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What is the correct way to boil noodles? I am talking about the packaged noodles and not half-boiled noodles. I see conflicting information online, and their noodles, irrespective of their method, comes out non sticky. Mine always clumps or sticks together when cooking.

This is how I boil them:

  1. I boil a lot of water in a wide pan with salt (adding oil or not doesn't change anything for me).
  2. I keep the flame on high until the water comes bubbling. Then I put the noodles in it.
  3. I cook them until al dante (a very thin white line is there when I squeeze a strand.)
  4. I immediately drain the water and wash them with cold water.
  5. Then I drizzle some oil on it and mix them well. Up to this point, they are all non sticky and light.

Now the problem starts. A lot of people say that you should never cook the noodles right away and you can also store them in fridge for up to a couple of hours. However, no matter the amount of oil I drizzle, mine starts sticking to each other and so I have to was h them again with cold water to untangle them. Now if I cook them, they tend to again stick when I cook them. They are never separate and always become this mushy kind that they kinda stick and form clumps. I don't understand how mine sticks but the ones I see in Videos are always so fluffy with separate strands.

How do I prevent the noodles from sticking it when cooking?

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  • What kind of noodles? What is the final preparation?
    – moscafj
    Jun 20 at 14:18
  • @moscafj Dried noodles for hakka noodles /chowmein.
    – 4-K
    Jun 20 at 14:35
  • Do you just drizzle the oil in, or do you then mix/toss the noodles to coat them with the oil?
    – Sneftel
    Jun 20 at 15:13
  • @Sneftel Of course I toss them.
    – 4-K
    Jun 21 at 10:40

2 Answers 2

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For Asian-style noodles, drop them into boiling water, then switch the heat off. Leave in the water 4 minutes, drain, oil & either serve immediately or move on to stir-frying.
They should be OK to store in the fridge using this method, but stir them as they cool.

If you boil them a lot more starch is released, making them sticky.

Traditionally, fresh ramen noodles are cooked in running water which constantly takes away any extra starch, but you can't really do this for domestic noodles, especially dried.

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  • Is this a good enough procedure? youtube.com/watch?v=4Q12_scB6AY Starts at 7 minute. The problem is that they don't stick up and until I start cooking them, The longer I keep them cooking, the stronger the clump forms.
    – 4-K
    Jun 22 at 17:02
  • 1
    They look over-cooked to me. Water has gone soupy. Noodles look starchy. He played with them too much. Leave them alone til they're done. Salt is not needed at all, neither is the lid, oil is not needed until afterwards. They shouldn't need rinsing either. So, no, that's not a method I could recommend. That's a recipe for sticky noodles. I gave you my method above, no video required.
    – unlisted
    Jun 22 at 17:09
  • I will try your method and see how well it works. Will update on this.
    – 4-K
    Jun 23 at 17:19
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The conventional wisdom is to boil them in lots of water at a roiling boil. This, however is really unneccessary for dried noodles, it's only neccessary for fresh noodles lest they stick together.

Dries noodles can be cooked in very little water. I put them in cold, stir once or twice until it comes to a boil, then cover and turn low so it barely boils. This is all that is required, and saves a lot of energy!

Additionally, the concentrated boiling water contains a lot of starch and is great to add to the sauce as a thickener.

Never add oil, never rinse your noodles, no sauce will stick to them if you do that.

You should actually eat them right away and not store them in the fridge, unless you mixed them with a sauce, since they will become a sticky mess, as you noted.

For further reading, i recommend https://www.seriouseats.com/how-to-cook-pasta-salt-water-boiling-tips-the-food-lab

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  • but I see street vendors who keep a lot of boiled noodles and theirs never stick. Interesting, coating them with oil will not make the sauce stick to them. But won't they stick even more then?
    – 4-K
    Jun 20 at 13:51
  • the vendors probably don't cool them to fridge temperatures, though.
    – ths
    Jun 20 at 15:06
  • Weird. Cause in refrigerator it takes them longer to stick.
    – 4-K
    Jun 21 at 10:41
  • 2
    This sounds like a method for pasta, not noodles [I'm aware that the US seems to use the two terms interchangeably] but this is complete overkill for asian noodles.
    – unlisted
    Jun 21 at 10:43

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