Last updated on January 12th, 2024 at 09:00 am

How to make pasta ahead of time (and keep it fresh)

cooked pasta ahead of time
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Pasta is a staple in many homes for main courses, side dishes, and pasta salad, and fresh pasta is the best. Making pasta can be a struggle for families who work. When you get home, the last thing you want to worry about is making fresh pasta. Fortunately, there is a way around this.

You can cook pasta ahead of time and keep it fresh until you are ready to use it. If you prepare and reheat the pasta properly, it will taste as though you made it that day. 

Can Pasta Be Cooked In Advance?

Although fresh pasta tastes best when it is eaten the same day it is prepared, you can cook it in advance. As long as you store it correctly, the pasta will still taste great when you are ready to serve your meal.

How Do I Cook Pasta Ahead Of Time and Keep It Warm?

If you are having guests over family dinner, you can cook the homemade pasta ahead of time and keep it warm until it is time to eat. This will give you a chance to entertain and spend time with your guests before dinner, and your meal will be warm when it is time to serve.

The best way to keep your pasta warm is in the oven. This method can cause the pasta to dry out and stick; therefore, you should put the sauce on the pasta before putting it in the oven. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it in the oven at 220 F (100 C).

How Do You Make Pasta the Night Before?

If you want to make your pasta the night before, it is essential to know how to keep it fresh for the next day. It is recommended that you serve the pasta within 18 hours after preparing it.

When the pasta is prepared, boil it in water for about a minute like you normally would. Next, add two tablespoons of olive oil per pound of pasta you prepared, and toss it to coat the pasta. This will prevent it from drying out until you are ready to eat. Next, spread the pasta on a sheet pan and allow it to cool. 

When it has cooled down, store the pasta in a ziplock bag or an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. When it is time to serve the pasta, you simply need to reheat it and serve. It should taste just as great as if you had prepared the pasta the day you planned to serve it.

How Do You Keep Pasta Warm Before Serving?

There are a few ways to keep pasta warm before serving; however, the method you choose would depend on what you have available in your kitchen. The most effective methods include:

  • Keep the pasta in the oven: You can store your pasta in the oven to keep it warm until you are ready to serve. Put the pasta in a casserole dish and cover it tightly with aluminum foil. If you don’t, the pasta will dry out. Set the oven to 220 degrees, and leave it in the oven until you are ready to serve.
  • Warming drawer: If your oven has a warming drawer, put the pasta in a pan, cover it tightly with aluminum foil, and place it in the warming drawer at the highest setting, which is often 200 degrees.
  • Warming burner: If you have a cooktop stove and it has a warming burner, it can keep your pasta warm. Put the pasta in a large pan, and toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil to keep it from drying out. Cover the pan, and leave the pasta on the burner until you are ready to serve.
  • Crockpot: You can use your crockpot to keep your pasta warm. Drizzle the inside of the crockpot to prevent the pasta from sticking, and add the pasta. Set the crockpot to warm until you are ready to serve.

How To Reheat Pasta?

If you didn’t use all of the pasta on the day of the meal, it is essential that you heat it properly. If you don’t, you will be stuck with dry pasta, and adding sauce likely won’t help.

  • Reheating on the stove: Place the pasta in a metal strainer and boil a pot of water. Submerge the strainer in the pot of water and leave it there for about 30 seconds. If the pasta isn’t hot enough, leaving the metal strainer in the water for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Reheating in the microwave: Before heating the pasta, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the bowl. The steam from the water will revive the pasta, keeping it from drying out. Microwave the pasta for 30 minutes at a time until it is fully heated.

Can you make pasta dough ahead of time?

fresh pasta dough

The answer to this question is yes; however, it is essential it is prepared properly, and you store it properly. Start by forming the dough in a ball shape. If the dough is too dry to form a ball, add a teaspoon of water to moisten. If the dough is very sticky, add a teaspoon of flour. Next, wrap the ball tightly in cling wrap and place it in the refrigerator. The dough can be used up to two days after it has been wrapped and stored.

How Do You Keep Fresh Pasta Dough From Drying Out?

If you plan to prepare the pasta dough before serving, you must take the necessary steps to keep it from drying out.

When making the pasta dough, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil to add moisture to the dough. When the dough is prepared, let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will give the water time to be absorbed by the flour and allow the gluten strands to relax, making the dough moist and eary to roll later.

After allowing the dough to rest for 30 minutes, shape it into a ball. If you made a lot of dough, separate it into two balls. If the dough is dry when you roll it in a ball, add a teaspoon of water. If one teaspoon doesn’t work, add more until the dough is moist. Don’t add too much water because the dough will get sticky, and you will need to add flour to fix the problem.

When storing the dough, it needs to be covered completely to prevent it from drying out in the refrigerator. It is best to cover the dough in cling wrap completely, ensuring none of the dough is exposed to air. To be on the safe side, wrap the dough in two layers of cling wrap.

If the dough seems a bit dry when you are ready to roll it out, you can add another teaspoon of water and knead the dough.


You can prepare a wonderful spaghetti dinner ahead of time as long as you properly prepare and store the dough. In addition, if you plan to prepare the pasta and eat it later, it is essential that you use proper methods to keep it heated to prevent it from drying out. Finally, if you reheat your leftover pasta properly, your family will never know that you didn’t make it an hour ago.


I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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