There's no carbohydrate debate quite like whether or not you need to rinse your pasta after you've cooked it. We'd like  to take this opportunity to clear up any confusion.
spaghetti in colander
Credit: Getty Images; Adam Gault

When it comes to cooking pasta, one of the most disputed topics is whether or not you need to rinse your pasta noodles off after they're done cooking. While it goes without saying that you need to drain your pasta from the pasta water (but be sure to save a cup of that starchy water before you do), you actually don’t need to—in fact you shouldn’t—rinse your pasta. What’s so bad about a quick, little rinse, you ask?

Creamy Spring Pasta
| Credit: Staff

Creamy Spring Pasta Staff

For starters, there is no real culinary justification for rinsing your pasta. Running water over your cooked pasta will rinse away the starchy build up that forms around your pasta noodles as they release starch into the boiling water while cooking. By removing this layer of starchy goodness and replacing it with a coating of wet, slippery slickness, it's going to make it difficult, if not dang near impossible, for whatever sauce that you might add to your pasta to cling to the noodles. Instead, your sauce—be it marinara, alfredo, or pesto—will slip sadly to the bottom of your bowl. And that, my friends, is no fun!

While it might seem like the right or instinctual thing to do, fight that urge to rinse your noodles after you’ve cooked them—even if they do seem a little sticky after they've sat in the colander for a minute. You want to keep what's making them stick right where it is; they'll loosen up as soon as you sauce them up, no worries. Moral of the story: Regardless of whether the dish you’re making is going to be served warm or you’re making a cold pasta salad, do not rinse your pasta. Your final dish will be that much more delicious, and you won’t be undoing the flavors and texture that you’ve worked to build during the cooking process.

By Sara Tane and Sara Tane