Prevent Pasta Water From Boiling Over

This is something that used to drive me nuts. Inevitably, while cooking pasta, the boiling water would bubble over the sides of the pot and create a big mess. Then, I discovered the trick of adding oil to pasta water.

pasta water and oil

Using Oil to Prevent Pasta Water from Boiling Over

We’ve all been there with bubbling over pasta water. It creates a starchy white film all over the stovetop that is not easy to clean off. This little tip will help prevent pasta water from creating a mess in your kitchen.

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What You’ll Need

  • Canola Oil works wonders, but I’ve also used olive oil.


If you put a few teaspoons of cooking oil in the pasta water, the pot will NOT boil over.


What if pasta water starts to boil over?

If you forget and catch the pot about to boil over, quickly add cooking oil to the boiling pot. It will calm right down.

Will my Sauce still stick the pasta with oil in the water?

I have not noticed oily noodles from adding a small amount to my pasta water, but it is a controversial topic. Some people believe that the sauce will not stick to oily pasta. I guess you’ll have to try it and see for yourself to really know for sure if it is too much oil for you.

Why Does Pasta Water Boil Over?

The foam that forms on top of the pasta water is from the starch released from the pasta. It explodes and climbs up and over your boiling pot of water.

How Does Oil Prevent Pasta Water from Boiling Over?

Oil breaks up the starchy foam that forms at the top of pasta water

Other Ways to Prevent Water from Boiling Over

Use a wooden spoon – Set a wooden spoon over the top of the boiling water. The spoon will cause the bubbles of starch to burst, and it will settle back down.

Use a large pasta pot – The boiling water won’t be able to rise enough to spill over the edges.

Smear Butter – Rub a little butter on the edge of the saucepan before you boil the pasta. As the boiling water creeps up to the edge, the fat from the butter will break up the starchy water and prevent it from boiling over.

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