How to Reheat Carbonara? Best Methods!

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The one Italian dish that I can absolutely never resist is the Alla carbonara. This rich, smooth, creamy, and flavorful dish is my go-to whenever I crave a delicious pasta dish. Let me tell you that I tend to make a lot of it, that’s why I was often faced with the dilemma of either throwing it away or eating it cold the next day.

However, after many trials and errors, I finally figured out How to reheat carbonara in four different ways and I am here to share them with you so that you can enjoy your leftover carbonara exactly like the freshly made one!

The best way to reheat carbonara:

Let’s talk a bit about the infamous carbonara dish before we go into the detailed methods of reheating. The secret of the carbonara lies in its luscious sauce, which is basically made of cured pork, hard cheese, eggs, and pepper.

Bear in your mind that the sauce is usually not made on direct heat, that’s why using a conventional method of reheating on direct high heat for a long time tends to cook the eggs and destroy the smooth texture of the sauce with egg lumps and spaghetti or bucatini pasta stuck together, forming one big lump.

Now, for the reheating of the carbonara to be successful, you need to properly store it in the first place.

The most important thing is avoiding the transfer of carbonara to the fridge straight after cooking it while it is still hot. It needs to cool down to at least room temperature before you attempt to store it in the fridge.

Carbonara can stay in the fridge for up to 4 days. However, I do prefer enjoying it within the first 24 hours of its making.

What we never do, is freeze it. Never attempt to freeze a carbonara, that’s mainly because of the pasta. Which usually tends to clump, lose its fresh texture and separate from the sauce altogether.

Now that we have all the information on the already cooked Alla carbonara, time to learn how to efficiently and successfully warm up any leftover carbonara in four different ways. You can choose any method you prefer:

How to reheat Carbonara sauce and pasta separately in the microwave:

The microwave is generally a more easy way of reheating anything, but that doesn’t mean it takes less time, especially when we are warming up the Carbonara, as we need to follow numerous detailed steps which makes it a bit time-consuming in comparison to the oven method.

In case you have a “reheat” settings in your microwave, then it’s good news, as that means there is a little chance for the pasta carbonara to overcook on such a setting. If not, then we have to stick with “Low” Settings and monitor the pasta carefully.

Steps of reheating the carbonara sauce and pasta separately in the microwave:

  1. Pour your pasta into a microwavable bowl.
  2. Cover the bowl using plastic wrap right after adding a bit of water as a form of moisture to prevent the pasta from drying in the microwave.
  3. Adjust the settings on “Reheat” or “Medium”, and allow the pasta to warm up for a minute.
  4. After a minute, stir the content of the bowl, and transfer it back to the microwave for another minute.
  5. Stir the pasta again after a minute. Repeat the previous steps till the pasta is warm enough.
  6. Drain the pasta from any moisture. Set aside.
  7. Add your sauce to a microwavable bowl, then transfer it to a microwave set on “Low” settings for 30 seconds.
  8. Take it out, stir, then back again for another 30 seconds. Repeat these steps till the sauce reach the right temperature.
  9. Mix both the pasta and sauce together. Serve and enjoy!

Stirring in between the reheating intervals is essential using the microwave to avoid the pasta from sticking together and the sauce from forming lumps and overcooking!

How to reheat pasta Carbonara in the microwave:

It might not be the best method of warming up any leftover Carbonara. However, sometimes, it might be your only option. That’s why I am going to show you all the steps of reheating an already mixed Carbonara using a microwave.

Keep in your mind that too much water will ruin your sauce. So a bit of cream or oil and a “medium” heat setting should be enough.

Steps of reheating the spaghetti carbonara in the microwave:

  1. Pour your pasta into a microwavable bowl.
  2. Transfer the uncovered bowl to the microwave, adjust the settings on “Reheat” or “Medium” and leave the bowl for 1 minute.
  3. Stir the contents of the bowl well. Transfer it back for another 1 minute.
  4. Repeat the previous steps till the pasta is hot enough.
  5. If the pasta is a bit dry, go ahead and add a tablespoon of cream or vegetable oil. Serve and enjoy!

Adding the cream or oil allows the carbonara to be a bit more rich and smooth like the freshly made one, as the microwave tends to dry the pasta.

How to reheat Carbonara sauce and pasta separately on the stove:

Let me start off with what I think is the best method of reheating refrigerated carbonara. That’s because it mimics the original way of cooking the carbonara, which is on the stove.

For this method to be successful you need to initially store the pasta in a separate container from the sauce. Generally speaking, this will tremendously ease the warming up of the carbonara the next day, as the pasta won’t become soggy because of the excess sauce, and there will be no chance for the pasta to separate from the sauce since they are not mixed.

Before we start with the detailed steps of this method, you should take the pasta and sauce out of the fridge prior to reheating them so that they could warm up to room temperature.

Steps of reheating the carbonara sauce and pasta separately on the stove:

  1. Pour the room temperature leftover pasta into a colander.
  2. Put the colander in a large pot that’s added on a high heat flame and filled with boiling water.
  3. Let the pasta warm up for one to three minutes maximum to make sure it is warm enough.
  4. Transfer the pasta once it is properly warmed up to a plate after draining it from all the moisture.
  5. On a low heat flame, start warming up your sauce in a saucepan while continuously stirring it. It should take a few minutes till it is properly warmed.
  6. Mix the sauce with the pasta well. Serve and enjoy!

Since the pasta was previously cooked, it should take a few minutes to warm up. Avoid overcooking it so that it doesn’t lose its texture and turn soggy.

Stir well the sauce while heating it up so that the eggs don’t clump.

How to reheat Carbonara on stove:

In case that you didn’t store the sauce separately from the pasta, or you simply didn’t want to. You can still salvage your leftover pasta carbonara and reheat it on the stove in a slightly different way without using any water, as that will affect the sauce, but rather using some heavy cream or even oil to enhance the richness of the sauce.

Before you start by at least 30 minutes, transfer the carbonara from the fridge to the counter so that it could warm up a bit.

Steps of reheating the spaghetti carbonara on the stove:

  1. Add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a non-stick pan.
  2. Transfer the pan to a medium heat flame and wait for the oil to become hot.
  3. Once the oil is hot enough, add your pasta to the pan. Stir continuously.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream or oil to the pan after heating for five minutes on the flame.
  5. Stir for a few more minutes. Serve and enjoy while it is still hot.

Heavy cream retains the richness of the sauce and prevents it from drying out, but you need to constantly stir it so that the sauce doesn’t burn out.
Adding some freshly chopped parsley, Pecorino romano, or Parmigiano-Reggiano really takes this dish to a whole new level.

Can you reheat carbonara?

Yes, of course, it can. I recommend the oven method, as you will have full control over the duration of reheating and the heat adjusted, because high heat and long duration of time tend to dry and clump your smooth carbonara.

The microwave method is the second best when it comes to reheating Carbonara sauce and pasta separately, only if you made sure to stir in between the heating intervals.

All in all, you will need to follow the detailed steps carefully to ensure the best reheated Alla Carbonara using any of the previously mentioned methods.


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