Can You Steam Pasta

Cooking, FAQs

Can You Steam Pasta?

Ask 100 people what their comfort meal is, and more than half are likely to say a pasta-based dish. Whether it be spaghetti bolognese or a steaming bowl of ramen, pasta plays a massive part in the modern diet, as it has done for centuries.

Yet as our lives become busier, the hunt for an even easier but healthier time in the kitchen is on. A search that has led many people to ask, can you steam pasta? 

Though Italians would disagree strongly, you can easily steam pasta. There are pasta steamers dedicated to just that. However, you can use a basket steamer if you are okay with your pasta taking longer to cook. 

How Long Do You Steam Pasta?

If you are steaming pasta for the first time, you may be a little unsure as to how long you need to steam the pasta. After all, as flexible as pasta is when it comes to cooking time, too much or too little time in the steamer can ruin the texture of your pasta. 

Most pasta, no matter the shape, will come with a specific length of time to cook it for on their packaging. While this time is specifically meant to guide you on how to cook pasta in boiling water, you can follow the same time guide for steaming pasta.

Of course, the longer and thicker the pasta, the longer it will take to steam, so keep that in mind while you are planning the rest of your meal. 

Only Steam Fresh Pasta

Unfortunately, dried pasta will not steam well. If you’re going to steam pasta then you’ll need to stick to fresh pasta.

What Is A Pasta Steamer? 

A pasta steamer is a perfect solution for cooking a lot of pasta or noodles at one time.

Unlike regular steamers, which sit on top of boiling water, a pasta steamer completely submerges the pasta into the boiling water. The pasta steamer holds the pasta in boiling water with a colander-type bowl that you can place other steamers on top of.

We know, this isn’t really steaming! But it’s still called a pasta ‘steamer’.

This means that you can steam your pasta in the pasta steamer and also steam some vegetables or fish in a traditional steamer at the same time. 

The whole purpose of a vegetable steamer is to stop you from having to pick up a hefty pot of boiling water to drain once your pasta is cooked. All you have to do is lift out the pasta steamer and shake it a few times to remove any excess water from the pasta.

Then you can reuse that water to cook some frozen veggies or root vegetables if you wish. 

Can You Cook Pasta In A Basket Steamer? 

When most people think of a steamer, they do not think of a pasta steamer which is more like a deep-frying basket in its function.

Instead, they think of basket steamers or vegetable steamers. The good news is that you can cook pasta in a basket steamer just as easily as in a pasta steamer.

Basket Steamer

Really, the only downside to using a basket steamer for cooking pasta is that it will take longer for your pasta to be cooked.

Basket steamers sit on top of a boiling pot of water, collecting the steam of the hot water to cook its contents.

Pasta cooks the quickest when it is directly touching water, meaning that it will take longer for the pasta – closer to 20 minutes to cook than the regular 10. 

Like with any pasta cooking method, the time that you steam the pasta will vary depending on the size of the pasta, the thickness of the pasta and the ingredients that the pasta is made from.

As a starting point, refer to the packaging of your chosen pasta and then double the cooking time it suggests on the packaging. 

Can You Cook Pasta In A Vegetable Steamer? 

A vegetable steamer works differently from both a basket steamer and a pasta steamer.

A vegetable steamer is a steaming machine that requires very little water to create a lot of steam. That steam is then distributed through the various layers of the steamer, allowing you to cook multiple tasty foods at once, including pasta. 

Similar to cooking pasta in a steamer basket, steaming pasta in a vegetable steamer will take much longer than boiling the pasta. And even a little longer than using a steamer basket.

This is because of how little water is used in a vegetable steamer which limits the amount of moisture the pasta will be in contact with at one time.

You should instead allow up to 25 minutes for your pasta to be the right texture when using a vegetable steamer. 

What Method Should You Use To Steam Pasta? 

The obvious steaming method to use when cooking pasta would be a pasta steamer. However, a pasta steamer is quite a costly piece of equipment that serves little purpose in the everyday kitchen unless you regularly have big family gatherings.

More so, technically, a pasta steamer doesn’t really steam pasta, more suspends it in boiling water. 

You could use a vegetable steamer to steam your pasta and still get good results. The pasta will take longer to cook, that is true, but because a vegetable steamer requires less water to create its steam, there is less chance of your pasta’s nutrients becoming diluted as the pasta cooks.

For some, this is a big bonus, especially if you are using nutrient-rich pasta. For others, this is a waste of time. 

The all-around best way to steam pasta is in a steaming basket. You will have to wait longer for your pasta to be the desired texture and even longer if you prefer thicker pasta shapes.

But a steaming basket is the quickest way to steam pasta and allows you to use the pan of boiling water it rests upon for other cooking purposes at the same time. 

Steaming Pasta FAQs

Do you still have questions about steaming pasta? Then check these out:

Can You Steam Dry Pasta

No, you can only steam fresh pasta. Dried pasta needs a longer cooking time and more moisture to become rehydrated which would result in a sticky mess were you to opt for steaming it.


Where we obtain our information and verify the facts in this article:


The method for steaming pasta using a steamer and fresh pasta.


How to steam different pasta types.

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