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Apr 23, 2007 01:37 PM

Boiling pasta - oil or no oil

Hi hounds!

Adding oil while boiling pasta prevents them from clumping. It also helps previnting boil over. But oil prevent from pasta to absorb sauce. Houders, what is your preference and why?

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  1. Salt only. No water for the reason you mentioned. I want the pasta to absorb some sauce and not have it slide off. I guess you could put just a drop of oil that would reduce boil overs and foaming

    1. You may want to read this post from further down the page:

      1 Reply
        1. re: swsidejim

          I use salt and oil just Emril. if he can do it so can I, I will never bne as good as he but
          I can try.

          1. re: bigjimbray

            emeril does strange things that other chefs don't adding oil to his pasta water. just add kosher salt, no oil. you need to use plenty of water, a large pot and stir every now and then

        2. IMO, adding oil does nothing other than waste oil. I salt the water and never have a problem with clumping. Your pot may be too small or you're not using enough water.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Den

            Salt only. It should taste like the sea. Add it after the water has come to a boil.

          2. I agree with the above. Salt only, added after the water is boiling. Be sure to use a large pot, and lots of water. Your pasta won't clump at all.

            6 Replies
            1. re: xtal

              That makes three-only salt and lots of it. Stir within a minute and it won't clump. A tip for finishing: Reserve some of the cooking water, add pasta to sauce and heat together for a few minutes to allow pasta to absorb sauce. Add as much pasta cooking water as needed (usually very little) once pasta if off heat to give pasta gloss and separation. I could eat it everyday!

              1. re: xtal

                Another voice for salt only - but what conceivable difference does it make whether you add the salt before or after the water starts to boil? Granted, salt water has a higher boiling point (by a degree or two), but as long as the salt is in there and the water is boiling before you add the pasta, the end result is exactly the same either way.

                1. re: BobB

                  You're absolutely right; I think the "add salt at the end" comes from the fact that if you add it to the cold water it sits at the bottom of the pan and can in some cases, damage the pot. That's all.

                  1. re: BobB

                    Salt actually raises the boiling point of the water by 4°F, causing it to take a little longer to come to a boil.

                    1. re: VeganKatie

                      Yes, but the question was whether it matters whether you add it at the beginning or when it's already boiling. In either case it will boil at a higher temperature. If you add it at the end, the boil will subside until the temperature comes up again. The only reason not to add it at the beginning is to not have salt sitting at the bottom of the pot (possibly) damaging the surface. Adding it at the end is not a "short cut" to a quicker boil.

                      Also the number of degrees (one, a couple, or 4) depends entirely on the concentration of salt.