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Every Way to Reheat Pasta Sauce

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Pasta for dinner tonight? Sounds delicious, but we all know it tastes best when the sauce is just the right temperature. Don’t worry – we’re here to take you through the easiest ways to reheat pasta sauce.

What are all the ways to reheat pasta sauce? There are several, and we want to help you pick the one that works best for you. You could reheat pasta sauce on a stovetop or in a microwave. It’s also possible to reheat pasta that already has sauce on it. 

Knowing the basic methods doesn’t guarantee the best possible taste. There are ways to reheat pasta and pasta sauce that make it taste just as good as it did when it was freshly cooked.

We’ve tested several different methods, and we want to share them with you – because everyone deserves some delicious pasta.

Easy Steps to Reheat Your Pasta Sauce

First of all, if you don’t already have one, you need a quality saucepan. I’ve used dozens, and none compare to this simple one you can get on Amazon.

Heating up pasta sauce may sound simple enough. Just throw it in a pan or a pot, turn up the heat, wait a bit and it’s done, right? If only it were that simple. Of course, if you do that you will end up with some form of heated pasta sauce – but will it taste great?

The answer is usually not, and the reason is that in order to properly heat up marinara sauce, you need to do more than the bare minimum. Why? Because otherwise, you’ll find yourself with a sauce that is warm in some places and cold in others – and thus, a less than tasty meal.

It could be even worse than that. If you’re not careful, you may burn the sauce and end up spoiling the taste of the entire portion even if just a little bit has been burnt. No one likes burnt sauce, even if you’ve had to eat it on more than one occasion due to a reheating mishap.

Leftovers are a fantastic helper when it comes to busy weeknights. Not many people are blessed with the time to cook a full dinner every night from scratch, which is why cooking once and heating up the next day is so great. However, you don’t have to compromise the quality of your pasta sauce just because it’s not made fresh.

This article was written to help you, fellow pasta lover, enjoy your pasta in any shape or form. We’ve got the key to your delicious leftovers. Here’s what you have to do.

If you’re heating up only the sauce, you can do this by: 

  • placing the sauce in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, then putting it on the stove over low-medium heat,
  • transferring it into a bowl and placing it in the microwave.

There are ways to heat up pasta that’s already been mixed with sauce. Choose your favorite:

  • transfer the pasta to a baking dish, cover it with foil, and bake it in the oven,
  • place it in a saucepan over medium-low heat,
  • cover it up (don’t use foil!) and heat it in the microwave.

There’s a lot more to cover than just basic instructions though, and for the best possible taste, we encourage you to read our step-by-step guide on reheating pasta sauce.

Step-by-Step Guide

We know what you must be thinking: right, microwave my pasta sauce, but for how long? Do I just throw the sauce in and do nothing else? We’ve got you covered.

For some general tips: Pasta sauce has a tendency to thicken when you reheat it. You will be able to notice this happening if you’re heating up on the oven, or in the microwave when you periodically check on your sauce. The sauce will shrink in size and absorb liquids.

This is normal, but you probably don’t want it to happen. Fortunately, this is also easily prevented by mixing in a little water, skim milk or chicken broth as you heat it up. Don’t forget this step, or you will end up with a really thick sauce that will dry your mouth out.

Another recommendation from us is that if you’re still in the pre-leftover stage, try not to mix your pasta with the sauce when you store it. If you store them separately, you will have an easier time heating them up and as a result, will achieve maximum taste.

If you do mix your pasta with sauce, don’t worry. You don’t always predict leftovers to happen when you cook and that’s completely alright. Pasta with sauce, such as spaghetti bolognese, can be easily heated up to please the tastebuds of even the most demanding foodie.

Let’s get in-depth here now. You’re just a few steps away from a mouth-watering dinner.

1. How to Reheat Pasta Sauce in the Microwave

Microwaves are our great friends when it comes to leftovers. They will do a decent job heating up the sauce. This method will also work if you’ve combined pasta with your sauce the night before and now have a mix to heat up.

pasta sauce in the microwave
  1. Pack your sauce in a microwavable container. You could use a quart container or a mason jar, but glass containers work fine too.
  2. Add a bit of water to the container – we recommend 2 tablespoons. Stir lightly.
  3. Place the lid on top of your container (make sure it is microwave-safe). It should be a little bit askew – don’t seal it tightly.
  4. Set your microwave to a high setting and start with your first 90-second interval.
  5. After the interval passes, stir the sauce thoroughly. This will help you warm the dish evenly.
  6. Put the dish back in the microwave and start your next 90-second interval.
  7. Take out the container, stir again. If you’re content with the warmth of the sauce, you can start eating it now.
  8. Bon Appetit!

2. How to Reheat Pasta Sauce on the Stovetop

While more time-consuming, this method allows for the true taste of marinara to emerge. If you have a little more time on your hands, why not give this one a try?

reheat pasta sauce
  1. Place the pasta sauce in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Add a little water, skim milk or broth and stir.
  3. Start it on medium heat and let it come to a boil. 
  4. Stir occasionally and add a bit more water if you notice it getting too thick.
  5. Once it’s boiling, reduce to heat to a low simmer. 
  6. The sauce should start bubbling gently. At this point, let it simmer for another 10 minutes while stirring now and then.
  7. When the amount of sauce has reduced a little, you can turn off the heat and add it to your pasta.
  8. Took some time, but it tastes delicious! You can add a few extra spices or cheese to your sauce to make it even better.

3. How to Reheat Pasta Sauce in an Oven

Admittedly, this one will usually involve heating up both the pasta and the sauce, but if you’re hard-pressed, you can do this just for the sauce alone.

  1. Place the sauce (and pasta) in an ovenproof dish or container. 
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Add one or two tablespoons of water to the sauce and stir.
  4. For extra flavor, add some parmesan to your sauce.
  5. Using aluminum foil, cover the dish very tightly.
  6. Heat for 10-15 minutes or more depending on your oven.

Whichever method you’re using, take your time. Of course, you can heat up pasta sauce in one minute using the microwave, but the question is – should you?

The answer is not really, not if you want the full pasta experience. Leftovers don’t have to taste like an echo of yesterday’s greatness – when done well, they can be just as good as the first meal.

Related Questions

Do you have a few more pressing questions lingering in your mind? No problem, we’re here to answer them!

How to Reheat Pasta Mixed With Sauce?

We recommend storing the two separately, but mixed leftovers can – and do – happen. To reheat both pasta and sauce at the same time, we recommend using the oven. Preheat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sprinkle some parmesan on top of your pasta dish to enhance the flavor. Then cover it tightly with aluminum foil and heat it for up to 20 minutes. You should periodically check on the dish – if you do, stir it up a bit and add parmesan again.

How to Reheat Pasta Alone?

If you have leftover pasta, you don’t have to throw it out. Pour some water in a pot and bring it to boiling temperature. When it’s boiling, remove it from the heat and drop in the leftover pasta. Leave it to stand for up to 3 minutes. Drain as usual and serve.

How to Reheat a Jar of Pasta Sauce?

Any of the above methods will work with a jar of pasta sauce. We recommend removing the sauce from the jar, placing it in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and adding a bit of broth or skim milk.

Add cheese and spices for extra taste. Stir it while heating it on the oven. You can also microwave it in a microwave-safe dish. Start with 90-second intervals and microwave until you’re content with it.

Up Next: Pizza Vs Marinara Sauce – What’s The Difference?

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