Is Rinsing Pasta Always a Bad Idea?

If you enjoy cooking, you have probably read many recipes that told you specifically to not rinse your pasta. The reason why these recipes give you such strict instructions is that the starch on your noodles allows the sauce to cling to the pasta. Without this starchy film, this would be a lot more difficult to achieve. However, does that mean you really should never, ever, rinse your pasta?


When To Rinse Your Pasta

Uncooked fusilli pasta

Getty Images / Moment / Yevgen Romanenko

If the dish you are making will be served chilled or at room temperature, you should definitely rinse your noodles. Rice noodles and pasta salad, for example, will always benefit from a rinse to remove the surface starch.

Rinsing could be important for three reasons: first, it will immediately stop the cooking process; second, the water will bring the pasta temperature down so you can serve it cold; and third, rinsing your noodles will keep them from getting clumpy.


When To Skip Rinsing It

Farfalle pasta

Getty Images / DigitalVision / Riou

On the other hand, rinsing isn’t always a smart idea.┬áThe rule is simple: if you want your sauce to stick to your pasta, don’t rinse it. Pesto, cream, or tomato sauce will cling easily to your dish if there’s starch on it, so you should not even consider removing it.