Here's Why You Should Never Boil Your Pasta In Too Much Water

First, it turned out that mashed potatoes are best boiled in milk. Then came the news that the best way to cook apple pie is in a paper bag. And now, I learn that I’ve been cooking pasta wrong my entire life. What isn’t a lie?!

I learned my lesson via Milk Street’s TikTok. In the video, writer, editor, and founder of America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Country, and Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street, Christopher Kimball, begins the video by saying “You know, everybody’s wrong about how much water to use when cooking pasta.”

“Almost every recipe says a pound [or 453g] of pasta to four quarts [or 3.78L] of water,” the cooking expert begins. But most of the time, he says, you want to halve the amount of water.


Well, it’s simple, really ― “That gives you starchier water,” the pasta pro says.

In the caption of the video, Milk Street describes pasta water as “liquid gold” ― a “little bit of that starchy elixir makes your sauce silky and binds it to the noodles for a glossy, shiny coating,” they say.

Kimball compared a jug of pasta water from the more and less-diluted pasta versions. “You can see [the water from the less-diluted pasta] is darker, which means it has more starch in it” he shared.

“You get a much higher concentration of starch,” Kimball says after pouring sauce onto his pasta and adding the more concentrated pasta water before tossing the combination for a couple of minutes.

“It binds ― starch binds, right? ― and it also gives you a nice, smooth, and creamy consistency,” he shared.

Aside from the taste benefits, there’s the fact that, well, the less water you put in your kettle before boiling it on the stove, the shorter the cook time will be.

And if you’re thinking, “well, I never measured my pasta water in the first place,” we have a lot in common ― and you can still learn from Kimballs’ advice.

Simply use less pasta water ― enough to cover the carbs comfortably, but nothing excessive.

Bon appetit!