, without overcooking it.

3. Stir Often

It’s easy to lose track of how long your noodles have been cooking. It’s tempting to stop adding water and just let them sit for a while, but this can cause them to clump together. Instead, stir them with long tongs or a wooden spoon as they cook, especially once they’re a few minutes shy of being done.

4. Add Salt to the Pasta

The best way to make sure your pasta doesn’t go dry is to add salt right to it in the beginning. This will not only keep the pasta from becoming too dry, but it will add body and moisture to the sauce.

5. Add Water When Needed

Using the correct amount of liquid in your pasta can be tricky, but it’s worth it to ensure that you don’t have any dried-out bits. If you need to add water, make sure that it is a small amount — like a tablespoon or so — and don’t do so more than necessary.

6. Reheat It In The Oven

If you’ve made pasta bake for dinner and have leftovers, you can reheat it in the oven for a quick and easy meal. A temperature of 350 degrees is usually adequate to reheat your pasta bake, but it’s also a good idea to check it every 5-10 minutes or so to make sure it doesn’t overcook or burn.

7. If You’re Reheating a Stuffed Casserole

It’s easy to let a stuffed casserole overcook, so if you’ve made a cheesy lasagna or a chicken and mushroom stroganoff, it’s best to reheat these dishes in the oven. This will heat them all through, while still retaining the texture and taste of the original dish.

8. If You Have a Microwave

For easy, microwave-able reheated pasta, bring your cooked pasta and a cup of soup broth to a separate dish or bowl. Zap your pasta and broth chunks for about 30-60 seconds, then stir them up. Then combine them and heat until heated through, which should take about a minute or so.