Cooking Pasta

Can you cook pasta in a thermos? You sure can! Forget standing over the pot to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick together and the pot doesn’t boil over? Those days are over with thermos cooking. Our instructions will make more sense after you quickly read through our thermos cooking basics.

Basic Recipe

Ratio: 2-3 servings of pasta to enough water to fill your thermos
a pinch
Cooking Time: 10 minutes (approx.)


  1. Boil enough water to fill up your thermos. I like to use an electric kettle, but use the stove or whatever else you have.
  2. While it’s heating, get your ingredients ready.
  3. Fill up your thermos with boiling water, close the lid, and set aside.
  4. Boil 3-4 cups of water to cook the pasta.
  5. Measure out your pasta.
  6. When your measured liquid is about ready to boil, pour out the water from the thermos.
  7. Dump the pasta into the thermos.
  8. Pour  the boiling water into the thermos until it is an inch or so from the top, add a pinch of salt, close it up, give in a few shakes, and lay it down on the counter.

Timing depends on what kind of pasta you are cooking. The pasta needs the same amount of time to cook in the thermos as it does on the stove. The nice thing about doing it in the thermos though, is that you don’t have to watch it or stir it. Just set the timer and continue with dinner prep or go relax for a few minutes.

You can cook any kind of pasta in the thermos. You can cook larger quantities of smaller pastas and you may have to break long pasta in half to fit in the thermos. Cooking pasta in the thermos saves energy and gives you a bit of a break – how great is that?!

23 thoughts on “Cooking Pasta”

  1. “Who doesn’t like pasta?”

    Well I am not over keen on it, for a start, although I use it very occasionally.

  2. Nice work with the recipes. I’m new to bicycle touring and have just started looking for thermos recipes (hot tip from a fellow cyclist). I’ll be heading out next week on a little adventure up the CA coast and don’t want to have to rely on greasy cafes and limited vegetarian options along the way. Looking forward to seeing more great ideas here!

  3. How long can you leave it in the hot water for? any ideas for school lunches? would the pasta stay warm for 4 hours? what sauce recipes are easy and can just be thrown in a thermos and left for a few hours?

  4. I don’t get how this saves energy.
    1) You want me to boil water put it in the thermos.
    2) Boil more water.
    3) Discard water from thermos.
    4) Replace with new water
    5) add pasta and wait

    It takes me about 10 minutes to boil water. Your method requires boiling two pots of water which is 20 minutes of cooking time (20 minutes of time the GAS on my stove is on).

    If I cook pasta in a normal pot it takes 10 minutes to boil the water and about 10 minutes to cook the pasta.

    Either method require 20 minutes of time the GAS is on and your method takes an 10 minutes of time at the end.

    How does this save energy?

  5. Todd – He suggests using an electric kettle, this will only take a few minutes to boil as opposed to using a gas hob. Now if you want to get really energy efficient boil the water in a microwave (remember no metal) depending on the power of your microwave this may take as little as a minute!

  6. Hi! This site is awesome! Tonight i am trying out the pasta.

    Here is a thought:
    Instant polenta in a thermos bottle.
    Should work well, no?

  7. Todd, I agree with Cameron – never even contemplate boiling just water in a pot – whether it’s an electric or gas cooktop.
    It is extremely inefficient and I hope you don’t continue to do that.

    Just stumbled on this site and although I do my fair share of cooking, using a thermos has never occurred to me!
    I’m part of a cooking school in Melbourne so this little idea might end up in some of our cooking classes!

  8. Can one cook meat in a thermos?

    Specifically, I would be interested in the thermos being a slow cooker for hiking/backpacking. I have a jetboil. I would like to jetboil water, mix some ingredients in the thermos and place into it in the morning. As I hike to the next spot, let the food cook in the thermos in my pack.

    Can you please test some different meats and see if this is possible?

