how to cook pasta in the microwave

Meals in Minutes: How to Cook Pasta in the Microwave

Making microwave pasta isn’t something everyone thinks of doing. Instead, most of us add dry pasta to boiling water. But microwaving pasta is just as effective, and who doesn’t love some fun kitchen hacks that come super handy when you don’t have access to a hob?

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to cook pasta in the microwave, some extra tips on this convenient method and a couple of recipes to try for an express meal.

How to Cook Pasta in the Microwave in 4 Steps

Follow the steps below, and you’ll soon find out that cooking pasta in your microwave is perhaps easier than you think!

Step 1: Empty Your Pasta Packet Into a Bowl

Begin by adding all the pasta you’ll be using to a deep microwaveable bowl.

Next, pour water into the same bowl as the pasta, ensuring that you add enough water to completely cover your dry pasta. Don’t be afraid to be too generous; you can also drain excess water afterwards.

Step 2: Add Another Bowl on Top

Before you power on the microwave, add a microwave-safe bowl on top of the bowl of pasta. This will help catch any excess water that could splash out as the water begins to boil in the microwave.

Step 3: Cook in the Microwave

Once you’ve added sufficient water (but there’s not so much that it fills the bowl’s rim), you might be asking yourself how long to microwave pasta. Use the packet pasta’s time as a guideline, adding some extra minutes (around 3–4). Furthermore, to cook pasta in a microwave, you’ll want to use a full power setting, ensuring that you keep an eye on the pasta to check that it doesn’t boil over.

Pro Tip: After several minutes, you can always remove the large bowl from the microwave to check if it’s finished cooking. 30-second intervals are a great way to check in with your cooking time, making sure that you carefully remove the bowl using cooking gloves.

Step 4: Check the Pasta

When the pasta is fully cooked totally depends on your taste preferences; some people like it al dente, for example. So we recommend testing a piece of pasta. Once cooked, strain the water and mix in your favourite sauce.

The Benefits of Cooking Pasta in a Microwave

You might be asking yourself: why would anyone need to make this easy dinner even easier? Let’s explore some of the advantages of preparing pasta in the microwave.

Less Washing Up

spaghetti in tomato sauce topped with herbs

Who wouldn’t want to spend less time in the kitchen washing dishes? You might have noticed from the above instructions on making pasta in the microwave that it’s just a matter of throwing all of your ingredients into one large microwave-safe bowl.

Not only does making pasta in the microwave provide an innovative, easier option, but you won’t require an additional saucepan to boil the water in. Instead, you can eat a single serving from the bowl.

Requires Less Stirring

While we wouldn’t recommend leaving a microwave or any kitchen appliance unattended during use, cooking pasta in the microwave requires less monitoring since you don’t have to stand over the stove and stir it regularly to prevent the spaghetti from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Can You Cook Spaghetti in the Microwave?

You can cook any type of dry pasta with the method above. The best way to cook spaghetti in the microwave is to break them in half or into smaller pieces so they fit in your container.

Do You Need Boiling Water to Cook Pasta?

Not sure what temperature to add water to your pasta? There are several ways to do it. For the best results, boil a kettle with the desired amount of cold water (making sure to plan so that you have extra to cover around one extra inch of the dry pasta).

We also recommend flavouring the water with a pinch of salt to add some extra taste when you cook pasta recipes in the microwave.

On the other hand, you can cook your pasta with hot, not boiling temperature, water. This is the best approach if you want to make pasta in the microwave a bit firmer.

Re-Heating Pasta So That It Doesn’t Become Dry

If you’re anything like us, you’ll make a large portion of pasta noodles that’s too much for everyone to eat. In which case, you’ll likely re-heat any leftovers in a pot the next day.

To prevent your microwave recipes from becoming dry and flavourless:

  1. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to a suitable bowl for the microwave.
  2. Add a paper towel or a lid (avoid using plastic wrap) to the top of the bowl.
  3. Microwave on high for a couple of minutes, stirring every 30–60 seconds until it’s fully re-heated.

Microwave Pasta Recipes

So, now you know how to cook pasta in the microwave, but are you stuck for ideas? Explore a couple of new recipes from our top selections below.

Tomato and Red Pepper

This is a plant-based recipe, but you can also top it with cheese and allow it to get crispy in the oven. Mix it up with noodles or macaroni pieces.

  • Chop onions and garlic: Saute onion and garlic on a stove until soft, and add a pinch of chilli flakes and paprika.
  • Prepare peppers: Cook some red peppers with black pepper, olive oil and onions in the oven for around 20–25 minutes.
  • Remove the peppers once cooked. This is to ensure that they don’t become charred.
  • Add tomatoes: Mix a can of tinned tomatoes and tomato puree into the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce thickens. Taste and add more salt, if required.
  • Prepare pasta in the microwave: Use the microwave to cook the pasta of your choice while the vegetables have their cooking time. Then, drain the pasta and mix everything together, and serve.

Broccoli and Nuts Pesto Pasta

Who doesn’t love a vegan pesto mixed in with their cooked pasta?

  • Steam broccoli: Begin by steaming one broccoli head. For an extra broccoli taste, use the vegetable’s stem, too.
  • Prepare cashew nuts: To add a healthy cheese flavour to your dish, add some cashew nuts to a bowl, and add some boiling water on top so that they soften. Allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes.
  • Dice everything together: Add the steamed broccoli, spinach, softened cashew nuts, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and chilli flakes to a food processor. Use the highest setting to make sure that everything blends well together.
  • Prepare the sauce: Microwave the pasta, leaving some of the water from the dish to add to the pesto. You won’t need much water—probably 2–3 tablespoons per serving, depending on how smooth you want the sauce to be.
  • Finish off: Mix everything together in a pan to heat the sauce, and serve immediately. You can also top with some additional nutritional yeast and pine nuts.

Microwave Cooking Made Easy

Now that you have learnt how to microwave pasta, you’ll know what to make for dinner this week. Remember to have the pasta completely covered the pasta with boiling water.

What cooking method do you typically use for pasta? Have you ever tried microwaving macaroni and spaghetti? Share your go-to method in the comments.

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