How to cook pasta in the microwave

Discover a pasta hack to free up hob space or save on energy by learning how to make pasta in the microwave with our comprehensive how-to guide

Super easy to use and the quiet workhorse of most busy households, a microwave is a kitchen essential. Plus, with energy prices soaring, microwaving can be one of the cheapest ways of cooking. With their strong energy-efficient credentials, microwaves can be quicker to use than heating up an oven and cheaper than turning on the ho, meaning your dinner can be on the table in mere minutes.

It’s possible you’re under-utilising your microwave – it’s a surprisingly versatile appliance that can successfully cook a wide range of dishes, from microwave mug cakes to entire microwave dishes like risotto and macaroni cheese. It can also be used for everyday kitchen tasks, including cooking an absolute midweek staple – pasta.

Read on to discover how to make pasta in the microwave instead of the traditional hob method.

Why cook pasta in the microwave?

While we are all familiar with the simple method of cooking pasta on the hob, using your microwave instead is a great hack if you are keen to lower your energy usage or are low on hob space. It can also save you time – while pasta takes around the same amount of time to cook in the microwave as it does on the hob, you don’t have to wait for the water to boil in the pan.

Penne pasta with chorizo and rocket served in two bowls How to cook pasta in the microwave

What pasta types can I cook in the microwave?

Short pasta types are best suited to microwave cooking. Shapes such as macaroni, fusilli and penne work well. Longer pasta types can be cooked, but you will need a deep, wide microwave-safe dish to ensure that the pasta is completely submerged in water.

How to cook pasta in the microwave

You will need:

  • A microwave-safe large bowl
  • A microwave (we used a 900W microwave)
  • A wooden spoon

Microwave pasta

SERVES 1 PREP 2 mins COOK 10 mins EASY

75g pasta (we recommend penne)
sauce of your choice, to serve

1 Tip the pasta into a microwave-safe bowl and season well with salt. Make sure the bowl is large, as the pasta will expand and bubble up as it cooks. Pour around 400ml boiling water over the top – you want to ensure the pasta is completely covered.

2 Microwave on high for 4-5 mins, then give it a good stir so it doesn’t stick. Return to the microwave and heat on high for 2 mins intervals, stirring it each time. It should take around 9-10 mins for al dente pasta. Drain well and toss with your favourite sauce to serve.

Can be doubled – double both the pasta and water quantity and use a larger dish. Cooking times may vary.

How long does it take to cook pasta in the microwave?

We used a 900W microwave to test, so lower wattage microwaves may vary, but it takes around 9-10 mins to cook pasta. It is best to cook it on high for 5 mins, then continue to cook and check every minute to ensure it doesn’t stick or overcook. You can use water straight from the tap rather than boiled, but it will take around 11-12 mins to cook for al dente pasta.

Penne pasta served in a bowl with greens and creamy sauce How to cook pasta in the microwave

How to serve pasta cooked in the microwave

Best served with any of your favourite pasta sauce recipes. Toss through some pesto, or heat up your favourite bolognese recipe and stir to combine.