If you’re looking for the best way to pack pasta for school lunches, you’ve found it! In this post, I’ll share step-by-step directions and helpful tips to keep any pasta dish tasting great and hot (or cold) for hours!
We’re talking spaghetti & meatballs, mac and cheese, creamy alfredo, and your favorite pasta salads!
How to Pack Hot Pasta for Lunch
Here’s the part where you learn how to pack those yummy pasta recipes for an epic hot lunch!
- Place a serving of pasta (and sauce) in a microwave-safe dish and stir in 2 tablespoons of water.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap.
- Microwave for 2 minutes or until the pasta is HOT; you should not be able to eat it.
- Carefully remove the plastic wrap and transfer the pasta to your warmed thermos container.
- Pack the sealed thermos in a lunch bag with additional snacks and sides.
Recipes with meat, like spaghetti and meatballs, will need to be microwaved for an additional minute, so all the ingredients are properly heated through.
Check out this quick video for the best way to warm your thermos:
Things to Avoid When Packing Hot Pasta for Lunch
Don’t skip adding water.
It helps reconstitute the sauce and prevents the pasta from drying out in the microwave.
Why use plastic wrap???
This helps create a barrier so the pasta will “steam” instead of dry out while reheating. Plus, it prevents splatters in the microwave.
How to Pack Cold Pasta for Lunch
Cold pasta, like pasta salad, is a little easier to work with since you can pack it into a chilled thermos or regular lunch container. Make sure to include an ice pack in the lunch bag, so the pasta stays chilled.
Things to Avoid When Packing Cold Pasta
Don’t pack plain, cold pasta.
If your pasta is plain, I recommend warming it in the microwave for 1 minute using the method above before tossing it with sauce or dressing. Otherwise, it will stick together in one big clump.
Don’t skip the ice pack.
If you’re packing the pasta in a non-insulated lunch container, an ice pack will help keep it chilled until lunchtime.
Should You Freeze Pasta for Packed Lunches
You can freeze pasta leftovers and reuse them as lunches by thawing the individual portions and reheating them in the microwave, but I find this is a lot of extra work.
If you have 2-3 servings of pasta leftover from dinner, they’ll last up to 3 days in the fridge. That’s plenty of time to repurpose it into lunch; no freezing is needed.
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All my best kid-friendly lunches from over a decade of creating meal plans. Add some variety to your child’s lunchbox with these epic lunches, plus receive my Pack Meals Like a Pro ebook, free with purchase!