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Taking a quick poll of several bags of pasta in my kitchen, about half recommend keeping the pot covered while cooking1.

This is not very convenient for me, as I don't have a good tightly fitting lid and the pasta often foams and boils over and cleaning the stove takes longer than cleaning the pot and plates.

So what are the benefits to keeping the lid on while cooking pasta? The main ones I could imagine are less heat loss (but my stove even on min setting maintains a boil, so I can't save any gas) and hotter air above the water (but the pasta is full submerged, so this wouldn't seem to matter).


1 Admittedly, some of the packages were fairly ambiguous as to whether the covering should be done only for the initial heat-to-boil or for the entire cooking process.

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I see a benefit to covering the pot while bringing the water to a boil, as you will reduce evaporative cooling and get to temperature quicker. I might also allow, that in some cases (maybe frozen pasta or too much pasta to water), when you add the pasta (thus cooling the water) replacing the lid will help return it to the boil quicker. However, boiling pasta with a lid simply invites a boil-over situation. Once boiling, covering is not influencing the cooking of the pasta. Just leave it off.

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  • I recently saw a video where they said that you can actually kill the heat after putting the noodles into the water (or at least halfway through), since you really just want something above 85 degrees or something like that. (I did not try that myself to that extent, though.)
    – Ink blot
    Aug 17 '20 at 22:49
  • @Inkblot I've done it, it works perfectly, even with minimal extra water. I do put the lid on.
    – Kat
    Aug 19 '20 at 4:14
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Keeping in Heat - if not holding on a boil. DRY pasta cooking - means you can bring the water to a boil, kill the heat, put in the pasta and then just let it sit for 8-10 minutes - you don't need a tight fitting lid - just one to keep in the heat for that length of time.

for more on this awesome never have pasta boil over again tip, see

https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/09/tips-for-better-easier-pasta.html

You'll save not only energy (turn off the gas) but also stress of pot watching

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