How to Boil Noodles

If there's one cooking technique you should master, it's definitely learning how to boil noodles.

Noodles are as versatile as rice and bread, and usually serve as a vehicle for a tasty dish. Here is a step by step guide on how to boil noodles, as well as tips on how you can achieve that firm and non-soggy consistency.

How to Boil Noodles 101

Before we start, it's worth noting that noodles come in different thickness and types. For example, there are instant noodles that usually come in small packets, and there are glass noodles, which are round, thin and nearly transparent.

That said, the first step in cooking noodles in water is to know how many minutes you should give them in the pot to get the desired consistency and firmness. Most noodle packages come with instructions on how you can cook them to perfection, so as long as you follow them you should be fine.

Step 1. Prepare the Pot and Fill It with Water

Get an adequately sized pot for the amount of noodles you're making. A single packet of instant noodles will usually require anywhere between 4-6 cups of water and a medium pot, while a spaghetti packet will usually require a large pot and around 4 to 6 liters of water.

As a side note, aim to cook all the noodles you need in one go. This way your first batch of noodles won't dry up or become mushy as you cook the rest.

Step 2. Bring the Pot to a Boil

Place the pot with water onto the stove and turn it to medium heat. What you'll want is to achieve a rolling boil state so the noodles will be cooked consistently. You can start with a high flame to shorten the time it takes the water to boil, but then you'll have to lower the heat once the noodles are in.

For unflavored noodles, you should add half a teaspoon of salt and half a tablespoon of cooking oil to the water. Sit back and wait until the water starts to boil before introducing the dried noodles.

Step 3. Add the Noodles and Stir

Now is the time to add your packet of noodles. You can break it up into two or three pieces if it's a giant slab and doesn't fit in the pot, or leave it as is if it's small enough that it can easily fit.

Simply putting in the noodles and watching it cook isn't enough. It's recommended that you use a fork or similar utensil to loosen the strands and allow the water to get in-between them. Stir every now and then from the moment you put the noodles in until the cooking time is complete. This may take anywhere between 3 to 8 minutes (depending on the type of noodle you're making).

Once the time is up, you will need to separate the cooked noodles from the water.

Step 4. Drain the Noodles

Turn the stove off and prepare a colander or a similar item to drain the water from the noodles. Slowly drain the contents of the pot and set it aside once the contents have been completely transferred.

You can pour a cup or two of cold water to keep the noodles from becoming overly sticky, and a teaspoon of oil to prevent them sticking together. After this, you'll have cooked your first batch of noodles successfully.

Tips to Boil Noodles Perfectly

All the noodles should be submerged. The amount of water should be enough to cover all the noodles you'll be cooking. In the event that you find the noodles sticking out the water, you can add a cup or two more.

Remember to save the packet and read the instructions printed on it. Follow the time needed to boil the noodles. If it helps, set a timer on your stove or phone so you can keep track of how minutes have passed once the water comes to a boil.

Generally speaking, a slightly undercooked noodle is better than an overly soggy one. Pay close attention to your noodles once they are in the pot and constantly stir with a fork for the best results.