  9. Hi There,
    Great information and it is excellent to see people that understand the energy saving that can be had using Thermal Cooking.
    Did you also realise that slow cooking in a vacuum insulated container is also the most nutritious way to prepare foods.
    As each ingredient actually cooks at specific temperatures and when it temperature falls below that cooking level it will slow right down and basically stop cooking.
    This is why you can cook a casserole with meat and veggies for up to 10 hours and the meat will be falling apart yet the veggies will retain their shape, colour and texture.

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  11. I read about Thermos cooking in Barbara Salsbury book – preparedness Principles yesterday.

    Then i stumbled over your website today.
    Today i went over the hill…

    Cooked :
    – Knorr bolognese at 20 min.
    – Whole wheat at 8 hours.
    – 4 eggs at 30 min.
    – 200 gr of wholegrain spaghetti at 20 min…
    And i even drank the unsalted boilingwater afterwards… !!!.

    Talk about beeing fuel and water efficient… 😀 !.

  12. I cook meat and veggies. you can use any meat. I use potatoes, carrots and onions. If I do NOT want mixed veggies I put the veg. I want seperate (like peas) into coffee filter and use a twist tie. Boil right in the pot just like everything else. Filter bagged vegs are the LAST item I put in thermos (on top).
    The night before, dice up all in 1 inch square chunks. Place in pot with water (I use 2 cups) and place in fridge. Next morning, take pot out and put on to boil. I set timer for 8 minutes. I have very hot tap water so I fill themos with that to “prime” the thermos. A water kettle is great too, boils very quickly. I go wash face and brush teeth. The timer goes off. Using flat strainer (or fork) I pour liquid into tha bowl to seperate. Empty primer water from thermos and funnel the rest into the thermos. Whisk some powdered gravy mix into the liquid and pour into thermos. You may have to whisk gravy mix into a bit of cold water first then add to hot water so it doesn’t clump.
    It’s LESS WORK than it sounds, versitile with other meats and veggies and delicious.

  13. Is there any way you can make recommendations for the amount of dry pasta you are using? I know, based on size of thermos. You couls day x amount pasta for an x size thermos. I read somewhere the biggest problem with pasta in a thermos is getting the amounts right. Due to pasta swelling. Love all the information here. Thank you

  14. Teresa, the pasta will expand to twice it’s size when it cooks. Figure if you have a 10 oz container then put in no more than 5 oz of pasta and 5 oz of water. Most if not all of the water will be absorbed. If you’re adding sauce to the raw noodles factor a portion of the sauce into the total water you will need to add. If you have a very thin tomato sauce it can replace up to all of the water. If you have a very thick tomato sauce or cream sauce reduce the water by 1/4 – 1/2.

  15. Can i put dry pasta in my SAUCE (A mix veg Soup) and leave it till LUNCH? Would it still cook on a Sauce? My kids take this to school every day but the cooked pasta carried on cooking and absorbs much of the sauce, leaving it sticky and dry

  16. I haven’t tried this but I think it would depend on the temperature of the sauce. If the sauce is hot enough it should be able to get dry pasta cooked through by lunch time. Maybe experiment on the weekend to see if you can start with dry pasta or if it needs to be partially cooked to not have a dry and sticky lunch.

  17. How about just pouring the pasta into the water that was used to preheat the flaskWould that work as well?

  18. A website said you could cook stew or anything with one additional step which is to cook it on the stove until the stage you would reduce heat to simmer. This causes the ingredients to get the right amount of a running start. Double the time you would usually have simmered it on the stove to get the minimum time that the meal will probably be ready. After that it stays till you need it. But steam should be coming out of the thermos when you go to eat it to be sure it is safe. I leave the making sure it is safe up to you. I only wanted to pass on what I just read.
    But there is a couple who backpacks who do this. They have recipe books on the web somewhere. I came here for more basic tips to go experiment for myself. They dehydrate their meals or something and so they can just add boiling water.
    I want to find simpler options that are super easy or nutritious. I homeschool and starting the day with healthy choices for food later, sure makes me feel loved when I am tired out and hungry. Mommies need mommies too, I think.

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