The easiest way to drain cooked pasta is to pour it straight from the pot into a strainer. This drains off the water, while leaving the pasta behind. Sometimes, though, you won’t have a strainer available, so you will need to find a suitable alternative.
How to drain pasta without a strainer
Draining pasta without a strainer does not have to be difficult if you use one of the utensils you should have in your kitchen. You can tip the pasta straight from the pot, but this can be a little clumsy and there is a danger of scalding. Using a slotted spoon, or spaghetti spoon, or a half colander are the best ways to drain pasta without a strainer.
1. Pasta pot
Of course, the easiest way to cook pasta is using a pasta pot. These are usually tall pots, with an internal strainer. The pasta is poured into the strainer, while the pot itself is filled with water to cover the pasta. Draining the pasta is simply a matter
2. Cover your hands
If you don’t have a pasta pot or a strainer, you can drain the water off the pasta using a utensil. You must always use oven gloves/mitts, to protect your hands and wrists.
3. Directly from the pot
You can drain pasta from the pot without using any utensils. However, this is possibly the most dangerous way, because you may get scalded by the steam. If you have absolutely no other alternative, then you can do it this way. Proceed with caution, though.
Firstly, make sure you cover your hands and wrists with decent oven mitts.
Position the lid of the pot at a very slight angle, so there is a small gap along one side between the lid and the rim of the pot.
Hold the pot handles with both hands, but support the lid near each handle at the same time.
Tip the pot gently over the sink or a bowl, letting the water dribble out through the gap. You will need to do this slowly, or the pasta and the water will all come out together.
This method of draining pasta without a strainer is the least effective, as you may not remove all the water. It is more efficient and safer to use some kind of utensil.
4. Slotted spoon
A basic kitchen utensil that you should have in your kitchen drawer, hanging from a utensil stand on the counter, or one along the wall, is a slotted spoon.
These come in a variety of sizes, which usually affects the bowl: round, or oval. The slots may be simply holes or slots in the shape of lines.
The best spoon to use for pasta is one with a large, round head with large slots in the shape of lines.
Pouring the pasta through the spoon
Obviously, a spoon has a narrower diameter than a strainer, which means that you will have to take special care when you strain the pasta. It may be better to get someone to help you when you do this.
You can hold the spoon carefully next to the pot, over a dish or bowl, and pour as much of the water out through the spoon as you can without too much pasta falling out of the pot.
Then, gently tip the pot so that some pasta spills onto the spoon.
Tip the pot back again and empty the spoon into a dish. Repeat this until there is only a little pasta left in the pot. Carefully pour all of this into the spoon, so that the last of the water in the pot also drains through the spoon.
Ladling the pasta out of the pot
An alternative way to use the slotted spoon is simply to ladle the pasta out of the pot a bit at a time, allow the water to drain off, and then put that pasta into a dish.
You will need to repeat this until the pasta is finished, making sure that all the water drains through the spoon before putting the pasta into the dish.
5. Pasta spoon
Long, stringy pasta like spaghetti or tagliatelle is likely to ‘squirm’ its way out of a slotted spoon, so it will be more efficient to use a spaghetti spoon. This is really a ladle that has slots at the bottom and what looks like dull spikes up the sides.
You dip the spaghetti spoon into the pasta, hook some pasta and then simply lift it. The long pasta will hang over the spoon. Wait until the water has drained into the pot and then remove the pasta and put it into a dish.
Don’t try to pour the pasta through the spoon, as this will make a mess and the pasta is most likely to fall – either back into the pot, or possibly onto the counter.
At the best, it may fall into the basin over which you are draining the water, which will simply make it wet again.
6. Half colander
The best tool to use when you are working out how to drain pasta without a strainer is a half colander.
This doubles as an addition to the saucepan/pot and allows you to tip the pasta out of the pot so that the water runs off. It also catches the pasta, so that it does not end up in the water again.
Rest the base of the pot on a board above the sink. Place a large bowl in the sink. Hold the half colander against the side of the pot. Pour the pasta gently out of the pot onto the half colander.
When it is full of pasta, gently lift the pasta away from the pot and put it into the serving dish.
Repeat this process until the pasta has all been drained.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Drain Pasta Without A Strainer
Can I use a ladle to strain pasta?
If you are going to use a ladle to strain pasta, make sure it is slotted, because a normal ladle will retain water and your pasta will not be drained correctly.
Conclusion On How to Drain Pasta Without a Strainer
Draining pasta without a strainer may sound almost impossible, but it does not have to be so. To drain pasta without a strainer:
- Use a pasta pot
- Cover your hands
- Directly from the pot
- Use a slotted spoon
- Take a pasta spoon
- Make use of a half colander