One of the most popular advices about cooking, is about pastas (specifically spaghetti), which tell us to throw the spaghetti to the wall and if it sticks, it's ready. Now, why if people are trying to make their pasta less "sticky", does this advice tells us that it has to stick to the wall? Why a pasta that is ready has to stick to the wall?


2 Answers 2


I suppose I'll port my answer over from comments:

The short answer is that the starches contained in pasta are sticky when the granules inflate with water.

The better answer is that this is bad advice, especially for your walls. Just taste, you don't need to be showy. Joe's link to this related question is spot-on.

  • Sorry, but this answer contains some incorrect facts. Gluten is not a starch, it is a mesh structure consisting of two proteins, glutenin and gliadin. They are sticky before they have formed gluten, but stop sticking much after they form it. They also stop being sticky once they are changed by baking (or cooking) temperature. The starch inflates with water separately from the gluten-components.
    – rumtscho
    Aug 19, 2014 at 14:16
  • @rumtscho so, why is that pasta that sticks to the wall is considered cooked? (which is the answer I'm looking for)
    – Braiam
    Aug 19, 2014 at 14:29
  • 1
    @Braiam : the problem is that for many types of pasta, if it's sticking to the wall it's actually overcooked. How sticky the pasta is isn't necessarily related to how cooked it is ... although I suspect that it also needs to be soft enough to absorb the impact rather than bouncing off. But it won't work for 'gluten free' pastas or penne and other non-strand pastas, and isn't necessarily a good test for strand pasta.
    – Joe
    Aug 19, 2014 at 15:01
  • @logophobe downvote removed, thank you for editing
    – rumtscho
    Aug 19, 2014 at 15:18

You want to make pasta less sticky if you are not ready to use it when it is cooked. Otherwise, mix in the sauce and enjoy straight away.

Also forget about all the tricks. No oil or throwing. You just need salt and water.

To cook pasta correctly, follow the instructions on the box. They will give you a time they recommend. If you are going to eat it straight away, go ahead an follow this. I have had good results by simply setting a timer. You may still need to attend to it, to give it a stir and make sure it does not stick together in the pot.

If you prefer it to have more "bite", set the timer for a shorter length of time to that you can have a taste. Keep the timer running so that you can record this time down. In the future, just set your timer to your recorded time.

  • The timing on the box can be off. I just try it and see :) Aug 20, 2014 at 1:10

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