More of a survival question than anything.

I have a bag of dried pasta, a plastic container, a can of tomato sauce, and some salt, and I find myself out in the wilderness with no heat to speak of.

Is there some way I can get that pasta decently edible by just leaving it in the plastic container with either salt water, or the tomato sauce, or a combination of both for an extended period of time?


  • I think it will re-hydrate by just soaking in water. Put some in water, testing for tenderness every few hours, and find the optimum time for the thickness of the pasta you are working with. Also try rice. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 14:57
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    Open the can and pour the sauce into the plastic container. Start a fire and use the can to heat water and cook the pasta, if necessary in small batches which you add to the sauce as they become cooked. Save the can in case you wish to repeat. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 16:10
  • I think without cooking, even if you soak them, you may have trouble digesting uncooked pasta. Thinner may work though, I don't see penne ever getting soft enough but angel hair and thin spagetti will soften much more. Wouldn't be my choice for a survival food though.
    – GdD
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 17:37
  • I tried it; put it in a plastic container with some water; left it for 8 hours. When I tried it; it was as said; slightly mushy, and very starchy. I threw it out. It might be decent if it is just slightly moist sitting in tomato sauce, but not fully moistened.
    – Anon
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 11:19
  • Hey, what's up with this? Has anyone repeated the experiment since then?
    – Mike Nakis
    Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


Pasta (by which I infer you mean dried, Italian-style semolina pasta) is edible raw, right out of the package. It is not, however, palatable.

If you soak it in water, it will hydrate and soften over time, but that is not the same as cooking it.

True cooking also cooks the proteins and takes away that raw starchy taste. There is no way to achieve that without the application of some heat above about 180 F for at least a few minutes.

See also:

Preparing spaghetti without boiling water

Note that in one of the answers to that question, Rumtscho points out that supermarket ramen noodles are precooked (they are generally par-fried, sometimes par-baked) and are much more palatable eaten straight from the package, or simply soaked.

  • "Raw" pasta is very popular with children, whom think it's highly "palatable"
    – TFD
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:00
  • Hey, since you appear to still be active on this site 8 years later: I was wondering why do the proteins need to be cooked? What is the benefit?
    – Mike Nakis
    Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 16:23

Kraft macaroni and cheese is made perfectly palatable just by letting the macaroni soak in hot tap water for 15 minutes or so (keep stirring it)

Overhydrating until its mush is not a problem because if you are making mac & cheese this way, chances are you're pretty hungry and you will be checking it for correct tendeness.

It does taste noticeably starchy, but with a little extra salt it not bad (especially if you are hungry!)

I dont know if cold water would work, but I expect it would.

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